May 15, 2014

Speakeasy evening

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Mr. and Mrs. Locust have been kind enough to act as caretakers of my Taipei pad, and took the opportunity of my impending trip home to come visit Hong Kong.  While we had originally settled on checking out Serge et le Phoque together, unfortunately I had forgotten that I had also made plans to go there with Mo' Unni.  Ever the gracious guests, Mr. Locust agreed to switch the venue to Ronin, and I was more than happy to go back after my last meal with Mo' Unni.

We took the second seating, and had plenty of time to kill before dinner.  I decided to take the Locusts for a drink at Stockton.  I thought the old school speakeasy style would appeal, and I wanted to see if they would go for the Kill Devil like I did last time... They didn't, and I didn't wanna get buzzed before dinner, either... so I ended up with a cup of Mumbai Government Punch.

A relatively long walk (by Hong Kong standards) later, I found myself once again in front of that familiar unmarked door.  A short while later, we sat down at the counter and prepared for the onslaught of food.

Pickled radish and spinach

Shigoku oyster, red shiso vinegar, sudachi - always yummy.  One bite.  Great balance of acidity, creaminess and briny flavors.

Next came our sashimi platter:

Hirame fluke sashimi, konbu, wasabi leaf - pretty interesting as the fish is wrapped around thin strips of kelp and then itself wrapped with wasabi (山葵) leaf..

Shima aji sashimi, fresh wasabi, soy - thick slices.

Koshodai koshi snapper sashimi, karasumi, yuzu - I've never had crescent sweetlips (胡椒鯛) before, but I liked this preparation from last time.  The combination of shaved bottarga and yuzu makes for a winner every time.

Saba mackerel sashimi, persimmon, smoke - love mackerel.  Love persimmon.  'Nuff said.

Flower crab, uni, mitsuba - this made Mo' Unni kinda giddy on our last visit, and I'm glad I got to have it again.  Mr. Locust noted the inclusion of the slightly bitter mitsuba (三つ葉), which not only added a little texture but also balanced out the sweet and creamy seafood.

Sugi black kingfish sashimi, maitake, yuzu kosho - don't think I've ever had black kingfish before, and it was OK.  With maitake (舞茸), onions, mitsuba - or was it mizuna (水菜)? - and fried garlic chips.

Maitake, cucumber, myoga, pickled garlic tosazu, crispy rice - the maitake has been marinated - in Tosazu (土佐酢) perhaps? - and was a little too acidic.  Again served with mitsuba.  I guess Matt really likes this particular ingredient...

Saba, ume, mentaiko, shiso - soooo nice.  Love the smoky flavors.  Mackerel was cooked perfectly and was very tender.  Rolled around a little bit of mentaiko (明太子), topped with some plum sauce and sitting on top of perilla leaves.  Of course ume shiso (梅紫蘇) is one of those classic combinations that were made in heaven.

Hamaguri clam, ginger, yuzu, sake - this was one big clam!  When we were done, we asked for big spoons so we could drink what was left in the shell.  Yum.

White ale battered kisu, yuzu kosho mayo - the batter was made with the Hitachino Nest White Ale (常陸野ネストホワイトエール) that I was already drinking, and was pretty good.  They actually poured us a little bit of the ale on the side to make the natural pairing.  The Japanese sillago (鱚) was yummy.  We got the fish, the ale, so we were just missing some chips...

Triggerfish, honey, Kyoto shichimi, chestnuts - I enjoyed this dish the last time, and the chestnuts were pretty crunchy this time, too.

Quail, orange, sansho - very tender, and even a little pink in the middle.  Light sansho (山椒) flavors.  Mr. Locust wasn't a fan, and I can kinda understand why.

Unagi, kinome, chirashi, rice - love it.  I've been on an eel kick lately, and I didn't mind having this again one bit.  And I'm a sucker for the kick from sancho leaf (木の芽).

Kagoshima beef, maitake, egg yolk - my favorite dish here, and I just had to order it when they weren't gonna give it to us.  Mr. Locust approved of my choice, but how could anyone not?!  This here was some of the most delicious beef you can find.  Gotta get it when you can.

Udon, mentaiko, shiso - I was so disappointed on my last visit when Matt told me that he didn't have the udon due to a supply issue.  I'm happy to see that it's back, and I definitely was gonna have me some of that!  Great udon with bite, with yummy mentaiko, made a hundred times better by a sprinkle of plum powder and shredded perilla leaves.  What a way to finish dinner!

We were all really stuffed, but happy.  Third visit, and third time happy.  Not a cheap meal by any means, but I dare say that I got my money's worth.  Having repeated some of the dishes this time, I think I'm gonna do à la carte on my next visit...


scubagolfer said...

Mandarin Oriental Taipei opened last Sunday at the location of the Magnolia Hotel(later aka Mandarina Crown Hotel). Perhaps your parents will enjoy visiting the place when their next wedding anniversary comes.

scubagolfer said...

Have no idea why this comment landed here instead of after that corresponding article - leaving a comment from a mobile device can be a very tricky task. XD


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