May 24, 2022

Six months on

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It has been much, much too long since this foursome popped open a few bottles, mainly thanks to the 4½-month ban on dinner service. It was 6 months ago that we opened up a few nice bottles to wash down some white truffles, and this time around we decided to hit Xin Rong Ji (新榮記), a place I like very much. The Baller definitely has a better relationship with the restaurant than I do - since they don't know me from a hole in the wall - so I let him make the arrangements.

Although we had booked more than 3 weeks' in advance, the restaurant had already run out of their daily quota for roast Peking duck for tonight. I never understood why roast Peking duck is so popular in Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong that don't specialize in Pekinese cuisine, but I guess I really don't know much about Chinese food. As I said to my friend earlier... I'll live.

Bayberries (楊梅) - I love that we always start with some seasonal fruit, and tonight these bayberries were really, really nice.

We also had these almond cookies (杏仁餅), which are always really, really good here. Soft and crumbly, and certainly very tasty.

Steamed "Wen Zhou" fish cake (溫州魚餅) - this was really tasty. The texture was pretty nice, with a good amount of bounce but also yields enough to the teeth. Flavors were good, too.

Foie gras diced with red wine sauce (紅酒鵝肝) - I don't understand why Sankala would have thought this would be like the Chiuchow-style poached goose liver when she ordered it, but... this turned out to be like a foie gras torchon, except the flavors were a lot sweeter... perhaps red wine or some fruits have been used to marinade the liver. Very smooth texture. Very French.

Crispy cutlassfish (黃金脆帶魚) - it's been a few years since I last had this, and I really love them. Deep-fried cutlassfish is a childhood memory, and I used to enjoy it both during school lunches and dinners at home. Inside the golden crispy exterior the flesh was very, very moist and tender. Very, very happy.

Deep fried baby pigeon (脆皮妙齡鴿) - these were pretty small but that wasn't a surprise to me. If memory serves, they use pigeons that are around 14 days' old. Pretty succulent and tasty, but the small size meant these just don't deliver the same kind of satisfaction that I get from pigeons at Stellar House (星月居).

Signature yellow croaker thick soup with fish maw (花膠黃魚羹) - this is always tasty, as I really love yellow croaker. The fish maw don't hurt, either.

Braised sliced bamboo shoots, home-style (家燒筍衣) - Sankala loves the dish and so do I. As someone who grew up eating a ton of bamboo shoots at home - much of it braised - this was totally up my alley. The fact that this was braised with slices of salted pork belly (家鄉肉) was completely up my alley... and reminds me of mom's dishes.

Baked fresh pomfret rice in hot pot (鯧魚飯) - it was my first time having this dish, and I was surprised by how big the flavors were. First of all, I wasn't expecting a glaze on the fish, but rather lighter flavors more akin to steamed pomfret. In this respect the pomfret looked and tasted more like Japanese eel kabayaki (蒲焼き). The rice looked a lot darker than I had expected as it took on soy sauce, and we've got bits of preserved pork (臘肉) inside for flavoring. Very, very tasty, and it's a big pot of carbs.

Boiled baby octopus with Pickled Chinese cabbage (酸菜煮望潮) - I remember how much I liked these webfoot octopi (望潮) on an early visit, so of course I would want to order them tonight. What I remembered wrong, though, was their size. They weren't as small as I remembered, so getting two of these for each of us was, perhaps, not necessary. Regardless, these were very fresh and very tender. Serving them in a bowl of soup made with pickled mustard greens (酸菜) was perfect, as the acidity really highlighted the natural flavors of the octopi. Accidentally bursting the ink sac and see the liquid in the bowl slowly turn brown was kinda fun...

Pan-fried rice cakes with brown sugar (紅糖麻糍) - I was happy not to have any dessert after all the food we'd had, but these were pretty good.

I was pretty surprised that the gang agreed to bringing just bubblies and whites, but of course it makes perfect sense when the menu is seafood-dominant.

I also ran into a few friends who were at another table, and one of them very kindly sent over glasses of Kikuhime Yamahai Ginjo (菊姫  山廃吟醸) which was brewed in H9BY, with seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 55%. Definitely aged and showing that big, fermented, and savory notes on the palate. Very nice and rounded on the palate.

1992 Taittinger Collection - initially served too warm but the nose had lots of marmalade and honey. Palate was originally a little flat and short, but this got much better after an hour, showing more body and more depth. Also some candied pineapple. After 3 hours still showing some straw and toasty notes.

2011 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Meursault 1er Cru Genevrières - nice and flinty. Got some ripeness on the palate. Nice and sweet on the nose, and definitely buttery.

2002 B de Boërl et Kroff, dégorgée en novembre 2011 - nice and caramelized nose with good acidity on the palate. Nose was still very big some 3 hours after decanting, with lots of savory minerals.

2003 Trimbach Riesling Clos Sainte Hune - very big nose of petrol and polyurethane. Good ripeness on the palate but still got plenty of acidity, and actually still grippy on the finish.

Too much food, and surprisingly too much wine, too. But the four of us were pretty happy. My only complaint is that the staff seemed eager for us to go home as early as possible. I think one of the staff had given us the wrong information about the timing of the last order - giving us a time that was a full hour earlier. Well... restaurants are now allowed to operate till 11:59 p.m. and we had plenty of wine that we wanted to enjoy, so we chose to take our time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love it.


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