Thursday, July 21, 2022

Not Tonight

The special promotional menu exclusive for certain credit card holder at the Michelin-starred Man Wah got us curious enough to give it a shot one evening. On paper it did look promising - you ordered one tasting menu, you got the second free. Sounds fair enough. 

With the discount we need to be more accommodative and had to start our meal earlier at 6:30pm. Not a big issue to us as we were more used to early dinner these days and with that we got a glimpse of the skyline at golden hour through the window right in front of our table. The six-course menu (plus Chinese petit fours at the end) was a bit on the light side, especially most dishes were served in tasting portion. (we could overhear the couple sitting behind us having to order an extra dish to make up for the inadequacy)

Anyway, there were a few dishes that we liked. The piece suckling pig was tasty with the nice crispy skin; the spotted grouper fillet was served in a bamboo basket lined with lotus leaf, and on top, braised preserved vegetables and soy sauce which were slightly sweet and rich in umami flavor; the bowl of braised e-fu noodles was served with generous portion of crab meat on top and served its purpose of filling us up towards the end of the meal. 

But then there were a few dishes that I thought were underwhelming. While the soy sauce chicken (as part of the appetizer platter) was delicious, I detested being served the wing which is commonly considered the desirable uncut. The marinated jellyfish (also from the appetizer platter) could certainly do with more seasoning other than loaded with sesame oil. 

The double boiled soup, said to be prepared with lingzhi mushrooms and sea conch, was my least favorite of the evening, with a strong hint of bitterness (from the lingzhi mushrooms) dominating. We were even warned not to eat the mushrooms that came along with the soup because of its bitter taste (and tough texture) - but then if it's not supposed to be eaten then why serve them? 

Again, the bowl of braised spinach with bamboo pith on top could do with a pinch of salt - I don't usually request additional salt to be brought to the table but I had to this time. And when the dessert of sweet almond cream and egg white with sesame dumpling was presented and introduced, we found out the dumpling was missing from the bowl - at least the front of the house staff were apologetic upon being told of the mistake and that made me wonder where the minds of the kitchen team have wandered off to to make such a basic mistake on such a simple dish. 

Been in the mood for Bordeaux white lately so went for a glass from Sauternes at a property more famous for their sweeter bottle. Straw color, full-bodied some floral aroma, plenty of citrus zest gripped with acidity and minerals. Not bad to pair with Chinese dishes, but didn't do enough to save an evening that's quite disappointing to say the least even with the discount on the menu taken into consideration.

Not a fan for us this time, not tonight for sure. 

When? May 31 2022
Where? Man Wah at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? I wish there were one
Drinks? 2019 Chateau Suduiraut Blanc Sec de Sudauraut, Bordeaux


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