March 14, 2024

B's detour day 1: that spicy kick

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B was very disappointed when I delivered the news last year that Sichuan Moon (川江月) had closed. She had been looking forward to visiting André Chiang's restaurant ever since it opened, but the pandemic got in the way. To make it up to her - in a roundabout way - I decided to take her to Mián (紅棉). This is a restaurant that Foursheets and I like very much, because while it delivers some very good Cantonese dishes, Chef Ronald Shao (邵德龍)'s background in Sichuanese cuisine adds an interesting dimension to the dining experience.

We normally would have asked for a table on the terrace under the pink and white shower tree (節果決明樹) and take our CC Dogcow along, but not tonight. We ended up sitting inside next to a table of ladies celebrating someone's birthday, and this had a negative impact on the service level. Oh well.

Boiled sliced pork ∙ garlic ∙ chili oil (蒜泥白肉) - I had forgotten how spicy the sauce was, and almost choked on my first bite. This was juuuuuust at the edge of my tolerance, which is to say that I wouldn't be able to have more than 2 slices before my tongue gets lit on fire. I do like the julienned celtuce wrapped inside the pork.

Jade lettuce ∙ wasabi (日本鮮山葵玉玲瓏) - crunchy and refreshing, but while the flavors of the celtuce strips were clean, they could have done better with seasoning.

Boneless silky fowl and chicken fillets ∙ spring onion ∙ dan dan sauce (擔擔鴛鴦雞) - apparently someone likes chicken, and had never had silky chicken (竹絲雞) before. Of course, the dan dan (擔擔) sauce makes it a little more interesting for my friends.

Sichuan style boiled ∙ tiger grouper ∙ assorted chili (沸騰老虎斑) - a really good dish that my friends (and Foursheets) really liked. Just look at all the chili floating on top.

The brown-marbled grouper (老虎斑) is, unfortunately, classified as "Avoid" on the World Wildlife Fund Seafood Guide. I do like the acidity combined with the level of heat, but alas, the loofah was much, much too muddy in terms of flavor. The udon here ended up being our own dose of carbs tonight

Deep fried crispy chicken ∙ scallions sauce (紅棉䓤油雞) - a real winner tonight. I've always loved this dish for the intense flavors coming from the burnt spring onions, which contrasted well with the diced fresh spring onions. That paper-thin crispy chicken skin didn't hurt, either...

Beef brisket and tendon ∙ chili pepper broth (椒香清湯牛筋蝴蝶腩) - I knew I had to order this for my friend, and also for Foursheets. This is something we get on just about every visit.

The brisket and tendon were both very nice and tender, but I could drink the clear broth all day... especially with the bits of chili pepper adding that really alluring kick to it. Truly magical and makes you want more.

Assorted seafood in claypot ∙ chili crab sauce ∙ vermicelli (香辣蟹醬粉絲海鮮煲) - I like glass vermicelli and the spicy sauce was decent, but at this price point, it's obvious the seafood was not fresh but previously frozen. OK la...

Stir-fried water bamboo ∙ eggplants ∙ green beans (醬燒地三鮮:茭白筍,茄子,法邊豆) - I do like the combination of the vegetables, especially the water bamboo (茭白筍) that is difficult to source in the middle of Europe. My friend, however, didn't care for the heavy-handed sauce.

I brought along a few bottles to start the adventure.

Eric Rodez Rosé, dégorgée en Avril 2022 - flint, nice notes of red fruits, savory minerals, and a little caramelized sugar.

2007 Joh.Jos. Prüm Wehelener Sonnenuhr Kabinett - classic Mosel riesling, with lots of petrol and polyurethane. Not too sweet on the palate.

2001 Torbreck RunRig - drank 2 hours after double-decanting. While decanting the fruit was really sweet and explosive, but it had mellowed out when we started drinking. Much more elegant by then, but still lovely.

I think the dinner was a reasonable success. Looking forward to tomorrow!

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