April 25, 2014

How assholes from Linklaters ruined dinner

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This post will start with a rant, because I am so livid that I am actually going to name and shame for once.

Tonight was an evening that could have been.  I was back at my favorite On Lot 10, with a group of friends who all know the boss well.  We gave David carte blanche and was prepared to enjoy a dinner that would blow our collective minds.  And - not that it really matters to me but I know some people do care - we were seated next to not one, but two venerable former Miss Hong Kongs... from the days when being Miss Hong Kong was a really, really big deal... whose spouses / ex-spouses / offsprings are movers and shakers in this town.  We were all here to enjoy our Friday evening over some great food.

Unfortunately for us, our Friday evening was ruined by a table of assholes.  Lawyers from Linklaters, and perhaps their friends.  They were some of the loudest, rudest restaurant patrons I have ever had the misfortune to come across.  They behaved as if they owned the restaurant, or maybe they thought they were in a private room and the other two tables sharing the space simply did not exist.  We got to hear about every little detail of their lives that I could not care less about - Gloria this and that, Jocelyn this, 吳總, Patrick, Sherry, throwing up, jumping into the pool, and a whole slew of other stuff.  They got louder with more and more bottles of wine and Krug Grande Cuvée, and they couldn't care less about their complete lack of manners.

At one point I seem to have caught one of the restaurant's staff going up to one end of the table and politely asking them to turn down the volume.  It seemed to have had some effect on that end of the table - for a few minutes - but the message wasn't passed on to the other end... and those assholes simply didn't care.

At a time when people in Hong Kong keep complaining about the behaviors of their northern cousins from the Mainland, it's particularly interesting to see that those of us living in Hong Kong (whether originally from Hong Kong or not) really aren't behaving much better.  I think I spotted a few senior people at the table, maybe a partner or three, even?  Absolutely boorish and shameful behavior.  As I noted in an earlier post last year, there seems to be very little correlation between higher education, income and basic manners and common decency.

My MNSC boys and I always get pretty loud at our gatherings, as it's a boys-only gig and there is plenty of wine involved.  What we always do is to make sure we book private rooms at every venue we go to.  Once the door is closed, we can be pretty loud but it becomes harder to disturb the other guests.  Well, there's no private room at On Lot 10, and I would expect patrons to have the decency to behave accordingly.  I guess it was too much to ask from this particular bunch.

OK, now that I'm done with my rant, let's see all the yummy stuff we had for dinner...

French cockles - I'm not a fan of cockles, as I find the taste a little heavy, but these are actually a lot less "bloody" and the flavors were milder, even a little sweet at times.

Hangar steak carpaccio - this is from a Spanish steer and has been aged for 120 days.  Very chewy, very interesting.  But we would get more of this beef later in the evening...

Blanched whiskered velvet shrimps - David has served these little whiskered velvet shrimps (赤米蝦) to us once before, and I enjoyed removing the tough little shells to get at the sweet-tasting flesh inside.  Unfortunately, though, this batch seemed to have a ton of crap in the veins... and I ended up making a mess by trying to remove all the black grit before putting the shrimps in my mouth.

Morel mushrooms with chicken liver - served with soft-boiled organic egg, croûtons and foam.  What an absolutely awesome dish!  This was quintessentially David, and represents one of the many reasons why we love him.  Love that he sprinkled some piment d'espelette on top.

Baby squid with sautéed peas and mint - served with zucchini, zucchini flowers and cubes of pancetta.  Very yummy.

The squids also seemed to be... pregnant with eggs?  I don't recall the last time I've had this... if ever.  Could these still be "baby" squid and "pregnant"?

Bouillabaisse - one of David's signatures, and very few people - if any - in this town do a better job.  To be honest, I wouldn't go anywhere else for bouillabaisse.

Most of the others seemed to only want soup, but I made sure to take down some of the crab and fish, too... despite the fact that most of the flavors have been cooked into the soup already.  Of course the soup was just soooo thick, and nicely picked up with some saffron and piment d'espelette for that little kick.

Soft shell Alaskan king crab paella - OK, so I did just have the same dish last week, but would one ever get tired of something as amazing as this?!  Hell, no!  And what a privilege to have been able to have it twice in two weeks!  Tonight there was a very nice layer of socarrat at the bottom, and I could see the kitchen getting better at this with every visit.  The crab legs were very, very soft and juicy.

Chuleta de Rubia Galega - this beautiful hunk of meat is the chop just above the rib, and came from a 12-year old working ox weighing up to 900 kg, of the Galician breed Rubia Galega.  The meat was then aged for 120 days, resulting in an amazing intensity of flavors.

This was amazing.  The meat was cooked rare, but it was just sooo full of complexity from the aging.  I decided to be good and only have one piece, as I'm trying to get back on the diet wagon.  Meanwhile, the taters were simply out of this world, as were the pieces of romaine lettuce with the accompanying sauce.  We also had some sautéed spinach on the side.

We told David that we wouldn't be able to fit in any dessert, which is why he offered us some Comté instead.  Very, very nice.  There was enough aging but still young enough to retain some of the sweetness.

Dinner with Felix is never without wine, so we brought along a few bottles.  Unfortunately for him, I didn't have a chance to go fish out new bottles from my cellar, and the supply in my office had been depleted by a certain little crowd recently... so he didn't drink as well as he normally would have!

2003 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles en magnum - familiar nose of toasty oak, very nice on the nose.  Slightly flat on palate at first, with some sweet ripeness but short finish.  Relatively thick and viscous in texture, rounded on the palate.  Pretty enjoyable wine.

1996 Les Pagodes de Cos - smoky, minty, a little earthy, a little brett, pencil lead.  Drinking exactly as it's supposed to.

2012 Sadie Family 'T Voetpad - a very interesting blend of Semillon, Palomino, Chenin Blanc and Muscat de Alexandrie, from old vines planted between 1900 and 1928.  Cleaner and leaner on the palate, with lemon citrus and good minerality.  Many thanks to Felix for bringing something so interesting!


Anonymous said...

Name the partners!!

Anonymous said...

They look like a bunch of office clerks.


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