Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Last Meal

A colourful scallop tartare in a watermelon and cherry tomato consumme
Tonight my cousins and I went to TBLS, a private kitchen on Hollywood Road in Central.

The six-course tasting menu was fantastic, themed on Latin flavours.

Slightly spicy gazpacho soup with a hearty chorizo sandwich
We started with an amuse bouche presented in a small glass jar of deep-fried salted cod on mashed potato, followed by the first course called "soup and sandwich" -- the soup was a yellow gazpacho with ancho chilli panna cotta and Parmesan froth, accompanied by a homemade Mexican style chorizo sandwich with pickled watermelon skin.

The subtle spiciness in the soup was perfect and refreshing, the sandwich meaty and had complex flavours heightened by the watermelon. We were intrigued by what was to come next.

Again we were not disappointed, with slices of braised octopus on a bed of squid ink rice that also had a hint of spiciness from the fresh chillis.

Braised octopus on a bed of squid ink rice
The next dish pulled back from rich flavours to something more delicate. The scallop tartare was topped with a cilantro sorbet with two banana chips, sitting in a colourful watermelon and cherry tomato consumme. Very refreshing, savoury and sweet, crunchy and soft.

Berkshire bacon with guacamole (under the salad)
We were most impressed with the main of Berkshire bacon, a big square chunk that was braised and then the top was fried for a bit of crunchiness, topped with thin slices of pig ears, dressed with black bean puree and next to it a "salad" of guacamole. Perfect pairing and the bacon was delicious, fatty and meaty, practically melting in the mouth. The guacamole creamy from the avocado.

Just before our desserts we had a palate cleanser of sangria sorbet. Straight forward and yummy, which made us wonder why no one else had done this before...

Then our first dessert called chocolate bar -- chocolate mousse on a bed of cookie crust, topped with olive oil powder and surrounded by a creamy olive oil sauce. Very chocolately but not too sweet either, balanced with some sea salt.

The chocolate bar with olive oil sauce and powder on top
We also loved the second treat, a kind of macaron ice cream sandwich, made with salted dulce de leche ice cream and coconut cream.

Mmm mmm good.

But sadly this is the last menu the private kitchen is serving until the end of next month. It sounds like it's the same Hong Kong story of landlords being greedy and jacking up the rent.

Chef-owner Que Vinh Dang also says he wants to take a break and perhaps do some other food-related things instead.

Salted dulce de leche ice cream in between macaron shells
So we're sad to see TBLS close, but we are lucky to have finally tried it and the last menu. We hope to see chef Que out there again soon, creating new concepts for the Hong Kong food scene.

7/F, 31 Hollywood Road
2544 3433

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