Monday, September 24, 2018

Catch up at The Neighborhood

We thought it was a great idea when our friend B and H suggested to meet up over dinner at The Neighborhood on a Friday evening. It’s a been a while since we last visited Chef David at his restaurant, and we always love to come back here to eat at any time. The place has become even more popular than it was, now that it’s ranked one of the Asia’s Top 50, but at least we finally got our table confirmed a couple of days before.

Normally we would call David up at least a few days before to reserve a few dishes that required pre-ordering, but this time with a smaller group of just four of us, we figured we would just order from the a la carte menu. The menu featured some of the familiar ingredients which we tried and loved at the restaurant, but with some variations in preparation which made them interesting. We picked a few dishes on our own, then asked David to help recommend a few more dishes as he saw fit to fill in the rest of our meal.

We started with a plate of cured salumi cut thick and served with the sourdough bread and butter. David told us the cured Culatello di Zibello came in small batch available only in selected places and it was lovely – with the fat part combined with the leaner meat for a balanced flavor profile. We had the pigeon egg dish here before but this time, instead of serving it escargot style as a hot dish like it was done last time with the herbal butter, they were served cold with a creamy egg mayo and generous shavings of black truffles. Love the eggs for the rich taste and nice texture, though I thought the black truffles were milder than expected – could have been the fact that it’s served cold so the aroma wasn’t that profound without the heat warming them up. But it’s still a very enjoyable dish.

We saw David’s Instagram post of the burrata with tomatoes and strawberries, and thought we must order to try. And it’s a simple yet brilliant dish. The house-made Burrata was creamy and soft, and paired well with the tomatoes and strawberries which were sweet, and the edible flower completed the pretty presentation.

A few more dishes came our way, some were off-menu and some were their daily blackboard items. The Brittany oysters were served raw with a jalapeno dressing providing that emphatic spicy kick to the otherwise clean-flavored and creamy oysters. The Morisseau Mussels were one of the seasonal dishes they got, and it was so plump and sweet that you could do whatever with them and will still turn out awesome. Matsutake mushrooms were another seasonal ingredients, this time coming from Yunnan, and they were sautéed and served with an egg fried over-easy with a generous grizzle of olive oil and the aromatic kinome leaves. The chicken wings were done Buffalo-style, but served with a much more pungent Roquefort cheese. Certainly an upgrade from the usual wings one could get at a street corner pub.

Kinki Paella was one of the dishes in sharing portion that was available that night that didn’t require pre-ordering, and we were glad that we ordered it. The whole scorpion fish, or kinki in Japanese, was butterflied, pan-fried than baked on a casserole of paella. The rice took in whatever dripped down from the fatty fish and had a crispy crust on the side. It was as good as I remembered.

We finished with 3 desserts – the chocolate palette was great as usual without saying, and I love the buttery crust of the tarte tatin served a la mode with vanilla icecream. A bowl of seasonal plums served on an ice bath, and a few of the signature caneles wrapped up a satisfying meal at our favorite bistro in town. Dinner here never disappoints and we really need to come here more often.

When? August 24 2018
Where? Neighborhood, Man Hing Lane near Hollywood Road/Peel Street junction, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Kinki Paella
Drinks? 2014 Dufouleur Freres Le Fouleur Bourgogne Pinot Noir

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