January 9, 2023

Swissitalian dinner, terza edizione

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We had waited far, far too long to do this dinner. The Peanut Gang has been meeting a few times a year even during the pandemic, but the last time we all came to Spaghetti House was some 4 years ago. It's been a long since since I last had their fondue, and that needed to be addressed. Once again, it was just a foursome tonight as FergASS dropped out.

I did extend an invitation to the Juve Fan, as I thought this would be a great opportunity to catch up and have some fun. Alas, he had prior engagements that he could not wiggle out of, but I guess I wasn't really expecting him to join us...

By the time I arrived, the others had already ordered up the first few appetizers:

Mozzarella cheese sticks - these were OK.

French fries with Bolognese - I guess anything can be a topping for French fries, so Bolognese would be fitting here.

Chicken wings in black pepper and honey sauce - these weren't that good 4 years ago, and the execution was even worse tonight.

Premium cheese fondue, classic Swiss - BABY, THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR. We didn't pick the fully-loaded option as we did in previous years, knowing we would be choosing a few other dishes tonight. Besides, one could always order extra portions of crispy fried chicken wings, baked portobello, pipe rigate, baguette cubes, corn, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and other items should I desired. The important thing was to get as much of the cheese sauce made from a combination of Gruyère, 24-month Comté, Parmesan, and Emmental as possible.

Crispy curly fries - we all felt this was a big upgrade from the French fries (from our first try in 2016) and the diced hash browns (from our second try in 2018). These curly "tornado" fries actually allows one to pick up a large amount of cheese, which maximizes satisfaction. So good we ordered extras.

Beef meatballs - these were pretty tasty with prominent spicy flavors of black pepper, and better than the turkey meatballs from the last time.

Mini doughnut sticks - not bad at all.

Korean kimchi cheese fondue - these days they have additional versions of the cheese sauce such as Italian pesto and "gold veggie". We decided we needed to try another version and chose this one made with the juice of fermented kimchi. Just to take a piss, of course.

Seafood chowder with puff pastry - I remember talking with someone about coming here to have soup topped with puff pastry, for a dose of nostalgia. So we ordered the two most classic versions. This was slightly on the bland side, but it didn't matter. What mattered was the puff pastry on top!

Boston lobster bisque with puff pastry - this was OK, and of course made better when taken with the puff pastry.

Hawaiian pizza - yes... we went there. Juve Fan would be glad he didn't come tonight. If his friends ever found out that we made him have a slice of pizza with pineapple on top, from a place like Spaghetti House, no less... they would never let him live it down. To be honest, though... this wasn't half bad. A little on the sweet side.

Spaghetti Napolitano - g4gary has been binging on the Japanese TV series First Love, and apparently spaghetti Napolitan (ナポリタン) is a thing. Truth be told, one of the deciding factors on choosing Spaghetti House tonight was the fact that they serve this dish... Well... I thought this was fairly weak, and there wasn't nearly enough sauce to provide the flavor. I very much prefer the one from Hidden (秀殿), but bookings are still hard to come by.

We were too full for dessert, but I had recently received this tin of Double Chocolate Cookies from Sézanne at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi... and I was desperate to pawn as many of these off to my friends as possible. As I explained how the cookies weren't too sweet due to the amount of salt used, someone suggested that we dip them into the cheese fondue... and OF COURSE it would have to be the Korean kimchi pot! To be honest, I kinda liked it! Not sure Daniel Calvert would approve, though...

We brought our own wines to dinner following tradition. They have now raised corkage from HKD 50 to HKD 80 per bottle. Shocking!

Herbert Beaufort Carte d'Or Tradition - a bit yeasty, ripe on the palate.

2014 L'If - served 30 minutes after opening. Fragrant nose of dried herbs and sweet vanilla.

2015 NUN Passito di Pantelleria - lots of orange blossom, eucalyptus, honey, and grape jelly.

This was a really, really fun night. I honestly can't remember the last time we had so much fun at a dinner, which was probably why we were also the last diners to leave the restaurant. In fact, some of the staff left before we did...

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