A Whimsical Autumn Feast With Victoria Tang-Owen And Christopher Owen At The Krug Room
Inspiration and interpretation are concepts that underscore any creative process, and both were fittingly involved in the formation of the second Creating Memories dinner at The Krug Room, this time hosted on September 25 by Thirty30 Creative’s founders, Victoria Tang-Owen and Christopher Owen. The partners in work and life worked closely with Mandarin Oriental Executive Chef Robin Zavou, tapping into their creative backgrounds to design a tasting menu that was enjoyed by the couple and their 10 special guests, including entrepreneur Ivan Pun plusstyle icons Alexa Bui and her husband Alan See. This unique collaboration with House of Krug was a chance for the group to sample a maverick line-up of Krug champagnes and experience the possibilities of food and wine pairing.
The result was a lavish meal with plenty of whimsical touches befitting of the hidden dining room within the Mandarin Oriental—in fact, many of the guests entering The Krug Room immediately made references to Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland thanks to the bucolic, autumnal scene fashioned by the hotel team. Once guests were seated, the forest-inspired centrepiece (complete with looming toadstools rendered in chocolate) was brought to life by the waiters who, in perfect synchronicity, poured a scented mist over the table that was redolent of crushed leaves and warm spices. As with every Krug Room meal, the decor is inspired by the characteristics of the champagne.
The dramatic beginning was not the only thing to elicit a chorus of ‘wows’ from guests. Victoria and Christopher made sure that Zavou’s menu would impress their cohort of friends—a combination of meat-lovers and vegetarians alike. Fashion designer Saloni Lodha of the London-based womenswear label Saloni, for example, was presented a plant-based degustation with dishes such as cèpe custard with consommé and Comté; sweet corn tartlet with liquorice, and smoked aubergine with truffle and poached egg. Zavou even created a version of his famed “Fish & Chips” for Lodha, substituting the scallop encased in a crisp souffle batter with Korean-spiced cauliflower. Just as at Peter Cheung’s dinner the preceding month, Victoria and Christopher’s evening saw a notable contingent of Brits and those who had lived in the UK before, meaning that this creative interpretation of a nostalgic seaside classic was able to hit another home run.
All parties were enamoured by the selection of Krug champagnes laid out for the evening, starting with Krug Grande Cuvée 164éme Édition En Magnum paired with the trio of amuse bouche, and ending with Krug Grande Cuvée 165éme Édition with the two desserts. Many of the guests commented on how the champagne’s elegant, fine bubbles matched the delicate nature of Zavou’s dishes perfectly.
Krug 2004, with its vibrant freshness, was the ideal foil to the richness of the Laksa dish with langoustine, coconut and thin ribbons of squid masquerading as rice noodles—tasting this particular champagne, with its blend of 37% pinot noir, 39% chardonnay and 24% meunier, it’s clear why the House of Krug coined it with the nickname “luminous freshness”.
The menu was big on intense flavours, such as in the final courses of pork rendang with lemongrass and rice, and smoked wagyu with nori and pickles. Both were complemented by an aromatic Krug Rosé 20ème Édition, a blend of 45 wines (the oldest from 2002, the youngest from 2007). Very much a non-conformist champagne, this "born to be wild" rosé boasts boldness and character that stands up to and enhances the herbs and spices in Zavou’s rendang.
Conversation flowed as freely as the champagne, with guests reminiscing and sharing stories of their travels over the summer—the perfect way to segue into the sweet portion of the meal, with Zavou’s Coconut creation quickly becoming the most talked about dessert of the night. A coconut made from chocolate was designed to look like a beach cocktail, calling to mind the Pina Colada. The second dessert was no less impressive, harking back to the forest theme with an apple pie that resembled the fruit itself, nestled in a comforting pool of vanilla custard. It was a fitting end to the evening, the warm spices of the dessert and the toasty, ripe and sugared notes of Krug Grande Cuvée 165éme Édition echoing the delicious expectations of autumn ahead.
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 Victoria Tang-Owen and Christopher Owen
Krug Grande Cuvée 164ème Édition En Magnum
Caviar (Hot Potato, Sour Cream)
Quail Egg (Chorizo, Smoked)
Razor Clam (Garlic, Onion)
Red, Betel Leaf, Finger Lime, Tamarind
Krug Grande Cuvée 166ème Édition
Sea Urchin, Cauliflower, Soy
Fish & Chips
Scallop, Soufflé, Batter
Roasted, Fermented, Raw, Pine
Langoustine, Coconut, Curry
Krug Rosé 20ème Édition
Rendang, Lemongrass, Rice
Smoked, Nori, Pickle
Krug Grande Cuvée 165ème Édition
Pina Colada, Straw
Apple, Pastry, Custard