January 30, 2024

Ay Bee No Cee Dee

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It's been almost 5 months since our foursome got together to open a few bottles, and some time ago we had agreed that at our next gathering would feature a few bottles of the famed Clos de Beze in Chambertin. We finally got around for it tonight, and I was pretty glad to have gotten this in the bag before next week.

Wai Gor suggested that we try out Aap Ba Din (鴨巴甸公館) since he gets VIP treatment there. I don't remember ever hearing about the place, but it looks like these guys took over the space formerly occupied by Celebrity Cuisine (名人坊) in the Lan Kwai Fong Hotel. Since our organizer is a regular, I didn't have any objections to the menu proposed by the restaurant.

I arrived a few minutes late, and found these snacks already sitting on the table. The taro chips were pretty good, but for some reason I couldn't stop munching on the baked dough pockets. As Belo would remark later on, this seemed to be my favorite dish of the evening...

Our soup (頭啖湯) was tomato soup, and there was some sweetness here.

Snack duo (兩小吃):the first of the duo was babylonia (東風螺) marinated in Sichuan peppercorn oil, so there's some of that distinctive fragrance.

I didn't realize until after we had finished dinner, but where was our second snack? It wasn't supposed to be the pickles on the plate, right?!

Chilled abalone marinated in junmai ginjo (純米吟醸凍鮑魚) - this was... not special. The texture was OK in terms of tenderness and bite, but the flavors were definitely on the "fishy (腥)" side.

Deep-fried oyster (酥脆桶蠔) - this oyster was damn big and definitely creamy. Crispy batter but this was a little on the greasy side.

Pan-fried stuffed spiny sea cucumber (高粱酒煎釀遼參) - stuffed sea cucumber is something mom has been doing at home for decades, although she only started using spiny ones since I bought her some from Japan last year. The exterior of the slug is crispy, which is always a nice touch.

The stuffing is much lighter in color compared to mom's as it's lighter in seasoning. I suppose one is meant to rely on the sauce.

Traditional braised grouper fin (古法燜龍躉翅) - this was OK... and slightly more fishy than expected.

Chrysanthemum with matsutake (松茸菊) - matsutake (松茸)-flavored chicken consommé. A block of tofu cut into a "chrysanthemum" flower shape with a mold.

Stir-fried Kurobuta ribs with preserved black olives (欖角黑豚豬肋肉) - this was decent. Tender meat with good flavors from the preserved olives.

Stir-fried pea shoots with crab meat and egg white (蟹肉蛋白扒豆胚) - OK la.

Fried rice with Chinese preserved sausage (砂鍋臘味崧炒飯) - this was decent.

Double-boiled pear with fritillaria and aged tangerine peel (川貝老陳皮燉勁梨) - it's been a while since I had double-boiled pear for dessert, and I was pretty happy to get this.

All the wines tonight drank well, especially the two older bottles which are nearly 40 years old!

1988 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune - the nose was sooo fragrant. Obviously very much oxidized so there's that marmalade both on the nose and the palate. The palate was ripe but the acidity was still there. Got some lemon, Chinese angelica, caramelized sugar, straw, a little flint and petrol, and also vanilla on the nose. Drinking really well.

1985 Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Beze - decanted and served around 45 minutes after opening. Very fragrant and floral nose, with leather and more meaty notes, still very much alive but vitality was not the same as our last bottle 3 years ago. Certainly more mellow now. Two hours after opening this was drinking beautifully and still going strong.

2011 Perrot-Minot Chambertin Clos de Beze - pretty exotic spices on the nose and maybe a little coconut. Nice black cherries, too. Good concentration here.

2017 Pierre Damoy Chambertin Clos de Beze - served more than 4 hours after opening. Nice and fragrant with black fruits and a little leather. Still a little grippy but also got the acidity.

Very happy to get the gang back together, and so happy the wines did so well. Looking forward to our next one!

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