Such subtle signage, such an awesome reputation. Claude’s fourth owner Chui Lee Luk, a former lawyer, is now at the helm of Claude’s. Counting down to the days, there was anticipation in the air but this was tempered by reading reviews prior to our visit. Reviews were mixed, with many diners complaining of over salting and other culinary crimes.
Its 7.30pm, the time of the first booking and we press the doorbell. Its like knocking on a friend’s house who has a function catered by staff. The room itself is small (there is another room upstairs) and rather like a blank canvas. Cream walls, dim lighting and Limoges plates with Napoleon’s crest line the two side walls. And aside from the chairs and tables that’s about it in the way of decor.
Service is friendly, deferential, polite and unpretentious. Soon after we’re sipping our very lightly carbonated imported Mineral water (Haddon from England) and perusing the menu. Its degustation only tonight so there isn’t much in the way of choosing which makes it all very easy. The menu is a tantalising sounding mix of French and Asian influences.
Amuse Bouche: walnut and mushroom tart
Our first morsel of the evening arrives, a small amuse bouche of walnut and mushroom tart. Petite and melt in the mouth buttery, its delicious and perfectly balanced.
Smoked Salmon consommé with chive and fennel pastry
Our first course surprising arrives very soon after, the Smoked Salmon consommé. I love smoked salmon and this frothy creamy consommé is very much like smoked salmon but its too heady in scent for me and I take a few sips and pass my espresso cup onto Blythe. It seems that they’ve taken the criticism of over-salting to heart as we need to add salt to the consommé. The light pastry with chive and fennel on top is delicious and paper thin.
Green Papaya salad with ocean trout
Our next course arrives, its simply described as Green Papaya Salad on the menu but its so much more than that. A slice of seared ocean trout sits next to pieces of Andoiue, which is a pork tripe sausage while the green papaya salad is sprinkled with finely chopped hazelnuts. Again this dish needs salt added to it and its interesting although the sausage is strong when compared to the subtle taste of the ocean trout perhaps overpowering it.
Deep fried soft shell crab, spannercrab custard with sago
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