July 31, 2019

No. 7 typhoon at No. 7 son

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DaRC had rounded up a bunch of us for a dinner at our favorite private kitchen tonight, but Typhoon Wipha decided to come pay us a visit.  As most of Hong Kong began shutting down this afternoon, we were advised that our dinner venue would have to be changed.  Thanks to last-minute efforts by RAW Meat Bro, we managed to get ourselves a table at Seventh Son (家全七福) - which surprisingly remained open.

I wasn't surprised to find the restaurant less than half full tonight.  Given the lack of transportation options, most of Hong Kong was probably trying to stay home and hunker down.  I guess we were just too die hard...

I had to take a work call as soon as I arrived at the restaurant, so I almost missed the first course...

Deep-fried chicken kidney mixed with egg custard (雞子戈渣) - pretty much as always... fluffy and delicious.

Barbecued whole suckling pig (大紅片皮乳豬全體) - RAW Bro ordered it cut into thin strips, instead of separating the crackling from the rest of the piglet.

July 27, 2019

A shelter in concrete jungle

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Time to catch up again with the Film Buff after our last dinner a few months ago.  Since then they've had a little addition to their family, so we were very happy to see them out and about.  We thought we would check out a new restaurant which neither of us have been to, and as it happens, Arbor was kinda near the top of my hit list.  While I've heard a lot about Chef Eric Raty's cuisine, their restrictive corkage policy has served as a deterrent for me.

It's been a few years since I last saw Timothy, and I was glad to see him running the place.  He offered to have the chef put the menu together for us, and how is one to say 'no'?  Hello Kitty and I mentioned our dislike of beetroot, while Mrs Film Buff had a few birdies on her list of no-no's.  I wondered what the kitchen would do for us.

Mentaiko butter and laver butter - actually both tasted pretty good.


New potato - the first part the dish came as tuna tartare with wasabi and chives on rice cracker.  I also tasted some citrus zest.

July 25, 2019

Leave the gun, take the cannoli

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Ninja and I haven't caught up in person in a while, so while she's back in town for a stopover between her travels, we figured we should have a meal together.  I asked my friend which types of cuisine she wanted to avoid, and eventually we settled on Locanda dell'Angelo for our dinner.  I know that Chef Angelo Agliano had taken up command of Tosca at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, but I figured we would still get a decent meal here.

Our amuse bouche was Parmesan flan with pesto and jamón ibérico.

July 23, 2019

Floored at dinner

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I had promised to take Fat Donkey out to celebrate his fourth finish in the Cape Epic, but we just hadn't gotten around to it.  We finally decided we should grab a casual dinner tonight, but where to go on such short notice??  Well, fortunately the bar counter at Neighborhood is usually available, so I decided to meet my friend there.  As they weren't completely full tonight, we ended up getting seated at a proper table instead of snuggling up to The Man in White T-shirt.

It was just the two of us, so there was no point getting one of the larger dishes.  Which was just as well, as it's been a while since I last had the opportunity to just come for a casual meal.  The Man in White T-shirt did make a few suggestions, and it usually pays to listen.

Sardines / Jerez vinegar - YASSSSS!!! The last time I came, the boss served us sardines that I described as "melt-in-your-mouth".  Since then he's change the cut from squares to long, thin strips reminiscent of Cantabrian anchovies.

July 21, 2019

The hairy Chairman

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It's been a while since I last got a chance to enjoy the company of Hairy Legs and Bilbaobab, so today we arranged to lunch at one of Hairy Legs' favorite restaurants - The Chairman (大班樓).  I asked my dining companions for their favorite dishes, and I was grateful that Danny very kindly obliged us.

Pickled mid-summer ginger root (大班樓子薑) - always good to start with these...

Razor clam steamed with aged lemon and garlic (廿年鹹檸檬金銀蒜蒸蟶子) - this was the one dish unanimously requested by everyone.  In fact, Hairy Legs requested for "more than one, at least two or three"...  Of course, what's not to love about this dish?!  First of all, the razor clams were HUGE, as always.  The diced spring onions, minced garlic, and glass vermicelli were all delicious but pretty standard.  What made the dish, of course, was the addition of diced preserved lemons which have been aged for more than 20 years.  The fragrance was simply amazing... as was the combination of acidity and salt.

