There has been rumours going on for a while. Chef David is going to leave The Peninsula group, if they can’t help him fight for his Michelin Star during the 3rd or 4th years’ attempt. Well fellas, this is no longer news because David has already quitted the restaurant as at the end of January 2012. The more pertinent question to ask, is why would the hotel even need to fight for the stars in the Michelin Guide? I think many HK foodies in the know-how already know why but are just keeping it quiet … but that’s another story. We arrived here for a lunch set course when David was still helming the kitchen. Lunch set menus as always might not be the best judgment of a restaurant’s performance, so please do bear that in mind. Full degustation tasting menus are often much more sophisticated in thought (and often ordered during dinner although usually also available for lunch upon request). That’s unless if you are in Spain where there’s virtually no difference between lunch or dinner, or eating at a Chinese restaurant where you can order both Dim Sums and A La Carte at the same time as you please, just to compare.
Gaddi’s at the prestigious Peninsula -
Almost every foodie in town knows this is at least of Michelin 1 Star quality on a relative measurement compared to many others in town. Why then, hasn’t it or any Peninsula restaurants received any Michelin Stars during David’s last 4-7 years tenure here? Some of us already know the answer and it came from multiple sources of insider information from various venues. I have my obligation not to divulge the information ‘openly’ to protect the individuals, but this won’t be the end of this saga at all.. As foodies, we will fight for fairness. Pity I can’t tell you more of our plan right now.
Philippe Olivier butter -
This is ok but a little brittle and slightly weak. I am actually not a big fan of Echire or Bordier butter, but at least Bordier is smooth as a cream. As much as I enjoy subtle food and wine, sometimes and perhaps my palate is too insensitive, I need something a little more cowy or cultured tangy or really creamy. Perhaps a personal thing!
Bacon Croissant and Epi Baguette -
Croissant was excellent. The Epi was a little too crunchy on the outside but too hollow-soft inside, without too much bready taste. Again this could just be a personal preference. I think I like the Robuchon Macau or Singapore Guy Savoy one better, followed by Robuchon L’Atelier HK or the odd ones I can’t remember. This Epi was average in comparison to many restaurants. The croissant was great though and of the flaky type! ~ 7/10
A Vin de Pays d’Oc wine by the Rothschild’s -
I have got to say, these wine barons aren’t gambling away their Goodwill and hard earned brand name with their cheaper offerings. I’ve never had a bad wine from any of their managed vineyards all the way from Chile or South Africa to the cheaper French offers. Even LVMH can’t lay claim to maintaining this standard across the board. Punching above it’s weight.
Challans Duck Leg Confit Terrine with Parma Ham and Hazelnuts, with Hazelnut and Fruity sauce -
The recipe sounded interesting, the presentation was pretty, the ingredients above the norm for a lunch set. Yet in the mouth the terrine was a little too stringy meaty and with the ham a bit hard to cut in a non-messy manner. There wasn’t that much duck taste either. This looked better than it tasted! ~ 6.9/10
Celeriac and Apple Cream (Soup) with Black Pudding and Scallop -
The soup was a little too salty and wasn’t overly saturated with the expected celeriac or apple taste. Didn’t get to try the black pudding and scallop but apparently it was decent enough, bar the weakness of the soup.
