October 20, 2016

Burgers and wine, episode 2: Tuscan Lambo

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It's been almost exactly 3 months since my friend Uwe Opocensky left his position as Executive Chef of the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong to pursue other interests.  A few of us were lucky enough to be in the Krug Room for his last service, but I haven't seen him since then.  As has been reported in a couple of local media outlets, he's gone over to "flip burgers" for a local restaurant group.  While I was invited to taste some of his new creations earlier, I wanted to wait till Uwe was off the wagon again before catching up with him.

So we agreed to meet up at the new Beef and Liberty in Lan Kwai Fong.  I had read a few posts about the new bar snacks that he had put together for the joint, but the main event was the new burger.  As usual, I was responsible for fishing out a bottle from my cellar, and this wouldn't be the first time that I sat down to have a burger over a nice bottle of wine.

No sooner had I sat down and pour ourselves some wine than the food started to arrive...

Chicken liver parfait - chicken liver paste with crispy shallots on top, maple syrup, spread over toasted sourdough.  Can't say no to liver spread...

October 8, 2016

La grande dame de Hong Kong

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After our planned birthday meal was knocked off the tracks by force majeure, tonight we did a proper celebration for Hello Kitty.  When I asked where she wanted to go for her birthday, she surprised me by telling me she wanted to try Gaddi's.

Gaddi's in the Peninsula Hong Kong is the grande dame of French haute cuisine in Hong Kong, having been around for more than 6 decades.  It was one of the first fine dining restaurants I ever dined in after I arrived in Hong Kong, and it was the first time I'd ever sat at a chef's table inside the kitchen back around 2001 or so.  But it's been off my radar for a long, long time... and my last visit for more than 5 years ago - or should I say two chefs ago?  But I did hear that the kitchen is now helmed by Xavier Boyer - who has spent years in the Robuchon empire, so I had high expectations for the cuisine.

When I called to make a reservation, I was a little surprised to be reminded that the dress code for gentlemen included a jacket.  In an era where everything is getting more casual, I guess time kinda stands still in that dining room...

We both took the 8-course tasting menu, even though there is a starter on the à la carte menu that I'm dying to try - with crab, lobster jelly, cauliflower cream, and caviar.  A Robuchon classic.  But that will have to wait...

The amuse bouche was a cube of confit chicken in parsley cream sauce, topped with a wafer of Parmesan.

October 7, 2016

Birthday goose

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It's Hello Kitty's birthday and she's decided that she needed some goose.  So off we went to our favorite joint for roast goose, and dutifully lined up at Yat Lok (一樂燒鵝).  Thankfully the wait wasn't too long.

We ordered the usual: some goose, some noodle soup, and veg.

Roast goose, lower quarter (燒鵝下庄) - with the two of us, it makes more sense to order the lower quarter in order to secure ourselves a coveted drumstick.  For some reason, the skin was really, really crispy and flavorful today.  Very yum.

Rice flour noodles in soup (淨湯瀨粉)

Blanched choy sum, no oil or sauce (菜心全走)

A pretty satisfying meal, as always.

October 3, 2016

Toasting the legendary Henri Bonneau

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It was finally my turn to host a tasting for the MNSC boys, and it took us a real long time to come up with a date that worked for everyone.  I was racking my brain to come up with a venue, when I remembered that it's been a while since I was last at Duddell's (都爹利會館).  Given the ownership, of all the Chinese restaurants in town, you would think that this place would have a sommelier who knows how to handle fine wine, right?

So I got Pineapple to set me up, and arranged to drop the wines off earlier in the day with the team at the restaurant.  With full confidence (which, as it turned out, was in fact misplaced) in the team, I showed them the order of the different wine flights but left them to decide on when the wines should be opened, and whether the wines should be decanted.

Given I'm not real familiar with the strengths of the kitchen here, I was more than happy when Pineapple asked the chef to put something together.

Duddell's appetizer combination (都爹利拼盆):
Barbecued Iberico pork with honey glaze (豉味蜜餞黑豚肉叉燒) - this was OK.  The strip of fat down the side was nice, and the char siu was fairly tender, but it somehow wasn't as moist as I would normally prefer.

September 30, 2016

Thousand-year dead fish

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Tonight I finally had the opportunity to introduce Babu to my new Shanghainese discovery.  Well, technically this isn't 本幫菜 but Huaiyang cuisine (淮揚菜), but we'll ignore the technicalities here...  I was very happy to get confirmation that one no longer needs to be a member to dine at Jiang Su (江蘇薈), so I booked us a table for dinner tonight.

Marinated Indian aster (馬蘭頭) - this was a surprise... I never expected a place like this to serve up a classic dish using a heart-shaped mold... then decorate it with two halves of a cherry tomato and 2 little shreds of red cabbage... like putting arms and feet on the heart.  Anyway, compared to what we would normally see, this was definitely lighter in terms of flavor - with a lot less sesame oil mixed in... and seemingly a lower ratio of diced dried tofu.  The pine nuts were kinda nice.  We ended up getting a second serving.

Marinated celtuce stem with spring onions (香蔥萵筍) - I don't think I'll ever get tired of this, and neither will Hello Kitty.  We wanted a second plate, but were told they had sold out...


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