October 18, 2018

Sweet bubbles for lunch

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I heard a sorry tale last year - told by my friend Bernard at Lung King Heen (龍景軒) - about a special batch of Champagne destined for Hong Kong that ended up being stolen.  He was pretty crushed at the time, but knew that a replacement would come in a year's time.  Well, that time is now... and Bernard asked me to make time for it.  So I dragged my partner in crime DaRC to lunch today.

The advantage of having DaRC at the table is that he's great at figuring out food and wine pairings - something I generally suck at because I don't pay too much attention to it.  So... knowing that we will be drinking some wines that are on the sweet side, I left it up him to pick the dishes.

In spite of everything I've said about the cuisine here, the level of service here has always been top-notch.  Since there were only two of us, the restaurant were extremely accommodating and flexible by letting us order dim sum by the piece, and also other dishes in half portions.  With this kind of flexibility, I would be more inclined to recommend visitors to come here but not order the pre-set tasting menus on offer...

Steamed scallop dumplings with vegetables and silver fish (銀魚菜苗帶子餃) - I absolutely love these!  The flavors of the dried baby sardines really stood out, as did the crunch from finely diced water chestnuts.

Steamed shrimp and pork dumplings with crab meat (蟹肉鮮蝦燒賣) - I'm glad DaRC picked this, since the flavors of the crab were certainly delicious.  The texture of the siu mai (燒賣) was also very springy and nice.

Baked barbecued pork buns with pine nuts (崧子叉燒菠蘿包) - the sweetness of the sauce was always gonna work well with the wines we were sipping on today... and the pine nuts were pretty nice, too.

Barbecued pork with honey sauce (蜜汁燒叉燒) - half portion of this was more than enough for us.  Marbled so that one side was fatty while the other side was slightly dry and stringy around the edges.

Baked crab shell stuffed with onion and fresh crab meat (焗釀鮮蟹蓋) - yes, the sweetness from the crab meat, onion, and creamy sauce would work with sweet wines, too!

 Very nice stuffing underneath the panko (パン粉) crust.

But seriously... WTF is this gold foil doing on top the garnish???!!!  Why did the chef think it was necessary??  Of all the places where one can add gold foil, why on the GARNISH?!

Stir-fried kailan with ginger (薑汁炒芥蘭) - honestly, both DaRC and I were a little surprised at the sight of this.  Yes, this was grown locally and we want to support local farmers.  But the stems were just a tad too thick... and the texture was, not surprisingly, tougher than what we would expect from a restaurant which prides itself on its 3 Michelin stars.

Fried puntalette with minced beef in X.O. chilli sauce (非同“飯”響) - I have always liked this pretty creative alternative to "flied lice"... where puntalette is used in place of rice.  Lots of yummy oil for flavor, nice kick from X.O. sauce, and a great texture to boot.

Osmanthus jelly (桂花凍) and sachima (沙琪馬) - the latter is still disappointing...

But the whole point of our visit today was wine... so we got started right away - even before we ordered any food.

Georges Laval Doux, dégorgée le 31 Mai 2018 - with a dosage of 50g/l, this was noticeably sweeter on the palate, but with some acidity on the back.  Certainly more viscous, and a little mineral.  Very nice and easy to drink.

Mystery Germany chardonnay - I was asked not to post about this particular wine, which Bernard wanted us to try... Big and toasty nose with lots of flint.  Good acidity on the back end.  After a while when the wine warmed up in glass, the flinty notes were even more pronounced.

2012 Ca' d'Gal Moscato d'Asti - very viscous... could definitely feel the wine swirling around the tongue.  One or two minutes after pouring, a big, floral nose with small white flowers hit me.  This was so refreshing, and such a pleasure to drink.  The sweetness didn't bother me one bit.  On the contrary, it goes so well with Cantonese cuisine.

After we chose this based on Bernard's recommendation, he suddenly remembered that today was actually Alessandro Boido's birthday.

2014 d'Arlay Vin de Paille - very oxidized nose with lots of salty plum, minerals, and definitely hospital disinfectant.

This was a lot of fun, and we certainly tasted a few bottles which we don't get to have often.  DaRC and I need to do this more often... Many thanks to Bernard for showing us some of his treasures!

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