Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Dinner Plus a Late Night Distillery Visit

We were surprised to see Hop Sze Restaurant completely packed when we walked through the frosted glass door late evening. This cozy neighborhood restaurant always attracted quite a following, and even more so given it's the second week in almost 3 months when we were allowed to dine out at night and people flock to enjoy the newly-granted freedom. 

The place may not score high marks for comfort level - the four of us had to squeeze around a small table with other customers well within arm's length - but the quality of food makes this all worthwhile. We pre-ordered a few dishes ahead of time and supplemented with some more we picked after we sat down. The soy sauce chicken was juicy and tender, slow-poached in the marinate with soy sauce and Chinese wine, which gave the chicken skin a nice dark color and slightly caramelized flavor. We had the same when we were here the last time, and it's as good as we remembered. The prawn toast was served with un-proportionally large piece of minced prawn patty on top of a slice of bread, battered and deep-fried for the great bouncy texture. 

The steamed threadfin was another dish we pre-ordered and loved. The meat was delicate and soft, with a hint of subtle sweetness even, and it's cooked just through with the slight pink color near to the bones and the whole fish was "swimming" in the fragrant yellow Shaoxing wine sauce with plenty of green onions as garnish. In my opinion, it's the clear winner tonight. 

Baked pork chop rice was the dish that every table ordered, and we soon understood why when it arrived at ours. The dish came with generous portion with the rice baked in a stainless-steel pot with thick slabs of pork chop completely smothered with the tomato sauce and cheese on top. It's said to be good for 6 persons but from the size of it I swear it feeds 8-10 easily. On the side were the fried eggs done over-easy, which we put on our bowl with the runny egg yolk mixed with the rice and the sauce and the meat. We finished with sauteed pea shoots with crab sauce, and the classic sweet and sour pork - they were decent, though not much different than those one would get at just about any restaurant elsewhere. 

We went with a bottle of champagne during the meal - a vintage blanc de blancs with good acidity, ripe lime and hint of brioche - and after dinner, our friend N kindly let us into his gin distillery which is nearby for more drinking. It's a place I always wanted to visit so we were glad to be given a quick tour of the wonderful facility with a few glasses to taste. I wish we have more evening such as this with all eating and drinking. 

When? March 1 2021
Hop Sze Restaurant (合時小廚), 39 Shau Kei Wan Rd, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong
N.I.P. Distillery, 6/F Westlands Centre, 20 Westlands Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong
Menu Highlight? Steamed Threadfin Fish with Yellow Shaoxing Wine
Drink? 2012 Maison G.H. Mumm RSRV Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut
N.I.P. Distillery:

No comments :