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.

Smoked daikon (いぶりがっこ) - definitely very smoky.

One bite cheese fried (一口チーズフライ) - somehow Sankala always wants to order this, but I can hardly blame her. This is just way too fun to eat.

Fried veggie fish cake (野菜のさつま揚げ) - another of Sankala's favorites, and again, it's hard not to like this simple dish.

Pike conger (はも) - surprised that they had this seasonal specialty, so I ordered it in lieu of the usual conger eel (穴子).

Scallop salmon roe (ほたてタルタルいくら) - my all-time favorite dish here. Just love the combination of the tartar sauce - with a little horseradish kick - with the scallop and salmon roe.

And it's popular enough to be featured on this shirt worn by the staff.

Spring onion pork flank roll (豚バラねぎ巻) - I do think that the spring onions work very well with pork belly...

Sand borer with Japanese parsley (きす三つ葉)

Baby sweetfish (稚鮎) - nice to see that they have this seasonal specialty, too.

Ratatouille (ラタトゥイユ) - Sankala was happy. Veg is always good, and it's cool and refreshing.

Manganji pepper (満願寺トウガラシ) - another veg to finish.

Pretty glad that we are able to grab a quick meal here. They are now booked out for dinner for the rest of 2021, and for weekend lunch they are now into November. Who would have thought that this would be one of the most difficult seat to secure in Hong Kong?

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