February 5, 2023

Same same

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Mr and Mrs Locust are back in Hong Kong for a few days, their first visit since before the pandemic started. They had been struggling to come up with places they wanted to hit, and I had kinda not pushed them to choose anywhere beyond 2 restaurants Foursheets and I already booked. Then DaRC asked whether I had interest to take a couple of seats at Mosu Hong Kong tonight as he would be out of town on short notice, and I thought this could be some place interesting for the Locusts to try.

The sad thing for me, though, was that I had just made my very first visit about 5 weeks ago. This means there is virtually zero change in the menu, and I'd be eating the same dishes again... Honestly, I don't find this acceptable for a restaurant which only offers one tasting menu to its diners. It means there is less incentive to revisit often, unless one loves the specific set of dishes so much that one wants to do it all over again. I do understand, though, that the restaurant remains very difficult to book, and the chance of mere mortals getting a table more than once per quarter is pretty slim...

DaRC had booked the private room at the back of the restaurant, and there was a window looking out onto one of the exhibits on the floor below at M+ Museum. That was kinda interesting, I guess.

Our welcome drink tonight was, once again, made with Korean rice wine as a base. Flavored with yuja (유자), whose citrus flavors were front-and-center.

At this time I asked our waiter to "switch channels to TVB Pearl", as we had people in our group who was not fluent in Cantonese and therefore could not understand the introduction of the dishes. Our waiter told us that he is able to do this in Cantonese, Mandarin, or English, so we asked for English.

Gim (김) cup - OOOOOH! A different starter from the one I got last time! This was what everyone had been posting during the first few months of the restaurant's opening, but as the menu had changed just before year end, I got something else entirely. Inside the crispy seaweed was, once again, a grainy potato salad with some spring onions. The topping tonight were a pair of "東海蝦“ - a type of shrimp I am unfamiliar with. Could it have been humpback shrimp (도화새우, Pandalus hypsinotus)?

By this time, our waiter had forgotten my request to do the introductions in English, and continued to do this in Cantonese. He never switched to English again for the rest of our dinner.

Red cabbage tart - we have pear at the bottom, red cabbage in the middle, and spices like za'atar (زَعْتَر) and herbs. The za'atar was pretty obvious, and the toast sesame seeds were nice, too. The pear at the bottom was soft and pretty juice. Very nice.

Aaaand now we switch back to our regular programming!

Chargrilled abalone taco - this is the signature "small bite" of the restaurant, where a charcoal-grilled abalone is nestled in a charcoal-grilled tofu skin and topped with finely-shredded perilla leaves and laver, as well as sweet mustard. Still pretty tasty.

Matcha tofu in dashi - the asshole with the jaded palate - yours truly - finds this totally uninteresting... especially the second time around. All the flavors are pretty standard and there is nothing surprising here. Unlike some Kong girls, my eyes don't light up at the sight of sea urchin being encased in the tofu. I do have to give the chefs credit, though, for coming up with the idea of wrapping tofu around raw sea urchin.

Rockfish, porridge, Jinhua ham - the second time here and I still don't know what kind of "rockfish" this was, although we were told it came from Hokkaido. Could it have been broadbanded thornyhead (喜知次)? The fish was certainly tender and succulent enough. A little bit of pea shoots to garnish the dish. I did see the thin shreds of Jinhua ham (金華火腿) in the porridge tonight, and we were told that the kitchen poured some foie gras oil on top to make it more flavorful. OK, I did find the flavors more interesting, although I couldn't be sure it was the foie gras oil.

Speaking of which... how does one make "foie gras oil"? If it is simply the by-product of pan-frying some foie gras... WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO IT?! WHERE'S THE GOOD STUFF?!

Mackerel, tomato, cucumber - this was my favorite dish from my first visit, and I still really enjoyed the satifaction of biting into a big, thick piece of mackerel. The smoky glaze on top was still very nice. The sauce made with brown butter and tomato essence still brought some nice acidity to work with the fatty fish, and this was aided in part by the pickled cucumber shreds. We've also got tiny bits of diced green olives as well as seaweed in the sauce to add some texture.

Ember roasted acorn noodle - a perennial crowd favorite, the most Instagrammable with all the shaved black truffle on top.

But the real star was undoubtedly the sauce, with all that butter, Parmesan, and very finely diced Korean parsley (미나리) as well as onions. We didn't have bread with which to wipe the bowl clean, but I saw a few people trying to drink the sauce...

There is a choice for the main course, so finally I could have something different. Since I chose the venison on my last visit, tonight I'm going for the Hanwoo.

Hanwoo, fermented deodeok, goji berry - we've got a sauce made with Korean chili paste (I'm assuming gochujang 고추장) and Shaoxing wine (紹興酒), pear purée, wolfberries (枸杞子), and fermented lance asiabell (더덕) roots. Honestly I needed to lick the sauce on its own in order to distinguish the wine.

While I wasn't looking for melt-in-your-mouth texture that comes from well-marbled Japanese wagyu, the beef was a little more chewy than I had expected.

Almond foam - we were told this came with perilla oil, instead of the sesame oil used on my last visit... unless the waiter misspoke and confused 紫蘇 and 芝麻, or I misheard him. In any case, I still really liked the combination of savory oil with the sweet almond. Very fragrant.

Lemon rice cake - the rice cake made of makgeolli (막걸리) was pretty nice, and the lemon zest was very fragrant.

Laver choux - one does not usually expect savory flavors when biting into a choux cream, so that's what makes this interesting... especially with that laver jam in the center.

Caramel ice cream - another wonderful dessert, which combines the sweet caramel ice cream with savory burnt scallions and leeks. I didn't mind having this dessert again one bit.

Yakgwa (약과) - the fried dough was dipped in a syrup made of ginger and honey.

We were relatively subdued when it came to alcohol consumption tonight:

2016 Cos d'Estournel Blanc - flinty, a little ripe.

Next5 Colors 2022 Ippakusuisei (一白水成) - seimaibuai of 50%. A little bit of fermented rice on the nose. Some sweetness on the palate but medium-dry mid-palate. Nose was pretty nice, fragrant but not floral nor too fruity, and a bit more alcoholic on the nose than expected.

Kamonishiki Brilliance Akaiwa Omachi (加茂錦 Brilliance 赤磐雄町), R4BY - seimaibuai of 40%. Pretty soft and elegant, with some fermented rice notes, a little on the sweet side. Very nice and richer with the sweet fermented rice notes.

Koshino Kagetora Nakatori Daiginjo (越乃景虎 中とり 大吟醸), R4BY - opened for 2 hours before serving. Nose was a bit more pungent, not as elegant, with stronger flavors.

We were not informed until the end of dinner that the eight of us had not met the minimum charge for the private room. It was suggested that we order of bottle of wine from the restaurant's wine list and take it home.

Well... that's just not gonna work. Only one person would be able to take this bottle home, but we all wanted to drink it. Why did the restaurant wait till the end to tell us about not meeting the minimum? We could have ordered the wine earlier and finished drinking by now! So we decided to drink the bottle in the restaurant anyway... and had the staff told us earlier, they wouldn't need to wait around for us to finish this bottle, and could be going home earlier.

2018 Bruno Colin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chaumées - very toasty nose, with lots of lemon citrus and a bit of flint.

Pretty good meal, and all the first-timers enjoyed their dinner. For me... I really didn't need to come back but decided to take one for the Locusts. I hope they appreciated that.

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