Friday, 8 October 2010

Hennessy X.O’s Appreciation Grows Gastronomy 2010


Back when I was really young, whenever my parents mentioned X.O, Hennessy curvy bottle would come to my mind. I can still remember the advert shown in the cinema where the bottle curves are shown followed by the curves of a beautiful girl :p Geez, I think I just leaked out how old am I hahaha... It is one of the leading brand for premium cognac even back then.


Well, it has been great honour to be invited for the third Hennessy X.O's Appreciation Grows recently. Thanks to Lyrical Lemongrass which leads to an invite from Milk PR on behalf of Moet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia (formerly known as Riche Monde Malaysia).

Knowing it was a black tie event, I was kinda lazy to prim up and had asked Capt'n Hook to go instead but he just refused tsk tsk! Anyway, I did went for this 6 nights only event all dolled up, looking totally different especially with my hair cropped short now until some of them cannot recognise me at all. Just check out Aly, FBB, Lyrical Lemongrass, QwazyMonkey and Nigel, all looking their best :D Before you ask where is my face in the picture... I was behind the camera, of course hehe!


The event took place on the grounds of Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club in a spectacular dome where the roof changes in sceneries and patterns via visual projections. Impressive indeed but a nightmare for photography hahaha as we need to keep changing the white balance so much so that QwazyMonkey and I decided to go auto all the way. So please excuse me for the quality of the pics.

Arnaud Mirey

Pretty lasses serving us Hennessy X.O throughout the night

When we arrived, we were served cold water whilst waiting to be ushered to the next room where Regional Brand Ambassador Arnaud Mirey briefed us about Hennessy X.O. We were given glasses of X.O, neat, for tasting. Most of us find it pretty strong albeit it's smooth on the throat. Next, we headed to the next room where we waited for the press conference to start. In this room, we have options whether to have our X.O on ice or with added water. I opted for on the rocks and surprise surprise! The addition of ice changed the whole perspective of the cognac! It's soooo smooth and easy to drink. Ahem, I've lost count on how many glasses I had that night but I could still walk straight at the end of the night albeit I'm not a regular drinker :p

Hennessy X.O with ice


The crowd waiting for press conference to start

The press conference started with a speech by Frederic Noyere, Managing Director of Riche Monde Malaysia followed by Chef Alvin Leung, Hong Kong’s Bo Innovation Michelin star chef. Judging from the posters and pics of the restaurant, I thought Chef Alvin is a rather serious and intimidating person BUT I was sooo totally wrong. He's a rather humourous guy from his short speech and also how he answered questions from the media.

Chef Alvin Leung & Frederic Noyere

Finally we were ushered into the dome. Once we found out seats, we admired the surroundings but it was really really dark under the red "sky".

The dome as we entered

The table cloth and settings were all black with only flickering candles and yellow orchids breaking the monotone.


Bernie Chan was the event host and she got on introducing the first dish - Glass Garden. The bottom of the glass has a layer of spring onion that comes in the form of a mousse, topped with "soil" made out of baked morel mushroom! The "plant" sticking out is actually crispy dehydrated enoki mushroom. I loved how the fragrant spring onion mixes with the morel, forming a delicate taste when paired with the cognac. Oh we really have a garden surrounding us with butterflies flying up intermittently hehe but I did not manage to take a pic of it.

Glass Garden
An avant-garde Hong Kong interpretation of a garden dish, made from baked morel soil, dehydrated enoki, braised caterpillar fungus and green onion puree.

Har Mi which essentially Har Mai in Cantonese which meant dried shrimps was served next. Looked like chau mai fun (fried beehoon) or not??? Hehe... the noodles are actually capellini (angel hair paste in Italian) sauteed with carabinero (essentially red shrimp?) served with roasted cherry tomatoes, a deep fried sage and a stick of deep fried dried chilli. We ate this with chopsticks and I have to say it does tasted a bit like my fried bee hoon but better!

Har Mi
A perfectly executed crouton of carabinero, sautéed capellini, roasted cherry tomatoes and deep-fried sage.

And of course we have this dish under the sea! Gee... I wonder what's the joke between FBB and Nigel?

Under the ocean when Har Mi was served
Under the sea, we dined

Next we have the melt in the mouth foie gras in the forest! The foie gras was served with a dollop of white lychee foam and guess what's in the sauce??? Red dates!!! The combination to me was brilliant. Whilst the savoury foie gras melts in the mouth, the sweetness from the red dates melded well together with the bitterness of the cognac.

Palate Fantastique
With pan-fried foie gras, metilcellulose and xantana.

We were eating foie gras in the forest
We traipsed to the forest

We break here for Arnaud to present us the 6 litres Hennessy X.O Mathusalem created by master blender and secret keeper, Yann Filloux. The mathusalem comes with a specially designed “fusil” which can be plunged into the decanter to extract a small quantity of the cognac. We were told it's ultra limited edition and it's sold out in Malaysia. I checked the net, seems like only 300 bottles were made and the two that we shown to us were specially flown in for this event! 

