March 15, 2016

The Quest continues

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It's been a while since No Fish and I last met up for a meal, and we finally found some time for it.  She had initially set her sights on a (relatively) new and exciting opening, but given I was scheduled to go to the very same restaurant 10 days prior, decided that she would like to finally check out Quest.

I really enjoyed my visit to Quest last year, and was especially fond of his creations inspired by Vietnamese flavors.  ILove Lubutin and I kept waiting for him to launch his bánh mi takeout business...

A quick look at the restaurant's FB page, though, showed that recent dishes no longer carried the same Vietnamese bent.  This was a little disappointing for me, but Chef Que explained to us that the lighter and more Asian dishes are available in the warmer months, while he serves up his "comfort food menu" in the colder months.  After going through the menu, No Fish and I could certain see what he meant by "comfort food"!

Yellowtail tartare - I loved this.  Nice cubes of raw yellowtail with some fresh herb persillé, topped with little pearls of cream cheese, pickled red onions, and dill.  The sauce covering the yellowtail was creamy and came with an interesting kick, almost like horseradish.  Probably my favorite dish of the evening.

Maple-glazed pork belly donut - with powdered pork crackling and pickled cucumber.  The donut and the sauce was surprisingly sweet.  The pork crackling has been crushed into powder and coated on the exterior of the donut.  Someone was pretty happy with the donut...

The pork belly disintegrates into shreds, much like what Chef Que did for The Mooink - his crossover burger with the Butchers Club Burger last year.

Mac and cheese - with Applewood smoked cheddar, chorizo, and a chunk of braised oxtail on top.  More comfort food.  Thankfully the macaroni wasn't overcooked and mushy.  It was generously coated in the cheese sauce, with nice acidity coming from the cubes of chorizo to balance the cheese.  The spices in the sausage, along with the diced capsicum, kinda lent this a more Spanish feel...

Poached lobster with clam and saffron chowder - the lobster was pretty nice, and done mi-cuit.  Nice acidity from the saffron broth, although I wouldn't have called it a chowder.  Besides the clams there were little cubes of a white root vegetable, which were too sweet to be radish or turnip... and also a little too crunchy for that.  Pretty delish.

Grilled spring chicken with chicken nugget, honey chipotle devilled egg, and Brussels sprout coleslaw - my least-favorite dish of the evening.  The chicken had plenty of spices rubbed on the outside, and while wasn't tough and chewy, most of it was rather on the dry side... and certainly not what I would call "juicy and succulent".  The exception was the "nugget", which was definitely dark meat and most certainly tender and juicy.  The honey chipotle sauce not surprisingly reminded me of melted Velveeta with jalapeño... and delivered quite a strong kick (both on the tongue and to the sinuses) along with acidity.

Cherry Oreo tart - the crunchy, chocolaty tart crust carried a bed of sour cherries and a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top, sprinkled with some Bourbon icing.  A pretty good combination and not simply something that was deathly sweet, thanks to the acidity from the cherries and a hint of alcohol from the icing.

It's been a while since we last drank together, so I brought along a bottle...

2002 Comtes Lafon Volnay 1er Cru Santenots-du-Milieu - decanted upon opening.  Nose was relatively muted, with a little animal and leather at first, with some slightly-stewed fruits.  Died horribly after 2 hours in the decanter and became unpalatable.

Chef Que came over to chat with us after our dinner, as it wasn't a very busy night.  Here's a guy with passion and skills, but somehow his cooking hasn't really been clicking with diners in Hong Kong recently... or so it seems.

With his price point, he operates in exactly the "death zone" in my book... neither expensive enough to be serious fine dining featuring the best ingredients money can buy, nor cheap enough for the price/performance ratio to go off the charts.  I've said time and again that restaurants charging HKD 600-800 a head are usually places I avoid, because more often than not, I don't get excited by the cuisine... nor do I feel I get my money's worth.

Having said that, while I really was more excited about his Asian-themed menu (which I hear will be back by next month), I do feel that I've gotten my money's worth tonight.  And I most definitely want to come back after the "summer menu" is back... especially when Chef Que told us about his experiments with a donut-based bánh mi!

P.S.  The corkage was waived on our bill, so I tipped enough to make up for the waived corkage.

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