Prawn Raviolo with Fennel puree and Crushed herbs -
This was the best entrée out of them all. With a translucent raviolo skin, and a bisque-y sauce and foam. This is almost a proven formula as you see a similar version in many restaurants, and crustacean bisque flavours are strong enough to be detected by the most novice eaters like myself. This was a really well cooked entrée indeed! ~ 10/10
Pot au Feu style Lamb loin and Winter vegetables. Braised in rosemary bouillon -
This arrived looking like a modern translation of a pot au feu, which also reminds me of Italian bollito misto. Lamb medallions were nicely even pink for the ordered medium rare and quite gamey than envisaged. A homely dish done to modernised ‘cleaner’ standards, but somehow I was fixated in my mixed emotion. Is this too clinically precise to be a rustic pot au feu, or should it be all sloppily messy in presentation and taste with just a hint of murkiness in the broth? In the end I concluded that this was a successful dish. It is ingenious and a re-interpretation of an old favourite. I just somehow wished it was less clean-tasting if that makes sense… ~ 7.5/10
Oven Baked Sea Perch, with Cepe Crust and Roasted Pumpkin -
This was a surprising success, with a nicely cooked sea perch with a strong mushroomy cepe/porcini crust. One thing about Gaddi’s is that throughout the years, they always play around with trusted flavours involving a bit more cream or foams than usual. But even knowing this, this was a highly successful dish and one of the true highlights during the lunch ~ 9/10
Slow Roasted USA Kurobuta Pork Chop, Deep fried Sage,
Onion bonbons and Cauliflower puree -
The pork was cooked borderline pinkish. Some pieces performed better than others but my piece wasn’t exactly moist and was a little dry even. It is easy to become a WHINGER but pork being pork and not another red meat, I thought this was definitely acceptable due to the smaller window frame this must be cooked at to hit the precise spot! I was however beginning to feel that many of the advertised ingredients in the descriptions in many dishes were a little muted, as I had trouble tasting the sage, onion bonbons or cauliflower puree or even the pork itself. Something wasn’t quite right and 3 Dimensional enough within the formulae, as it sounded more promising that it had tasted… again might be my palate problem. ~ 7/10
Mussel Soup with Saffron and Parmesan Risotto and Gewurztraminer jus -
This was decent but side-by-side reading the recipe carried too little saffron or mussel sweetness in the base, and was obviously over powered by the cheese on the risotto. The mussels were good though! I don’t detect much wine jus or mussel sweetness at the bottom nor saffron. This was unbalanced but then again, the cream and cheese combo is a trap that many instantly fall for including myself. ~ 6.5/10
Quince Clafoutis with Caramelised Almond and Green Apple sherbet, Green Apple chip -
Someone asked me what is a Clafoutis on the spot & I tried to explain it's a roundish cake sometimes with studded fruits. Out came this 'thing' looking nothing remotely like a Clafoutis but being called one and a little too custardy. The quince was ok but the custard was no clafoutis as I remember it. Not very balanced. No one liked this and no one wanted to finish it. ~ 2/10
Hazelnut Paris Brest with salted caramel sauce and blood orange sherbet -
Again like the above Clafoutis, when this arrived I was shocked as to how this could be named as a Paris brest when it isn’t one. Definitions aside, the brest pastries were amazingly done and crispy, which worked well with the sherbet and salted-caramel sauce and the pastry layer beneath. Terminology aside this was a successful dish based on taste alone. ~ 10/10
Pear Mille Feuille with Dark chocolate cream and Pistachio ice cream -
I remember having had great mille feuille from ex-Caprice, also done by the same Chef Ludovic, but the one today was too crispy without being flaky 酥, probably a bit too crystalline-crisp like. But overall it worked well with the pistachio ice cream. The biggest problem lied with the pastry pâte feuilletée itself, which had little detectable buttery or slightly salted taste. It looked better than it tasted on this occasion. ~ 6.9/10
Passionfruit Tart and Blueberry Financiers, and Chocolate coated Macadamias -
The Financiers looked a bit off from shape to colour, the passionfruit tarts were good indeed. The Macadamian nuts coated with chocolate were the unanimous favourite votes. Overall a great tasting Petits Fours platter but not looking as smart as they could be!
Lunch Set at the Peninsula is a bargain indeed..
Although Chef David Goodridge has now left the group upon this review, this institution is still heavily focused on traditional French dining with a small twist of it’s own. This place reminds me of Petrus but was slightly less French! A chef’s motivation comes from his passion and being awarded accordingly. One could try to be all sarcastic or brush it all off, but at the end of the day the most convincing story is when you try your hardest to conquer it all. Hopefully Chef David 1 day will get the recognition he definitely deserves. As for the pastries, it somehow seemed a little too playful but we do appreciate it for the different twists and interpretations for now..
Price: HKD $428 + 10% including glass of wine. Bargain.
Ease of Access: 4.5/5
Lunch Set (Dinner is seen as more sophisticated): ♕♕♕♕1/2
Opening Hours -
Mon to Sun - Noon - 2:30pm , Dinner 7 - 10:30pm
1/F, The Peninsula Hong Kong, 19-21 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Ph: 2315 3171