Tuesday, April 5, 2016

First Time at Yun Yan

I don't do hot and spicy dishes often but I have been craving for Sichuanese food for a while for some reasons (Must be the cold weather, I reckon). So I thought the timing was just perfect when we were invited to check out the new tasting menu at Yun Yan, Mira Dining's Sichuan restaurant in Times Square a couple weeks ago.

It's the first time I ate at this restaurant since they moved from their original TST location. The chef's tasting menu featured six savory courses in addition to appetizers to desserts, with most of the dishes served in individual, tasting portion. They probably took a cue or two from the Japanese Kaiseki-style of table service, as the dishes were presented in beautiful crockery in different colors and shapes and food was carefully plated, all added to the elegant style, and good for the pictures for sure, and most important of all, the dishes were well-cooked and tasty.

We began with a trio of gorgeous-looking appetizers served on small plates, all of which looked gorgeous. I especially loved the wafer-thin translucent beef slice served on a skewer on top of the tofu roll with a hint of sweetness and spiciness and interesting texture. The soup that followed looked simple but hearty and full of flavors with clear chicken consomme poured into a bowl at the table with a thin slice of the aromatic matsutake mushroom and Chinese cabbage.

The menu was said to be based on ancient imperial court recipe so it's no surprise that many fancy ingredients were used – from the braised abalone to river shrimps to sea cucumber and bird’s nest. Among them my favorite was the sautéed river shrimps served with a light coating of the delicate spring onion sauce and bits of Sichuan dried meat, giving the dish an interesting bite.

The braised chicken and sea cucumber were the only course not served in individual portion but on a casserole pot – it was said to have cooked in 33 different spices including chilies from various places. It’s not as hot as I thought but it’s packed with flavors. After we finished with the chicken and sea cucumber, we spooned the rest of the sauce into a bowl of homemade flat noodles to take in all the spicy flavors. Another dish I liked a lot was the mandarin fish fillet with crispy soybean crumbs. The fish had good flaky, delicate texture and the soybean crumbs gave it a contrasting taste and crunchy texture.

Like our first course, the dessert was served as a trio. The deep-fried egg white puff stuffed with green pepper yogurt was good – a slight variation to the common version we had elsewhere, with creamy yogurt with a slight kick of pepper flavor stuffed inside.

(The dinner is by invitation and courtesy of Mira Dining)

When? March 14 2016
Where? Yun Yan, 10/F Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Mandarin Fish Slices with Crispy Soybean Crumbs
Drinks? Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Brut NV
Web: www.miradining.com/zh-hant/yun-yan/

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