February 24, 2018

Cantonese dinner with French ending

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A couple of friends were in town for the weekend.  We last saw them during our temple stay at Baekyangsa Temple (白羊寺) in Korea, and we figured we would catch up for dinner tonight.  No prizes for guessing that we went to Seventh Son (家全七福)...

Chef DaRC pre-ordered a number of dishes, and I ended up adding one of my own.  In the end, I think we had a little too much food...

Deep-fried chicken kidney mixed with egg custard (雞子戈渣) - can't come here with visitors without introducing them to this dish...  Very fluffy and creamy.

Deep fried frog legs with garlic and chili (椒鹽田雞腿) - it's been a long time since I last had the frog legs here, and I have almost forgotten how good these are.

Honey roasted crispy eel (蜜汁燒鱔) - not a dish I normally order myself, as the eel at Cantonese restaurants often do taste muddy.  Thankfully, tonight the honey glaze was able to compensate for the offending taste.  And the crispy texture is nice.

Barbecued whole suckling pig (大紅片皮乳豬全體) - again, it just wouldn't be right if we didn't order this.  We had enough people and it needed to be done.  I can't imagine myself ever getting tired of eating this.  The thin, crispy crackling - of which there is never enough to go around.  The tender, succulent, pale and almost milky meat.  The tiny little ribs.  And if one is very lucky, a leg.

Long boiled soup of the day (是日老火湯) - I didn't pay much attention to the dregs to find out what was in the soup tonight, but there is always pork, and I think perhaps soy beans, and I could certainly see hair moss (髮菜).

Sautéed fillet of pigeon with crispy 'Kim Wah' ham (燒雲腿片拼炒鴿甫) - the stir-fried pigeon was pretty tasty, and also very tender - with a nice and springy texture to boot.  Unfortunately the ham was a little too dry.  Meanwhile, as Chef DaRC pointed out, there is an error in the menu translation.  Kim Wah ham (金華火腿) doesn't come from Yunnan...  If it comes from Yunnan then it should be Xuanwei ham (宣威火腿).

Stewed garoupa dorsal with Chinese lettuce and clove of garlic (蒜子唐生菜炆斑翅) - I don't remember ever having this dish here, and was completely surprised by the size of this.  Instead of a collection of smaller pieces of dorsal fins, this clay pot seemed to contain just one chunk of giant garoupa.  Still very tasty, of course.

Baked chicken flavored with 'Hua Diao' wine (花雕焗雞) - this turned out to be a little much, and while it was tasty, we simply couldn't finish the whole pot of chicken.

Claypot rice with preserved meats (煲腊味飯) - I was so happy when I saw this plate of preserved sausages and pork belly...

Everyone got a little bowl of rice, and I loaded up on the preserved meats.  Very yum.

The best thing about having the clay pot rice here?  You can ask them to do a "second service", where they add some ham broth and coriander to the charred rice crispies (飯焦) at the bottom.  How I missed this...

Chef DaRC and I brought along a few bottles for the evening:

2011 Hirsch Grüner Veltliner Kammern Kamptal Reserve Lamm - mild on the palate, a little flinty.

2009 Dame de Montrose, en magnum - decanted 30 minutes prior to serving.  Alcoholic, tannic, and a little grippy on the palate.  Much better after 2 hours as it softened up.

2008 Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore - sweet fruit, smokey, ripe on the palate, and definitely felt the 15% alcohol.

Even though we were too full to finish our food, we still wanted dessert.  And Chef DaRC suggested that we go elsewhere... with the surprising choice being Caprice, of all places...  Well, both a few of us are big fans of Caprice's pastry chef Nicolas Lambert, so although this was an unconventional choice after a Cantonese dinner, I decided to ping Hairy Legs to help with the arrangements. 

Which was how, at 10 p.m. on a Saturday, 8 of us found ourselves seated at Caprice Bar.  We weren't dressed for the restaurant itself, but the bar had a more comfortable and relaxed atmosphere anyway.  Thankfully Nicolas was in the house, and we ended up ordering 6 different desserts with 7 portions in total.  Of course we were extremely grateful that Nicolas and his team entertained our demands.

Given that I had just had some of the desserts a few days ago, I opted for something a little different for myself.  Somehow this wasn't interesting enough to the rest of the gang, and no one else wanted a taste...

We started with a pre-dessert of pineapple and mint sorbet, pineapple mousse, and crumble with a hint of ginger.  Very refreshing.

L'ananas Victoria de La Réunion, crèmeaux de citron vert, biscuit coco, sorbet ananas - diced pineapple sandwiched between two layers of coconut sablé, then topped with pineapple sorbet, lime cream, and garnished with pineapple and coconut chips.  For me, this was a perfect way to end the evening.  After such a big meal, having a cold and refreshing dessert with acidity-bearing fruits was so soothing.

Soufflé fruit de la passion, sorbet pabana - I had a spoonful of this, and it was pretty nice.  Again, the light and fluffy texture plus the acidity was right up my alley just about now.

Trilogie de chocolat - a signature dessert from Nicolas and an update from one of the first desserts I ever tasted from him, with crispy feuillantine, Namelaka white chocolate, Guanaja as well as Tanariva chantilly.  Wonderful for any chocolate lover - if the small bite I had was any indication.

Mini lemon madeleines are kinda tough to get exactly right.

The box of mignardises arrived, and I recognized a couple from my lunch a few days ago.

This heart-shaped raspberry chocolate was delicious.

Philadelphia cream cheese mousse with grapefruit zest and coconut

What a wonderful way to finish the evening!  Even though it wasn't exactly local and what visitors would want, I hope our friends enjoyed the dessert tasting anyway... 

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