Decoding The Menu At The Krug Room Dinner With Peter Cheung
When it comes to creating great memories, a meal with good company and champagne is a fine place to start. This July, we kicked off the first of a six-part series of extravagant dinners held at The Krug Room (the only one in the world), Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, each hosted by a friend of Hong Kong Tatler. First to the table was Peter Cheung—500 lister and stylish man about town behind luxury strategic consultancy Peter Cheung Asia—who invited 10 of his closest friends and loved ones to experience a specially curated menu crafted by executive chef Robin Zavou together with Krug Champagne.
Cheung sat down with Zavou ahead of the Creating Memories dinner on July 20 to play around with the theme of the night, which focused on the bounty of the sea. Together, the two came up with a uniquely curated feast that incorporated Zavou’s culinary point of view, the Krug philosophy, and Cheung’s own vision for the dream dinner he would host for his friends (including Generation T alumni stylist Denise Ho and feng shui master Thierry Chow).
“I had a lot of fun working with chef Robin on the menu as he was very inspiring to me describing his very exciting menu on seafood,” he explained. For the dinner, Cheung decided to set a few challenges for Zavou. “I thought it would be a challenge to do something a little Hong Kong-esque, and also play on the high/low concept.”
Unfazed, Zavou came up with a number of dishes that played on Hong Kong flavours and concepts, paired with an impressive line-up of Krug champagnes. The meal kicked off with a playful nibble of fries paired with Krug Grande Cuvée 164ème Édition En Magnum, before Zavou brought out the first course: brown shrimp with sea urchin and cauliflower. “I did challenge chef Robin because my friend [Francisco Anton-Serrano] never liked uni, and I thought he could convince him,” said Cheung. While Anton-Serrano ended up firmly sticking to his 'no sea urchin' guns, Cheung reasoned: "More uni for me!"
The crowdpleaser of the night was a dish that came about after Cheung requested that the menu include a rift on shark fin soup—a cruelty-free one, naturally. Zavou delivered, creating a supreme broth rich with julienned wood ear fungus, bamboo shoot, kam wah ham and thin glass noodles to mimic the flavour and texture of a classic shark fin soup—with no sharks harmed. For a few moments, all guests sat and ate in complete silence, blown away by the execution of the dish. The soup was served with the newest Édition of Krug Grande Cuvée - Krug Grande Cuvée 165ème Édition, a blend of 127 wines from 12 different years—the youngest of which dates back to 2009 and the oldest to 1990.
Another locally inspired creation came in the form of salmon and lobster fishballs, skewered and served in a rich, laksa flavoured sauce—a clever spin on the ubiquitous curry fishball found all over the city. Other highlights included the scallop ‘fish and chips’ which, despite having no mushy peas, was highly praised by Charmaine Li, a Brit through and through; a serving of suckling pig presented as a deconstructed taco was also delightfully received. After the impressive smoked wagyu beef with nori and pickles was served, Patrick Ting and Thierry Mandonnaud declared the Krug 2004 and Krug Rosé 20ème Édition their favourite champagnes of the night.
Following the main courses, all guests were invited into the kitchen to witness the creation of the fresh Amalfi lemon sorbet, an invigorating palate cleanser to prepare them for the spectacular dessert finale. In true Krug Room tradition, Zavou and his team crafted right before the diners’ eyes an epic dessert spread inspired by the floor of the ocean—complete with edible fish, coral-shaped matcha and coconut ice, and oyster shells filled with whipped cream and mango ‘pearls’. As dessert was an interactive course, it was only natural for Cheung to use one of the matcha squeeze bottles to sign off the table with his signature catchphrase—one that was most likely directed not only to his guests, but to the Krug Room itself: “Love You, Mean It!”
The Krug Room, 1/F Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2825 4014; www.mandarinoriental.com/hongkong
Gallery:Creating Memories at The Krug Room: A Private Dinner With Peter Cheung
Krug Grande Cuvée 164ème Édition En Magnum
Brown, Sea Urchin, Cauliflower
Krug Grande Cuvée 165ème Édition
Shark Fin Sub
Supreme, Broth, Noodle
Fish & Chips
Scallop, Souffle, Batter
Salmon, Lobster, Laksa
Green, Bellota, Egg
Krug Rosé 20ème Édition
Suckling, Iberico, Taco
Smoked, Nori, Pickle
Krug Grande Cuvée 164ème Édition
Amalfi, Lemon, Ice
Coconut, Pineapple, Pepper