Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Matsutake mushroom and pork dumplings from Nom Nom Dumpling

We were brought to this dumpling shop (G/F, 30 Boundary Street, Prince Edward, tel : +852 3105 9968) that claimed to be the first to make dumplings with matsutake mushrooms as their stuffings. Well, it's minced pork and bits of matsutake mushrooms to be precise and those dumplings turned out to be rather tasty. Each order of those dumplings came with a light mushroomy broth. It didn't take a lot of those mushrooms in the dumplings for the flavours to show and honestly, I liked them enough that I wouldn't mind coming back again just for those.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

SEPA Bacaro Veneziano, Caine Road, Central

Nice place (61 Caine Road, Central, tel : +852 2521 9800). Not to be a snob about the joint but while I could appreciate the effort in the decor, the restaurant ultimately felt like a theme park since every inch of the look was designed while in a real bacaro, every inch of their look was etched in as part of the authenticity of its existence. Let’s not go down that road. This is Hong Kong, not Venice.

The above is their Tartare di Rapa Rossa; beetroot and tuna tartare with Jerusalem artichoke puree. A signature item of theirs apparently. I think the beetroot might have been the skin of the red balls which are stuffed with tuna. Not bad. Looked fancy and effort intensive to make. Not exactly the kind of stuff one would find in a regular bacaro.

Followed by beef carpaccio with sliced celery root and white truffle dust on crackers. Yes, I think dust would be an appropriate description. Not bad too and could have been improved with just a little bit of salt.

Sea urchin bruschetta with lardo. I'm not sure if there was anything else but these were the main ingredients. It was a very nice amalgamation of flavours. This was the tastiest cicchetti we had tonight. If we ever came back, this would be the one thing that I would order again.

The restaurant recommended that we try the baccalà that was on the board for a version that was how they would have done in Venice. It was even served in little triangles of deep fried polenta. The fish wasn't as smooth nor tasty as some the ones we've had, but I suppose we couldn't complain.

We had seen a picture of this pasta somewhere on the internet and we were quite determined to try it. It's a sea urchin pasta with coconut. And it tastes pretty much as it looked. For some reasons, I was expected it to be a little sweet, but it was a savoury pasta. Not bad, but we weren't exactly blown away.

This was a small focaccia with prosciutto di Parma and burrata. The bread was flavoured with olive oil and salt.  

And then a bomba stuffed with ricotta and mortadella ham. The bomba was the round air filled bread. Looks a little like a poori. I think the menu mentioned black truffle, but they seem to be using the white truffle dust for all of their items with truffle now that they're in season. I guess all the leftover crumbs must go somewhere.

Sepa is what it tries to be. A place for small bites and drinks, just like the real ones in Venice. A spot to chill, so to speak, after work and maybe throw back a few. While the variety of the food was limited and the portions are Asian sized, I can understand or at least accept these coming from the perspective of a business coping with Mid Levels rental in Central. To match the Venetians at their game in this part of the world might have been painfully or prohibitively expensive, so this would probably be the next best.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A braised egg in sweet herbal tea dessert

We were brought to this Cantonese dessert shop, Yuen Kee Dessert (源記甜品專家) by a friend who had learnt of its existence through a food writer in Hong Kong. Apparently, they have been around for a very long time. There was one particular dessert from the shop (G/F, 32 Centre Street, tel : +852 2548 8687) which I was told was a traditional item that wasn't so common these days. It was a sweetened herbal tea served with an egg that looked like it had been braising for a long time in the said herbal tea. I never asked if this was beneficial for anything in particular, but I ordered one just for the experience. The flavours of the braising liquid was steeped all the way right into the yolk of the egg. Interesting. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ma Sa Restaurant (孖沙茶餐廳), Hillier Street, Sheung Wan

This old school cha chaan teng (G/F, 23 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan, tel : +852 2545 9026) serves a plethora of local comfort food. It's actually quite simple to understand what can be ordered once one figures out what they have for ingredients of the day since they're flexible with requests. Any of the starches on menu can likely be paired with any of their meats even if it's not stated.

On more than one occasion, we had walked by without realising this shop existed. The food here is relatively inexpensive, generously portioned and gut sticking.

An auntie from the shop recommended (in a strangely, almost conspiratorial manner) their fried rice with chicken and salted fish. This wasn't too bad, we could taste the salted fish on some parts of the rice rather than salted fish on just the salted fish like what many places do. While it wasn't major on flavours and didn't have very much ingredients, it was unexplainably addictive.

The rice plate that they are known for comes with a meat of choice along with trio of eggs where one could specify the doneness which are then finished with splashes of dark soy sauce. This was the char siew with sunny side up. I believe you get this with pork chops, luncheon meat or even sausages. This was awesome.

The other item that was unexpectedly good was a stir fried hor fun with char siew. What worked for me was the sparing use of the starchy sauce and the smoky aroma from the stir fried rice noodles. A Chinese stir fry that would probably be done very poorly back home. Notice the grains of meat peeking their cracks on the char siew. These tender slices are just waiting to fall apart in the mouth.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Starring Yat Lok

So, these guys have been awarded their Michelin Star last year. I wonder how many more people will flock the shop now that they're under "starlight" and it would be interesting if the quality would sustain to maintain their luminance; a Michelin Star is after all a retrospective award.

Estab De Comidas Ngao Keo Ka Lei Chon (牛記咖喱美食), Rua de Cinco de Outubro, Macau

We came over to Macau this trip to visit the ruins of Saint Paul. It was a lot more to look at than what many pictures on the web had suggested. We had time for one meal and ended up here (G/F, 1 Rua de Cinco de Outubro, tel : +853 2895 6129).  There were posters up on the shop front mentioning that they had been listed in the Hong Kong/Macau Michelin Guide for a few consecutive years; so I'm guessing they're well known, at least to the locals.

One of the items this shop was known for were their crab fat noodles (蟹黃撈麵). Man this was good, but we definitely would not have minded if there were more of that rich creamy gooey stuff to go with the noodles. Doesn't any other shop do this in Hong Kong?

We ordered some lamb brisket with rice. Apparently, the lamb briskets are only on the menu during winter and not the rest of the year.

It wasn't bad, but this was a traditional Chinese recipe where the spices used also help remove that gamey flavour from lamb. The broth was flavourful but I'm probably never ordering this again since I couldn't taste much lamb.