Hennessy brand ambassador Arnaud Mirey
Arnaud presenting the mathusalem

Presenting the  Hennessey XO Mathusalem by Berluti - a 6 litres bottle
Arnaud using the fusil

The bottle went round to each table, Nigel and FBB tried using the fusil to extract the cognac.I tried a sip, it's really ultra smooth!

Nigel's turn

It was also during this that Kukomi Intrigue was served. In the bottom of the Chinese tea cup was a layer of egg white custard. From my search, the egg white should have been cooked in vacuum sealed plastic bag placed in hot water below boiling point for a long period, sometimes can be up to 24 hours! 

Kukomi Intrigue
An umami dish created from boiled chicken soup, sous vide egg white, foie gras and julienne truffle.

The egg white has crunchy julienne trufles in them but I did not manage to taste out the foie gras though. A layer of rich thickish chicken soup covered the egg white and the dish was completed with a gold leaf on top. This is one of my fave as the soup is really like homemade double-boiled chicken essence coupled with the slippery smooth egg white, I was in Heaven. The dome is now ermm like a savannah (shown in pic above with Nigel using the fusil).

Kukomi Intrigue - the smooth egg white and truffle
My spoonful of Kukomi Intrigue 

The next dish was highly anticipated as it has wagyu beef! I enjoyed the lovely wagyu BUT the cheung fun (rice noodle rolls) was amazing! I can't help it since I'm a Chu Cheung Fun lover :p The texture is thicker than our usual CCF and it has a bouncy bite instead of being slippery and smooth. I would love to have more of the cheung fun please. 

Wagyu Wonders

An Alvin Leung specialty of sous vide wagyu striploin, cheung fun and black truffle.

Then, we have dessert by the harbour!

Dessert by the harbour
Dessert by the harbour

I really hesitated in eating this dessert as I really can't stand the smell and taste of blue cheese! At the back of my head, I was really thinking, omigosh how am I gonna skip this?? It's not helping when the dollop of light foamy blue cheese sort of like took a centre stage! Sobs, I braved myself and tried a little but seriously, I don't like this at all. It took us including Boo_licious a while trying to decipher what's in this dessert. We know the shaved ice bit is made of dried longan which tasted like leng chi kang. Then, there were some corn kernels and pink jelly strips which reminded us of our local iced kacang! We thought the jelly strips were made from almond but we were totally wrong LOL. Boo_licious asked Chef Alvin when he came to our table and it was revealed to us it's made with cherry!

Eastern Ascent
An unforgettable dessert of kikorangi blue cheese, milk, cream and dried longan granite.

Roman columns

Anyhow, we were served an additional dessert which was just named Petit Fours. On the spoon was a mousse whilst the slim glass is a tiramisu laced with Hennessy X.O obviously. Apparently, the gentlemen were served a dark version of tiramisu but visually to me it's just topped with cocoa powder. Since I did not try it, not sure what's the difference. Just like FBB, I think these would be nice if they're cold.

The white version for ladies - extra dessert petit four
Petit Four

Chef Alvin rounding up speech

Since this was my first so called molecular gastronomy, it find the dishes fascinating. I only have 2 words for Chef Alvin's interpretation of the dishes - avant-garde! From the colour, texture right up to the flavours, all paired extraordinary well with Hennessy X.O. It was indeed a memorable experience to me ;-) 

The dome we were in
The dome that we were housed in

Check out what the rest thought about this dinner:
Lyrical Lemongrass

Chef Alvin Leung
My parting shot of Chef Alvin Leung, he was being interviewed


  1. Wow ... The Alvin Leung ... Mr Bo Innovation. I am surprised by the last photo, how he "cleaned up" so nicely, he looked a lot more "hardcore" and "mad" in Anthony Bourdain's piece on him, " No reservations ".

    Heh heh ... Glad all of you had a good time. Espesh Nigel ;-)

  2. Very pretty visual projection! And you ate the angel hair with chopsticks! Haha!

  3. Julian, yea but surprisingly he's rather humourous!

    Jason, yeah with chopsticks!

  4. We didn't recognise you at all after your makeover. Hehe! You looked very nice. :-)

    Love that shot of Nigel and FBB laughing!

  5. LL, LOL I just merely cut my hair short :p

    PG, it was ;-)

  6. I think the first dish is not har mi but har zi (prawn roe). Very popular to eat with the noodle in HK and Macau. So nice lor, even if got money won't be able to eat at Bo Innovation ah.

  7. Simon, it's pronounced as har mai and nope this dish does not have prawn roe. It's reconstructed prawns actually!

  8. woah. he reconstructed the prawn until so small. Molecular culinary.


Blog Revamping

Hello... I'm in the midst of revamping my blog to make my life a little easier. So do not be alarmed as work is still under construction.

16 Oct 2012