February 20, 2010

Flushing another Michelin star down the toilet

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It's been two hours since I stopped eating, I've recovered from my buzz, and now it's time for dinner.  I volunteered (insisted?) to pick the venue for this post-Lunar New Year dinner with my adopted family, and decided we should try out Regal Palace (富豪金殿).  Reasons for this pick? 1: I was tasked to find a new place where the family hasn't been. 2: The restaurant has gotten a macaron for the last two years. 3: I vaguely remember a fellow blogger talking about it last year.  I should have listened to the naysayers next to me...

As soon as we walked in, I detected a whiff of that "Chinese (read mainland) restaurant" smell... and was amazed that I found it in a restaurant in Hong Kong, and one with a star, no less!  Not a good sign of things to come.

I was still pretty full, and the ordering was done by someone else.  In retrospect I should have insisted on ordering for all of us.  There were a few Lunar New Year specials that I wanted to try, but I wasn't gonna eat a whole lot anyway.  Oh well.

The stuffed tofu skin (腐皮卷) was OK.  The skin had the right amount of smoky flavor, but the filling of julienned veggies could have been cut finer.  Maybe I'm just spoiled but it was just too crunchy for me.

We probably should not have ordered the Chiuchow-style marinated cuttlefish (潮式鹵水魷魚)...it's more a noodle shop item for me...and of course it sucked.  We actually ended up asking them whether this was made in-house or bought from outside... None of us wanted to have it so someone went and finished it all.

Roast Peking duck (北京片鴨) was next, and it was OK. I was hungry enough to have made 3 pancake wraps out of it.

I didn't touch the next two dishes as they were pretty uninteresting to me.  Stir-fried beef with spring onions (蔥爆牛肉) was for someone else's benefit; spinach in superior broth (上湯菠菜) was boring, and I hate that sometimes spinach carries that earthy taste.  Apparently the spinach here had fine grains of sand...didn't wash or flush them out thoroughly.

The pan-fried prawns in soy sauce (豉油煎中蝦) was probably the only decent dish all night.  It was the only thing that somewhat got my mouth watering...

The hairy gourd and conpoy pot (瑤柱節瓜煲) is normally something I would really love, but tonight I didn't have much of an appetite.  This is a simple dish that I enjoy, but what I had in front of me didn't look as appetizing as the ones I had elsewhere... Would have preferred a little less soy sauce so the thing didn't look as dark.  But taste-wise it was OK.  I even had seconds.

The remainder of the duck came back as stir-fried diced duck (炒鴨崧), which we wrapped in iceberg lettuce leaves.  This was also a little disappointing.  The duck meat wasn't that good - kinda mushy in fact.  They added water chestnuts for crunch but I was kinda hoping they'd throw in a few pinenuts...no such luck.

Finally, there was a stir-fried mixed vegetable dish featuring lotus root.

I was pretty excited about the dessert menu, because it's the first time I've seen a four-page dessert menu at a Chinese restaurant.  But I was pretty full and I think the crowd wasn't that happy with the food anyway, so no dessert for me.

I came back and looked for my fellow blogger's post about this place - and my own comment at the time.  I actually said something like "it looks like I don't need to go for a visit"...  Well! I came, regretted my decision, and won't be coming back.  Admittedly, we did not order anything really special, and some of the dishes we ordered weren't exactly Cantonese.  But I'm a firm believer that if a restaurant can't get the simple dishes right, then they shouldn't be in business.

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