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Zensational dining yields infinite pleasures

China Daily Hong Kong Edition | Updated: 2019-08-14 11:02
Rack of lamb with spiced couscous (carré d'Agneau) [Photo provided to China Daily]

Back on terra firma, we dried off with côtelettes d'Agneau Vivienne (grilled lamb cutlets with smoked aubergine), featuring Welsh lamb less than a year old – lean, tender and with delicate flavours, and again wrapped up with plenty of love. The cutlets are first marinated in a mixture of Kalamata olive paste, cardamom, paprika, honey and sherry vinegar, then grilled and served on a bed of shallots seasoned with icing sugar and olive oil. This arrived alongside quenelles of smoked aubergine caviar, which comprises roasted aubergine pulp, hot paprika, cumin, lemon juice, pine nuts, chopped mint and olive oil.

And so, sated beyond our expectations, our senses dancing somewhere beyond utopia, we took crème brûlée for the finale. Like chocolate mousse, this dessert is so ubiquitously served across the globe that it's almost become the prequel to or accompaniment with coffee, with little distinction of its own. Yet this baby wore its ambrosial accents like velvet and its texture in italics. Restaurant manager Romain Blanchard tells us that La Petite Maison's chefs conduct crème brûlée tastings like a ritual every morning in search of the gold standard – and this was ecstatic. No more, no less, balanced, pitch perfect, zensational. Mr Blanchard, regarding that morning ritual… any way to squeeze a writer in?

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