An Indulgent Winter Warmer Menu at TIRPSE
Hong Kong winters may not be the coldest in the world (far from it) but it still very much celebrates the best bits that come with the cooler months – including seasonal produce. Japanese-French fine dining joint TIRPSE features a new menu every two to three months and launched its winter warmer in late December. Here's what to expect.
As Chef Rin Horiuchi at TIRPSE puts it, winter need not be glum and gloomy. In fact, it's a time for the culinary masters to shine a light on the best of seasonal ingredients to warm hungry bellies. We tried the Executive Lunch Menu (HK$898) with wine pairing (additional HK$528 for four types) which includes amuse bouche, a starter, second starter, main course, dessert, petit fours and coffee or tea. The amuse bouche was a familiar concoction from one of the previous menus we tried, a cold and refreshing gazpacho topped with chorizo oil and coconut cream lending the perfect balance between sweet and savoury.
If there's something we've learned with dining experiences, it's that if the bread is done right and memorable in itself, then the restaurant is a breadwinner. The hot and toasty buns at TIRPSE certainly tick the box for us and are honestly a delicious course in itself. But that's not all – the highlight of this part of the meal is the butter, a mouthwatering spread made sour cream, mascarpone and sea salt.
Images courtesy of Adam Thompson | CSP Times
For the first starter, we tucked into a plate of four bite-sized delicacies. Crafted by Chef Yuta Shimizu, the dish combines luxurious and humble ingredients mastered with his Japanese-influenced techniques. Using Brittany blue lobster with seasonal Japanese turnips, each piece takes inspiration from classic French cooking and the familiar local favourite – har gao dim sum. Chef uses three varieties of seasonal turnips in this dish to complement the poached lobster: Japanese red Hida bene turnip, pink turnip and white turnip. Inside the dumpling, we taste an aromatic filling comprised of lobster, shallots and earthy truffle, served with a honey-vinegar sauce, chilli powder dust and an indulgent dollop of caviar. This is paired with an Italian Timorasso wine, offering a medium-body fruity pineapple match to the course.
A popular delicacy for the colder months, shirako may not be everyone's cup of tea, but is, much like comparable caviar, delicious. At TIRPSE, Chef Yuta visually presents the dish as if it's perched atop a layer of snow, to nod to the winter months. We are greeted first with shaved truffle and a dainty portion of creme du barry cauliflower, infused with capers and a layer of hazelnuts in a miso and brown butter sauce. The star of the show is the shirako of course, garnished with thinly sliced cauliflower and mushrooms to add an earthy taste to the fish dish. Typically in Japan, this cod dish is served as sashimi and torched for a smoky taste, but chef updates it with a modern twist, by pan frying it for 3/4 to keep the inside soft, making it so succulent, tender and far from fishy.
We thoroughly enjoy the sake pairing that goes with the aforementioned second course. The distinctive flavour of Senkin sake contributed harmoniously to the Japanese main ingredient.
Images courtesy of Adam Thompson | CSP Times
There are three courses to choose from as the main dish: Spanish mackerel, Australian lamb and Japanese steak. We had the pleasure of trying all three, but we'd like to highlight the Omi Wagyu. We have yet to be disappointed with TIRPSE's consistent steak offerings and this one was tender to the bite in its perfectly cooked medium rare form. Served with garlic purée with gravy and chorizo oil, the wagyu beef is topped with fermented black garlic powder, roasted leek and mushroom. Our wine sommelier pairs this one with a classic pinot noir from New Zealand's Tarra vineyards. If you enjoy a hearty rack of lamb, then be sure to try the restaurant's version, or for seafood enthusiasts, the mackerel.
Those familiar with the restaurant's ethos would know that most dishes take an unconventional approach to classic dishes, so when the deconstructed banoffee pie came, much to our joy, it took us a moment to realise that the dish was quite literally, deconstructed from its usual layering. Chef Rin's final course reinterprets the British dessert with a flavoured banana condensed milk pudding with malty Guinness ice cream, snow white meringue and caramelised toffee popcorn for just the right amount of sweetness.
We sip the honeyed Domaine Cauhapé dessert wine to finish the meal with a subtle sweet note.
The Selected Lunch Menu is priced at HK$698 and the Executive Lunch Menu is priced at HK$898. Wine pairings are available at an additional cost.
TIRPSE, Unit #219, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2333 0031, tirpse.com.hk