July 21, 2021

Frozen dinner

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I was pretty impressed with my last visit to Man Ho Chinese Restaurant (萬豪金殿), and I do think that Chef Jayson Tang (鄧家濠) is doing some pretty interesting stuff, so I've been meaning to bring Sankala there. When the opportunity came to catch up with Winnie the Chew and the Zhongmeister, I figured this would be a good occasion to make that introduction.

I asked Jayson to help come up with a menu for us, although I did request one dish so that the Zhongmeister could try it. I was pretty happy to see that I would be trying plenty of new dishes.

Signature barbecued pork loin with honey sauce (萬豪貴妃叉燒) - this wasn't originally on our menu, but Jayson decided to send it as an extra dish... maybe because I enjoyed the Duroc pork collar so much last time. Tonight the texture was just like before - very tender and springy, with some gristle providing some crunch. This time, though, the flavors of the pork were particularly strong... and I can imagine that it is not to everyone's liking.  I would also have preferred a little more charring.

July 15, 2021

Just the two of us

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It's no secret that Neighborhood is my favorite restaurant in Hong Kong, if only ranked by frequency of visits.  But over time it's become a place where I habitually gather with larger groups of friends, as that is when the Neighborhood experience really shines - with big, often off-menu specials which can be shared among more hungry mouths.  The dining experience is decidedly different when it's a smaller group of 4 people or less, and a number of my friends have reported less satisfying visits under those types of circumstances.

However, this place is first and foremost a casual place where one should feel comfortable dropping in without much fanfare - provided that one could grab a table.  A neighborhood bistro, if you will, although it is unfortunately not in my 'hood.  I do miss that kind of dining experience, and it's been way too long since I got that feeling.  So I called up Shirley to make a reservation for two, and asked her to tell The Man in White T-shirt not to prepare anything special or big.  We wanted to order from the regular menu and pick whatever struck our fancy tonight.

It didn't quite work out that way.

Mochida Farm fruit tomato / pippara peppers - the tomatoes from Mochida Farms (持田農園) are always a good idea, and tonight they came with 'onion rings' and pimientos piparra.

July 11, 2021

Blur-blur Sunday

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I wanted to spend some quality time with My Favorite Cousin, and it's been months since I last visited my furry nephew, so Sankala and I went to hang out with them while I also played delivery boy.  Since someone insisted that her wine fridge had absolutely no more space, we thought it was only right that we help free up some room...

2016 Cantenac Brown - very minty, ripe and a little jammy, with sous bois and forest pine. Definitely still pretty tannic.

July 9, 2021

5 bottles for Friday

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While I have seen Belo a couple of times over the last couple of months, this particular foursome hadn't sat down at the same table since our fabulous wine dinner 3 months ago. Belo had recently been introduced to Castellana and found it worthy of a return visit. I, of course, was only too happy to oblige, as I had been curious about the place since some time last year. Thanks to the efforts of PR8, there was a flurry of posts on social media - with a particular dish grabbing all the attention. So yeah, it was an itch I kinda wanted to scratch.

I was a little surprised when I arrived at our table. The size of the table for four people was, shall we say, more suitable for a trattoria. There wasn't a whole lotta room here, particularly if we wanted to have a couple of decent wine glasses each.

After some discussion, it was decided that the ladies would take the 4-course option of Castellana Journey Around the World, while the Baller and I would take the 7-course option.

Interesting to see this sourdough at an Italian restaurant.

Our amuse bouche was a little tartlet with some Aussie winter truffle shaved on top.

July 6, 2021

Not.One.Less.

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I haven't seen Babu in over a year, what with everyone being extra careful during the pandemic.  After having to reschedule a couple of months ago, it was finally our turn to check out Shikon by Yoshitake (すし 志魂).

It may surprise some people to hear that I have never been here before. After all, the restaurant has been open in Hong Kong for a number of years.  Yet when Chef Kakinuma Yoshiharu (柿沼利治) first arrived in Hong Kong, the pricing was shockingly high - with the highest of the three tiers coming in at a whopping HKD 4,500 for dinner, before service charge. Thinking it would be a better idea to visit Yoshitake-san when I go to Tokyo and pay the lower pricing, I never made this place a priority in my book. A fellow foodie's furious reaction to his lunch experience didn't help boost my desire to visit, either...  Of course, I have regrettably never made it to Yoshitake in Tokyo due to the difficulty of booking. 

After a couple of years of paying a significant markup at Sushi Saito (鮨 さいとう) in Hong Kong, I figured it was about time to tick this off my list. And there's no better companion to do this with than Babu.

The manager person came to ask us for our dietary restrictions, which was nice of him but... didn't I already tell the restaurant what the restrictions are when I confirmed the reservation a couple of days ago over the phone? The guy seemed a little taken aback when I told him, and quickly checked the stack of paper in his hands. I guess he found the list of items we didn't want to eat right there in his hand, but hadn't bothered to read it before asking the question.

Starting with the otsumami (おつまみ):

Steamed egg custard with monkfish liver (鮟肝茶碗蒸し) - this was a cold version, and the addition of monkfish liver definitely changed the texture into something more like a grainy and lumpy purée. Topped with ponzu gelée (ポン酢ジュレ) and diced spring onions. I really loved the flavors from monkfish liver with the distinctive mineral bite, which of course works very well with the acidity of the vinegar.

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