Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Clubhouse Dinner Ep 1 - Classic Cantonese

HKUAA (Hong Kong University Alumni Association) Restaurant remained one of the most approachable "members-only" dining establishments that offered more-than-decent and reasonably priced food in town. We went there for dinner a few weeks ago, haven't been back for a year or so because of pandemic.

Their clubhouse in central went through renovation not long ago so everything was neat and bright. The 12 of us took up one of the bigger private rooms at the back with 3 separate tables. The place was known for classic Cantonese cuisine with their executive chef coming from the legendary Luk Yu Restaurant, and our gracious host worked out with the restaurant to arrange a 9-course menu with some of their signature dishes. 

We started off with the double-boiled pig's lung soup with almond. I love the flavor but I have had one that's thicker and "creamier". Prawn Toast was a common old-school Cantonese dish - not a lot of places serve the dish these days and I think HKUAA had one of the best versions in town. The sauteed pigeon showed up next (though it was listed as the last of our savory course) - I prefer the meat to be a little fattier but nothing wrong otherwise, with breaded slices of ham served as garnishes and added to the overall flavor. 

The Shunde-style scrambled milk custard was done with a nice fluffy texture, though I didn't get much of the crab meat said to be included in the dish. I like the beef patty with mandarin peel, with the meat chopped and minced, formed into a large patty wtih bits of aged dried mandarin peel and water chestnuts and steamed. I love the bits of crunchy texture though I thought it could improve with more mandarin peels added. The "old-fashioned" braised garoupa fin was done with the piece of fin dipped into a light batter, fried and served in a gravy sauce with julienned pork and mushrooms. The braised mushrooms were done in a similar manner, with a couple types of mushrooms sauteed and served on a bed of lettuce and gravy sauce (sans the meat). 

Sweet and Sour Pork was another of their signatures - during summer season they would use young ginger rather than pineapples but this time, they used a mix of both. Thought the young ginger was a bit sinewy this time, but I like the nice sweet-acidity balance. Cantonese Roast chicken was the one we ordered on the spot after realizing they missed our original order of salt-baked chicken (which took more time to prepare) - turned out it's one of the best dishes of the night with the bird went straight from kitchen to our table and the skin super crispy. The lotus leaf rice (with the rice mixed with meats and vegetables steamed in a lotus leaf wrap) and the dessert of walnut cream were decent too.

Went with a straight forward flight of wines. The 1993 Chateau Lynch Bages aged gracefully with ripe red fruits and rounded tannins - not much left in the leg but perfect to drink now. 

When? September 4 2021
Where? HKUAA Restaurant, 1st Floor Yip Fung Building, 2 D'Aguilar Street, Central
Menu Highlights? Cantonese Roast chicken
Champagne Francoise Bedal Cuvee Entre Ciel et Terre
2011 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay, Margaret River, Australia
2011 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Leognan AOC 
2010 Chateau Duhart-Milon Pauillac AOC
1993 Chateau Lynch-Bages Pauillac AOC

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