August 30, 2022

Golden buttons

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I was thinking that it had been a while since we last paid the Juve Fan a visit, so I got off my ass and booked us a table. When I found out that Wai Gor had never been to Estro, I figured he and Belo could join us. But... we would have to drink Italian wines, and I wasn't sure how happy that would make Belo.

We decided to go for the shorter, 6-course menu tonight. I was perfectly happy to lower my calorie intake, and I am wary of stuffing Belo a little too much.

We started with a few bites:

Compressed Italian watermelon, lemon jelly, lemon cream - the sharp acidity of the lemon gel and lemon cream was eventually balanced out by the sweetness of the watermelon, but it did take a few seconds.

Bread pillow, roasted red pepper, bell pepper emulsion - loved the flavors of the peppers.

Potato roll, aubergine, tomato sauce, cheese

August 27, 2022

3-star cellar raid

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A few months ago the Candidate suggested that we do a dinner at Caprice with the goal of raiding its cellar. While some parts of the restaurant's wine list are ludicrously priced, apparently there are a few bargains to be had. I dutifully carried out the wishes of the gang and proceeded to book ourselves a room for tonight.

Three of us did spend a reasonable amount of time trawling through the restaurant's wine list, and much to my surprise, there were indeed some hidden bargains. After some back-and-forth horse trading, we came up with a selection of wines and asked Victor to save those bottles for us.

Knowing our choice of wines in advance meant it was easier for Hairy Legs to come up with the dishes to match them. I gave him carte blanche as usual, and was looking forward to see what he would come up with. But first, we have the canapés - all of which I've seen before.

Tomato ravioli with Parmesan cookie

Balik salmon with Kristal caviar and crème fraîche

Pita with curry chicken mousse

August 26, 2022

Another taste of Guizhou

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My first introduction to Wan Wan Xiang (碗碗香) was more than 2 years ago, courtesy of PR8. It was one of those gatherings for our Peanut Gang and he wanted to introduce us to something a little more offbeat in his 'hood. I thought that dinner was interesting, but didn't have much background on the cuisine of Guizhou (貴州). And since spicy fare doesn't feature often in my diet, it wasn't something I was dying to return for.

Since that time I've met a colleague from Guizhou who is actually a frequent customer of the restaurant and is on friendly terms with the owner. And after stopping for a casual lunch there with Sankala a few weeks ago, we decided to organize a dinner to introduce some friends to the restaurant. After all, it's not often that one comes across Guizhou cuisine in Hong Kong.

There are, apparently, a number of price levels for set dinners here. My colleague arranged for the cheapest option to dispense with some of the seafood, as he felt that "authentic" Guizhou cuisine is light on those ingredients. We were seated in the private area upstairs, and really looked forward to this meal. Due to the inability of a couple of us - yours truly included - to handle heat, we asked for a moderate level of spiciness (小辣).

Guizhou-style tossed egg noodles (貴味涼麵) - I was a little surprised that we were leading off with carbs, but why not? This would be my first taste of cuishao (脆哨), which has been sprinkled on top here along with the pickles.

August 18, 2022

Krug! Krug! Krug!

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PR8 knows I don't accept invitations lightly, especially since I do live up to my reputation as the Arrogant Prick, so he only asks me occasionally when he hasn't invited anyone I intensely dislike. Thankfully this time around he did so at the behest of Agustin Balbi at Andō, which has recently been appointed a Krug Ambassade. Well, I'm a fan of both Krug Champagne and of the restaurant, so I happily accepted the invitation.

On arrival, I was relieved to discover that I've been banished to Siberia... that is to say, the private room where I will be far away from others. PR8 has thoughtfully seated me with people I already know, so I was pretty sure I would have an enjoyable evening.

We start off with a caviar tasting, which didn't surprise me. Just like my last visit, we were presented with 3 canapés using three different sources of caviar.

August 14, 2022

Sunday bastard

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A friend had double-booked himself and was looking to give up his table at Bâtard. Normally this is not a restaurant I would stress about booking months in advance... Sure, much of the food is decent, but really nothing special... and who the hell wants to book for bistro food 2-3 months ahead?! But seeing as the booking is readily available in a few days' time and only involved a change in name, Sankala and I decided to take it over and invited the Zhongmeister and Winnie the Chew along - seeing as they've never been there before.

