October 2, 2015

Dama's birthday

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So... two days after my return visit to Tenku RyuGin (天空龍吟), I arrived at Ta Vie 旅 to sample the new dishes that Chef Sato Hideaki (佐藤秀明) wanted to show me.  The small gang of us all used to work together, and it's been way too long since we sat at the same table.  Tonight we would (belatedly) toast ILove Lubutin's birthday.

Sato-san asked me whether everyone has been here before, since he wanted to show us new dishes.  The entire 8-course menu ended up being new to me, although he did very kindly send us an old favorite...

Baby cuttlefish with ratatouille, potato and fennel cream - served on a beautiful glass dish, the 新甲烏賊 from Nagasaki (長崎県) has a nice texture which retains just the right amount of crunchiness and bite while still soft.  The cuttlefish itself wasn't really seasoned so one could taste the original flavors, but combining it with the ratatouille or the potato and fennel cream was also nice.

September 30, 2015

Back to the sky dragon

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It's been six months since our last visit to Tenku RyuGin (天空龍吟) before Chef Sato Hideaki (佐藤秀明)'s departure, and Babu has been hankering to go back for her "Japanese food".  When scheduling conflicts prevented us from booking a table at Ta Vie 旅 on short notice, we ended up going back to Tenku RyuGin instead so that Babu could get her fix.

It's always nice to go back to a place where they know you.  The minute I gave the receptionist my name over the phone, she asked if I was the one "who doesn't eat tuna"...  And even though Takano-san has made the move to Ta Vie 旅 with her husband, the staff still remembered that I always ask for a copy of the Japanese menu, and I had it in my hands mere seconds after I asked for it.

I was eager to see any changes Chef Seki Hidemichi (関秀道) may or may not have made since taking over in April, but I had the utmost confidence that the food would still be at a very high standard.  After all, he had been the restaurant's sous chef and, in fact, is said to have been under Chef Yamamoto Seiji (山本征治)'s tutelage since RyuGin opened in Tokyo.

Cold noodles topped with white shrimp, caviar, abalone, and abalone liver sauce (白海老と煮鮑の冷製そうめん  キャビア  鮑肝ダレ) - cold somen (そうめん) has always been my favorite way to start a meal at RyuGin, and tonight in addition to the usual caviar and glass shrimp (白海老), the chef also added slices of abalone.  All of which are among Babu's favorite ingredients.  Of course, nowadays everyone's also making sure they serve the abalone liver sauce.  Garnished with the usual perilla flowers and scallion sprouts (芽ねぎ).  So refreshing and very, very good.  Babu was already happy after one course...  Only nine more to go!

September 28, 2015

2015 Mooncake roundup

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I'm not a big mooncake fan, so I normally only buy mooncakes to bring home to Taipei for mom so that she can give them to family and friends.  This year, however, I chose not to go home for Mid-Autumn Festival since I had just spent a week and a half with the parental units in the U.S... so I cut my mooncake purchase to a minimum this season.

The only mooncakes I did buy this year were from Da Shi Jie (大師姐).  Having tasted her very special batch a few weeks ago, I had the good fortune of being able to order this very limited batch of old school mooncake with lotus seed paste, three yolks, and Indian almonds (古法三黃欖仁蓮蓉月餅).  Last year these were made in such limited quantities that they were only given out to select friends.  The production was increased this year to a reputed 500 boxes.

September 27, 2015

Mid-autumn in Hong Kong

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My Favorite Cousin pinged a couple of days ago and informed me that her parents are in town, so we arranged to have dinner together tonight... which was perfect as a family gathering on Mid-Autumn Festival.  I didn't have any opinion on where to go or what to have for dinner, so she decided to book at table at Tim's Kitchen (桃花源).  It's been a while since I was last here, and as it happened, my last meal here was also with My Favorite Cousin.

Double-boiled winter melon soup with shrimps, Yunnan ham, fresh crab meat and fungus (鮮蓮冬瓜盅) - normally we wouldn't be having this first, but since we didn't start with any small dishes, we were served soup as our first course.  The whole winter gourd was supposed to serve 4 but it was more than enough for the 5 of us.  In addition to the winter gourd itself, there was shrimp, crab meat, roast duck, conpoy, lotus seeds, loofah, bamboo piths, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms.  Great way to cool down the body on a warm day.

September 26, 2015

A couple of new neighbors

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Tonight was an occasion to introduce a couple of friends to my favorite Neighborhood, and a chance to check out some new dishes.  We wanted an early night and decided to take the early seating.

As soon as we were seated, we were informed that the restaurant has a stash of white truffles now that the season has started.  I picked out the biggest one in the box, had it weighed, and set it aside for later.


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