July 20, 2019

Sake, wine, and ro ro

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Mr and Mrs Birdiegolf took a trip to Okinawa and ended up having a rare experience - a terrible meal in Japan.  Their dinner at yakiniku (焼肉) joint was so bad that Hello Kitty suggested that we hit Nikushou when they came back to Hong Kong.  The Birdiegolfs happily took up the suggestion, and Hello Kitty promptly reached out to her new best friend for the arrangements.

We left everything up to RAW Meat Bro, who was kind enough to save us a few special cuts of meat for our tasting menu.

Our amuse bouche were steamed Taiwanese bamboo shoots with mentaiko (明太子) sauce.  Not bad with the sauce, and the sansho leaves (木の芽) were a nice touch.

Cold steamed abalone with watershield (蒸しアワビとジュンサイ) - the South African abalone was decent and came with a nice balance of chewiness and tenderness.  The taro stem (芋茎) was crunchy and airy as expected, and the watershield (蓴菜) provided that slippery playfulness.  Myoga (茗荷) chiffonade added some crunch and fragrance.  Also got a nice hint of yuzu (柚子).

Pike conger eel and freshwater crab tempura (鱧の紫蘇巻き  沢蟹の天ぷら) - this was a little surprise.  The pike conger (鱧) was rolled up with perilla leaves and stuffed with plum sauce before getting the tempura treatment.  Shishito peppers (獅子唐辛子) were pretty nice, and I wasn't expecting to see Japanese river crab (沢蟹) being served as a tempura... with crab roe coming out.

July 11, 2019

Refreshing summer

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The King's back in town for a few days, and he was kind enough to spare an evening so we could meet up over dinner.  Even better, he offered to bring his younger daughter along as I hadn't seen her since... well, when she was a toddler.  Now she's in college!

I gave them a list of suggestions across cuisines and neighborhoods, and eventually my friends settled on Caprice.  The King had moved back to Taipei by the time Four Seasons Hong Kong opened, so I guess it made sense for him to come and try it.

Hairy Legs asked me whether he should be serving us his signatures or some new and seasonal dishes, and I suggested that he should do a mixture of both.

First came the nibbles:

Tomato concassé

Smoky balik salmon with Kristal caviar - with cauliflower mousse and dill on top, sandwiched between two thin layers of crispy pastry. Definitely nice and smoky, with good accents coming from the Kaviari Kristal.

Pita with curry chicken mousse

July 8, 2019

A long and excruciating dinner

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It has, once again, been way too long since my last visit to Bo Innovation.  I've been thinking about going to the "new" location ever since they moved, but somehow the place just doesn't come up enough in conversation with friends.

A few months ago Mama Bear pinged me and asked for her.  Bear and his BFF have been working on a cookbook with recipes from Vancouver area chefs, and the idea was to raise money for a local food charity.  They were looking for someone to write the foreword to the book, and Mama Bear asked me whether I had any contacts with Alvin Leung.  As a matter of fact, I did have a way to connect with Alvin, and The Manchurian very kindly helped put Alvin and Tigger together.  It wasn't long before Alvin very kindly lent his support to the project.

A couple of weeks later, Alvin held a talk for the launch of his book My Hong Kong.  I figured it was only right to show my support by buying a couple of copies and getting them signed - so I could give a copy to Bear.  It's an interesting book and clearly a labor of love - which Alvin said has been in the works for some 8 years.

The Manchurian pinged me last week and invited me to dinner tonight.  Apparently Bo Innovation is launching a new menu, and as I had turned down quite a few invitations from him, I figured I would try to make it tonight.

The 6 of us were placed in the Aberdeen Room, which is right next to the open kitchen.  It's too bad that the lighting here was so poor, because it definitely had an impact on all of my pictures tonight...

The new, concise I ❤️Hong Kong menu was already in front of us, and featured the outline of the top of Lion Rock (獅子山) running down one side.  It's pretty clear from everything around us that Alvin is really trying to showcase his version of the Hong Kong story.

Smell my granny - you gotta admit that this is a pretty strange name for a dish... and I cracked a poor joke about what might be coming our way.  As it turned out, this wasn't a dish to be eaten, but just the wet naps with which we were to prepare our hands and fingers for what comes next.

So this was to introduce - to young people and those who are not from Hong Kong - the Florida Water (花露水) so often used by our grandmothers' generation.  In this case it came from Two Girls (雙妹嚜) - a brand established in Hong Kong at the end of the 19th Century.  And yes, I did see Florida Water in my grandma's bedroom when I was growing up...

June 28, 2019

Private Burgundy

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We have a visitor in town from Bangkok, and DaRC arranged for a gathering at Softbank Kitchen.  It's been a few months since my last visit, and this was a good chance to taste some fantastic, old school Canto dishes again.

Barbecued kurobuta pork (黑毛豬叉燒) - always delicious.  Not the stereotypical honey-glazed version, but with soy sauce.

Just look at the fat... of the pork belly.  There's always a good amount of charring, especially with the end cuts.  I was so hungry I just couldn't stop myself from grabbing an extra slice... and another... and another.

June 22, 2019

Villa dining

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Another year, another birthday spent with the Parental Units.  My search for decent restaurants offering both à la carte dining (i.e. not forcing diners to go through a multi-course dégustation) and decent wine service continues.  This time, I remembered a place which used to be on my hit-list all those years ago... which I still haven't been to.  After checking with a couple of friends - including the Prince of Napa - I called and booked us a table.

Villa 32 (三二行館) has been around for a while.  It's always been known as a luxurious hot springs resort, but it also had a reputation as a place to entertain guests with fine wine.  The Prince of Napa vouched for their wine service, so I was eager to give them a try.  The added bonus is that it's reasonably close to the Parental Units.

After walking through the beautiful and tranquil surroundings, we were seated in the restaurant at the basement level with a view of the deck outside.  We were presented with two tasting menus - one of which features seasonal white asparagus.  It didn't look interesting enough to be taken in its entirety, and as the "regular" tasting menu includes a few options from the white asparagus menu, I figured that was the way to go.

Inside the egg shell was actually not egg, but a seafood mousse with trout roe.

We've also got some crab meat with the mousse.

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