Sunday, August 11, 2019

Private Kitchen Dinner

We had a great dinner at the home of Chef Edgar Sanuy Barahona a couple of weeks ago. While Chef Edgar may not be a household name in Hong Kong’s restaurant scene he’s the force behind many successful ventures over the years, from the now-defunct (but acclaimed) BCN to Mercedes Me to his latest project Pica Pica (a tapas bar in Sheung Wan). He also started this new project called Privat, serving meal in a "supper club"-like format for his guests once a month right at his residence in Sai Kung. Strictly by referrals, and thanks to our friend V, who organized this and invited us in.

Everything was set up properly as we arrived. We couldn’t help but admire his large kitchen at the back of the house, well-equipped and with plenty of working space. The dining area was spacious with a long table that seated the 10 of us comfortably. A perfect setting to host dinner such as this – I bet in cooler months the outdoor terrace just outside the dining area would also come in handy for grill or even dining al fresco.

We didn’t know the menu ahead of time but turned out it’s a classic Spanish style feast served family style. We started off with a series of appetizers served as tapas and pintxos. One couldn’t complain the sight of sliced jamon iberico served on a long wooden plank, or the potato croquette, deep-fried and brought to our table straight away. I also loved the Pintxo Gilda, the Basque classic of pitted olive, guindilla pepper and anchovy served on a toothpick with a generous drizzle of olive oil.

The octopus was another lovely dish – cooked to super tender texture with smashed potato underneath and topped with paprika and olive oil. I could live with slightly more seasonings but it’s decent overall. Chef Edgar apologized for not able to serve us paella this time (because it would be difficult to prepare one for such a large group by himself), but instead he prepared for us a great caldoso dish with lobster and shrimp. It’s perfect with intense umami flavor from that of the seafood broth plus the “al dente” texture of the rice just worked together harmoniously.

A couple of meat dishes were served as our “main courses” – both done with good execution. First was the suckling pig served au jus with sweet potato puree, then the two huge pieces of Rubia Gallega steak. I liked the sirloin cut more for its firm texture and meaty flavor, but the verdict seemed to be split between that or the rib-eye at the table. But all agreed that the star belongs to the side dish of deep-fried potato and roast padron peppers – they seemed to be super addictive. “Just use a special potato imported from Spain, cut it up and deep-fried” was Chef Edgar’s explanation when we asked him the secret of the dish. Dessert was another unusual one, pairing hazelnuts, chocolate and olive oil which worked very well together with just the right sweetness.

We brought our own wines to share, and ended up having a good variety of bottles, beginning with a champagne (a blanc de noirs) and a white (worked well with our tapas) then a pair of reds that we tasted blind (a la Somm 3 style), then for dessert, a Moscato plus gin and tonic. Was surprised by the 2 bottles we tasted blind, which turned out to be new world pinot with similar age but drastically different characteristics – one more herbs with earthy notes (from California and the one I preferred) and the other a black fruit bomb (blackcurrant, black cherries) with a hint of chocolate and soy sauce.

When? July 27 2019
Where? Privat by Edgar Sanuy
Menu Highlights? Seafood Caldoso
Champagne Vouette et Sorbee Fidele Blanc de Noirs NV Brut Nature
2013 Gaja Rossj-Bass Langhe DOP Chardonnay
2014 Domaine de la Cote La Cote Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, Central Coast, USA
2016 Pinot Noir by Farr RP Cote Vineyard, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
2000 Henschke Lenswood Abbotts Prayer Merlot - Cabernet Sauvignon, Adelaide Hills, Australia
2016 La Spinetta Bricco Quaglia Moscato d’Asti DOC, Italy

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