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)".

Roasted goose liver, pork belly, mushroom (吊燒鵝肝金錢雞) - I really liked that they used pan-fried goose liver instead of the usual chicken liver, but the others seem to object on the grounds that it's not traditional. To be fair, I'd take the ones at Ren Ren Heping Restaurant (人人和平小飯店) over this any day.

Minced fish soup, fungus, tangerine peel (順德拆魚羹) - this was really interesting. The consistency was a lot thinner and diluted than I had expected, which tells me that they didn't use starch to thicken it. Love the fragrant tangerine peel, and the toasted Chinese black olive kernels.

Pan-fried dace fish (家鄉煎釀鯪魚) - the stuffing was made with preserved Chinese sausage (臘腸) and of course aged tangerine peel.

I loved that I didn't feel any bits of fish bone in the pieces I took, although I understand from the others that not all pieces were bone-free.

Poached pork dumplings, sweet soy sauce, chilli oil, vinegar (紅油抄手) - pretty nice. Wrappers were nice and thin. Good acidity from the vinegar.

Deep-fried duck, mashed taro (芋茸香酥鴨) - there was no way that we would pass up the chance to try this. Just look at the fluffy layer of fried taro...

The duck in the center was really moist, as the kitchen had added some duck jus to it. So, soooo happy that we ordered this up.

Stewed tofu, lily bulb, ginkgo, supreme chicken soup (銀杏鮮百合金湯翠豆腐) - this was kinda interesting. The thick chicken soup was pretty nice.

Stir-fried fish noodles, dried sole fish, bean sprout, mushroom (鳳城五彩炒魚麵) - this was very good, with nice, springy texture and on the dry side, with pretty good wok hei (鑊氣).

White sugar puddings (順德倫教糕) - it's been a while since I had these wet, spongy pudding. Pretty happy about this.

Our petits fours was panna cotta with a layer of cranberry jelly on top.

I decided to bring two bottles of cabernet from the same vintage, but with different characteristics.

1986 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve - decanted and poured. Showing minty and sweet fruit notes like plum, and a little smoky. It seemed like it was starting to go downhill and dry out a little. Afer an hour in the decanter, this was still showing the fruit, and much more sweet and ripe on the palate.

1986 Ducru-Beaucaillou - a little grassy, slightly corked, still some fruit on the palate. More than an hour after decanting, the grassy nose was still there but the palate was fine. Very smooth and silky.

I'm not sure I will have an opportunity to revisit this place. Sankala wasn't particularly impressed, deeming it not good enough to cross the harbor for. I guess there are a couple of other places serving Shunde specialties that are more accessible...

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