April 27, 2023

An afternoon in the garden

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My morning started with a late breakfast. I should have had this breakfast earlier, but erroneous information online put the opening times of Sei Kee Cafe (世紀咖啡快餐) in Nam Van (南灣) at 90 minutes later than when it actually opened.

I'm here for one thing - egg and luncheon meat on toast (午餐肉厚蛋多士). Having tasted this beautiful sandwich with its thick slab of luncheon meat along with a thick yet fluffy omelette, I just had to come back for it at the first chance I got. Who cares if lunch is in 90 minutes?!

And I still liked the clay pot coffee (燒瓦煲咖啡).

I packed up and checked out of the Grand Lisboa Palace Resort Macau and joined a group lunch at Palace Garden (御花園), one of the new restaurants in the resort. We were hosted by the resort in one of the large private rooms, and it's clear that the resort spared no expense in decorating the restaurant.

The introduction accompanying our menu boasts that Chef Ken Chong (莊嘉輝) had "learned from the disciple of the personal chef of Imperial Scholar Jiang of the Qing Dynasty (師承清朝江太史家廚的入室弟子)". Well... since we can trace all the disciples of Lee Choi (李才), we asked our hosts for clarification. It seems Chef Ken had worked for many years under Chef Lai Yau Tim (黎有甜), and the restaurant stresses the focus on "taishi dishes (太史菜色)".

Our welcome drink was made with passion fruit and winter melon.

Crispy puff with chicken and lemon (西檸雞酥) - yeah... this definitely reminded me of eating lemon chicken. The puff pastry was OK but the middle was pretty mushy.

Abalone and pork dumpling with black caviar (黑魚子醬翡翠鮑魚豚肉燒賣) - the wrapper for the siu mai (燒賣) was made with spinach, which gave it the green tint. In this instance the caviar actually worked with the abalone.

Cristal Blue prawn dumpling (金汁藍天使蝦餃) - the golden hue in the wrapper came from carrot juice. Of course, one can always use a little gold... while inside we have some chunks of bamboo shoots together with the Cristal Blue prawns from New Caledonia, as it should be.

Goose roasted and served with Kristal caviar (魚子醬脆皮燒鵝件) - the skin of the goose was smoky and the fat oozed out with some pressure, but the taste was a little "off". Once again the caviar worked well here.

Pork loin barbecued with honey sauce (蜜味黑豚叉燒) - this was very marbled in the middle, so naturally it was very, very tender.

Premium partridge bisque (太史鳳凰羹) - the look and feel of this was certainly very familiar, as I've had numerous bowls of snake bisque from Tim's Kitchen (桃花源) under Lai Yau Tim and his son Maurice Lai, a few from Cuisine Cuisine (國金軒) under Chef Lee Yuk-lam (李煜霖), and even more from Chef Duck at my favorite private dining facility. I was even fortunate enough to taste a partridge version whose recipe came from Mrs. Pearl Kong Chen (江獻珠) - the Imperial Scholar's granddaughter - just two days after her passing.

This certainly tasted familiar, and there was plenty of flavor without the heavy use of seasoning. Love the delicate touch of finely-shredded ingredients.

Crystal king tiger prawn (水晶虎蝦球) - this, too, looks very familiar. Served with 52-month jamón ibérico and 25-year balsamico, along with some romanesco broccoli.

The texture was OK, as it wasn't too crunchy from the use of too much baking soda. I did think it was a little over-seasoned and too salty.

When I looked at the name of the next dish, I couldn't help but think of the 紙包雞 skit from McDull (麥兜)...

Foie gras and chicken wrapped in crispy waffle paper (法國鵝肝紙包雞) - inspite of French foie gras d'oie, Chinese "three yellow chicken (三黃雞)", carrots and Chinese celery inside, topped with shavings of katsuobushi (鰹節), this was a pretty useless dish. Not really interesting both in terms of texture or flavor.

Seafood fried rice with sakura shrimp (櫻花蝦海鮮炒飯) - made with crab meat from the Philippines.

Sweetened almond cream (特色杏仁蛋白)

The petit four was kinda like sachma (沙其馬).

With our bellies very full, we picked up our luggage and were transported to the Taipa Ferry Terminal for our transport back to Hong Kong. I'm grateful for the hospitality over the last 2 days, and look forward to coming back to check out both the Karl Lagerfeld and Palazzo Versace - the latter of which just had their opening 2 days ago.

Back in Hong Kong, Four Sheets came to pick me up at the ferry terminal with a very special package. We went off to my go-to framer to drop it off for a rush job. It will be a special gift for a very special friend, soon.

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