November 28, 2013

Three smiles of the Seventh Son: BYO... fish?

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Finally... the third installment of my week at Seventh Son (家全七福).  This dinner came about at the instigation of a chef friend, who responded to a thread on FB by suggesting that I should share my wines with friends like Da Jam.  I wasted no time in rounding up a few people who are all friends with Da Jam - who would also drink a reasonable amount - and it was suggested that we they check out Seventh Son.  At the time this arrangement was made, I had no idea that this would result in my being here three times in a week...

The date was chosen because it was the earliest date that all of us would be available, and I had given absolutely no thought to the fact that it was to be Thanksgiving evening - having gotten used to not having much turkey for the last 2 decades.  Once I realized the coincidence, I knew exactly which dish to pre-order for us...

Pan-fried minced pork and lotus root patties (香煎蓮藕餅) - these were pretty good.  There was enough diced bits of lotus root inside to be noticeable and give it some degree of crunchiness, but it was still mostly a pork patty.  I thought it was better than what I had at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門), but still prefer the really crunchy version at Guo Fu Lou (國福樓) for now.

November 26, 2013

St. John's Horde

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For years, St. John in London has been on top of my hit list for London.  The restaurant's famed roast bone marrow and parsley salad has inspired numerous copies worldwide, including some in Hong Kong.  Unfortunately, as I am a much bigger fan of Froggyland than Rosbifland, I haven't stepped foot in London for more than 7 years.  So the nose-to-tail dining experience remained firmly out of reach, despite having recommended a number of friends to visit the establishment.

So when my friend Susan announced nearly two months ago that she's booked a table at the Blue Butcher on the night that Fergus Henderson was gonna be there, it took me only a minute to respond.  I wouldn't have missed this dinner for the world.

A few days later, I received a very kind offer for an interview slot with Fergus.  I thanked the lovely PR for the kind invitation, but in realty as I had never been to St. John and not actually experienced it for myself - and I don't own one of his cookbooks - I didn't feel qualified to interview him.  It was good enough for me to be at the restaurant eating the food.

November 24, 2013

Three smiles of the Seventh Son: Rayas massiiive

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Here we go again...  Mere hours after flushing the alcohol out of my system, I'm back at Seventh Son (家全七福) for another wine dinner... and dining in the exact same private room, as expected.  Even the captain was surprised to see me coming back so soon.

The MNSC boys gathered tonight as Lord Rayas played host, and a rare invitation was extended to the wives to join us.  We have been sticking to a strictly boys-only format for the last couple of years, and during dinner we were given a stern reminder of why that has been the case...

I was wondering how much overlap there would be between the menus from these two consecutive nights. While I was grateful that there was only about 2/3 overlap, I wasn't expecting to see one of the exotic dishes again tonight.  Methinks I've fulfilled my turtle quota for at least the next year...

Some appetizers to start:
Roast gold coin chicken (燒金錢雞) - this combination of chicken liver, bacon fat and char siu (叉燒) wasn't bad but kinda skimpy in my book.  I'm still partial to what I get at Manor Seafood (富瑤海鮮酒家).

November 23, 2013

Three smiles of the Seventh Son: very belated celebration

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So it begins.  Through pure coincidence, I will be spending 3 nights over the following week dining at the same restaurant.  Given that it's Chinese and the menu has been set by the hosts on two of those nights, I wonder how many repeat dishes there would be.  In all honesty, though, this is a "First World problem"… given that the restaurant in question is Seventh Son (家全七福) - which should be one of the best Cantonese restaurants in town.

Tonight's gathering was a belated birthday dinner - VERY belated… by more than 6 months.  Apparently some of the guests had conflicting schedules which couldn't be resolved… until now.  Anyway, I'm just glad to be invited.  The birthday boy told me how many wines he was bringing to dinner, and I just knew that I'd be falling asleep at the table…

November 21, 2013

Ispahan, mon amour

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My love affair with Pierre Hermé - his creations, not the man himself! - began more than four years ago, when I first stepped foot into one of his Parisien boutiques.  I was staying around Saint Germain and it was an easy walk to get there.  While I got to taste his macarons and experienced the magic for the first time, that visit was a little disappointing.  Why?  They didn't have Ispahan, as it was "not in season".  Ispahan, of course, is one of the Fat One's most famous creations.  I left Paris that day with a certain sense of regret…

November 14, 2013

The rebound

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The King was making a rare appearance in Hong Kong, so naturally the bunch of us dutifully answered his call for dinner.  As it turned out we had a second visitor coming in from another city, making this gathering even more special.  Not surprisingly, we were back at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門) despite the disastrous performance the restaurant delivered on my last visit.  No doubt BM had given them a piece of his mind, and told them to shape up or else…

Steamed xiaolongbao with crab roe (蟹粉小籠包) - I've always been a believer that one should eat xiaolongbao (小籠包) in one bite, and was pretty happy with my one mouthful.  Can't say that I tasted the crab roe all that much…

November 13, 2013

An old friend's new digs

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It was time to meet up with Mo' Unni again, and it's been nearly two months thanks to my diet and limited allocation of cheat meals.  She has a preference for checking out new venues, and wanted to go to Upper Modern Bistro.  I've known Philippe Orrico since his days at Pierre, and followed him to St. George a couple of times.  Over the last couple of years, though, I lost touch with him as I didn't care for the surroundings nor the service at St. George.