July 20, 2019

Sake, wine, and ro ro

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Mr and Mrs Birdiegolf took a trip to Okinawa and ended up having a rare experience - a terrible meal in Japan.  Their dinner at yakiniku (焼肉) joint was so bad that Hello Kitty suggested that we hit Nikushou when they came back to Hong Kong.  The Birdiegolfs happily took up the suggestion, and Hello Kitty promptly reached out to her new best friend for the arrangements.

We left everything up to RAW Meat Bro, who was kind enough to save us a few special cuts of meat for our tasting menu.

Our amuse bouche were steamed Taiwanese bamboo shoots with mentaiko (明太子) sauce.  Not bad with the sauce, and the sansho leaves (木の芽) were a nice touch.

Cold steamed abalone with watershield (蒸しアワビとジュンサイ) - the South African abalone was decent and came with a nice balance of chewiness and tenderness.  The taro stem (芋茎) was crunchy and airy as expected, and the watershield (蓴菜) provided that slippery playfulness.  Myoga (茗荷) chiffonade added some crunch and fragrance.  Also got a nice hint of yuzu (柚子).

Pike conger eel and freshwater crab tempura (鱧の紫蘇巻き  沢蟹の天ぷら) - this was a little surprise.  The pike conger (鱧) was rolled up with perilla leaves and stuffed with plum sauce before getting the tempura treatment.  Shishito peppers (獅子唐辛子) were pretty nice, and I wasn't expecting to see Japanese river crab (沢蟹) being served as a tempura... with crab roe coming out.

July 11, 2019

Refreshing summer

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The King's back in town for a few days, and he was kind enough to spare an evening so we could meet up over dinner.  Even better, he offered to bring his younger daughter along as I hadn't seen her since... well, when she was a toddler.  Now she's in college!

I gave them a list of suggestions across cuisines and neighborhoods, and eventually my friends settled on Caprice.  The King had moved back to Taipei by the time Four Seasons Hong Kong opened, so I guess it made sense for him to come and try it.

Hairy Legs asked me whether he should be serving us his signatures or some new and seasonal dishes, and I suggested that he should do a mixture of both.

First came the nibbles:

Tomato concassé

Smoky balik salmon with Kristal caviar - with cauliflower mousse and dill on top, sandwiched between two thin layers of crispy pastry. Definitely nice and smoky, with good accents coming from the Kaviari Kristal.

Pita with curry chicken mousse

July 8, 2019

A long and excruciating dinner

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It has, once again, been way too long since my last visit to Bo Innovation.  I've been thinking about going to the "new" location ever since they moved, but somehow the place just doesn't come up enough in conversation with friends.

A few months ago Mama Bear pinged me and asked for her.  Bear and his BFF have been working on a cookbook with recipes from Vancouver area chefs, and the idea was to raise money for a local food charity.  They were looking for someone to write the foreword to the book, and Mama Bear asked me whether I had any contacts with Alvin Leung.  As a matter of fact, I did have a way to connect with Alvin, and The Manchurian very kindly helped put Alvin and Tigger together.  It wasn't long before Alvin very kindly lent his support to the project.

A couple of weeks later, Alvin held a talk for the launch of his book My Hong Kong.  I figured it was only right to show my support by buying a couple of copies and getting them signed - so I could give a copy to Bear.  It's an interesting book and clearly a labor of love - which Alvin said has been in the works for some 8 years.

The Manchurian pinged me last week and invited me to dinner tonight.  Apparently Bo Innovation is launching a new menu, and as I had turned down quite a few invitations from him, I figured I would try to make it tonight.

The 6 of us were placed in the Aberdeen Room, which is right next to the open kitchen.  It's too bad that the lighting here was so poor, because it definitely had an impact on all of my pictures tonight...

The new, concise I ❤️Hong Kong menu was already in front of us, and featured the outline of the top of Lion Rock (獅子山) running down one side.  It's pretty clear from everything around us that Alvin is really trying to showcase his version of the Hong Kong story.

Smell my granny - you gotta admit that this is a pretty strange name for a dish... and I cracked a poor joke about what might be coming our way.  As it turned out, this wasn't a dish to be eaten, but just the wet naps with which we were to prepare our hands and fingers for what comes next.

So this was to introduce - to young people and those who are not from Hong Kong - the Florida Water (花露水) so often used by our grandmothers' generation.  In this case it came from Two Girls (雙妹嚜) - a brand established in Hong Kong at the end of the 19th Century.  And yes, I did see Florida Water in my grandma's bedroom when I was growing up...


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