June 29, 2021

8 stories

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It's been years since I last treated my friendly neighborhood prime broker to a nice meal, and with the help they've given me lately, I felt it was high time I did something nice for them.   I wanted to choose a place that isn't too far from the office so that it would be relatively convenient, so I figured Andō would fit the bill pretty nicely.  I haven't been back to see Goldfinger in quite some time so it was time to rectify that situation.

The meal started with a trio of little bites:

Monaka with fruit tomato and jamón ibérico - jamón from Joselito.

Chocolate tart with Manchego and green peas - there wasn't that much Manchego but the smell and flavors were certainly very strong. Nice sweet peas.

Tomato water with zucchini

June 27, 2021

All my favorites for Sunday

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After the big meals from yesterday, I was hankering for something simple and classic.  We hadn't been back to Ho Hung Kee (何洪記) since late last year, and I kinda missed the classic dishes.  What was even better was that they now have set meals which offer up a number of crowd favorites in one go.

House specialty wonton noodles in soup (正斗鮮蝦雲吞麵) - it doesn't get more classic Cantonese than a bowl of 細蓉. Even though they didn't prop the wontons up with a spoon, they did follow tradition by putting the noodles on top and the wontons at the bottom.

June 26, 2021

The second stuffing

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A mere four hours after lunch, I'm sitting down for another meal big - this time at my favorite sushi restaurant in town.  Our last dinner here was a few months ago, and I was happy to be back at Sushi Saito (鮨 さいとう).  Once again, we had seats in front of Kubota-san.

Northern purple sea urchin with Japanese green sea urchin (北紫雲丹 と 馬糞雲丹) - with kobuzake (昆布酒) which, unfortunately, kinda changes the flavors of the sea urchins... and actually brings them closer together. The green sea urchin has stronger iodine flavors while the purple sea urchin was more elegant, as I would expect.

Ladies who lunch

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As if my feeding schedule weren't busy enough this week, My Favorite Birdbrain Cousin insisted on buying me lunch.  And she wanted to do it on a day when I already had a big dinner scheduled for an early time slot, which was certainly not ideal.  After some bitching on my part, Sankala was able to move our their lunch at Lobster Bar and Grill to an earlier time slot.

The restaurant is doing their "Shabby Chic" brunch menu, which unfortunately (for people like me) involves free-flow alcohol of different sorts. We were too dumb to understand how the system works in terms of different types of alcohol, so we ended up sticking to the basic version with unlimited martinis.

The reason the ladies wanted to come here was for their seafood platter. It's just one of those things where some people hanker for from time to time, and there were two ambitious people whose eyes opened real wide at the sight of this... I, of course, left this to the two of them.

June 24, 2021

Double birthday

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The Landlord and I decided to celebrate our birthdays together this year, and of course the venue would be none other than Caprice.  We had the Chef's Table for the night and, as it turns out, almost the whole restaurant to ourselves as the public section was closed for the duration of service.  Half the kitchen team would be downstairs catering for a large wine event.

I didn't ask for any particular dish for the evening, leaving things, as usual, up to Hairy Legs. I love how he continues to surprise me even after all these years.

Button mushroom and foie gras gelée tart - I was happily snapping a pic of this when Hairy Legs decided that he would come and ruin that pretty picture... by shaving some black stuff on top...

Of course, having slices of Tasmanian black truffle with your mushroom and foie gras tart is never a bad thing.

June 22, 2021

Dining with the rich and famous, episode 2

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It has been quite some time since I last paid my friend Uwe a visit, and certainly not since the arrival of the Chef Romain Dupeyre at Petrus.  I figured it was high time we returned and checked out what the new chef is churning out.

Knowing this would be a week with a number of heavy meals, I asked my friend if he would consider not killing me with food tonight.  I was surprised when he protested, wondering why every other chef is allowed to serve me long tasting menus while I would ask him not to.  I was at a loss for words. So I let him do his worst...

