November 24, 2012

Lisboa tour 2012: The Eight

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I woke up fairly late this morning, feeling a little more refreshed.  I opted not to have breakfast this morning, as the last thing I needed was more food… Finally at around 11:30, or more than 13 hours after finishing dinner last night, I felt the first indication of hunger pangs…

I was really looking forward to lunch at The Eight.  The meal I had last year was totally awesome, and I knew we were in for a series of different dishes this time around, with an additional stomach to help spread the food around…

Two little bite-sized amuses bouches started us off:
Stir-fried diced beef - with a little bit of celery perhaps?

Abalone slices with eggplant cubes

Then came four dim sum items:
Steamed superior water shrimps dumplings in fish shape (霸王淡水鮮蝦金魚餃) - delicious as the flavors of the shrimps really came through.  Last year I wondered whether the flavors were enhanced as a result of baking soda, and I had the same question again today... although if the chef did use it, he sure covered his tracks well!  Still can't get over how cute these little fishies are...

Steamed pork dumpling with abalone (原隻鮑魚燒賣皇) - very yummy.  The abalone was front and center, but didn't cover up the flavors of the pork.  A brand new dish introduced 4 days ago.

Steamed Shanghainese dumplings with hairy crab roes (鮮蟹粉小籠包) - it's hairy crab season, and the perfect time to have one (or three) of these.  Haaaairy crab roeeee… slurp.

Steamed "Shanghainese" dumplings with chicken essence and vintage dried tangerine peel (老陳皮雞汁小籠包) - the skin for the xiaolongbaos here are so thin that last year I almost ripped a hole in it.  Despite being very slow and careful, I still ended up tearing a hole on this one, spilling the wonderful soupy contents onto the paper below.  I think since this was a last-minute addition, the kitchen forgot to add a thin layer of pancake between the dumpling and the paper…  Oh well, I could still taste delicious tangerine peel flavors from the remnants.

Roasted pork belly (燒腩仔) - is there any likelihood that I wouldn't like this?  Not a chance.

Barbecued pork (玫瑰蜜汁叉燒) - apparently made with rose-flavored syrup.  My palate's not sophisticated enough to register those flavors, but this sure was tasty!  A big chunk (apparently it's the only way to have char siu…) that's very tender and succulent.  After putting this away, I'm no longer feeling hungry.

Pan-fried shrimp coated with shrimp mousse topped with hairy crab roes (蟹粉煎釀百花琵琶蝦) - holy cow!  It's difficult to find a more sinful dish for lunch… The shrimp/mousse combo itself isn't exactly small for one person, and then they had to dump (yes, dump, not drip nor drizzle) a whole tael (兩) of fresh hairy crab roe on top!  Absolutely delicious, from the lovely browning of the shrimp mousse, to the fresh flavors from the roe. I'm starting to feel a little full after this…

Pan-fried sliced A5 Kagoshima beef rolled with watercress (日本A5和牛西洋菜卷) - so fatty, sooo sinful… Love the chef's idea of using watercress stems to provide a different texture to the beef, otherwise it'd be just soft, fatty and melt-in-your-mouth…  I preferred to take this on its own, but there's also a yuzu (柚子)-flavored soy sauce on the side.

Roasted pigeon leg with morel mushroom and Yunnan ham (羊肚菌金腿燒釀鴿腿) - these looked beautiful, and it's hard not to taste good when stuffed with roast goose, Jinhua ham (金華火腿), morels and chicken liver!

To clog our arteries even quicker, this sauce containing chunks of foie gras was offered on the side… and we are encouraged to add some on top…

30 years vintage tangerine peel chicken (三十年陳皮雞) - very good.  The vintage tangerine peel (陳皮) was really fragrant, and the meat was reasonably juicy, even the breast meat on my plate.  The skin was paper-thin, fragrant, crispy, and simply superb!  It's also translucent so that you can see through it.

Rice noodle with pigeon fillet in volcano pot (石鍋野菌鴿片過橋米線) - another new dish introduced this week, this was cooked table-side in a very hot stone pot, stir-frying the mushrooms first in a bit of oil and Shaoxing wine (紹興酒), then adding the milky pigeon broth in stages as the rice noodles are also thrown into the pot.

The final product was really delicious.  The milky broth was infused with the fragrance of the wine, as well as flavors from the different types of mushrooms.  The pigeon fillets were gamey and tasty, and cooked just right.  A very welcome change to those of us used to rice noodles with fish broth.

Suckling pig stuffed with fried rice and preserved meat (原隻乳豬焗飯) - more and more restaurants are offering the stuffed version of roast piggies, and that's never a bad thing for me.  The skin of this piggy was so smooth and shiny, I'll bet a lot of my friends would love to have skin like this!

The rice used in this version was just plain rice, but stir-fried in soy sauce along with various preserved meats.  Of course the rice had also absorbed some of the fat coming from the piggy.  The crackling here was thin and crispy.  Wonderfully yummy.  Unfortunately I was only able to take in one slice of the piggy, since we'd already had so much food…  Pout.

With the savory portion of our meal over, it was now time for our companion Lemon Tea to show his mettle.  There were a lot more desserts this time around…

Black and white sesame pudding (黑白芝麻布甸) - pretty good, with intense flavors of sesame, although it's not surprising that black sesame would totally dominate here.

Coffee jelly (咖啡啫喱) - this was pretty nice, too.  Interesting to find that instead of real coffee beans - which would have left diners with rough grounds between the teeth after chewing - coffee-flavored chocolate was made into the shape of coffee beans.

Chilled pomelo with lemon and Cointreau (清香柚子凍) - nice and easy.

Steamed milk with bird's nest (燕液燉奶) - lots of bird's nest here… not bad.

Bird's nest with egg custard and red bean in snowman shape (燕液雪人包) - this cute creation is sure to be popular among diners.

The head of the snowman was filled with red bean paste, longan and shredded coconut.  The body contained custard and bird's nest.

Portuguese egg tarts (葡式蛋撻) - I can never resist these pasteis, and since I didn't take one at dinner last night, I decided to have two. One of these days when I'm not stuffed full of good food, I'd love to inhale a half dozen of these…

Milk tea (奶茶) - finished up with this delicious milk tea that I had last time.  Apparently the recipe was borrowed from a shop that was judged to be the milk tea champion in Hong Kong some years ago…  Love the complex flavors and the sweetness from condensed milk.

Since I'm in much better shape for this meal, of course I was going to pick a bottle I wanted to drink!  No surprise that I'm up to my old tricks, picking an old, sweet German Riesling to go with my Cantonese food...

1976 Schloss Schönborn Hattenheimer Nußbrunnen Riesling Auslese - nose of polyurethane, honey, marmalade and acetone.  Sweet on the palate, slightly bitter mid-palate, with good acidity balance.  Flint and petrol notes showed up after about an hour in the decanter.  A very lovely wine.

Honestly, there was very little I could find to complain about our lunch, other than a few minor issues and the sheer quantity of food…  With our bellies (very) full, we left the restaurant and went for a walk...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for sharing! they look heavenly.


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