Monday, December 14, 2020

Three Meals in One Night (At Least It Felt That Way)

It remained somewhat a mystery why we ended up having twice as much food as we ordered when we visited Neighborhood recently, before the further COVID restriction kicked in early December. Restaurant was as popular as ever despite the circumstances, filled to the (reduced) capacity on the Monday evening we visited. 

Given we have not been back for a while, we decided to focus on a few new dishes that popped up on the menu since our last visit. Chef David was at the counter preparing the house-smoked fish for service, and that's the first thing we ordered. The whole fish (we didn't ask but it looked like yellow croaker to me) was pan-fried then cold-smoked and served with the liver in whole and a splash of olive oil on top. Reminded me of the chiuchow chilled fish prepared in a similar manner and I like the firm meat texture with a subtle smoky taste. 

Next was a couple more seafood dish which came straight from the local wet market with the local sea snails braised with fish broth and chorizo, followed by the cuttlefish stuffed with boudin noir. We always enjoy the soft but super rich boudin noir at the restaurant, and this time, it's served as stuffing to the deep-fried cuttlefish coated with a thin layer of bread crumb batter. Went well with just the tartar sauce and a squeeze of lemon on top. 

Winter months marked the prime season for shirako, the Japanese delicacy of cod milt known for its creamy texture and intense flavor. Here's it was served with the equally creamy scramble eggs and lardo with white truffles shaved on top that Chef David graced us with. Thought that was comforting. 

A couple of pasta dishes were next. Taste-wise I definitely prefer the second dish of garganelli with fallow deer ragu but by the time we get to that we were almost 90% full so it became a bit overbearingly rich. And afterwards we went through three more dishes served in humongus portion, including the whole wild-caught snapper (David explained this being one of the rare fish called "New York New York" caught just the day before), the roasted local onglet beef and the vegetable casserole with black truffles. If we have known we got so many dishes we would definitely ask for some to be served in smaller portion. Happy to take any leftover home of course but it just seemed a bit much. Reminded me of the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility and we definitely have reached the tail end of that as we worked through those dishes. 

Dessert was actually what we came here for this time, so we got 3 of the signature chocolate palettes to share among the 5 of us. And before that, the whole tub of baked Mont d'Or cheese served with crusted bread. It was tasty but I reckon it's a bit soft for me this time - maybe because it's still early in the season. 

Went light on wine this time with a single bottle of Uruguay Albarino, just to offset the sheer amount of food we had. Less mineral than the typical Albarino from the other side of the Atlantic, but with the same refreshing citrus acidity and hint of stone fruits. Overall, cooking was brilliant as always, but probably way too stuffed this time - this should count as three meals in a single night. 

When? November 23 2020
Where? Neighborhood, Man Hing Lane near Hollywood Road/Peel Street junction, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Smoked Fish From the Market
Drink? 2018 Bodega Garzon Albarino, Maldonado, Uruguay

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