Pea, shallot, and mint tartlet - the flavors of the peas really popped at first, then you get the fermented flavors of the cheese in the tart base. Very nice.

Ōra King salmon stones - marinated with kombu (昆布), with ponzu (ポン酢) dressing. I was pretty surprised to see these again after 7 years, although this time around the Ōra King salmon from New Zealand was much, much more tasty than the tuna from last time. The flavors tonight were just so rich and just gave the taste buds a jolt to wake them up. I'm pretty sure my eyes opened up a little wider as I slowly chewed on it and savored the moment.

Foie gras bon bons - the gelée on the outside delivered a dose of vinegar acidity which surprised me a little, and the cheesy biscuit at the bottom was really nice.

June 20, 2021

One seat difficult beg

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In the age of pandemic social distancing and reduced operating hours that is 2021, a seat at certain restaurants in town have become so difficult to secure at it requires booking months in advance.  This is a phenomenon previously unheard of in Hong Kong, but here we are.  As globetrotting hungry diners remain stuck in the city with their wings clipped, they focus their attention on hometown favorites.

One of the beneficiaries of this trend is Hidden (秀殿), the kushiage (串揚げ) joint popular as a late-night hangout for chefs - pre-Covid, anyway. Towards the end of 2020, the restaurant was already becoming difficult to book. When I called in mid-April to book for a group of friends for a weekday dinner, the first available date was actually in early September! Knowing that it would be neigh impossible to grab seats for weekend lunch, Sankala nevertheless decided to try - figuring there would be the occasional cancellation. Much to my amazement, we got a call today with an offer of two seats. We didn't blink.

Since we had a pretty big dinner last night, I thought we'd take it easy today... and dispensed with some of the carb dishes.

Fried chicken wing (手羽唐揚げ) - I made sure to get two of these for myself, since I always rave about how good these are. That acidity in the dressing is just fab.

June 19, 2021

No winter warmers in summer

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The Zhongmeister was dining at my favorite private dining facility and asked whether Sankala and I would like to join them.  It has been months since I last dined there, and we figured Big Mac should come and meet up with old friends, too.

Since I wasn't organizing dinner this time, I didn't want to dictate the dishes for the group - except to request one dish which Sankala absolutely loves in the summer.  Very happy that the chef obliged us.

Barbecued kurobuta pork (黑毛豬叉燒) - never, ever have cause for complaint when a meal starts with a big plate of these delicious char siu (叉燒).

The Japanese kurobuta is nice and fatty, with good charring and lots of flavor from the soy sauce instead of honey glaze.

June 16, 2021

1/2 no niku

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At our last gathering, I promised a group of friends from my high school that I'd introduce them to Nikushou.  We were talking about yakiniku, and while there have been a number of places in town serving up premium Japanese beef, RAW Yeah has spent quite a lot of time and effort straying away from what is expected from a yakiniku joint - which makes the experience more interesting for me.

I was discussing menu options with the boss, and did remark that while I always enjoy it when he's in his 不務正業 mode - often at the request of people like me - my friends are in fact looking forward to eating beef.  So we agreed that the menu should be "at least 50% beef"...

Chilled Japanese snow crab, vinegar jelly (ズワイ蟹 土佐酢ジュレ) - always a great dish to start a meal with. The acidity from the jelly works so well with the cold, sweet crab meat and makes it a real refreshing dish, and also whets the appetite. We've got some crab tomalley (蟹味噌) in the mix, too.

June 11, 2021

In the Realm of the Senses

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Sankala and I were having such a good time at MONO a few weeks ago that we felt the Birdiegolfs needed to join us for another round. I expected to repeat a number of dishes tonight from my last visit, which is actually OK.  They were all pretty delicious so I don't mind having the same things again so quickly.

