July 25, 2023

I feel like chicken tonight

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Some time ago, there was a discussion between V and Monsieur Jamin about doing a tasting of sweet wines like beerenauslese and trockenbeerenauslese, which are much sweeter than the typical "off-dry" rieslings I usually bring to drink with Chinese food. To be honest, we should have probably scheduled a trip to Macau to raid the cellars at the Lisboa hotels... but that would mean not getting a chance to taste the stuff from our own cellars.

I was surprised to find that the Candidate had never been to Forum Restaurant (富臨飯店), which has become one of my go-to places for fine dining Cantonese. One of the reasons for this is their knowledgeable sommelier, and since I'm usually drinking some decent bottles, it does help to enlist his services.

We had discussed about tonight's menu in the group chat beforehand, partly based on my suggestions. It seemed, though, that we all wanted a lot of chicken... so much so that I had to conduct a poll to try to eliminate one of 3 options we discusssed. I was sure that the third option would be ordered on the spot, too... I submitted a list to the restaurant yesterday so that the kitchen could prep the ingredients a little earlier. None of them were expensive so we didn't meet the minimum spend for a private room...

Salad prawn on toast (沙律鳳尾蝦多士) - I love this dish, and it's been a while since the last time I had it here.

I thought this was pretty nicely done, with the exterior of the toast that was crunchy enough. I didn't think the mayo was necessary so I stayed away from it.

Braised mushroom and goose web (天白菰扣鵝掌) - the first of three clay pot dishes tonight. I was pretty surprised that the goose web wasn't popular with some people at the table, which meant there was more for me!

Braised dried sea cucumber with shrimp roe (蝦子紅燒遼參) - the most expensive dish tonight, and clearly everyone's favorite. I know this because by the time I got to it, there were no pieces of sea cucumber left!!! I had to settle for those pretty mushrooms with some of that beautiful shrimp roe sauce. Sniff...

Braised ox tail (燒汁焗牛尾) - Foursheets and I only discovered this dish on our last visit, and apparently V always orders this dish. I was surprised that this was served in a clay pot tonight, and a closer look showed that the pieces were from the part of the tail that is closer to the tip. There were more pieces in the pot - most of which were smaller - which meant everyone could have a piece or two.

The sauces were so good that we couldn't bear to waste them, so we decided to have some carbs. First I had some of the shrimp roe sauce from the sea cucumber with rice...

... followed by ox tail and sauce with noodles (生麵).

Chef Adam homemade roasted barbecued pork (滔哥靚叉燒) - one should not miss this beautiful char siu (叉燒)

This was very tender thanks to the marbling, and at the same time the flavors were very complex thanks to the marinade which tasted of some dried mandarin peel.

Deep-fried pork with dried mandarin peel in sweet and sour sauce (陳皮咕嚕肉) - another classic dish which requires ordering more often than not. The flavors from the dried mandarin peel are just amazing as the fragrance lingers on in one's mouth.

Deep-fried crispy chicken (富臨脆皮雞) - a request from the Candidate, but as we were ordering another chicken dish, we chose to order just half a chicken. Very nicely done as expected.

Deep-fried chicken piece with shrimp paste (蝦醬炸雞件) - the crowd favorite, however, turned out to be this one. Very tender with delicious fat under the skin for some pieces, the flavors of the shrimp paste in the batter left one wanting more. Not easy to put the chopsticks down after even the second or third piece...

Braised bean curd roll stuffed with mixed vegetables (煎炆腐皮卷) - interesting to find the tofu skin wrapped arounded shredded woodear fungus, carrots, and more.

Pan fried lotus root and minced fish cake with salty clam (蜆芥藕香煎鯪魚餅) - I'm normally not a fan of dace/mud carp (鯪魚) due to both its flavors and the presence of its numerous, tiny bones, but the locals felt differently...

The texture was pretty bouncy, and the bits of diced clams encased inside the patties were very chewy. The muddy flavors have been neutralized by a ton of dried mandarin peel and kaffir lime leaves.

Braised vegetable with Yunnan ham in supreme soup (高湯雲腿扒四蔬) - so the four vegetables were kailan (芥蘭), broccoli, button mushrooms, and straw mushrooms.

Amaranth in supreme soup with salted and century eggs (金銀蛋浸莧菜) - amaranth is in season so this was recommended.

Egg twist with citron honey (柚子蜜脆蛋散) - love the yuzu (柚子) honey sauce.

Creamy egg custard cake (懷舊千層奶皇糕) - this supposedly comes with layers of pork fat (冰肉).

Steamed sponge cake (欖仁馬拉糕)

Deep-fried sesame glutinous ball (黃金煎堆仔) - very, very good as always. So fragrant and crispy.

Since Foursheets won't touch anything sweet, we arranged for a couple of other bottles and even ordered some off the restaurant's wine list:

2020 Domaine Takahiko Soga Nana-Tsu-Mori - really fragrant, definitely floral nose. I could smell the acidity in the wine, like Chinese preserved sour plums. Not exactly ripe and jammy but there was definitely some sweetness on the nose. After sitting in the glass for an hour the wine turned a little soapy, and there was perhaps some aged tangerine peel. More than 2 hours after opening this became more savory, with some exotic spices which was not quite Chinese five spice. Very happy with this wine.

1989 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Eiswein - really fragrant notes of aged marmalade, honey, with lots of petrol on the nose. There is enough acidity here to balance out the sugar, which was why the sommelier suggested we start with this before the others.

2008 Joseph Douhin Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Petits Monts - more lean rather than voluptuous, a little meaty, and definitely toasty on the nose. Quite nice and drinking well.

2005 Weinbach Gewurztraminer Furstentum Vendages Tardives - really floral with lots of white flowers, lots of classic lychee, and later plenty of honeysuckle. Very sweet on the palate but texture was not really viscous. Very alluring right now.

1959 Reichsgraf von Plettenberg Kreuznacher Brückes Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Cabinet - served about 2 hours after opening. Very nutty, lots of medjool dates, a little bit Chinese sour plum juice. A lot more complex than the other two sweet wines.

Frederic Savart Les Pinots V15.16, dégorgée juillet 2021 - drank more than 2 hours after opening. Slight ripeness on the nose with a little bit of minerals. Dry on the palate with a little bitterness on the finish.

A very, very happy evening. Well-executed, delicious food that satisfies without breaking the bank. And our wines - especially the sweet selections - working well with the food. We should do this again soon.

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