April 6, 2010

Unveiling at the Forum

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My friend just flew back yesterday from the 2009 en primeur tasting, and wanted to get together for a simple dinner over a bottle of wine.  She suggested Forum (富臨飯店), and I readily agreed as I have never dined there.  The chef/owner is famous for his abalone, and this always struck me as another place where people splurge on shark's fin and abalone, so I've deliberately stayed away in the past.

The two of us took in 3 dishes, which actually is a lot.

Traditional-style fried and cooked eastern star garoupa (古法煎煮東星斑) - kinda similar to what I had at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門), except that the taste here was a lot lighter as the fish wasn't braised with soy sauce.  Lots of radish, ginger and spring onions.  The flavors were very delicate - despite the crispy outer layer from pan-frying.  What was interesting was that the fish wasn't pan-fried whole but in halves.

Pigeon fillet with vegetables in ginger sauce (葁汁翡翠鴿脯) - a nice change to the way I normally have pigeon.  Filleted and stir-fried...the sauce was OK but they definitely over-cooked it.  The consistency in my mouth was starting to approach that of over-cooked pig's liver.  The stir-fried kale was nice, though.

Baby Chinese cabbage stir-fried with garlic (蒜茸炒娃娃菜) - pretty nice, and made up for my lack of veggie consumption in the last couple of days.

Deep-fried glutinous rice balls (煎堆) - very nicely done.  It's just a thin layer of glutinous rice sprinkled with sesame and deep-fried.  It was already starting to deflate so I quickly grabbed one and chomped on it.  That fragrant sesame flavor was delicious.

Almond cream with egg white (蛋白杏仁茶) - interesting that they didn't ask me whether I wanted the egg white, and just served it like that.  In fact I have never seen so much egg white in almond cream elsewhere...with some pretty big chunks.  The cream was nice but the consistency here seemed a bit thin.

I brought a bottle of 1998 Sine Qua Non Pinot Noir Veiled because my friend had talked about tasting some newer vintages of wines from SQN, and I happen to have some of the first few vintages.  Pinot has always been the weakest link in SQN's portfolio, but I love this wine mostly for its beautiful label created by owner Manfred Krankl.  I double-decanted at home.  The nose was alcoholic at first, but faded after a while.  There was plenty of fruit, with grilled game meats and some sweet candy, mint and perhaps even a hint of medicine in the nose.  Towards the end the nose became sharp again. The finish was a little short, and at the very end after 3 hours the wine tasted awful on my palate.

A casual, relaxing dinner over an interesting bottle of wine.  What a nice way to spend the last evening of a long weekend.

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