Monday, December 6, 2021

Quite Some Celebration

We count ourselves lucky to get a table to eat at Wing again just 6 months after our first meal at this contemporary Chinese restaurant by Chef Vicky. With its popularity and glowing reviews, trying to score a reservation has become almost like a competitive sport and a near impossible feat. 

And like our first visit we were blown away by the exquisite execution with the tasting menu chef prepared for us as part of our special occasion celebration. We started slightly early to work through the long menu with no less than a dozen dishes listed. The four chilled appetizers were served at the same time with the fifth quickly followed. The razor clams were quick blanched, sliced and nicely arranged in a bed of Yunnan chili oil and bull kelp - the bouncy texture and clean flavor just worked well with the slightly spicy oil. The semi-dried threadfin was another beauty, done in the dehydrator rather than the conventional salt-curing to achieve the firm texture while retaining the original flavor, that was tossed with pickled Chinese celery and the crunchy olive nuts with the hint of smokiness. The fifth appetizer dish was a hot one, combining traditional sticky tofu (fermented tofu) and prawn toast into a single bit-sized piece for an interesting combination of rich umami flavor, fresh off the deep-fryer for the slightly crispy crust too. 

The Cantonese home-style meal often began with a bowl of soup, and that's how we began our feast with as well (after the appetizers). The seasonal matsutake mushrooms hailed from the "mushroom country" of Yunnan and were of excellent quality with long, large stalks and closed caps. And it's cooked in front of us with a mild-flavored superior broth, just so the flavor of the prized mushroom was highlighted. It's especially soothing on a cool, rainy night.

The steamed fish was done in an unconventional manner just so it's perfectly done inside out. The whole redmouth grouper (Gua Zi Baan 黑瓜子班 in Cantonese) - wild-caught in nearby waters and weighed slightly less than one catty (600g) - was steamed and served in two ways. The crispy chicken was one of the best I have had, with the skin delicate and crisp with the shiny bronze color - one could "hear" the crispiness just by seeing Chef Vicky carved the bird to serving portion in front of us. 

The fish maw "steak" was enormous, prepared using the most traditional (and time-consuming) method of soaking and slow-cooking with superior broth to get the most tender texture and finished with the "abalone sauce" in gravy-like consistency thickened by the collagen in the fish maw. The Alaskan king crab was done Sichuan style, sauteed in Sichuan fermented chilies and served with steamed rice flour rolls underneath, which soaked up all the umami flavor from that of the chilies and of the crabs. The green cabbage pot was another homey, comforting dish, served with thin slices of salt-cured pork, dried "fired prawns" (local species also known as "chek mai" 赤米蝦), soft-boiled garlic and the hearty fish broth. 

Chef Vicky must have avoided coining his wagyu dish "charsiu" for fear of offending the fundamentalists of this staple dish of Cantonese cuisine, but it's done in almost the same way as the famous Cantonese barbecued pork, chargrilled with a glaze prepared with honey, rose liqueur and red fermented tofu, except the wagyu tenderloin was more tender with a more intense flavor and balanced fat. The chunks were served with house-made preserved mustard green and rice cooked in the casserole pot. The hint of acidity from the mustard green worked well to balance the fatty flavor from the beef. 

Cantonese "tong sui", or dessert soup, served not only to bring the meal to a sweet end but also to soothe one's body and soul, and the poached pear with the chewy snow gum were perfect just as the weather turned dry and cool, as both were said to have moisturizing effects. We finished with the elaborate display of mignardises featuring many of the seasonal fruits, and this time, a Chinese donut (沙翁) and a bowl of sweet noodles as per tradition of having noodles for birthday celebration as it symbolizes longevity. 

We were treated to a lovely flight of wines to go with the food. The semi-sec champagne to go with the King Crab with the Sichuan fermented chilies was a nice touch, and I also like the simple (but elegant and delightful) Burgundy to go with the crispy chicken.

When? October 15 2021
Where? Wing Restaurant, 29/F The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Signature Crispy Chicken
Champagne Charles Dufour, Bulles de Comptoir #8 "Stillleben" Extra Brut NV
2018 Domaine Rolet L'Etoile Chardonnay, Jura
2016 Eric Morgat "Fides" Savennieres
Champagne Georges Laval Garennes Doux NV (Disgorged 2019)
2018 Domaine de la Vougeraie Bourgogne Pinot Noir Terres de Famille
2009 Dutschke Sami Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley, Australia

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