November 6, 2014

Not exactly Chinatown

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One of the most talked about hyped up openings this year has to have been Mott 32.  Named after a historic address in New York's Chinatown, it would be easy to assume that this is another gweilo-friendly place to have bastardized Chinese food in an expensively decked out setting.  I have been told that it isn't, but I never had the opportunity to check it out for myself.  I had missed out on attending the opening party, and then had to cancel another dinner I had planned there.

So when my friendly neighborhood prime broker sent out an invitation for a roundtable lunch here, I wasted no time in accepting that invitation.

This was a work lunch and the menu was preset.  The bunch of us squeezed into the smaller of the private rooms, and I was more than a little embarrassed when my host kept asking if the food was up to my standards... Am I that much of a food snob??  No need to answer that question...

Pork belly salad rolls, garlic and chilli dressing (蒜泥白玉) - not bad.

Dry fried squid, sweet chilli and lime zest sauce (香檸甜辣鮮魷) - I was wondering why the batter was pretty dry and hard, since the texture was very different from the deep-fried squid I normally enjoy.  I guess this was done in one of those "air fryers", albeit a "professional" version?  The garlic powder must have gone though the same process, as it was much more "powdery" than usual.  The garlic flavor actually wasn't so in-your-face, although it was still strong.  Definitely the "healthy" version as it wasn't nearly as greasy.

Mott32 dim sum delights (點心薈萃) - there were four items here:
King prawn har gau (水晶蝦餃皇) - not bad, but the skin was a little bit on the delicate side, and as it was sticking to chopsticks and whatnot, there was always a danger of puncturing as one picked it up and moved it around...

Spot prawn, pork and crab roe siu mai (黑豬肉鮮蝦蟹子燒賣)

Kurobuta pork, crab and caviar Shanghainese soup dumplings (蟹肉魚子醬小籠包) - this was OK but not sure why they bothered to put a tiny bit of caviar on top.  Oh and RED VINEGAR?!  Tsk, tsk tsk...

Wild mushroom, water chestnut dumplings (野菌馬蹄餃) - this was pretty tasty.

Crispy roasted pork belly (脆皮燒腩仔) - pretty decent, but... I still haven't had that char siu (叉燒) that EVERYONE talked about.  I guess I'll have to come back another day on my own dime...

Aged black vinegar sweet and sour pork (陳年黑醋咕嚕肉) - batter here was pretty crunchy and reminded me a little of the batter for the squid.  Black vinegar isn't traditional for the dish, but it works.  Served with cubes of dragon fruit, yellow capsicum and spring onions.

Black cod, potato, chilli, garlic, spring onion (宮廷雪魚堡) - with a layer of batter and corn starch coating.  Very soft, to the point that it broke apart when people tried to pick the pieces up with chopsticks.  Pretty decent flavor-wise.

Stir-fried prawns, pumpkin, salty egg (南瓜金沙蝦球) - a different take on the "traditional", with a very puffy batter enveloping the prawn.  The salty egg yolk didn't coat the entire prawn, but was applied in lumps to each prawn.  Downside is that depending on how big your mouth is, you could have bites of this without any yolk.  Upside is that some mouthfuls could be full of yolk.  Pretty tasty, regardless.

Braised eggplant, minced meat, chilli (魚香茄子煲) - this was OK.

Sautéed asparagus, water chestnut, gingko nuts (銀杏馬蹄炒蘆筍) - also with some wood ear fungus (黑木耳).

Fried rice, pork belly, preserved vegetables, egg (客家炒飯) - nice and crunchy preserved radish (蘿蔔干), along with some sweet sugar snaps.

The two desserts came together.  Mott's amber - osmanthus flower, wolfberry (杞子桂花糕) was pretty good, with the usual fragrance from the osmanthus.

Sugar coated baked custard bun (脆皮奶皇飽) - this was OK.

Overall I thought the food was pretty decent, but not much "wow" factor.  Of course I didn't pay for the food today, but I seem to remember quite a number of people getting sticker shock after dining here.  I'll have to dig out the menu and check the prices again...  But in any case, many thanks to my friendly neighborhood prime broker for feeding me today!

1 comment:

Sue-Ann said...

The fired rice has a nice twist on it that I would like to sample for my own taste memory.


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