October 30, 2023

A day with KOLs: Chairman x le beaujour

Pin It

I'm spending a day with a select group of KOLs today, most of whom have been invited on a junket - sponsored by the Hong Kong Tourism Board - to come to Hong Kong during the Wine and Dine Festival. There was a series of meals around the end of last month where selective chefs from Hong Kong traveled to Taiwan to collaborate with counterparts in Taiwan, and now the same chefs from Taiwan have come to Hong Kong to return the favor. The attendance at these events is by invitation, and the guests are chefs, journalists, and other influencers from the region.

Which makes it strange that I had been invited to join the lunch today. Granted, it's a real privilege to be at The Chairman (大班樓) today for their collaboration with the team from le beaujour in Taipei. But Danny from The Chairman did extend an invitation to me for the festivities in Taiwan last month - which I turned down due to my previous commitments with Geruhage - so I guess I have been deemed worthy...

When I first received the invitation from Danny, I had mentioned that I may be eating too much today as there is another collaboration dinner tonight that I planned to attend. Danny then told me that they "serve small portions", which would imply that there isn't going to be too much food at lunch. Well, what we did not expect was the number of courses we would be getting! I had initially taken a mental note of the approximate number of items listed on the menu that was placed on the table, but what I didn't realize was that it only listed the small plates... and that the menu came double-sided!

Chilled goji berry soup (杞子凍湯) - nice and refreshing start.

Eight small plates - four vegetarian and four meat dishes (八小碟:四素四葷) :

Puff rice cracker with fermented chillies, Chinese black olive, tomatoes (剁椒欖角蕃茄米通) - this was nice and refreshing with the tomato relish on top. Love these puff rice crackers.

Ginger and sweet vinegar pig trotter terrine (醬醋豬手凍) - this was always gonna be my favorite of the bunch. After all, not only was it made with both pig head and trotter, it was also made with sweet vinegar and ginger, which made it a 豬腳薑 jelly. Totally up my alley. I could have taken down the entire portion for the whole table.

Lychee and Thai basil marinated cherry tomatoes (荔枝/九層塔漬小番茄) - the flavors of the marinades were on the delicate side, but both were nice.

Mala beef tenderloin, Maotai mayonnaise (麻辣牛柳絲, 茅台蛋黃醬) - this was very enjoyable as the mala (麻辣) flavors were not overpowering but just enough to tickle one's tastebuds. The mayo made with Maotai (茅台) was, apparently, an after thought... but it worked.

Grey mullet stomach in XO sauce, coffee oil (XO瑤柱烏魚扣, 咖啡油) - it's been a while since I last had grey mullet tripe, and this was pretty interesting with that coffee flavor on top of the XO sauce.

Fresh ginseng, chicken jus and peanut vinaigrette (鮮人參, 雞汁花生油醋) - I am... not a fan of ginseng as I find it a little bitter. OK la...

Taiwanese mullet roe egg roll (烏魚子蛋捲) - really love the dried mullet roe flavors in this tamagoyaki (玉子焼き).

Chinese rose sugar crème fraîche and fresh lily bulb (茶靡糖酸奶拌百合) - very interesting to have both the rose fragrance and the creamy flavors here.

Abalone bisque, caviar, puff pastry cracker (鮑魚濃湯, 魚子醬與酥餅) - you know that you're loved when the boss sends back your portion so that the staff can deliver one that was made especially for you... in this case, without any gold foil on the caviar. Now THAT is VIP treatment!

The "abalonccino" was very thick in terms of texture, and certainly very tasty.

Poached high-finned grouper, fish stock with capers, lemon confit, parsley oil (魚湯酸豆檸檬浸老鼠斑, 歐芹油) - DAMN! That's a beautiful fish!

Always love it when there's some acidity in the sauce, and this time we've got lemons, tomatoes, and capers. There's also just a hint of spicy heat.

Melon and kombu juice - this was pretty delicious, with a subtle umami profile on top of the sweet melon juice.

Steamed flowery crab and squid noodle in chicken fat and Huadiao wine, white truffle (雞油花雕蟹鮮魷麵, 白松露) - I'm always happy to see variations of the iconic crab in Huadiao at these collaboration events, and here the crab meat has been taken out of the shells to be served on top of the noodles. Speaking of the noodles, DaRC and I initially thought these would be actual squid cut into thin, noodle-like strands... but I think they were probably noodles made with some squid like the fish noodles (魚麵) we sometimes see. The noodle broth made by taking the jus of other crabs which have been steamed separately. Definitely pretty tasty.

Langoustine with salted lemon preserve, orange flower fennel (角蝦陳年咸檸檬, 橙花茴香) - the langoustine was, of course, very nicely executed with a thin layer of pistachio crust on top. The butter sauce on the side was made with the Chairman's famous collection of aged lemons, which gave it that amazing flavor. Even the fennel on the side was nicely infused with orange blossom.

Camphor wood smoked goose, foie gras eclair, Whisky sauce (樟木煙燻鵝, 鵝肝醬泡芙, 威士忌醬汁) - yet another interesting variation on a familiar dish from the Chairman. I was pretty happy to have gotten half of the goose head, but the real star was, of course, the shredded smoky goose meat along with the Whisky sauce.

The éclair came with a slab of foie gras mousse inside, and we were meant to stuff some of the goose meat inside, too. So, so, soooo delicious.

Hibiscus peppercorn - wouldn't ya know it... the fragrance of Sichuan peppercorns infused in the juice paired perfectly with the smoked goose.

Clay pot rice with dry aged eel, ganba mushroom (炭燒熟成鰻魚乾巴菌煲仔飯) - we love the big clay pots of rice, and the latest version with the fermented eel has received a seasonal upgrade.

The intensely fragrant (perhaps pungent to some) and flavorful ganbajun (乾巴菌) has been added to the mix. Unfortunately I felt that the kitchen didn't add enough of this wonderful fungus, so the nose wasn't nearly as beautiful as this experience from a few years ago. Nevertheless, this was plenty tasty.

"Red feet" Chinese broccoli with tapenade (紅腳芥蘭橄欖醬) - these guys get the best veggies, as they are really more flavorful than what we normally can buy, and also more fresh and tender.

Late choi sum with cracklins (豬油渣遲菜心) - what's not to like when fried lard is used in a veggie dish?!

There was a selection of dried/candied fruit (乾果蜜餞) from Taiwan as well as China:

Winter melon - the sugar content was so, so high... and these barely had any fibers inside.

Pomelo rind - made in small batches by a supplier in China. Didn't taste like pomelo at all.


Pink guava - tasty as always.


Miso madeleine (味增小蛋糕)

Custard glutinous rice ball (奶黃煎堆) - always happy to finish with something like this. So fragrant in the mouth.

There was a bottle of wine from the restaurant's wine list that I had been meaning to pop open, but we weren't sure Danny would have let us pay for it today... so DaRC, the Twins, and I kept to the official wine pairings:

2013 Comte Abbatucci Cuvée Collection Général de la Révolution - nice acidity and lean on the palate. Lots of toasty oak on the nose.

2012 Crété Chamberlin Blanc de Blancs Quintile, dégorgée Septembre 2022 - pretty high in acidity, more than expected. Yeasty and toasty nose, like brioche.

2012 Thomas Pinot Noir Dundee Hills - dusty and chalky. Not pleasant.

We were so, soooo full but very happy to have tasted many of these special dishes. Bravo to the teams from le beaujour and the Chairman, and grateful to Danny for the very kind invitation. Now I have less than 4 hours to dinner...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map