June 15, 2023

Flying goose

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Like a number of my friends, I have now gotten into the habit of booking periodic tables at the Chairman (大班樓). The bookings are made on a quarterly basis, and as the date approaches, I suddenly remember I hadn't invited anyone to come and join me for dinner. I then scramble to find takers, and eventually feel relived that I don't have to cancel the booking.

For the second time in a row, the Compatriot happened to be in town when I have a free seat available. He was only too happy to come, of course, even though he had to leave a little early to catch his flight. It's always good to see him.

I was pretty excited to try out a couple of dishes I've never tasted before, especially one that DaRC had mentioned to me a few days ago.

Lily bulb and wintermelon marinated in young ginger vinegar and rose wine (蘭州百合,玫瑰露子薑醋漬冬瓜) - the winter melon definitely shows the acidity from the vinegar with flavors from the Chairman's famous pickled young ginger, along with a spicy kick. Love the floral nose and flavors from Mei Kuei Lu (玫瑰露).

The Chairman fatty pork char siu (炭火厚切叉燒) - one is alwas happy to see a plate of the now-famous charcoal-grilled char siu (叉燒). In fact, maybe next time I should order two plates... These thick cuts of fatty pork are so, soooo satisfying, not just because of marbling but also from the charring.

Cleansing soup (一口湯) - the watercress flavors definitely came through.

Due to our relatively tight schedule and some logistics issues with the kitchen, we agreed to have the dishes served out of order. Not ideal but I don't think the Compatriot minded.

Crispy mutton ribs with typhoon shelter-style fried garlic (避風塘蒜香羊肋骨) - the ribs were definitely pretty tasty, and I do like it served typhoon shelter (避風塘)-style but the deep-fried garlic and chili, but unfortunately the garlic was much too greasy and not dry as it should have been.

Charcoal grilled crispy marinated eel (炭燒熟成脆皮鱔) - so... this was the new "off menu" starter that I was excited about trying. Danny was kind enough to give us an extra plate.

The top side of the eel delivered some fermented flavors, which was more interesting than the typical "fresh" eel often served in Cantonese restaurants, as this helped to mask the usual muddy flavors. The top side also seemed to have been scored, which changed the texture after grilling.

The "secret sauce" reminded me of miso, actually... as it was a little on the sweet side with fermented flavors. In fact, I wondered if this sauce was already lathered onto the eel before grilling...

Steamed fresh flowery crab with aged ShaoXing wine, fragrant chicken oil and flat rice noodles (雞油花雕蒸花蟹配陳村粉) - the signature dish, but I had to order for the benefit of 2 friends coming here for the first time. Of course, the Compatriot was only too happy to havde this again... since we didn't have it on our last visit.

Camphor wood smoked goose (樟木煙燻黑腳鵝) - OK, I don't think I can get tired of having this goose. I'm still berating my now ex-colleagues for failing to pick this dish on their first visit a few months ago.

The goose is cut into pieces, with the breast meat removed from service but packed into a takeout box for us. I really do love the crispy skin with all the smoky flavors on top of the spices, and that tasty fat...

We knew we couldn't finish the goose, so we asked the staff to pack the leftovers so that the Compatriot could take it on his flight for a late night snack...

Double boiled vegetables with fried pork skin and dried cherry blossom shrimps (豬皮櫻花蝦燉遲菜芯) - can't go wrong when you have pork skin that's been deep-fried like chicharron and then braised. Not to mention all the little sakura shrimp.

Beef short ribs Chinese cured liver sausages claypot rice (薑絲肥牛膶腸窩蛋煲仔飯) - can't pass up any one of the wonderful claypot rice on offer, and actually any one of them would do. Tonight we picked the one with slices of beef served up with Cantonese preserved (I'm assuming duck and not goose) liver sausage.

Really awesome when the staff scrape off the rice crispies at the bottom of the pot and plate some of it separately.

Meanwhile, the majority of the rice crispies goes back into the kitchen for them to do a second service, in soup form with some clams and coriander. So, sooo tasty.

Desserts trio (甜品三味):

Wolfberry ice cream (杞子雪糕)

Mung bean cake (綠豆糕)

Osmanthus jelly (桂花糕)

This was not a big drinking crowd, so it was just 3 bottles tonight:

2016 Cos d'Estournel Blanc - oily on the nose with a little kerosene. Acidity was nice as always but not too sharp.

1995 Hospices de Beaune Corton Cuvée Charlotte Dumay, élevé par Dominique Laurent - a little stewed fruit, with black olives and leather notes. Good acidity here. More animal and not too much fruit, so this was a little more lean and less alluring.

1990 Lynch-Bages - decanted and served about an hour after opening. Not a lot of fruit left, but lots of graphite, smoke, grilled meats, and cedar. Soft on the palate by now.

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