August 29, 2018

Big fish in the 'hood

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I'm back hanging out with the City Foodsters and DaRC tonight, dining at Neighborhood for the first time in a few months. As usual we were well taken care of by The Man in White T-shirt, as dish after dish came out from the kitchen to satiate our hunger and cravings.

We started with some padron peppers, which came with some melted cheese and a sprinkle of chili powder.

Pancetta - the pancetta is always a welcome sight, but somehow most people at the table stayed away from all that fat.

Plus one for lunch

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I was ever so thankful that I didn't wake with a hangover this morning.  Last night got pretty tough for me at the end... and apparently for Ricardo Chaneton, too... Thankfully we were both of us were fine today, because I was paying him a visit at Petrus during lunch.  If memory serves, he's been trying to get The Great One to visit him for the last 2 years or so... and now that she's finally going, she very kindly asked me to join her.

Rooftop bouquet, raspberry vinaigrette, Colonnata lard - the greens came from the rooftop hydroponic garden, wrapped with lardo di Colonnata.  The vinaigrette came with dehydrated raspberries.

Crab roll, Parmesan, lime

Crispy merengue, smoke eel, foie gras - there were tiny cubes of foie plus some smoky eel with anchovy sauce.  The meringue wasn't very sweet because it was made with some dashi (出汁).

August 28, 2018

Eating with chefs: drunken Chairman

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The City Foodsters are back in town for a few days, a year after I first met them on our trip through Korea.  DaRC set up a few meals for them, and I was more than happy to join them for dinner tonight at The Chairman (大班樓).  In addition to the few of us who are already familiar with them, we also counted a few chefs/owners at our table, including the Bromance Twins.  This was gonna be fun...

Danny had promised to put a nice menu together for us, so I was particularly looking forward to trying out a few things that would be new to me.

Home brown sugar pickled roses on figs (荼薇無花果) - a beautiful dish to start us off.  The chilled fig came topped of a Chinese variant of the Provence rose that had been pickled in jars with sugar (7 years according to Danny back in January).  The pickled roses delivered some savory notes on top of the expected sweetness, and there was a tiny bit of kaffir lime leaves to add some lovely citrus fragrance to the mix.

August 24, 2018

A spicy dinner with wine

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A few of us have been trying to gather at the same table for quite some time, and we finally found a time that worked for everyone tonight.  I probably wouldn't have chosen Golden Valley (駿景軒) as a venue, but I did think the food was pretty good when the restaurant was at its old address in Happy Valley.  As the restaurant has re-opened in the new Emperor Hotel next to the racecourse, it seemed like a good opportunity to see whether the kitchen could still deliver.

One of the problems I have with Golden Valley is that they are known for their Sichuan offerings, and mala (麻辣) hotpot in particular.   That means the air is filled with the smell of spices, which isn't something I care for very much.  Thankfully we got ourselves a private room so I didn't have to put up with it.

I was tasked with the first round of orders, but I kept it relatively light.

Sliced pork in spicy garlic sauce (蒜泥白肉) - this was surprisingly more spicy than I expected.  The other surprise was that the pork came with skin on, so in addition to the crunch from julienned cucumber, there is the additional crunch from the skin.

Deep-fried Bombay duck fish with spicy salt (椒鹽九肚魚) - as good as I expected.  Sooo fluffy and tender inside.

August 15, 2018

Little bits of shroom

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It's been a number of years since I was last in Celestian Court (天寶閣), and while I enjoyed that meal all those years ago, for some reason I never found occasion to return.  I do remember, though, that mushrooms are one of the restaurant's specialties.  So when my friend KC announced that he was organizing a dinner there focusing on dishes featuring mushrooms, I wasted no time in putting my hand up.

Roasted suckling pig stuffed with black truffle, pearl barley, glutinous rice, ham and wild mushroom (黑松露薏米燒釀乳豬) - BABY, THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR... KC was absolutely right - even though the menu tonight was based around mushrooms, the real reason I came tonight was because I hadn't tasted this stuffed suckling pig ever since it was put on the menu.

August 10, 2018

Sea, smoke, and sand

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The last time I stepped foot in the Krug Room at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong was the last night of service by Uwe Opocensky.  It was a spectacular and memorable evening, not the least because we ended up eating Ingrid - the king crab that Uwe showed us while gently petting it...

Robin Zavou has since taken over as the Executive Chef of the hotel, and is personally overseeing the Krug Room.  It's now been two years, and thanks to an invitation on behalf of the hotel, tonight would be the first chance for me to see what has happened since then.

The twelve of us had assigned seating, and it was clear that the organizer had segregated us to that TVB Pearl was on one side of the table while TVB Jade was at the other.  Knowing the person who extended the invitation, I wasn't the least bit surprised to be stuck in Siberia...

As usual, we started with a glass of Krug Grande Cuvée while we waited for everyone to arrive.  Our first glass was Krug Grande Cuvée, 164éme édition, en magnum, ID 216018.  This was toasty and nicely integrated.

Once our straggler arrived, the snacks were served:

Pea tart - with wood sorrel. 

Smoked eel donut - topped with salmon roe marinated in sake and a sprinkle of shaved yuzu (柚子) zest.  The eel mousse inside was smoky, and very, very soft and smooth in texture.

August 5, 2018

La La La, Laa La Laa, La Laaaaaaa

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So it's finally my turn to host a dinner for the MNSC boys.  It's been a long time since any of us last hosted a dinner at Caprice, but I knew Hairy Legs would not fail me.  Knowing this was a big thing for me, Hairy Legs, sommelier Victor Petiot, and I had a gathering last week to discuss the dishes that would pair with the wines.  I asked for a short menu since some of the boys have been cutting down on the amount of food they take in, and Hairy Legs decided to put together a few dishes with plenty of truffles.

First came a trio of nibbles:

King crab with tomato concassé

Crispy tart with garlic cream and sea urchin

Balik salmon with crème fraîche and oscietra caviar - pretty smoky.

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