September 19, 2021

Save the worst for last

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Ever since I saw someone post a picture of a certain popsicle, I have been wanting to come back to Forum Restaurant (富臨飯店) just so I could get a taste of it. For one reason or another, things just haven't worked out with scheduling, and I was beginning to worry that I wouldn't be able to come before this seasonal summer item is taken off the menu. Thankfully, though, I was able to grab a couple of friends to join us for dim sum today.

From my visits earlier in the year, I have always been suitably impressed by the service level here, which I felt was appropriate for a restaurant carrying 3 Michelin stars. It would prove no different today, as the service staff asked us whether the kitchen should arrange to serve dishes in portions of 4 where there would originally be only 3.

Braised goose web with mushroom (北菰炆鵝掌) - pretty good, and I had some collagen sticking to my lips. There was so much sauce leftover that The Great One insisted we save them so that we can use them for other dishes.

September 15, 2021

Jang jang jang jang

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I was really happy with my first visit to Hansik Goo, Chef Mingoo Kang's outpost in Hong Kong. That was during the early days, when we were forbidden to dine out after 6 p.m. and lunch was the only available option. Since then the restaurant has become so popular that it seemed to be booked out weeks in advance, and I tend to shy away from places which takes me too much effort to secure a booking. So I haven't been back for over a year.

I did try to get myself a table a few months ago, but alas, nobody bothered to reply to the email request I sent. Since they were obviously too busy with other customers to take care of me, I just let it drop.

Well, it was now Sankala who wanted to go, and apparently the staff were much more responsive to her request... so I let her run with it, and she managed to get us a table exactly a month in advance. Not too bad nowadays, I suppose.

I was happy to see that the restaurant is serving Nordaq filtered water, because it means that we're reducing the number of bottled water that's being shipped around the world - reducing carbon emissions as well as waste.

Our meal began with a quartet of Korean starters:

Angelica and shrimp dasik (다식) - this had an interesting texture, like it was made of dried minced shrimp that's been compressed into a cookie.

September 14, 2021

Gone in 60 minutes

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Champagne Krug is doing their annual ingredient pairing, and this year they have chosen the onion.  After being anti-social during the pandemic, I was most surprised to receive an invitation from PR8 for the event surrounding the launch of Krug x Onion.  For all the crap I've given PR8, I gotta be thankful that he has always been very, very accommodating when it comes to these types of events.  He knows exactly who I wouldn't want to be caught dead next to, and generally makes sure that those people are never in my presence.

So it was suggested that I join this particular tour this evening, even though I would be missing the chance to visit some of my favorite chefs. I was ever so grateful that I was in the company of one of the few people in this clique who I could actually have meaningful conversations with... without wanting to choke the person or rip off his/her head.

The first of our two stops tonight was MONO. I've grown to become a big fan of Ricardo Chaneton's over the last few years, and these days an evening out at MONO is always fun... especially towards the end when the playlist changes from jazz to disco - at least when I'm in the house. I was kinda looking forward to that tonight.

We scanned the QR code in front of us to find out the menu for the evening, and I was pretty shocked to find not one, not two, but FIVE dishes listed. WTF? The format of these events used to showcase one dish per chef/restaurant, so I was expecting to get two dishes by the end of the tour and head off to Mickey D's to finish off the evening. Looks like that plan just went out the window...

Krug Grande Cuvée, 169ème édition, ID 120003 - good ripeness on the palate, with lovely toasty notes on the nose.

Of course, we actually got even more food when this avocado and lobster arepa showed up before anything else... Very creamy, very delish.

September 11, 2021

Third time lucky

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We're back at Sushi Saito (鮨 さいとう) for another Saturday lunch. In order to accommodate both My Favorite Cousin and myself, it has to be lunch on Saturdays - which in this case meant booking about 4 months in advance... just as we finished our last lunch here. I have been back for dinner twice since that last lunch, but My Favorite Cousin was happy to wait patiently for this.

We were, once again, seated in front of Kubota-san. Word has it that he will depart in 2022, so I guess we won't have too many more chances to see him here.

As usual, we started with three items of otsumami (おつまみ):

Japanese horsehair crab (毛蟹) - nice acidity from the vinegar to go with the sweetness of the crab.

September 9, 2021

Make mine a 99

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I have long heard good things about Legacy House (彤福軒), the restaurant in the Rosewood Hong Kong serving up specialties from Shunde (順德). But I have resolutely stayed away from the restaurant, and in fact from all restaurants located in the hotel, because of my two disastrous experiences with dining inside K11 Musea. The shopping mall is pumped full of disgusting, fake vanilla scent, and I have sworn not to go back there for food. I figured that the Rosewood Hong Kong would suffer from the same situation. While some people have told me otherwise, I refused to believe them.

After DaRC and RoRo came back to town, we decided to check out a few places together, and this was one of the places chosen. I figured it was time to see what the brouhaha was all about.

I have to say that my first impressions weren't great. OK, so I didn't get any of that yucky vanilla smell anywhere in the hotel. Yes, the restaurant has great harbor views. But the lighting was just so incredibly dark, so much so that we needed to read the menu with the help of the tiny lamps on the table. I just don't get this at all.

Seeing that this place is known for famous Shunde specialties, we decided to order up a few well-known dishes to see how they compare with similar establishments in town.

Wok-fried milk, mantis shrimp, crabmeat, caviar, egg white, Daliang style (黑魚籽鮮蟹肉大良鮮奶炒瀨尿蝦) - ordering this was a no-brainer, as it's one of the representative dishes of Shunde cuisine. We've got yellowed chives, Chinese black olive kernels, and mantis shrimps in place of the original "lion fish (獅頭魚)".

September 8, 2021

Four-month wait

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At one of our gatherings earlier this year, my high school friends and I were discussing Japanese eateries in town. As it turns out, most of them have never been to Hidden (秀殿), my favorite kushiage (串揚げ) joint in town. For many friends and I this has become somewhat of an institution over the last few years, and as its popularity has grown, it has become increasingly difficult to secure a booking. But for those with Japanese roots or connections, the food here is just a little piece of home.

There are five of us, and for a group this size, dinner was booked nearly 4 months ago. And yes, they have long ago run out of available seats for dinner for 2021. Likewise, one needs to get on a waiting list for lunch on the weekends. This has become the new reality in times of Covid.

While I waited for the gang to arrive, I ordered up one of the many fruit-flavored drinks here. For tonight, I started with some melon plum wine (メロン梅酒).

Initially the gang asked me to choose the food, and I picked out a number of them for round 1 - knowing we would be doing multiple rounds tonight. The others soon started to chime in with their own requests...

September 6, 2021

Last toast at the Porn

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I was pretty impressed with the food when I last visited the Porn Pawn earlier this year, and have been thinking about going back when the time came for a casual meal. When I found out that they were making big changes starting the middle of this month, I decided to book a table to try their current dishes one more time. I also managed to rope in Mr. and Mrs. Birdiegolf for a night out.

Calamari: sautéed calamari, red vin sorrel, basil, pesto - I confess that I didn't look at the menu carefully, and I really wanted fried calamari hahaha... But this was nicely done.


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