Shellfish / recado negro / mashua - similar to what we had last time, except tonight we've also got tua tua clams and razor clams in addition to scallops. Still got that hint of smokiness from the recado negro, which also delivered a little kick at the end. I liked the acidity of this ceviche, as well as the chewy seeds.

June 8, 2021

Spicy cotton

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Time for another Peanut Gang dinner, again arranged by our friend KC. Tonight we would be checking out Mián (紅棉), which has taken over the space vacated by Guo Fu Lou (國福樓). Our convenor has made arrangements with Chef Ronald Shao (邵德龍), who was previously at Yunyan Szechuan Restaurant (雲陽閣川菜舘) and, in fact, was born in Sichuan.

Razor clams with aromatic ginger (鮮沙薑蟶子) - the razor clams were very fresh and sweet, and a little dip of that classic aromatic ginger (沙薑) sauce seemed like just the right touch.

Apple wood smoked bean curd sheet rolls ∙ assorted vegetables (蘋果木煙薰素鵝) - pretty smoky, more so than expected.

Boneless silky fowl and chicken fillets ∙ spring onion ∙ dan dan sauce (擔擔鴛鴦雞) - nice presentation on the silkie chicken.

June 6, 2021

New guy on Sunday

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It's Sunday night and a bunch of us have made the trek from the Island up north for dinner.  Our destination is Sun Hon Kee Restaurant (新漢記), a restaurant in Fanling serving up Hakka cuisine.  The Man in White T-shirt had made the suggestion and helped make arrangements with Chef So Wai Hon (蘇偉漢).

Hakka is not a cuisine I am very familiar with, so coming all the way here was certainly something I looked forward to.  Chef So did tell us, though, that the menu he put together for us tonight wasn't entirely Hakka...

Pork tendon with shallot oil and soy dipping sauce (白烚豬前腿筋) - when this is the first plate that arrives, and you've got tender pork with tendons that melt in the mouth, you know this is gonna be a great dinner.

June 5, 2021

The replacements

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Sankala was faced with a dilemma.  Her lunch meeting was being postponed, but she was loathe to cancel her reservation at Le Bec Fin - having already done so once 2 months earlier.  So I agreed to join her for lunch, and grabbed Big Mac so we could introduce him to another place we like.

I chose 3 courses for lunch but decided to forgo the soup that I enjoyed last time.  I was more curious about one of the options for dessert!

Foie gras egg custard - OK, so I had this last time, too... except there were slices of white truffle in the winter. Still happy and enjoyable without.

June 3, 2021

Separated at lunch

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I had occasion to take a business lunch today, and somehow found my way to Sushi Sase Hanare (鮨 佐瀬 はなれ), now in their new location not far from my office.  My last visit to their old location was more than 3 years ago, and I realize that since then I've satisfied my sushi fix mainly at one place in town...

We didn't want to take the extended menu, as we figured it would be too much food. So the straightforward set lunch it is...

The otsumami (お摘み) was a cold egg custard with salmon roe (イクラ) on top.

The 15 pieces of nigiri followed.  One thing that hit me - after having gotten used to one particular style of sushi for the last couple of years - was that in addition to the shari (シャリ) being on the small side, the serving temperature was noticeably lower... and the vinegar was not as prominent. 

June 1, 2021

Cherry-popping, 2021 edition

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The Great One has a monthly booking at The Chairman (大班樓), and this time she has graciously asked if we wanted to join her as she introduces the place to a couple of first-timers.  I was asked to invite a couple of others, and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to get Big Mac out again... along with My Favorite Cousin.

With a few virgins around, it was inevitable that The Great One would request a few of the signature dishes of the restaurant.  I also put in a request or two for things I wanted to eat, which aren't often served up when I go there with my friend...

Crispy taro cake with smoked duck (蜂巢芋泥煙鴨盒) - I love this but don't get to have it often, so it's one of the dishes I requested.  Loooove that fluffy, deep-fried taro crust which, at times, would feel almost ethereal.

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


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