July 30, 2010

The Kimberley Pig

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It has been way too long (13 months for me)... many of us have missed it dearly; a few had never made its acquaintance.  So it was that I became responsible for gathering the troops for a trip across Hong Kong Harbor, to visit the pig.  The Kimberley Pig.  My friend Susan felt completely justified to refer to it as a proper noun.  She loves it that much.  So do I.

I had trekked over to the Kimberley Restaurant (君怡閣) earlier in the week to put down a deposit for the pig, as well as pre-ordering a few dishes.  I arrived tonight to find that the restaurant had given us a large private room, so we were sure to be comfortable.  Our neighbors in the adjoining room seemed to be making themselves comfortable, too... Not sure what they were up to but there were recurring shouts (of joy, no doubt) accompanied by the occasional shove against the partition wall between the rooms...

I ordered a few small dishes to start with while waiting for the last group to free themselves of traffic.  There was a request for marinated jellyfish (海蜇皮), which was paired with cucumbers marinated with garlic.  That was pretty good.  At least you know they bothered to marinate the cucumbers for a little bit instead of just pouring sesame oil and vinegar on top 5 minutes before serving.

I've always loved the braised pig trotters (鹵水豬腳), and ordered them again tonight.  Not bad, but I can see that the group was saving space for the rest of the feast.

For the little lady who celebrated her birthday here last year, I also ordered the deep-fried salmon skin since she loved it so much.  She used to much on them like crackers, and they were pretty light and yummy.  Alas, she ran out of juice after her playdate today, and ended up going home with daddy without dinner...

Because it was so popular at our last dinner here together, the clear ox bone soup (清燉牛骨湯) made an encore appearance.  The soup tonight seemed a little darker in color, but no less impressive in terms of sheer size or taste.  It's not everyday that one gets to gnaw on bones this size.  The ladies noticed immediately that they received different parts of the bone from the guys... they got more collagen, which is something they weren't going to complain about!  The soup was definitely tasty, although the flavors were a little heavier compared to last time.  The radish and spring onions provided the "greens" for the dish.

The prawns are usually pretty good here, and tonight we had them done two different ways:  pan-fried with white pepper (白胡椒煎中蝦) and pan-fried in soy sauce (頭抽煎中蝦).  I kinda liked them both, although they were served too early and were getting cold by the time I was done with my soup.

The baked stuffed crab shell (焗釀鮮蟹蓋) also came too early, and were left on the table cooling off while we were still trying to finish the soup.  It was decent - not terrible, but definitely a few levels below what you'd get at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門) or even Summer Palace (夏宮).  The top was more cheese than breadcrumbs, and there were mushrooms and leeks inside.

Finally it was the main event.  The Kimberley Pig (金陵全豬烤金苗) was rolled in, and we rushed to snap pictures before the waiter picked up his cleaver.  I decided to snap one from behind, since I had taken pictures of the pig from so many other angles.  A nice little peek underneath the little tail...  The 30-day old piglet went to heaven so we could have a little slice of it... heaven, that is.  I was beaten by the soup, so only partook in one slice.

The salt-baked chicken (鹽焗雞) came but I was already too stuffed.  I had a little bit of it.  Not outstanding, but decent.

The water spinach stir-fried in garlic (蒜茸炒通菜) was a wonderful surprise.  The restaurant decided to deep-fried some of the garlic, then mix it in with fresh garlic while frying the veggie.  The result was stunning, and a real surprise for such a simple dish.

I decided to order 3 desserts as we needed to meet the minimum charge for the room.  The osmanthus jelly (桂花糕) was way better than what we got last week at Ming Court (明閣) - at least these were soft and melted in my mouth. There were wolfberries as well as diced bits of canned peaches and pears.  The deep-fried egg cuillers (蛋散) never disappoints me, as they always do a good job of getting it just right - light and fluffy.

Yes, my dear Froggie, this was the "mother of all ma lai gao"! The steamed sponge cake (馬拉糕) came in a big bamboo basket.  We were all oohing and aahing over the thing...  The waiter cut wedges out of it and served each of us in turn, and we were impressed by its consistency - light and fluffy, and it didn't collapse after exposure to cold air.  Very delicate flavors.

I brought 3 bottles of simple wines for this casual evening.  The 2007 Rex Hill Pinot Gris was always gonna be an easy-drinking wine. Nose of green apple, minerals, floral and fragrant.  Pretty smooth and went down well.  Definitely a food wine.

The 2008 Burge Family Shiraz Rosé was something special I tasted last year in front of winemaker Rick Burge, and I thought tonight would be a good opportunity to taste it again.   I was surprised by the pungent nose that reminded me of pipi de chat, but looking at my tasting notes from last year I realized it had been there, too.  There were lots of polyphenols present, and bore a strong resemblance to the mangosteen juice that I buy from the supermarket made from the purple rind.  Other than that there were notes of minerals and flint, as well as blackcurrants.  Still one of the best rosés I've had.

Finally we got to the 2001 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Precious Mountain Vineyard.  This was very fruity, minty and a little alcoholic on the nose.  Concentrated on the palate, with notes of sweet candy and potpourri.  Not bad at all.

There was so much food we left with lots of containers.  It made for a very good supper for someone, and I hope that the left over sponge cake tastes good the next morning!

1 comment:

Tom said...

I've only just come across your blog having moved to HK and am very glad I have done. This sounds like a real experience of a meal that I am excited to try.

Thanks for the write up.



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