So I was pretty happy to hear that he's come out to open up his own place, and on the island, too!  As it happens, the mug that I use daily in the office looks like this…

...which is a picture that Tigger took in the kitchen at Pierre, on a day when we were horsing around after a cooking lesson.  Philippe was channeling his inner Gordon Ramsay, and I was his victim… But I digress…

November 12, 2013

270 Years of Moët & Chandon

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Moët and Chandon is celebrating their 270th anniversary, and is offering a batch of ex-château Grand Vintage Collection wines through Sotheby's in London.  The auction is slated for tomorrow, and the consignment consists of 270 bottles, 174 magnums and 3 jeroboams spanning from 2004 all the way back to 1914.  I was fortunate enough to have been invited to a pre-auction tasting of some of the wines at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, hosted jointly by Moët Hennessey Diageo and Sotheby's.

After mingling (or in my case, being aloof and anti-social) for a little while sipping on the first flute, we took our seats to start the main event.  We would go through 6 different wines tonight spanning a few decades…

November 11, 2013

Licking the plate clean

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It all started with an innocent post on Facebook.

Just days after I met up with him, the globetrotting Felix from QLI jetted off to Shanghai and put up a post about his meal at the new 58 Grill.  Apparently he had œufs en meurette for dinner, which is something I love but rarely have, because it's time-consuming to make.  I responded to the post, expressing my desire to have some eggs, and thought nothing of it.  Hours later while at dinner, a response came from Chef Richard Ekkebus, offering to make the dish for me at Amber the next time I had a craving.  A few rounds of messages back and forth, and I was havings eggs for lunch today.

My original plan was to rope in Tigger, as he is a big fan of Richard's and was seated next to me while this was going down.  Alas, the high flyer was busy today.  Fergie was also at dinner, but he was jetting off to a different time zone.  So I called on someone who I knew would appreciate the work that goes into a red wine reduction…

By the time I arrived at the appointed hour, I Love Lubutin is already seated in the Amber Bar.  Worse, she took the single-seater while leaving me with the loveseat, and as a result had no place to put her expensive handbag.  I had to convince her to place her bag on the ottoman…

Not surprisingly, we didn't have to do the ordering, as the menu has already been selected for us...

November 9, 2013

Cave dining

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Tonight I was invited to dine with some friends, old and new, by a gentleman in his new "man cave".  He had decided to convert a unit inside an industrial warehouse into his new hideaway, and generously invited us for the very first "boys night" in his cave.  It was a curious collection of car guys, watch guys, and food guys.

The gentleman of impeccable taste had managed to get dinner catered by Chef Antimo "Animal" Merone from L'Altro.  It's not exactly everyday that you find a chef with macarons putting together food in your kitchen…

Foie gras torchon with mango - pretty nice, but would be even better with a couple of grains of salt to season the foie that was marinated in Calvados.

November 3, 2013

The skinny duck

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I'm up in Beijing for a couple of days on a business trip, and have a free slot for dinner tonight.  It's been a little more than 2 months since Felix stopped by Hong Kong before moving to Beijing, and I thought it's high time I caught up with him.  After a couple of rounds of discussions - and disqualifying some venues due to timing issues - we settled on the new branch of DaDong Artistic Conception Food (大董中国意境菜) - a 3-storey building right at the East Entrance of the Beijing Worker's Stadium (工人体育场).

This is quite a palace that Mr. Da Dong has built for himself.  The entrance is quite dramatic - one either walks through a lawn with numerous lights as well as a couple of grazing horse statues, or drive through to the underground entrance, where the first scene encountered is an army of chefs roasting ducks in a central oven.  In the middle of the main dining room on the ground floor, there is a 2-storey high screen which loops through a video about - who else? - Mr. Da Dong and his philosophy.  Felix and I joked that in some scenes, instead of looking like a mild-mannered and cultured scholar, the boss ends up looking like the Shanghainese mafia of old…

I was a little flustered when I got to the table, and my first attempt at flipping through the menu left me bewildered.  The dishes seemed to be crammed into the first few pages of the tome, and it all seemed like information overload.  Fortunately, the same dishes appear on the remaining pages along with beautiful pictures, which made things a lot easier.

I wasn't particularly impressed by the duck when the chef came to Hong Kong last year, so I needed to see if I liked it any better here in the home base.  My last dinner left a pretty good impression in terms of the other dishes, as I found plenty of Western cooking techniques at work.  I was very curious on some of the more creative and fusion-looking dishes, and thankfully Felix was game.

Shrinking Boy, 3 months done!

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It's been exactly 3 months since I started my program, and the weight-loss phase is coming to an end.  I'm meant to do a 6-week "maintenance" phase from now on, but it doesn't mean I won't keep on losing more weight!

Final weight loss: 7.5kg.
True to form, my weight loss is about 2.5kg per month, although 6 days ago at my lowest weight I had lost about 8kg.  A couple of big meals right after passing my exam, as well as a lack of exercise, meant my weight rebounded over the last few days.


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