Sunday, February 4, 2018

Winter Menu at Summer Palace

It’s been a while since I last ate at Summer Palace at Island Shangri-la, so I was happy to be back for the new tasting menu presented by Chef Leung, the newly-appointed executive chef at the restaurant. In my mind, the restaurant was good at classic, tried-and-true Chinese dishes, mainly Cantonese but with a few from across the country, but this time Chef Leung introduced a few new courses to us which we enjoyed tremendously.

We began with the appetizer of abalone, served chilled with braised eggplant in gravy on the side. The sliced abalone was infused with a subtle sweet flavor of the rice wine lees, an ingredient commonly used in Shanghainese cuisine. Then it was followed by the double-boiled soup with Matsutake mushrooms, hairy gourd and conpoy. It was comforting with the distinct earthy flavor from the mushrooms and good umami taste.

I love the stir-fried lobster served with a mixture of different ingredients, including the Shanghainese preserved vegetables, goji berry (both deep-fried for the crispy texture), puffed rice, spring onions, red onions and shallots. It gave the dish great flavor and the lobster was done just right with the bouncy texture. The stewed pork brisket was done with a twist to the classic Dong Po Rou, using the leaner brisket cut as opposed to pork belly and served with steamed yam, green beans and tomatoes along with the sweet soy glaze. The meat was still tender and juicy, but gave me less sense of guilt and a more balanced texture and flavor with the side vegetables. I probably still preferred the thick slab of pork belly for the traditional Dong Po Rou but I don’t mind this healthier version every now and then.

My favorite dish of the evening was the braised egg tofu with spinach and mushrooms. The slabs of egg tofu was battered and deep-fried with spinach on top, then served with a medley of mushrooms underneath, goji berries and gravy. The tofu was flavorful, soft and silky and I like the addition of goji berries for the hint of sweetness. It was a well-executed meatless dish using a simple set of ingredients.

Our last savory course of fried rice was another modernized dish, with the rice infused with beetroot juice giving it a redish color, and cooked with diced scallops and egg-white and topped with dried sakura-ebi. Then it was two desserts, first the steamed buns with lotus seed paste (aka birthday buns) and the chilled sago cream with mango juice and pomelo, the now-classic Cantonese dish. Both were decent.

(Dinner was by invitation courtesy of Island Shangri-la, Hong Kong)

More photos here:

When? January 22 2018
Where? Summer Palace, Island Shangri-la Hotel, Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Egg Tofu with Spinach and Mushrooms
Drinks? Champagne Marie Courtin Efflorescence Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut NV

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