Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Neighborhood Gang

I delightfully joined the gang of foodie friends for dinner at Neighborhood just last week. Our friend R and P hauled back some Black Market Beef from Australia’s Rangers Valley ranch and of course, I was more than happy to be on the receiving end when they decided to share the joy with us at one of our favorite restaurants in town.

Of course we left it to chef-owner David to sort out the menu for us, and we ended up with an amazing spread of dishes in addition to the beef. We began with a couple lighter seafood dishes. The Dutch Pacific oysters came with good size – almost as big as my fist – and only served with simple garnish of grounded black peppercorns and a few drops of lemon juice. It was creamy with good seawater taste. That was followed by the red snapper carpaccio, with radish slices, Corsica oranges and splash of olive oil.

When David mentioned they were still receiving sporadic (but excellent) supply of white truffles (in addition to the black truffles now in season), we went for a few truffle dishes. First was a simple dish of homemade tagliolini cooked with butter sauce and shavings of white truffles done at our table. We were all stunned at the size of the seabass roe when it arrived at the table in whole. Apparently it came from a 40-catty fish (around 24kg) and we ended up having a steak-size piece each  – definitely not what I had in mind when David said it would just be one slice for each of us. The whole piece was slightly salted, wrapped in slices of black truffles and caul fat then roasted in oven. A very straight-forward preparation but was outstanding - soft creamy texture from the fish roes combined with rich, earthy flavor from the fat and truffles, in a totally different style and taste than say, bottarga or mentaiko.

Just as we finished our slab of fish roes, the star of the night arrived in a baking pan and placed in the middle of our long table. The pieces of meat were such a beauty just by looking at them – especially R teased us with the video he took of the raw meat before they were cooked and served. The steak was exceptionally marbled and tender, grass and then grain-fed for the balanced fat, and dry-aged for extended period of time to get the tenderness and intense flavor. A few different cuts were served, and my favorite was the thick-cut Porterhouse, a bit firmer with the distinct meaty taste near to the bones. The hanger steak/hanging tender was good too, with less fat but even more intense taste. On the side we also had a few servings of Neighborhood’s signature bone marrow risotto, served with plenty of black truffles. I just wish I had room for more of those.

A few of friends graced the dinner with a handful of bottles. All of them were lovely but I particularly enjoyed the few new world bottles and thought they were perfect for the meat. Didn't take tasting note on the night but I will let Growing Boy's words filled in for that. Of course we ended our meal with the chocolate palette cake and caneles, another two must-have items at the restaurant.

Thanks R and P for hauling back the gorgeous beef and for letting me crash the dinner.

When? January 5 2016
Where? Neighborhood, 61-63 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Rangers Valley Black Market Beef
2000 Clos Badon Thunevin
2000 Clos Badon Thunevin L’Interdit de Badon
1985 Chateau Troplong Mondot
1994 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon
1983 Dunn Howell Mountain
2000 E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline
2006 Mollydooker Enchanted Path Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon

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