December 14, 2013

A hazy shade of winter

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I've been remiss in keeping in touch with some friends, and haven't seen them in over a year.  I finally found some time to round them up for lunch today, and figured we should go have some dim sum at Above and Beyond (天外天).  I figured since a couple of us were on the Dark Side, we could meet up over here once in a while.

We were up on the 28th floor, with a nice view over Hung Hom and Victoria Harbor.  Unfortunately the skies were very hazy today, and it wasn't the usual beautiful view.

We ordered mostly a series of dim sum items, and ended up adding when particular items weren't enough to ensure each of us could have a taste.

Steamed fresh shrimps and bamboo shoots dumplings (筍尖鮮蝦餃) – these were pretty good and juicy.

Scallop, pumpkin and sweet corn dumplings (南瓜金粟帶子餃) – nice to have that golden hue in the skin from pumpkin, but the actual pumpkin flavor was pretty faint. I also expected a little bit more from the combination of corn and scallop.

Mushroom and vegetable dumplings with truffles (翡翠松露野菌餃) – very nice and plump, full of shroomy and veggie goodness.

Crispy shrimps rice flour rolls (脆皮鮮蝦腸粉) – I remember these from my first visit, and they were really yummy. So yummy, in fact, that we ordered a second plate.

Deep-fried shrimp mousse stuffed with scallops and pear (梨香龍皇太子千絲酥) – pretty delish, which isn’t surprising given that it’s deep-fried to a crisp. The filling of shrimp mousse was also good, although it was a little light on the pear.

Deep-fried prawn toasts (黃金蝦多士) – not bad at all, and inhaled in one bite.

Century eggs with chilli and garlics in black bean sauce (豆豉虎椒伴皮蛋) – the friend who ordered this thought the century eggs were too strong and chemical, so I didn’t touch it. The chilli pepper was OK.

Steamed coral crab with glutinous rice (紅蟳米糕) – I ordered this again as it’s always been tasty. The gang buried themselves in crab, which was fresh and finger-licking good. The sticky rice was, expectedly, a little on the mushy side thanks to the steaming and all the roe and other crabby goodness, so all the flavors soaked through. Absolutely yum.

I didn’t have any of the dessert from the menu, because I had brought along a couple of little treasures to share with the gang… from Pierre Hermé.

Truffle blanche et noisette – my absolute favorite offering from the Fat One, which I used to hand-carry back with tender loving care from Paris during this season. Really thrilled to have PH stores now in Hong Kong so that I could get it without traveling, but I do have to say that these don’t seem to be as fragrant as the ones I used to buy from Paris.

Foie gras et chocolat – another seasonal offering which I’ve had only once before.

Foie gras goes very well with raspberries, and it’s no surprise that creamy foie also goes well with rich chocolate in the ganache.

I didn’t think we had over-ordered, but I was pretty full by the end. I was happy to have gotten together with my old friends – some of whom I’ve known for close to 3 decades – and to hear some of the good news they had to share. It was definitely a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon on a dreary day!

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