Dinner at SÉZANNE

Dinner at SÉZANNE

at SEZANNE (SEZANNE) on 13 November 2023
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In my 13-plus years as a food writer, I’ve experienced more than my fair share of four-hands dinners all over the world. But the collaboration between @sezannetokyo and @thechairmanrestauranthk was a highlight.

@chezcalvert and Danny Yip are both perfectionists with an intuitive sense of harmony and balance. What makes this event particularly special is the fact that they’re such close friends. They understand each other’s food and philosophy well, and it shows.

This synergy was evident from the first bite, a gougere (reminiscent of a miniature baked bun –Chinese peeps, you know what I’m talking about) filled with silky abalone soup and served with a glass of @krugchampagne. From there, the menu unfolded like a journey through Hong Kong via not only France and Japan, but the whole universe of Calvert’s fecund culinary imagination.

A caviar-filled tartlet, covered in finely chopped amber-hued century egg and accented with ginger, arrived at the table glimmering like a jewel. Botan ebi shrimp toast was a celery-flecked mousse of the decapods encased in crispy toast points and finished with a dollop of garlic aoli (where the idea for the aioli came from, I have no idea, but it was a nice touch).

Hidden beneath a layer of clam foam shimmering like pearls, the velvet of the Koshihikari congee was studded with chunks of clam and oyster and splashed with XO sauce oil. And then the foie gras terrine, wrapped around bites of Yip’s soy sauce chicken…no words. An ideal match for the Chateau de Fargues 1979 Sauternes.

Calvert is not big on story-telling, but these first courses felt like Proustian layers of flavor memory. I can imagine these two guys sitting down to a meal of these very things after one of their long Monday hikes through the Hong Kong hills.

The star of the first half of the menu was the steamed matsubagani crab, bathed in a
creamy vin jaune sauce enriched with chicken fat. This already decadent dish was made more so by the brioche flavored with Shanghai crab roe – a crustacean collaboration of sorts.

I’ll write about the second half of the meal in another (less lengthy) post!