May 25, 2019

The Opinionated Chairman

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I'm back helping Little Meg entertain Mr. OAD, this time at The Chairman (大班樓).  Given that the restaurant is currently listed at No. 5 on the OAD Top 100+ Asian Restaurants list - and the highest ranked restaurant from Hong Kong - it wasn't a surprise that it was chosen as one of the stops.  A small group was rounded up so that we could have a good spread of dishes for Mr. OAD to taste.

Naturally, Danny pulled out all the stops for the special guest...

Pickled mid-summer ginger root (大班樓子薑)

Crispy fried mushrooms - these were really tasty.  Not sure I remember having mushrooms deep-fried like this, but I'd happily have this to snack on every day.

Crispy lard and salted egg dumplings (脆皮椶) - very happy to be having this again.  It's not yet the traditional season for rice dumplings (粽), but these were pretty special with their crispy exteriors and their fillings of pork belly with salted egg yolks.

Danny brought out a glass jar and unscrewed the top.  He had bought the jar - along with many others - from a shop years ago.  The lemons inside have been preserved since 1993.

Razor clam steamed with aged lemon and garlic (廿年鹹檸檬金銀蒜蒸蟶子) - these razor clams were gigantic!  Served with the classic glass vermicelli, garlic, and spring onions on top.  The difference tonight came in the finely diced preserved lemon.  That fragrance and the flavors were just amazing.  Wow!

Deep-fried crispy taro cake with smoked duck (蜂巢芋泥煙鴨盒) - I'm normally not a fan of taro if it comes as a chunk or as a pile of mash, but take that taro mash and deep-fry it... and it transforms into something beautiful.  Underneath the crispy, flaky exterior is a layer of taro mash wrapped around a center of diced smoked duck, jicama, and Chinese celery.

Rock lobster meat cooked in fish and rice broth (魚米湯煮琵琶蝦) - a dish that I've had a few times, and Mr. OAD was very impressed at how smooth and silky the "congee" was after filtering the rice grains.  Always love the flathead lobsters, and of course the shrimp oil and shrimp roe.

Steamed fresh flowery crab with aged Shao Xing wine, and flat rice noodles (雞油花雕蒸大花蟹配陳村粉) - and did we not get the biggest crab ever...  Just look at those claws!

Naturally I took sections of the body while the guests of honor took the claws... and the Crab Queen took the shell.

Steamed fish head in pickled chili (剁椒龍躉頭) - no surprise that this was on the menu.  I believe the chef told us that the giant grouper weighed something like 60 catties or so...

We had help separating the bones from the goodies, and there was just plenty of delicious gelatinous layers here... not to be mistaken with those thin slices of cured pork lard strewn across the top.  Very, very delicious.

Camphor wood smoked 7 spiced goose (樟木菊花煙燻七味黑鵝) - this kinda reminds me of the classic dish of tea-smoked duck (樟茶鴨).  The meat of the duck looked cured and had the same color as the classic dish.  Very nice.

Bamboo shoots and seasonal vegetables in fish broth (魚湯浸筍皮菜) - it's always nice to have a simple veg dish here towards the end of a meal, and it's nice that it comes in a nice fish broth.  Tonight we had fresh tofu skin (腐皮), thin slices of young bamboo sheaths (筍皮), and broccoli.

Crab meat sticky rice (蟹肉糯米飯) - this is always delicious, but always comes at the end of a big meal... and sticky rice is very, very filling.

Desserts trio (甜品三味): the usual.
Almond soup (杏仁茶)

Hawthorn berries pudding (山楂糕)

Red date pudding (紅棗糕)

The Crab Queen had arranged a special birthday cake for Mr. OAD in the form of millefeuille - presented by Daniel Calvert of Belon.

Daniel borrowed a knife from the restaurant and proceeded to carefully saw off sections for each of us.

If I remembered correctly, we've got some camomile here in addition to the strawberries.  Pas mal...

DaRC and I brought along a few bottles to share, including the bottle of Dunn we didn't open the other night.

Godmé Extra Brut Grand Cru - nice and toasty.  Slightly bitter mid-palate.

1990 von Schubert Maximin Grünhäuser Abstberg Riesling Spätlese - nice acidity balance, and nice and rounded on the palate.  Beautiful nose of minerals and lemon.

1986 Domdechant Werner Hochheimer Domdechaney Riesling Auslese - very marmalade on the nose.  Very flat on the palate with a short finish.  Not great.

1980 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain - minty with sweet fruit, so fragrant with cedar notes.  Tannins were smooth now but wine was by no means diluted, still full-bodied, with good acidity.

1968 Fortia Tête de Cru - decanted for a while.  Really huge nose of iron rust, savory underneath with a bit of black olives, and still some nice fruit here.  Pretty interesting.

2002 Marquis d'Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Taillepieds - minty with dried herbs.

A pretty happy evening. Many thanks to Danny for all the goodies we got.

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