Tuesday, July 27, 2021

No Flower Crabs

We went back to The Chairman to eat late last month. Given they have been solidly booked out for the rest of the year, barring a "miracle", this could as well be our last meal there in 2021. 

I made only one request to Danny the restaurant owner this time, which was to skip their signature dish of Steamed Flower Crabs with Huadiao sauce and opted for something else instead. Not that we didn't like the dish - on the contrary I didn't mind eating that every day, but thought it would be good to check out other seafood dishes as well. for a change. So in its place, we asked for the Black Pepper Mud Crabs, which some friends have said was just as good. 

And overall, the meal was beautifully executed, as they always do. We started with a pair of appetizers - marinated cuttlefish and taro duck pastry. I enjoyed the hint of sichuan pepper in the marinate. Never had a bad charsiu here since they put this on the menu some years ago, but this version was definitely one of the best I have tried, with good fatty bits and a nice charred crust. 

The poached geoduck with shrimp roes and rice porridge looked blend but it's full of flavor. The umami-ness of the shrimp roes just brought the dish to the next level. Then it's the mud crabs with the two of them came in generous size and sauteed with leeks and scallions underneath. It's of just the right spiciness and was finger-licking good. 

Our friends J and B generously contributed a bottle of Chateau Latour to the wine flight, and it paired perfectly well with the braised pork belly served with the Chinese steamed buns. With the same note, I thought it worked with the casserole rice with beef and Chinese liver sausages too - not the usual combination I am more used to but worked nonetheless with all the rich flavors combined into a single dish. 

The sauteed pomelo skin, winter melon and baby crab roes was another dish I like, combining the seasonal ingredients into this classic Cantonese course with generous spread of the umami-rich baby crab roes on top. We asked for an encore dish of stinky tofu - they came in larger portion than usual, which I thought had a better texture with the soft (and "stinky") filling. 

Did with a few wines this evening. Of course, the 1995 Chateau Latour was the star, with mellow dark fruit flavor and lots of energy left in this 20-odd year-old bottle - worked nicely with the braised pork belly with preserved vegetables. A champagne, 2 Burgundys and a more recent-vintage Bordeaux wrapped up our nice flight for the evening. 

More photos here: www.flickr.com/photos/g4gary/albums/72157719498615668

When? June 26 2021
Where? The Chairman, 18 Kau U Fong, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Black Pepper Mud Crabs
Champagne Frederic Savart L'Ouverture Premier Cru NV (Disgorged July 2020)
2009 Domaine Benjamin Leroux Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Abbaye de Mongeot
2009 Domaine de Bellene Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru "Les Suchots"
1995 Chateau Latour Pauillac
2009 Chateau Duhart-Milon Paullac
Web: www.thechairmangroup.com

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