Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ta Pantry: J'adore

(Bread and butter)

I am definitely way behind in my postings. It’s been over a month since the wonderful Tata invited the bunch of us up to her cute little private kitchen, Ta Pantry. The occasion? To test out the new “L’Indochine” menu ($500/person) she designed for the summer season.

I’ve always been in love with how Tata’s décor’d up her little Star Street apartment space. It’s got a cozy, rustic French charm, with cute knickknacks here and there (but all artfully placed, of course), a huge shelf of magazines and cookbooks, pink kitchen utensils, and an impressive collection of wine bottles. We arrived to find Tata all aproned up and busy in the kitchen, chopping up this and cutting up that to the medley of classic French pop playing on the sound system.

(Hokkaido scallop green mango curry roule: tastes like the start of summer)

After a few glasses of Veuve Ambal Peche, peach sparkling (yum), we took our seats and prepared to feast. First up was the Hokkaido scallop green mango curry roulé on sea urchin foam. Loved the creaminess of scallop and the subtlety of the dish. The light foam carried brief flavor notes of the ocean without giving away too much too early on. This dish tasted like the start of summer and we eagerly waited for the rest to come.

(Citrusy crabmeat ravioli: summer lovin')

The citrusy crabmeat ravioli was next and oh-my-G I loved this one. The seemingly unassuming single, round ravioli was plumped up with sweet, fresh crabmeat and floating atop a clear chicken broth scented with lemongrass. Now, I’m a big fan of lemongrass so this dish hit all the right notes with me. It’s amazing how light yet satisfying this dish was. It tasted like something you should be eating alfresco in the summer sunshine in a floral day dress. A hands-down winner.

After the crazy-amazing ravioli, a meat-fest ensued. Tata threw in her signature melting onion duck (usually supplementary $150). This beautiful fowl is slow-cooked to tenderness and lovingly carved into small, thick pieces and served atop the caramelized onions. Soooo rich and soooo good. Pork followed duck with the Iberico pork cheek cooked with star anise. The fork tender pork was topped off with a paper-thin slice of mint-infused pineapple, which gave the dish an interesting dimension and depth. It was then drizzled with a blue cheese sauce which, as much as I lurve blue cheese, I personally thought was a tad much for this particular dish. It overshadowed the beautiful flavor of the pineapple a little. But I lapped it all up anyways.

(Melting onion duck: mmmm... rich)

(Melting onion duck: plated)

(Iberico pork cheek: blue cheese or no cheese?)

Another highlight was the coco balsamic linguine with mushrooms. When this arrived at the table, I was thinking, “Fark. I’m full to the brim, there is no way I can polish off a whole bowl of carbs.” I took the first bite, then another, and another, and… before I knew it, it was poof – all gone. It was absolutely genius to use balsamic in this dish. The tart vinegary taste shook me up from my near food-coma state and refueled my appetite. G-e-n-ius!

(Coco balsamic linguine: co-co-crazy good)

(Red wine poached pear crumble: layers and depths)

To end, Tata fed us a super comforting red wine poached pear crumble with tapioca and tiramisu ice cream. Loved the layers to this – the crunch of the crumble, the soft pulpiness of the pear, the chew of the tapioca and the smoothness of the ice cream. Needless to say, this menu got the big fat thumbs up from all of us.

(Financiers to end!)

For those who haven’t tried the new menu yet (there are five menus in total to choose from), you should definitely do so. And for those who haven’t tried out Ta Pantry yet, you should most definitely eff-initely do so. Note though that Tata only does one table per night and advanced booking is required. She tells me that she’s just recently waived corkage as well so… :D !

FOOD: 4.5/5
SERVICE: 4.75/5

TA PANTRY ($$$$$)
1C, Moonstar Court
2D Star Street
Wan Chai