November 2, 2021

The forgotten dinner

Pin It

I received a strange message this morning from the Great One, about bringing wines for dinner tonight. I was scratching my head about it, because I did not have anything entered into my calendar for tonight. I was expecting a break in dining out in between last night's shindig and a work-related dinner tomorrow.

But apparently the Great One had put me down for dinner at The Chairman (大班樓) tonight. She had invited us to join her tonight, at the same time that she had invited us for another meal. While I readily agreed to the second meal, I jokingly told her that I didn't want to have the same dishes that I always end up eating whenever we join her at The Chairman... and that we'd come "if she agreed not to order the usual flower crab and stuff." Yes, as blasphemous as that sounds, I really don't need to have the signature flowery crab every single time I'm there. I'd be happy to eat another type of crab, or even do without crab! What an idea!

Anyway, in my mind I had declined the invitation to The Chairman, so imagine my surprise when I received those messages this morning... Well, as much as I loathed having another big meal out - making it 3 in a row - I also didn't want to bail on a good friend and leave her scrambling to find replacements. Especially since she had agreed to order a different crab dish tonight. So I told my friend that I was gonna "suck it up and come" - which left her distinctively unimpressed. After all, there are thousands of people who would jump at the chance to have dinner at a restaurant which was voted the Best Restaurant in Asia and No. 10 on The World's 50 Best Restaurants. But... some of us do have these "first world problems"...

While most of the dishes tonight were familiar to me, at least they weren't the same set of the usual suspects. A good start, then... and grateful for the Great One for being accommodating.

Pickled mid-summer ginger root (大班樓子薑) - a good appetizer and palate-cleanser. Now served in thin slices instead of little chunks.

Babylon shell in XO wine sauce (XO花螺) - these were OK, and not very spicy. There was just enough flavor to make these interesting.

Slow-cooked beef tenderloin with sundried mandarin peel (慢煮陳皮牛柳) - lots of aged mandarin peel flavors here. Slightly crunchy on the outside, and very, very tender and fatty. Delicious.

Geoduck in fish and rice broth (魚米湯煮象拔蚌) - the usual "congee", which comes without rice grains, with tender slices of geoduck and some shrimp oil.

Half day salted humpback grouper steamed with dried mandarin peel and lard (陳皮蒸鹹鮮老鼠斑) - the fish was impeccably done, and the citrus flavors of the dried mandarin peel were subtle but elegant. The addition of strips of pork lard always adds a nice touch of richness to the dish.

Spicy pepper mud crab (胡椒肉蟹) - these were pretty big, but of course the table where the Great One was seated received the bigger of the two crabs... Good kick from the pepper.

Crispy pig tail with plum sauce (紅燒豬尾) - this is always so delicious... The thin, crispy layer of skin on the outside contrasting with the gooey, tasty, fatty collagen inside.

Fermented tofu with lamb offal pot Szechuan style (川味臭豆腐羊雜鍋) - this kinda ruined my chance of smelling any wine I had in my glasses... as the pungent stench filled the air of the dining room. Not sure the neighboring tables appreciated this.

I never ate stinky tofu from the time I grew up, and even now I would only occasionally eat the ones that have been pan- or deep-fried. This would be my first taste of stinky tofu that has been simmered or steamed... and I only took a few nibbles. I did enjoy the bits of lamb offal, though.

Camphor wood smoked 7 spices goose (樟木菊花煙燻七味黑鵝) - this was beautitul, and much, much, better than the last goose I had here. Tonight the skin wasn't soggy at all, and full of beautiful flavors from the spices. I just loooove fatty goose.

Stir fried pea sprouts with scallion oil (蔥油炒豆苗) - pea shoots are now in season, and it's always nice to have them.

Sparerib with black beans, sun dried Japanese sardine and Chinese sausages clay pot rice two ways (豉椒排骨白飯魚膶腸煲仔飯) - the clay pot rice from this restaurant is always a highlight, but unfortunately it also comes at the end, after we had already stuffed ourselves with too much food. I wish we could take out one or two dishes so that I can enjoy this in full.

The rice crispies (飯焦) are indeed impressive, and I love chomping on these pieces.

A bowl full of delicious goodness. The spareribs with black beans are classic, the preserved liver sausage is always awesome, but the dried baby sardines (縮緬雑魚) really helped make the dish.

The best part of these clay pot rice dishes is when the kitchen takes the rice crispies and add soup to it... with some clams for good measure. I do look forward to these "second servings", although not all restaurants offer them. Such a treat during the cooler months!

Dessert trio:

Mung bean cake (綠豆糕)

Sesame roll (芝麻卷)

Almond cream (杏仁茶)

Believe it or not, there were quite a few people who didn't drink... so our consumption was decidedly weak tonight.

2019 Sakemasu 50 - seimaibuai of 50%. Very sweet on the nose, banana and melon, a hint of sharpness on the nose. Thick and rich on the palate.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Corton Blanc - color was darker than I had expected, as it was a little more oxidized. Showing sweetness with vanilla notes and a good amount of toast. Good thing there was still acidity on the palate.

2015 Anwilka - smoky nose with a little bit of fruit.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map