November 10, 2021

The first cut is the deepest

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There's a group of friends I haven't seen for a few years, and tonight I had a rare opportunity to join them for a meal. This would be Winnie the Chew's last year before her age changes the big figure, so we gathered to help her celebrate before she flies off for a few weeks. Our organizer chose Kamcentre Roast Goose (甘棠燒鵝) - which is right next to the bowling alley inside the South China Athletic Association (南華會) - as the venue.

The restaurant only has a short history, having been backed by Mr. Jacky Kam (甘焯霖) - a cousin of the late Kinsen Kam (甘健成) - who recruited chef Ho-tong Fung (馮浩棠) when he retired from Yung Kee Restaurant (鏞記酒家). This was yet another offshoot from the roast goose dynasty of the Kan family, and it"s been getting a lot of attention since it opened.

Tonight's menu included some old school roast meat dishes, a couple of which have become increasingly difficult to find in Hong Kong. These are dishes which require a lot of time and effort, which are not appreciated by many diners and don't make restaurants a lot of money. It is, therefore, a real blessing that a place like Kamcentre still insists on delivering them.

Kam's fatty and burnt barbecued pork (甘一刀肥燶叉燒) - it makes total sense to start our meal with the signature char siu (叉燒), which is served in these big chunks with extra thick cut.

This is made with the "first cut" of the pork collar (脢肉), and you've got a beautiful layer of fat on the outside, followed by some marbling, and then the lean meat. The edges were roasted until they were charred black, which delivered that beautiful smoky flavor.

Between the delicious fat, the tender lean meat, and the smokiness on the edge, this could very well be my new favorite char siu in Hong Kong.

Traditional gold coin chicken (懷舊金錢雞) - I'm always on the lookout for another good version of "gold coin chicken", and I certainly had high hopes for this place.

These were pretty good, but not able to top my current favorite.

Barbecued pork with charred edges (大班叉燒) - we had a second serving of char siu which was much leaner, but still got the nice, charred edges.

Barbecued goose feet with barbecued pork, chicken liver, pork belly wrapped in goose intestine (鵝掌紮) - I was so, so happy to see that this is on the menu. In recent times I have only seen this on the menu at one other restaurant, and I fear this will become lost with the passage of time, but of course I haven't been to every single Cantonese restaurant in town...

Wrapped inside the goose intestine were diced chunks of char siu, chicken liver, pork belly, goose...etc. What a treat to be able to enjoy something old school like this!

Deep-fried pig intestines (炸豬大腸) - I can see that a few of us were excited at the sight of these...

And what's not to love?! Layers of pig intestines stuffed together, then deep-fried so that the outer layer is crispy. Perfect with some salt and pepper.

Roast goose (甘棠燒鵝) - a very pretty presentation. Apparently the chef responsible for chopping the goose up uses 72 strokes to create this look. Pretty good goose.

Double-boiled conch, chicken, fish maw, melon, and honey melon soup (爵士湯) - definitely a more luxurious version of this classic soup, which uses melon in addition to chicken, conch, and fish maw.  The soup was definitely on the sweet side, and I kinda nibbled on the "dregs (湯渣)".

Traditional pork trotter terrine (懷舊紮蹄) - another old school item seldom seen on the menu these days. I love pork terrine, especially when pig trotters are involved.

Cuttlefish marinated in master stock (滷水墨魚) - this made Sankala very, very happy.

Braised garoupa with roasted pork belly and tofu skin (支竹火腩炆斑頭腩) - always love this... especially when you throw roasted pork belly into the mix.

Goose blood pudding (甘棠鵝紅) - WOW! I never expected this to come in huge chunks! Just beautiful! Sooooo wobbly and ethereal.

Stir-fried pea shoots with garlic (蒜蓉炒豆苗)

Red bean soup with aged mandarin peel (陳皮紅豆沙) - very nice.

We were surprisingly weak in terms of alcohol, as we didn't even quite finish the second magnum...

2000 Bahans Haut-Brion, en magnum - triple decanted 30 minutes prior to serving. Smoky, grilled meats, nice ripeness from the fruit, with some fragrant cedar notes.

2007 Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille, from magnum - decanted 1½ hours prior to serving. Very intense smoky nose, definitely more concentrated on the palate.

What a fantastic meal! I loved all the old school, roast meat dishes, and it's great to be able to enjoy them all at once. Imma find a way to come back again soon.

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