September 21, 2021

What the fuck am I doing here?

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"So what the fuck are you doing here??"

Those were the words coming out of the mouth of Antimo Maria Merone - the chef of Estro - as he sat and chatted with us after service finished this evening. I had just finished telling him that I normally don't visit new restaurants within the first 3 to 6 months - something that is well-known among my friends - because usually either the kitchen or the front-of-house (or sometimes both) aren't ready. On the rare occasions that I have chosen to make exceptions - such as this group gathering or this restaurant review - I have come away disappointed or worse, wasted my hard-earned money.

In response to the question, I pointed in the direction of Hairy Legs. After all, Hairy Legs and I had agreed months ago to come see Antimo together once the restaurant is open. I was simply accompanying my friend.  And no, I never worried for a second that Antimo and his team wouldn't be ready.

I kinda wish the dinner had happened 2 months ago, because I would have worn something completely different to dinner. I would have been twinning with Hairy Legs and there would be not one but two assholes looking like zebras at the table. That photo op would have been phenomenal. But an incident on social media around 2 months ago changed my mind about dressing up like a zebra, so I chose to play second fiddle and - for one night only - ceded the title of biggest asshole to my friend seated next to me.

September 20, 2021

Bad company

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The MNSC boys found ourselves sitting around the same table again just 3 weeks after our last gathering.  Since a couple of us will be out of town for the next few weeks, we decided to notch up one more tasting before the end of the year creeps upon us.  I was ever so happy that our host Curry Jayer chose to bring us back to Megan's Kitchen (美味廚), a place I have not visited for a few years.

The food has always been pretty good here, and I've always enjoyed my experiences on the few occasions I have been here. Glad to get another taste tonight.

We started with a sextet of appetizers:

Marinated jellyfish (蔥花拌海蜇)

Braised beef shank (鹵水鮮牛腱)

September 19, 2021

Save the worst for last

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Ever since I saw someone post a picture of a certain popsicle, I have been wanting to come back to Forum Restaurant (富臨飯店) just so I could get a taste of it. For one reason or another, things just haven't worked out with scheduling, and I was beginning to worry that I wouldn't be able to come before this seasonal summer item is taken off the menu. Thankfully, though, I was able to grab a couple of friends to join us for dim sum today.

From my visits earlier in the year, I have always been suitably impressed by the service level here, which I felt was appropriate for a restaurant carrying 3 Michelin stars. It would prove no different today, as the service staff asked us whether the kitchen should arrange to serve dishes in portions of 4 where there would originally be only 3.

Braised goose web with mushroom (北菰炆鵝掌) - pretty good, and I had some collagen sticking to my lips. There was so much sauce leftover that The Great One insisted we save them so that we can use them for other dishes.

September 15, 2021

Jang jang jang jang

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I was really happy with my first visit to Hansik Goo, Chef Mingoo Kang's outpost in Hong Kong. That was during the early days, when we were forbidden to dine out after 6 p.m. and lunch was the only available option. Since then the restaurant has become so popular that it seemed to be booked out weeks in advance, and I tend to shy away from places which takes me too much effort to secure a booking. So I haven't been back for over a year.

I did try to get myself a table a few months ago, but alas, nobody bothered to reply to the email request I sent. Since they were obviously too busy with other customers to take care of me, I just let it drop.

Well, it was now Sankala who wanted to go, and apparently the staff were much more responsive to her request... so I let her run with it, and she managed to get us a table exactly a month in advance. Not too bad nowadays, I suppose.

I was happy to see that the restaurant is serving Nordaq filtered water, because it means that we're reducing the number of bottled water that's being shipped around the world - reducing carbon emissions as well as waste.

Our meal began with a quartet of Korean starters:

Angelica and shrimp dasik (다식) - this had an interesting texture, like it was made of dried minced shrimp that's been compressed into a cookie.

September 14, 2021

Gone in 60 minutes

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Champagne Krug is doing their annual ingredient pairing, and this year they have chosen the onion.  After being anti-social during the pandemic, I was most surprised to receive an invitation from PR8 for the event surrounding the launch of Krug x Onion.  For all the crap I've given PR8, I gotta be thankful that he has always been very, very accommodating when it comes to these types of events.  He knows exactly who I wouldn't want to be caught dead next to, and generally makes sure that those people are never in my presence.

So it was suggested that I join this particular tour this evening, even though I would be missing the chance to visit some of my favorite chefs. I was ever so grateful that I was in the company of one of the few people in this clique who I could actually have meaningful conversations with... without wanting to choke the person or rip off his/her head.

The first of our two stops tonight was MONO. I've grown to become a big fan of Ricardo Chaneton's over the last few years, and these days an evening out at MONO is always fun... especially towards the end when the playlist changes from jazz to disco - at least when I'm in the house. I was kinda looking forward to that tonight.

We scanned the QR code in front of us to find out the menu for the evening, and I was pretty shocked to find not one, not two, but FIVE dishes listed. WTF? The format of these events used to showcase one dish per chef/restaurant, so I was expecting to get two dishes by the end of the tour and head off to Mickey D's to finish off the evening. Looks like that plan just went out the window...

Krug Grande Cuvée, 169ème édition, ID 120003 - good ripeness on the palate, with lovely toasty notes on the nose.

Of course, we actually got even more food when this avocado and lobster arepa showed up before anything else... Very creamy, very delish.

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