Our friends took the set lunch while Sankala and I picked off dishes à la carte. After all, she don't like no chicken...

Fries - I was a little surprised that Sankala insisted on ordering this, but apparently she found the fries memorable from our first and only visit last year. I have to admit they were pretty good, but the star was actually the Alain Milliat ketchup. I could practically spoon it straight into my mouth and eat jars of it.

August 13, 2022

More than 10 Euros a head

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Thanks to our respective travel schedules, we haven't been able to catch up with the couple in the Tiny Urban Kitchen for a few months. I left the choice of venue up to my friends, and in they end they wanted to try Écriture. This gave me a good reason to return, as it's been more than 6 months since my last visit.

I was a little shocked when I was handed the menu. There was... only one option available. Sankala and I had discussed trying the now-defunct vegetarian menu at some point, but oh well... I guess we were in for a stuffing.

The meal started with some of the premices:

Gougère, hay cream and caviar - the panna cotta hay cream inside the gougère was under-seasoned, and really needed the salt from the caviar. Unfortunately I didn't mix them well enough in my mouth, so the first hit was salty and then the rest of it was... well... bland.

August 9, 2022

The secret ingredient is...

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There's a dish at Ta Vie 旅 I've been wanting to try. Sato-san pinged me about 2 months ago regarding a new dish he was developing. It turns out he was trying the new recipe with something I had given him earlier this year, and he wanted to know where he could get some more. Unfortunately, said item is no longer available for sale in Hong Kong, but I happened to have a supply at home thanks to a recent shipment from Taiwan. So I quickly dropped some off for him a few days before I left for our trip to Taiwan.

I followed various social media accounts in the days that followed, as Sato-san and others posted about the new dish. I was either out of town, or locked up in quarantine after our return to Hong Kong. More than a month after the dish first appeared, I was still waiting for my first taste.

When I heard that Sato-san would be returning to Japan for a few weeks, I decided that it was time to find out for myself how much I would enjoy this new creation. We were happy that Fergie could join us on short notice, as he was at the recent special event I could not attend, but did not get to taste this particular dish.

As always, the meal started with their signature nukazuke (糠漬け) bread. This always disappears quickly, along with some of their house made butter and ricotta. Someone ate so much of the ricotta that a second serving magically appeared at the table.

August 6, 2022

Stuffed like a pig, again

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I'm catching up with the Tiggers over another meal, and this time we ended up at Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine (御寶軒) in the Crowne Plaza Hong Kong. We were originally meant to be enjoying a roast suckling pig at another restaurant which is relatively new, but we had to switch after finding out that they use peanut oil in the kitchen (as do many Chinese kitchens) and one of us is severely allergic to peanuts. Well... they do a pretty nice stuffed suckling pig here, so I figured we'd still be pretty happy.

Marinated duck's tongue (鹵水鴨舌) - pretty surprised that Bear actually ate - and liked - this. I wonder whose tongue he also liked to play with...

August 4, 2022

Casual Valentine

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I found out this morning that it's Qixi Festival (七夕) today, which is the traditional celebration of the myth of a romantic couple who are only allowed to meet once a year on this day. Since we didn't have a proper Valentine's Day this year, I proposed that Sankala and I should at least have a casual dinner out with a bottle of wine. At her suggestion, I booked at table at ENVY Restaurant and Bar, a cozy little place in Tai Hang (大坑).

The menu is kinda eclectic, with lots of Japanese influence along with some Indian. Since there were only two of us, we couldn't order too many dishes.

Japanese sashimi jellyfish - not as exotic as it sounds... just jellyfish head served with various raw seasweed in a marinade. A refreshing start to dinner and rather aromatic with dill.

August 2, 2022

A tea house feast without tea

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It has been just about 6 months since the MNSC boys got together for a formal tasting, as we waited for some of us to return from our various trips out of Hong Kong. Lord Rayas finally got his chance to play host, and I wasn't the least bit surprised when we were asked to show up at Woo Cheong Tea House (和昌飯店).

Deep-fried homemade turnip puff (日本手作蘿蔔千絲酥) - this was... meh. The crispy shell was rather powdery, and the dough just inside was kinda soggy, almost as if it wasn't properly cooked. Didn't expect to see shreds of carrots inside along with radish.


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