May 6, 2022

Dinner under the stars, pink and white shower edition

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A friend is back in town for the first time since the pandemic started, so Sankala arranged to catch up with her over dinner. Since she very much wanted to meet our CC dogcow, Mian (紅棉) seemed like a good place for this meal. It's one of the few places we know where the food is decent while being pet-friendly.

As it turned out, the weather tonight was perfect for relaxing outdoors for a few hours. We enjoyed a cool breeze the whole time, and the giant pink and white shower tree (節果決明樹) in the courtyard of the Murray Hotel - classified as an Old and Valuation Tree by the government - was in full bloom. Throughout the course of the evening, a few petals or leaves would fall from the tree and land around us.

There were just 3 of us so we decided to take things easy, forgoing any carb dish towards the end. No premium dishes requiring pre-ordering tonight.

Boiled sliced pork ∙ garlic ∙ chili oil (蒜泥白肉) - I was surprised at how spicy this was. The slices of pork were rolled up and had what seemed to be shredded celtuce inside. Lots of minced garlic on top. Pretty tasty.

Dried bean curd ∙ Sichuan chili sauce ∙ fresh walnut (鮮核桃四川豆乾) - this, in contrast, did not taste very spicy unless one bit into the small bits of bird's eye chili. The thin slices of pressed bean curd had a very smooth texture.

Seasonal vegetables ∙ fish soup ∙ bean curd sheets (魚湯本地鮮腐竹浸時令蔬菜) - I don't understand how a fairly high-end Chinese restaurant would serve a veg dish so early. They either don't care about serving order, or there's no communication with the kitchen. Probably both.

Beef brisket and tendon ∙ chili pepper broth (椒香清湯牛筋蝴蝶腩) - this has always been on the "must order" list, but Sankala felt the beef was overcooked tonight. I would tend to agree, although it didn't quite get to the stage where the brisket became tough to chew.

Sweet and sour pork ∙ dried pineapple (刁轉咕嚕肉) - OMG this was really, really good. The batter was thin and crunchy, and we've got freeze-dried pineapple as well as fresh figs together with the sauce. Must order again.

Steamed yellow fourfinger threadfin ∙ Chinese wine ∙ spring onion (花雕雞油蒸馬友) - it took me a while but I finally saw the similarity to Shanghainese steamed Reeve's shad (鰣魚)... as both have soft and smooth texture, soak up the sweetness of the Huadiao (花雕) wine, and topped with minced ginger. Loved this fatty fish.

Buffalo milk egg tart (水牛奶蛋撻) - totally milky custard.

Crispy fresh milk custard ∙ sweet rose jam (玫瑰鍋炸)

I had brought along two bottles for this meal, but during our dinner we were greeted by the General Manager of the Murray - who knows our friend - and he very kindly sent us a complimentary bottle of bubbly.

2009 Louis Roederer Brut Nature, dégorgée en mai 2016 - pretty oxidized and caramelized nose, toasty. Still got the acidity on the palate.

Ruinart Brut - very toasty nose with surprising depth on the palate.

We had such a good time, and I know CC did, too! We are set for another dinner with doggies in 2 weeks' time, so hopefully the weather will still be really enjoyable.

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