June 24, 2011

Ocean view Cantonese

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The week-long celebration continues, and tonight Mr. and Mrs. Ho treated me to dinner at one of my old favorites - Yan Toh Heen (欣圖軒).  I got to know it as Lai Ching Heen (麗晶軒) when it was still the Regent Hotel, and have loved this restaurant ever since my first visit in the mid-90s.  It's only fitting that I come back for one last visit.

My ex-Favorite Cousin, whom I fired a few weeks ago and will  now refer to as my Birdbrain Cousin, opted to join me on this particular evening instead of on my actual birthday.  And she wonders why she got fired...

The amuse bouche was whelk with hawthorn sauce, but my unsophisticated palate didn't taste much seafood...and honestly thought it was a piece of fried minced pork...

Roasted pork belly with crispy crust (脆皮燒腩肉) - one of my favorite dishes... this was delicious, with a good balance between the crispy rind, layer of fat and the fat soaking into the lean meat to keep it juicy.  Lovely presentation, too.

Blanched "geiwai" shrimps (白灼基圍蝦) - these are from local shrimp farms, and were totally fresh and sweet.  Blanching really works best to bring out the natural taste.

Crispy oyster (酥炸黃金蠔) - these oysters from the US were gigantic... The waitstaff poured some sweet and sour dressing on top of the deep-fried batter.  Very gweilo-friendly.  I do have to admit that this tasted good...

Golden stuffed crab shell with crabmeat (焗釀鮮蟹蓋) - not bad at all.  There were shreds of onion inside, buy the over texture was pretty creamy and thick.  Thankfully the kitchen didn't use anything stupid like curry powder, so we could still taste the natural sweetness from the crab.

Steamed eastern star garoupa (清蒸東星斑) - I have always enjoyed flawless execution here when it comes to steamed fish, and the kitchen didn't let me down tonight.  They also offer to steam the fish off-bone, which is great for anyone who's used to eating fish fillets...

Crispy pork fillet and pineapple with sweet and sour sauce (菠蘿咕嚕肉) - no, this wasn't ordered to accommodate the gweilo at our table, but to appease a few ladies...  In fact this was well-executed, with a nice, crispy batter and a few pieces of pork that's just a little fatty.

Wok-fried white asparagus with bamboo piths and mixed mushrooms (鮮菌竹笙炒白蘆筍) - I wanted something a little different and was surprised to see white asparagus on the menu.  The white asparagus was surprisingly crunchy, but it was a little bitter as we are coming to the end of the season.

I was pretty full, but needed to check out the dessert selection.  I settled on wok-seared sweet potato dumpling with mung been paste (櫻花紫薯煎軟餅).  The bottom was a little brown, and the skin was very sticky and tough to split cleanly into two pieces.  The filling tasted less like mung bean and more like egg yolk custard.  Interesting use of a little leaf of Chinese parsley (芫茜) on the skin with thin slices of water chestnut.

The petits fours arrived, and my Birdbrain Cousin immediately inhaled a piece... then sheepishly asked the waiter for a replacement.  The waiter returned with a full plate of walnut cookies (核桃酥), which were warm, incredibly fluffy and crunchy.  Probably the best I've had in memory...

My evening actually started over drinks with two of my closest partners at work, so I was already a little red when I arrived at dinner.  Nevertheless I brought two bottles of white to go with our dinner tonight...

2003 Penfolds Yattarna - I was blown away the first time I drank a bottle of this Chardonnay.  Tonight the wine wasn't as explosive, but still drank incredibly well.  Nose of buttery corn, toast, and very sweet.  Ripe on the palate with good acidity balance.  A very lovely and elegant wine.

1995 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese - very big nose of plastic, petrol, white flowers and a little orange marmalade.  Nice and sweet on the palate.

1 comment:

Gregoire Michaud said...

A very fine restaurant indeed! We might have met back in the 90's... I used to work at the Regent back then! Great to read they haven't lost their appeal! ;)


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