Sunday, November 21, 2021

Eating as a Sport

It seems peculiar the only facility "The Sports Club" has is a restaurant at their clubhouse - I guess unless they considered eating is indeed a sport activity. 

Anyhow, their restaurant, located in their clubhouse in Central and accessible only by members and their guests, is known for the repertoire of old-school Cantonese dishes. We were there early last month tagging along our friends B and J who are a member there. 

We ended up having 12 courses plus a few extras in one evening among the few of us, starting with a few appetizer dishes all brought to our table at the same time. I am normally not a fan of bitter gourd, but this version, deep-fried in salted egg yolk batter, was delicious with more the hint of sweetness than the bitterness which I don't like. The "Maggi ribs", so named because Maggi seasoning was used in marinating the meat, has a more subtle flavor than I thought, but well prepared with the crispy and well-seasoned crust. 

"Garoupa cutlet with corn sauce" is a traditional home-style Cantonese dish, often made using frozen fish fillet, but here it's made fresh with a thin coat of batter. Cooking time was perfect with the golden crust and worked well with both the creamed corn sauce and sweet and sour sauces which were brought to us side by side. While everything was great, sweet and sour pork was probably the least of my favorite. The pork was great, but I think the young ginger root was a tad bit sinewy. 

The steamed beef patty was another of their signature dish. Normally it's done with a mix of minced pork (for the fattier texture) but here it's just the beef, diced water chestnuts and the dried mandarin peel for the richer taste without sacrificing the texture. It was perfect with just a bowl of rice. 

We did with not one but two poultry dishes. First was the steamed chicken with ham and vegetables, with the whole bird carefully deboned, cut into slices with the skin on and steamed with pieces of Jinhua ham sandwiched in between, plus vegetables and a thickened gravy seasoned with soy and oyster sauces. The meat was tender and juicy. The "Portuguese chicken" was served in a large casserole and finished au gratin and again, with chicken deboned and mixed into the coconut milk and curry stew. Normally served with rice, this time it's served with deep-fried toast. 

And then there were a couple extra dishes we ordered on top of our original menu. We loved their deep-fried dishes so much that we thought we must try their deep-fried squid. So perfectly seasoned that we could do without the dipping sauce. The pan-fried lotus root patties were served in medallion size with each piece prepped with minced pork and diced lotus roots for the crunchy texture. It was a miracle that we managed to finish up to the last savory course of fried rice, but it was another masterpiece, with the dish finished in a sizzling earthenware casserole and topped with the crispy salted fish for the contrast of texture and flavor. 

Went light on wines this time, relatively speaking. The Junmai Daiginjo aged in French Oak Barrel was the interesting one, with subtle creamy texture and straw color and slightly sweet on the palate. 

If eating is indeed a sports, I think we did show good teamwork today and it sure was a W for us. 

When? October 11 2021
Where? The Sports Club, 4th Floor, South China Building, 1-3 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Steamed Chicken with Ham and Vegetables (金華玉樹雞)
Champagne Pascal Agrapart Complantee Extra Brut NV
2021 Hanagaki Okutaru Junmai Daiginjo - Nambu Shuzo, Fukui Prefecture
(花垣 オーク樽 純米大吟醸 - 福井県南部酒造)
2006 Bass Phillip Pinot Noir
2010 Giuseppe Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore
Mori Izo Gokujo Imo Shochu - Mori Izo Shuzo, Kagoshima Prefecture
(森伊蔵 極上 芋焼酎 - 鹿児島県森伊蔵酒造)

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