October 12, 2021

Celebratory dinner

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Tonight was a celebration of sorts - someone recently got out of quarantine jail, and we also took the opportunity to congratulate Danny on the recent results of The World's 50 Best Restaurants, where The Chairman (大班樓) was voted as No. 10 and also took home the Highest Climber Award on the 2021 list. We all convened at my favorite private dining facility, even though the observatory had raised the Typhoon 8 signal a few hours earlier. The streets were deserted but thankfully there wasn't any rain, or much wind where we were.

Pan-fried termite mushroom (煎雞盅) - the Mushroom Supplier is in the house, and very kindly brought us these beautiful termite mushrooms. They were pretty damn big, and the best way to enjoy them is to stir-fry them simply. Very sweet.


Barbecued kurobuta pork (黑毛豬叉燒) - this was definitely sub-par tonight. The pieces were very uneven, with some lean pieces being pretty dry and overcooked. Bummer.

Steamed crab claw with winter melon (冬瓜蒸蟹鉗) - not looking like it was up to the usual standard...

The host and I took the smaller claws so that the honored guests could enjoy the bigger ones.

Sautéed shredded prawn with assorted vegetables (鳳城炒蝦絲) - this is a dish requiring some effort, as the shrimp paste needs to be squeezed through a piping bag to create these long, thin strands. Stir-fried with Chinese celery, yellowed Chinese chives, chili peppers, and deep-fried rice vermicelli. The toasted Chinese black olive kernels (欖仁) really made the dish.

Braised mountain turtle (古法炆山瑞) - apparently this turtle weighed in at more than 10 catties...

Braised with bamboo shoots, roast pork (火腩), and lettuce. The star, of course, is the gelatin from the turtle.

Bird's nest and partridge porridge (燕窩鷓鴣粥) - very smooth and fine in terms of texture, thanks to finely chopped partridge and bird's nest. I did think, though, that this was a little light on flavors tonight.

Stir-fried sole fillets (油泡海方利球) - mmm... apparently this version was requested by one of the guests of honor, in lieu of the usual steamed whole sole. Can't say I liked this version better.

Braised hundred-treasure duck (百寶炆大鴨) - every time I see this, I always have the urge to yell "He's dead, Jim!"

This was one of the few dishes tonight which delivered up to the usual standards. I always enjoy the braised duck with all the tasty stuffing, which include lotus seeds, barley, shiitake, and salted egg yolk.

Four treasure vegetables with superior broth (上湯四寶蔬) - this was one of the dishes that I found amazing on my initial visit, as the superior broth (上湯) was well-infused into the veggies. Tonight's version was just OK.

Sautéed rice rolls with minced beef, bean sprouts in satay sauce (沙爹牛肉炒腸粉) - this was still pretty good, though.

Red bean purée with aged mandarin peel (陳皮紅豆沙) - oh hey, just when we were discussing desserts made with red beans... lookie here...

I know iron bar when it comes to tea, but we had the tea master in da house tonight, so I did get the enjoy this very nice Pu'er.

Which turns out to be loose vintage Pu'er from 1982, aged by La Maison des Trois Thés in Paris. What a treat! I may just have to pay them a visit in the future.

We got lots of winos in da haus, so naturally there were more bottles than we could drink up.

1989 André Beaufort Grand Cru Brut, en magnum, dégorgée en septembre 2011 - very sugarcane and water chestnut 竹蔗茅根 with straw notes. Good acidity in spite of the ripeness, and acidity still pretty high which is typical of Beaufort.

2004 Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Vireuils - beautiful and buttery, toasty, flinty, without being overpowering.

1999 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Fuder 9, from magnum - huge, huge, nose of petrol and polyurethane. Some white flowers. Palate was definitely sweeter than expected and without the acidity to counter balance.

1950 Lhéraud - so fragrant with lots of vanilla.

2009 Louis Roederer Cristal, en magnum - drank after having been opened for some time. Good balance between acidity and ripeness, and relatively mild and elegant on the palate.

2009 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard - very buttery, definitely more ripe and Californian.

1996 Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St Jacques - lovely and elegant, with a little more smoke than expected, showing black cherries and dried herbs.

2008 Dugat-Py Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Vieilles Vignes - very toasty even after having been opened for a while. More acidic and lean on the palate than expected.

1900 Barbeito Malvazia - lots of nuts, medjool dates, plum, and honeydew melon. Needed time to open up.

The kitchen may have underperformed today, but I think everyone had a good time nonetheless. We even had a cake to celebrate The Chairman's achievements. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

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