January 4, 2010

Neighborhood private kitchen

Pin It

Some friends and I tried out a private kitchen in my neighborhood tonight.  The pedigree behind Palace Kitchen (廚藝) is very impressive, and it's interesting that they chose to open up around here.  The dining room is in an old apartment building.  My first impression upon arrival wasn't great.  I was greeted with that stale, funky smell that I dread whenever I go to restaurants in mainland China - a combination of humidity, alcohol and who knows what else...

Three plates of appetizers were laid out on the table when we arrived - pickled ginger, century eggs and marinated chicken gizzard and liver.  I didn't try the ginger, and each of us only got a small slice of the century egg.  The gizzard and liver were pretty nice, though... I could definitely taste the smokiness, especially in the liver.

The double-boiled stonefish soup (石頭魚湯) arrived without the usual plate of ingredients. The first spoonful showed that the flavors are delicate, with a sweet aftertaste. No doubt this is partly due to the Chinese yam (山藥).  Not bad, but not exactly mind-blowing.

The empress chicken (唐皇太后雞) arrived looking pretty good.  The chicken was lukewarm, and drizzled in a pretty sweet soy sauce.  Definitely tasted the smokiness.  In truth the chicken looked better than it tasted.  While the leg was OK, the breast was a little tough.

The fried pomfret (酥炸大英鯧) looked reasonably impressive, with some mayo on the side.  While the skin and the fins were nice and crispy, the flesh inside was a different story.  Honestly it was a little too soft and mushy.  I think my favorite is still the smoked version at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門), where the flesh is moist enough but not mushy, making the texture a little more "flaky".

The pig trotters in plum sauce (梅子豬手) was next.  Love the trotter tips, and the hell with cholesterol... The plum sauce was a little tart and spicy.  The pairing with taro was classic Canto.

Classic vegetarian (原始風味齋) was pretty nice, with string beans, broccoli, baby corn, carrot, fried tofu skin... A welcome change to the string of heavy dishes.

"Not greasy" fried rice vermicelli (不油炒米粉) was exactly that.  Probably my favorite dish of the evening.  This was stir-fried with high heat and you can definitely taste the 鑊氣. The rice vermicelli wasn't soggy - reasonably chewy, without the usual pool of oil at the bottom of the plate.

We were served some homemade wine made from raisins.  Tasted a lot like the homemade grape wine mom used to make when I was a kid, except that this was made with raisins and hence was pretty cloudy, and was served unfiltered.

The lemongrass and rose prawns (香茅紅玫焗中蝦) was OK.  I, of course, was only too eager to suck out anything inside the head.  The rose buds seemed more like decoration, though...

Dessert came in the form of steamed egg custard (古法西施嫩嫩).  This was more like the 水蒸蛋 in some Cantonese restaurants (such as Farm House 農圃飯店) rather than the Macanese style egg custard found in places like Yee Shun (義順牛奶公司).  Definitely a lot more watery and not the dense custard many people may be used to.

We definitely had too much food for our group - I was kinda stuffed.  The bill, as it turns out, wasn't so cheap for a private kitchen.  While the food was not bad, I wasn't wowed.  And there are certainly better deals in town.  But I was kinda glad to have discovered a new place within a few minutes' walking distance from home!

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map