December 11, 2009

The magical gold coin

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I finally got a chance to try out Manor Seafood Restaurant (富瑤酒家), a place that I'd been hearing about from my friends.  I'd been down with the flu for the last week, and also been cooped up at home studying for my exam, so this outing felt like being released from a prison.

The evening started out well enough.  What looked like ordinary cubes of fried tofu turned out to be deep-fried cubes of eggplant with salty egg yolk (咸蛋黃茄子粒).  This was a nice and yummy surprise.

Next came the highlight of the evening - the gold coin chicken (古法金錢雞).  This is of course not actually chicken meat, but a "sandwich" made of layers of char siu (叉燒), bacon (冰肉), and chicken liver.  We all loved this little thing,  The caramelized fat and the creaminess of the chicken liver worked very well.  I could easily have eaten a half dozen of these things.

We then had a giant flower crab steamed with chicken fat and Huadiao wine (雞油花雕蒸蟹).  This was a really big crab!  Consequently the shell was very thick and hard.  The piece I took was the section behind the claw, and I needed to send it back to the kitchen for them to break the shell for me.  The crab meat was fresh and delicious, but the real magic was the sauce!  Wow!

It was so good we had to ask the kitchen to take the leftovers - along with a section of the claw - to make a fried rice with conpoy (瑤柱) out of it.  That was damn good, too!

Next we had a pair of molluscs in claypots.  First came the abalone with ginger and scallion (姜葱鮑魚煲).  The fresh abalone was OK, and the ginger/scallion combination is always nice - although sometimes it tends to overpower the main ingredient.

Then another claypot arrived bearing oysters with ginger and scallion (姜葱焗蠔).  The taste of the oyster was pretty heavy and was not overcome by the ginger and scallions.

We took a steep nosedive into the abyss with the braised pomelo skin with shrimp roe, bamboo pith and gingko nuts (竹笙銀杏蝦籽柚子皮).  What happened here?!  There was way too much water, making the taste diluted and bland.  The pomelo skin was also surprisingly bitter.  I haven't seen a restaurant fail this badly on the dish in recent memory.

The tea-smoked soya chicken (茶燻雞) was rather to my liking.  Although the smoky flavor was a little light, I did really like the soft, moist flesh of the chicken.  Some of my fellow diners objected to the fact that the chicken was mediocre in quality but came at a significant price premium (or multiple, actually).

More carbs came at the end of the meal.  The signature stir-fried noodles with soy sauce (招牌豉油皇炒麵) was pretty damn good.  The noodles were very thin, fried with high heat so you could taste the 鍋氣, and came with lots of bean sprouts and scallions.

Rabbitfish congee (拆肉泥鯭粥) was pretty yummy.  Flavors were subtle, with some preserved orange rind (陳皮) for that added touch.  Great with some chopped scallions and deep-fried crullers.

We had some baked almond buns (雪影杏汁包) for dessert.  It's basically the same as some of the baked char siu bao (叉燒包) found around town with the flaky crust, but the filling was almond custard.  Not a fan, I'm afraid...

I brought two bottles of wine tonight, but unfortunately my system was out of whack, and I could barely detect the nose.  The 2001 Kistler Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard was not bad.  The nose was initially muted (or was it because of my diminished olfactory function?), but opened up to reveal minerals, toasty oak and apricot.  The palate was ripe with slightly high acidity, and a little alcoholic.

The 1999 Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir was a total disaster.  Not much in the nose, and body was a little on the light side.  Not one of my better buys.

By the end of dinner, my physical condition had deteriorated and I felt pretty sick.  So I decided to go home for a hot shower while the others moved on to some yummy ice cream for dessert.  Oh well... I'll return to the Manor another day to collect some more of those gold coins...


Sher.eats said...

and their supposedly yung kee beating roast goose

Pete said...

They messed up my fave dish - pomelo skin?!! Hope you're feeling better now.

erica said...

hi where is manor located?


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