June 26, 2009


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The regular crowd from the wine shop gathered again tonight. The main purpose was to introduce someone to "the pig", so of course we are back at the Kimberley Restaurant (君怡閣). There were 12 of us in the banquet room just outside the restaurant, and it would be an over-the-top feast.

We started with a big sashimi platter, which was supplied from the sister Japanese restaurant. An interesting way to start the meal.

What followed was a selection of 6 appetizers (六錦碟), which were initially referred to as "6 small plates". Well...they were anything but small! But all very, very delicious.

Chilled slices of bitter melon (冰鎮蒜香涼瓜片) - very refreshing with a crunchy texture thanks to being chilled, and only slightly bitter.

Deep-fried Chinese whitebait (椒鹽白飯魚) - this is always yummy, and there was a huge pile of it, with deep-fried garlic and chili.

Deep-fried sea eel (燒汁鰻魚球) - nice and crispy on the outside, with a bit of sauce to give it a nice flavor. Unfortunately it's still a bit "fishy" for me.

Braised ox tongue (鹵水牛脷) - this was really wonderful...beautiful flavors and the chewy, springy texture was just perfect.

Braised pig trotters (鹵水豬仔腳) - always wonderful, the skin is soft and tender, while retaining a springy texture. I've always been a big fan.

Braised tofu (鹵水嫩豆腐) - soft, yummy and tasty.

Mixed seafood and winter melon soup (八寳海鮮燉冬瓜盅) - it's always impressive to see the waitstaff wheel in a whole winter melon on a cart, then proceed to scoop out the contents into individual bowls. The soup is perfect for cooling down the body during summertime.

Prawns baked with white pepper (白胡椒干焗海中蝦) - Wow! This place always knew how to do prawns, but they've taken it up another notch. The prawns are actually pretty big, and soooo tasty with the cracked white peppercorns all over the shell. You can smell the peppers from a mile away, which reminds me of the claypot of white peppercorn shrimp at Nino's Cozinha. I greedily sucked the heads dry...

Roast suckling pig stuffed with glutinous rice (金陵全豬烤金苗) - the highlight of tonight's dinner. The piglet was so tiny with its tail stub sticking up into the air. It was sooooo delicious, though. There was just enough fat between the skin and the rice. I don't need to rave about this pig any more than I already have multiple times...

Pomelo skin with shrimp roe and mustard greens (蝦籽柚皮伴玉芥膽) - the mustard greens were nice with that slight bitterness, and the the pomelo skin was also well done.

Braised beef brisket and tendon with potato (香茅汁薯仔扣牛根牛坑腩) - the tendon was really, really tender and tasty. I was already full by this time and didn't take any of the brisket.

Handmade noodles with Malay meat sauce (馬來肉醬撈手拉麵) - I'm not sure exactly how this qualifies as "Malay" but it was pretty darn good. There was plenty of lemongrass mixed in with the pork, so it was a bit spicy and fragrant. I finished the whole bowl and made myself even more full...

Baked sesame buns (香麻焗燒餅) - just when I thought I was done, out came a plate of these wonderful buns. I can never resist these, so I picked one up and nibbled... very soft and fragrant - evidence of how much oil/lard was used. Pretty good and light in taste, but I still prefer the ones at Victoria City (海都).

Finally the fruit platter and petits fours came, but I could only manage to nibble on a piece of deep-fried egg cuillers (蛋散), since it was so divine with molasses.

Now, this group never gets together without a ton of alcohol, and tonight we went over the edge - at least for me. A total of 14 bottles were brought to dinner, and fortunately we left one bottle unopened... The theme was 1999 so there were lots of 10-year old wines on the table.

2004 d'Auvenay Bourgogne Aligoté Sous Chatelet - very toasty nose like roasted corn, minerals, then giving way to something pungent akin to smelly armpits or BO... then it hits me...it's peepee de chat!

1966 Perrier-Jouët Blason de France - caramelized cane sugar, very much like Chinese drink of sugar cane and water chestnut (竹蔗馬蹄), honey, a bit plummy, toffee. Still some acidity left, but almost no bubbles left in this one. Delicious!

1999 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé - nose of vanilla, caramel and toffee.

1999 Bollinger Grande Année Rosé - very nice mousse, good acidity balance and it's not too sharp. Finish was a little bitter.

1999 Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru Millésimé - I bought this in Reims on my second trip to France in May. Wonderful mousse, still very fresh and vibrant. Big, sweet nose with lemon notes. Wonderful on the palate.

1999 Comtes Lafon Meursault Perrieres 1er Cru - a bit of straw, minerals and sweet corn nose. Beautiful and ripe.

1999 Laville Haut-Brion - pretty sweet nose with flint, straw and a hint of corn. Palate was a bit ripe, and the finish was a bit acidic and spicy hot

1999 Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons - I was disappointed in this bottle I brought. A couple of other friends had the same comment - this doesn't smell like Pinot Noir! Why are we pouring Bordeaux out from this Burgundian bottle?! Nose was very medicinal with brett, alcoholic, green peppers, eucalyptus...nothing says Pinot Noir or Burgundy. Still a bit tannic on the finish.

1999 Méo-Camuzet Corton Clos Rognet - beautiful nose, fruity, a bit minty, a bit of ripe prunes. Now THIS is a real Corton!

1999 Philippe Charlopin-Parizot Charmes-Chambertin - what a beautiful wine! Classic farmy nose and roast meats, with ripe fruit, orange, floral/violet notes.

2001 Armand Rousseau Chambertin - very elegant and light-bodied, with lots of orange and tangerine notes. Sweet and exotic. A lovely wine but completely different from what I expected.

1999 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Cerretalto - medicinal and brett nose, smoky and alcoholic with some fruit, grilled meats and eucalyptus notes. I decided to bring this so that it wasn't an all-Burg night for the reds.

1920 Cossart Gordon Malmsey - everyone raved about the last Madeira I brought, so I decided to bring another bottle tonight. Lots of orange marmalade, sweet vanilla, toffee, honeydew melon, caramel and nutty notes. Very, very sweet on the nose. Very lovely.

Following the example of last August, I had to excuse myself and leave a little early. The evening had been awesome both in terms of the food and the wines, but I'd gone over the edge and needed to lie down.

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