It was supposed to be a quiet evening at home, but I got called out by the parental units to have dinner with them and some friends. Since there's nothing fancy around my run-down hood, dad suggested we go to Le Palais (頤宮) since it's the closest nice restaurant we could think of.
It was a late casual dinner, so we each ordered something. I could detect that service was a little off today, as we were assigned to a very small table that wouldn't fit more than 3 dishes despite the restaurant being half-empty. We were also not given any complimentary appetizers other than the fruit vinegar. We did ask to switch to a bigger table and were much more comfortable afterwards.
Stir-fried tofu strands (清炒干絲) - a very Shanghainese dish, although I haven't had this as a hot dish for some time. Pressed tofu is cut into long strands which resemble noodles, then simply stir-fried with some julienned carrots and celery. Pretty decent, but slightly over-seasoned.
Cantonese fried noodles with seafood (廣式海味炒麵) - I always expected this to come with some starch, but tonight the seafood really wasn't fresh. The ark shell (赤貝) was so-so, but the prawns were definitely frozen and treated with too much baking soda - they looked a little translucent and were way to crunchy. No good.
Stewed seafood with vegetables (海味一品煲) - a slightly more premium version compared to the Cantonese classic I had ordered before, with an abalone slice that was pretty tough, and scallops and lots of tofu and broccoli. The prawns in this clay pot were exactly like the ones that came with the noodles… not fresh.
Pan-fried prawns in soy sauce (生抽煎蝦) - OK, at least these came with shells and their heads, but still not really fresh. The flesh was a little mushy, and I felt bad that I was responsible for ordering this.
Pan-fried crispy chicken (脆皮雞) - this was OK, although the breast meat was definitely too dry and tough.
Stir-fried mixed organic vegetables (炒有機時蔬) - absolutely the best dish tonight. The green asparagus, lily bulbs…etc were fresh and sweet.
I brought a bottle for casual drinking, which turned out to be completely wrong for the meal. Oh well…