Saturday, March 14, 2020

Another Dinner at The Chairman

DY seems to be surprised when he spotted us sitting at the table at his restaurant The Chairman one evening. Well we were just as surprised too as we didn’t expect him to be at the restaurant that late into dinner service. No matter what, it’s good that we managed to get a last-minute booking to eat there, and that we ran into each other and could catch up briefly.

We didn’t pre-order anything this time but DY insisted that we should try some of a few off-menu items. So we ended up with a few of his recommendations plus some dishes from their regular a la carte menu. I secretly hoped char-siu would be one of those surprise dishes he prepared for us and here it was, a plate of char-siu to start. Love the piece of pork belly roasted in open wood fire with the hint of smoky flavor, just the perfect balance of fattiness and and sliced thin to serve.

The small bowl of chilled silky tofu pudding was an interesting one with the savory-sweet combination unlike the dessert version we were more familiar with. On top was a piece of steamed local spotted shrimp and sprinkled with sugar infused with chrysanthemum aroma. It's delicate and soft and filled with pleasant fragrance. The crispy mushrooms made great snacks for drinks too – with morel and shimeji mushrooms dipped in a light batter, deep-fried and seasoned with seven spices. I loved that rich taste and fluffy texture.

I have seen the steamed fish-head with salted chilies a few times on my friend’s Instagram post but this is the first time I had it myself. The portion is gigantic – with the whole head of the giant grouper took up the entire round plate. This is a time-consuming dish going through multiple steps to clean, seasoned, steamed and finished with the chopped pickled chilies mixed with garlic and scallions. It’s slightly spicy but with just the right kick, and I love the soft texture of the collagen near the cheek area. I am usually not a fan of fish heads (too many bones to deal with) but I found this very enjoyable.

Of course there has to be the crab. This time we shared a medium-sized one among the six of us and were well-executed, as always. There were a few chicken dishes on the menu, but DY brought us half the roast chicken served with nam yu sauce (red fermented tofu) not on the menu, something he said were prepared as “part of the staff meal”. The skin were perfectly crisped and the meat was juicy, going well with the bowl of sauce served on the side. We also finished with two more savory dishes, including the steamed choisum with pickled cabbages, plus the classic sweet and sour pork, both well executed home-style dishes. For dessert, it’s a platter with their signature almond soup, plus the red date pudding and mung-bean "cookies".

Went for a single bottle of Burgundy - medium-bodied, red fruit, plum, some earthy notes, mild tannins, soft and elegant.

More pictures:

When? March 2 2020
Where? The Chairman, 18 Kau U Fong, Central
Menu Highlights? Steamed Fish Head with Salted Chilies
Drinks? 2016 Domaine de la Vougeraie Savigny les Beaune Premier Cru “Les Marconnets”

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