Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Dinner with Some Help

We got Chef Jayson’s help to arrange for us the room that can fit 12 of us in his restaurant Man Ho – otherwise it would have been almost impossible with the ever-growing popularity of the place especially ever since their first Michelin star gained this year. He also helped us with the menu – with my only requests being their signature char siu and also one other dish that I wanted an encore. All up to him for the rest. 

Of course the meal didn’t disappoint. Chef Jayson seems to have found the perfect balance combining traditional cooking style with a slight contemporary twist to make the dishes his own. This evening we began with a few bite-sized appetizers, starting with the cubes of chilled winter melon marinated with a soy-dashi sauce, followed by the trio served as a platter. We wouldn’t expect less of the deep-fried abalone with the most tender piece of fresh abalone and the char siu which I thought is one of the best in town, but the small piece of baby cuttlefish was the surprise winner, done the most classic way with the “lo sui” marinate with a touch of Sichuan peppercorns giving it a slight kick. 

Chef modified the traditional Cantonese deep-fried crab claw dish, using lobster’s instead and made this a lobster claw 2-way dish. One side was the deep-fried one, served with mashed shrimp paste stuffed inside, and on another side was a small bowl of steamed lobster claw and served with coriander and century egg. Haven’t had that combination in a dish before and I love the flavor. Early August marked the beginning of Yunnan mushroom season, so our next course was exactly that, with a double-boiled matsutake mushroom soup with bamboo pith, egg quenelle and night fragrant flower, for the rich chicken and mushroom soup flavor and the pleasant aroma coming from the seasonal matsutake mushroom and night fragrant flower, a common ingredients in Cantonese soup this time of year. 

The pan-fried fish maw was one dish I specifically requested before I loved it so much when I tried this a few months ago. The piece was not as thick as the last one, but it’s still perfectly done – slow-cooked, dipped in a light batter and then pan-fried – and the sauce was to die for. Almond sauce was not something commonly associated with a savory dish in Chinese cuisine but somehow it worked perfectly well when combined with the chicken superior broth for the rich and creamy taste. 

I haven’t had Peking Duck at the restaurant so I would love to give this common hotel Chinese restaurant dish a try. The skin and top part of the meat was first sliced and served with momo pancakes – duck was nicely roasted and I like the interesting selection of condiments served on the side. The rest of the duck was sauteed and served with local bitter gourd. I am personally not a fan of bitter gourd (never came to appreciate it) but our friends enjoyed it with the simple homestyle cooking. 

We finished with another new dish on the menu, with winter melon steamed and braised with crab, scallops, lotus seed and bamboo pith stuffed in the center and finished with the thickened chicken stock. The gravy-like sauce has great texture though I thought I could live with stronger flavor overall. Final course was two desserts – love the cute red-bean pastry in handbag shape, and also the chilled mango cream served with bits of pistachio on top for a twist in flavor. Went with a “simple” wine flight in terms of variety but certainly nothing simple in terms of quality. The 2009 Chateau L'Evangile from Pomerol was the one most anticipated given Mr Parker’s 100 points, and it did deliver. Not as full-bodied as I expected but I love the complexity with a combination of red and black fruits, and some tobacco and caramel. It’s amazing on its own.  

More photos here:

When? July 24 2021
Where? Man Ho, JW Marriott Hong Kong, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Pan-fried Fish Maw with Almond and Chicken Sauce
2018 Domaine William Fevre Chablis
2010 Domaine de Courcel Pommard Premier Cru “Les Fremiers”
2009 Chateau L'Evangile Pomerol

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