Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Star-studded Lunch

For a while Forum in Causeway Bay remained the only Michelin 3-starred restaurant that I have never visited in all of Hong Kong/Macau, but I finally managed to cross that off the list a few days ago when our friends J and P organized a lunch there and asked us to join.

With all the regulations concerning gathering in groups etc it’s difficult to arrange get-together with friends, but J and P managed to get us a private room with separate tables far apart from one another so we could catch up while staying within the government rules. Even the menu was customized – with a few dim-sum courses and family style dishes for something more casual on a weekend afternoon.

While this legendary restaurant was more well-known for the Cantonese delicacies – it’s said to have served the best abalone dish in the world – I was equally impressed with the more “down-to-earth” dishes we tried today that’s more of traditional, everyday style. We began with the appetizer platter – one couldn’t go wrong with the classic dimsum of Har Gow (shrimp dumpling) and Xiaolongbao (soupy pork dumpling), or the Loh Bak Goh, thick slices of pan-fried Turnip “cake” mixed with Iberico ham. I especially like the turnip cake, with the slightly burnt crust for the crispy texture and the soft interior mixed with bits of rich Iberico ham. A traditional dish given a modern twist using imported ingredient.

The braised goose web with Shiitake mushroom is another classic Cantonese dish that was brilliantly made, with the goose web soft and almost melt in your mouth, taking in all the flavor from the braising liquid made with scores of ingredients and slow cooked. Same with the piece of shiitake mushroom which came in giant size with good bouncy texture. The sauce was great on its own, or perfect to mix with a bowl of steamed rice which came later.

The hearty bowl of Cantonese soup arrived next, which was cooked with pork meat and bone, plus duck gizzard and watercress, which was said to have the cooling effect perfect for hot days such as this. We finished even the rest of the soup ingredients, usually considered after thoughts but they were delicious. A few meat courses were next. First the Roast Spare Ribs with well-balanced fat and done with a brush of the rich shrimp paste (from the fishing village of Tai O) for the extra umami taste. The Braised Ox-tail, served with potatoes and the gravy sauce, came in generous portion, with the tender meat and the soft tissues just fell off the bone and with great flavor after the slow and long cooking.

Soy sauce chicken and Sauteed Chinese kale were two dishes we ordered often in just about any other Chinese restaurant all the time, but we were impressed by both here. The chicken was tender and juicy with the sauce done just right in richness without overly greasy, and the sautéed vegetables were flavorful and retained that bit of crunchiness and that hint of essential ginger flavor – sometimes it’s in the simplest dishes that showed the serious techniques the kitchen team possessed. And finishing off were a couple of dessert – the bowl of warm almond custard and the milk custard tart. My only complaint was the tart not hot enough but the tart shell and the filling were both of perfect texture and flavor.

We bemoaned at another lost opportunity to travel during this 4-day long weekend (our second in as many months) but were glad to have tried a few nice places to eat over the holiday and to be able to catch up with friends in town instead (plus a lot of fun). That’s not a bad alternative at all.

More photos here:

When? May 2 2020
Where? Forum, 1/F, Sino Plaza, 255-257 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Braised Goose Web with Shiitake Mushroom

No comments :