Friday, April 22, 2016

Oh Screw Work, I Want My Pie!

It's not been the best week at work for both of us so we were just happy to be spending some time away from office with a late dinner at MO on Friday evening. Previously we have tried to get a table at The Chinnery, the cozy bar tucked away on the Mezzanine Floor, as walk-ins but they were always full, so this time we made the booking a couple weeks ago.

I guess one could say The Chinnery was a legacy from the city's colonial past, starting its life as a classic British gentlemen’s club inside this classic hotel in Central frequented by the who's who in the business and political circles. The plush leather couches, wooden bar counter and oil paintings on the wall might have been refurbished but they surely gave you the feeling of going back in times like visiting an old-school pub.

The menu followed the similar style as the overall decor, with emphasis on classic British fares, including anything from a Stilton Soup, Fish and Chips, Chicken Tikka to a good, old Bangers and Mash. But I had my eyes set on some pies even before I set foot in the place after some friends kept talking about sweet and savory pies all afternoon in our little whatsapp chat group.

Thank God it didn't take long for our dishes to arrive as it was late as I rushed in from office and almost starved to death. And I have to say the Steak and Kidney Pie I ordered was absolutely delightful and exactly what I was craving for – underneath the golden crust of puff pastry was the well-seasoned and tender cubes of meat and equally flavorful chunks of calf’s kidney in an intense red-wine sauce. There's nothing creative about the dish and that's the beauty of it – it's just non-compromisingly good and perfect just the way it was (and is). I also loved the side of celeriac mash served in a little copper-lined mini-pot. It was spot on with good sweetness and a slight hint of a kick, enhanced by bits of bacon mixed in.

The bar was running a special on a vertical port flight, with three Taylor's Port served in tasting portion, including the 1963 Single Harvest specially bottled for the hotel, as 1963 was the year the hotel was open. And the Warm Chocolate Cake on the dessert menu was the perfect pairing to the wines. While I thought the warm cake with molten chocolate inside works probably better with the LBV and the 10-year Tawny (the other two wines in the flight), the 50-year-old single harvest port was well-balanced and lovely, full-bodied with raisins on the palate and a good cedar aroma, and went down smoothly just on its own. But I only wish they could use homemade coffee icecream instead of one store-bought (at least that's what I suspected - HD would be my guess), I reckon that would have made the dessert even better. (Note: I was assured afterwards that all the icecream served in the hotel is made in-house - so my mistake)

Next time when I return, maybe I should go for their whisky collection, said to be one of the most comprehensive in town, and this place seems to be just the perfect venue for a night out with classic drinks and classic nibbles. And let's hope that will be a less hectic day at work.

When? April 8 2016
Where? The Chinnery, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 8 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Steak and Kidney Pie
Taylor's 2010 Late Bottled Vintage Port
Taylor's 10-year-old Tawny Port
Taylor's 1963 Single Harvest Port

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