Following the success of SAAM's "Back To School" tasting menu comes the new Japanese kaiseki- inspired menu, which highlights fall ingredients such as chestnuts, sweet potatoes, and witlof. With each course, Chef Patrick Dang uses a different cooking and preparation technique - from grilling, pickling, steaming, and deep frying, you can't help but admire the dedication and thought that goes into each dish.
We were feeling hungry this evening, so we opted for the 10-course tasting menu ($888 HKD), but if you're stomach isn't quite ready to take on that challenge, SAAM also offers an 8-course menu ($788 HKD) or a 6-course menu ($638 HKD).
“Hassun”- Seasonal appetiser inspired by mountain & ocean
This beautiful langoustine was lightly grilled on the outside and raw on the inside. Using sunchoke (Jerusalem artichoke), hazelnut vinaigrette, and truffle panna cotta, this dish came together perfectly.
“Muko-Zuke” – Raw dish
Chef Patrick took the traditional concept of ravioli to a whole new level by wrapping sea urchin in a thin layer of cuttlefish. Yuzu, dashi, and shiso were used to complement the creamy and bold flavours of the dish.
“Suno-Mono” – Pickled
Texture was the focus of this course involving razor clams, avocado "marble", burnt cucumber, and samphire. Due to the varying textures, the flavours of the ingredients remained quite tame and blended well together. Be sure to put a small piece of each ingredient on your fork to get the full effect.
“Takiawase” – Seasonal vegetable served with seafood
This Irish oyster with salsify (an "oyster plant"), green apple, sorrel, and osteria caviar was the definition of "simple is best". Note: at this point, we were not only looking forward to the arrival of each course, but we were also eager to see the unique choice of dishware Chef Patrick chose to accompany and complement the food.
“Shizakana” - Steamed
Presented to us was a well-balanced pairing of steamed John Dory fish and scallop with sweet potato, vanilla, and curry spice sprinkled on top. Neither had an overpowering taste or texture, which helped the curry spice give it a bit of a kick.
“Age-Mono” – Fried
Our first fried dish of the night was a veal sweetbread with chervil root puree, lardo, cauliflower, and pear. The veal is originally soaked in water and vinegar, and then removed and soaked in milk. Afterwards, it is wrapped in filo and fried. The result is crunchy on the outside, yet tender on the inside - an absolute delight.
“Futa-Mono” - Simmered
Chef Patrick deconstructed this dish of Iberian pork, chestnut, celeriac 'porridge', and porcini mushroom much to our delight. The pork was juicy and tender, and stood out among the other meat courses we had already consumed.
“Gohan” – Rice
We couldn't wait to sink our teeth into the carnaroli rice and pigeon. The rice is cooked in red wine and grapes, and the pigeon is served medium rare. The sauce used is made from the pigeon juice and foie gras. While we liked everything on the plate, we felt the whole grapes were too sour and threw off the balance of the dish.
"Yaki-Mono” - Grilled
The Australian Wagyu is marinated with cayenne pepper beef jus for 24 hours, which gives it a strong flavour with a smooth texture. The oxtail is braised and wrapped with a pastry, which was equally as tasty as the Wagyu, if not more. The salt baked beet was a lot less salty than we had imagined, as the salty dough that is originally baked around the beet is removed before being plated.
“Naka-Choko” - Cleanser
Originally thought to be some sort of milky shot, this course was actually a shot glass of whipped frozen parmesan that looked like snow. The strong taste of the parmesan contrasted heavily with its airy texture, making for an interesting combination.
“Mizu-Mono” - Dessert
The inspiration behind this dessert comes from the Mediterranean with orange, pistachio, and chocolate. Every bite is meant to have a different texture. The rich chocolate alongside the tangy orange puree was a perfect way to end the evening.
After our meal, Chef Patrick came out to talk to us a bit about his background and inspiration for this menu. During our conversation, one thing that he said really stuck out to us, "As I get older, cooking is less about myself (and more about the ingredients)".
10-course tasting menu ($888 HKD)
8-course tasting menu ($788 HKD)
6-course tasting menu ($638 HKD)
SAAM Food & Drinks
Website or Tel: 2645 9828
Opening hours: 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm (Bento Express lunch) & 6:00 pm to 12:00 am from Tuesday to Saturday, 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm & 6:00 pm to late on Sundays. Closed on Mondays.