March 25, 2015

Speedy goose

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A quick dinner at Yat Lok (一樂燒鵝) before crossing the harbor for the Bolshoi Ballet, at the request of my friend.

Given her penchant for the roast goose leg, and the fact that there were two of us, I suggested that we order a portion of lower-quarter (下庄).  Perfect amount for two people, plus you are guaranteed a leg.  I do love the prominent five-spice flavors of the goose here, especially the star anise.

We also ordered a plate of blanched choy sum (菜心) on the side.  Gotta get your veg in!  A plate of rice on the side makes the meal complete.

March 24, 2015

100-point Porn

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Us MNSC boys are a disorganized busy bunch, with a few of us being out of town on a regular weekly/monthly basis, so as the years have gone by, it has become increasingly difficult to pin everyone down for our dinners.  After failing to agree on a date for our annual dinner - where all members would be present - for a whole three months, we delayed that gathering yet again and decided just to have the Ox host a regular tasting dinner tonight.

We also had a last minute change of venue, and ended up - to no one's surprise - at The Porn Pawn.  I was, of course, only too happy to check out the dishes now available this season.

Charcuterie board: Ibérico shoulder, air-dried duck, chorizo, pork rillettes, pickle, grape chutney, duck liver parfait, grilled toast - this was pretty awesome, especially the beautiful lardo, the rillettes, and of course the incredibly smooth parfait.  If I weren't worried about getting stuffed too early, I would have had another piece of toast and spread more parfait and rillettes on top.

March 22, 2015

The end of a chapter

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At a dinner earlier this month, I received word that Chef Hideaki Sato was leaving Tenku RyuGin (天空龍吟), a restaurant much beloved by myself as well as the Tiggers.  This came as a big shock to me, and I immediately checked with Chef Sato on his departure date.  When I was told that he was due to leave at the end of the month, I quickly organized a last dinner with the Tiggers.  It is, after all, their favorite Japanese restaurant in Hong Kong.

Tonight's menu read a little like a "greatest hits" collection, with a number of my favorite dishes sampled over the last 3 years.  I was only too happy to be able to taste them again one last time...

Deep fried sea urchin from Hokkaido wrapped in seaweed (レアに仕上げた浜中の "海水雲丹" サクサク磯辺揚げ) - I've had this before, and didn't really like it on previous visits.  Sandwiched between nori (のり) seaweed and then wrapped in rice paper before deep-frying.

March 19, 2015

Neighborhood madam

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I had the pleasure of entertaining someone special tonight.  Big Sister Madam has been out of town for a while, and I felt pretty privileged when she agreed to let me take her out for dinner over a bottle of wine.

Our dinner reservation was a late one, so we met up at the Amber Bar for a drink.  I was curious about their wine cocktails, and ended up ordering one using Stonier's Pinot Noir as a base while adding crème de cassis, crème de lychees, and orange.  Not surprisingly this tasted very sweet, and with a few chunks of orange peel floating on top, this tasted a little like a very sweet sangria...

Having been responsible for introducing Big Sister to On Lot 10, it was no surprised that she requested to go to Neighborhood.  It's actually been a while since I was last there, and I was ever so happy to show my friend David Lai some love!

We weren't in the mood for a feast, so we just picked up a couple of "simple" dishes that struck our fancy...

Rocket/pigsear salad - I wanted something with veg, and at the same time I could never resist the lure of pig's ears... especially when there are also croûtons and chopped bits of lardon thrown in.  Love the sharp acidity here.

March 16, 2015

Chef Talks: sustainable consumption

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Tonight I attended a talk at the Fringe Club organized by Slow Food Hong Kong.  It's part of a whole series of talks featuring prominent chefs in town, and tonight there were two featured speakers - my good friend David Lai from Neighborhood (and formerly of On Lot 10), and Nurdin Topham from NUR.  The two of them took turns talking about their experiences in Hong Kong, focusing on their use of sustainable produce.

Nurdin Topham is a relative newcomer to Hong Kong.  He talked about how the 10 years he spent with Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons have shaped him, especially the philosophy of using high quality, organic, sustainable produce.  In the short period that he has been here, he spent a good deal of effort trying to make sure his ingredients are seasonal and come from local sources - as much as possible, anyway.  This was something I pondered while dining at NUR for the first time just a few days ago.  While proteins - especially meats - are hard to source locally, fruits and vegetables are a little easier... but even those can be challenging given the quality of sustainable and organic local produce.

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