Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Most Anticipated

The month of May has been a month of feasting with several high-end meals lined up. Among them, dinner at Wing restaurant was perhaps one that I anticipated the most. We were here twice since Chef Vicky and his team opened its door some 12 months ago, and we have witnessed quite a transformation and progress within such a short period of time, not to mention the Asia's Best 50 Restaurant mention bestowed upon them a few months ago, a rarity for a restaurant so young but a validation of how far they have gone. 

And this time we came with a bigger group (six of us instead of just us two), hence we managed to try a few more dishes. And coming in on a Friday also meant we could afford a few more sips to go along with the outstanding dishes served. A single menu was served for the entire table with ingredients based on what's in season and available. 

Their appetizer line-up served in small dishes always made an impressive start but they managed to exceed my heightened expectations with the series this time. We started with the seasonal French white asparagus - its clean flavor and slightly crunchy texture paired perfectly well with bits of chicken skin rendered with fat with nice contrast of taste and complimentary textures. 

Then there's the hotaru ika (Japanese firefly squid), nicely arranged in a deep dish, served in a bed of chili oil, bull kelp and the Yunnan chilies providing the extra heat. The squids were of excellent quality and I love its tender and almost creamy texture. Overall it's not as spicy as it looked but I like the complex, tongue-tingling flavor from the sauce.

Shirako and Century Egg sounds like an odd combination but somehow they matched each other well. The dish was transformed from a traditional Sichuan dish with century egg tossed with pickled chopped chilies but it was elevated to the next level of indulgence with the addition of the creamy blocs of shirako that held all the flavor together. 

The last appetizer was served in more substantial portion, with a large crab being cured in glutinous rice wine and served uncooked after flash frozen in low temperature and carefully carved in smaller portions. The presentation reminded me of a similar dish served at Yongfu, with the taste definitely rivalled that famous dish at the other place with the equally delicate texture. 

I personally thought the soup course was merely okay - great creamy texture with the combination of egg white and Chinese almond, served with a piece of Japanese yam placed in the center of the bowl, but nothing too interesting to be honest. But then the series of main courses just blew everyone away. 

The size of the Japanese silver pomfret slices presented to us made us wonder how big the fish was - those 3 pieces alone probably weighted around 800g-1kg and it's not even half a fish. They were steamed to perfection with the most delicate, silkiest meat, served with chopped pickled cabbage, scallions and a splash of oil and sauce. It was an amazing combination with the pickled cabbage (from the famous Shek O village) providing a hint of acidity and crunchiness. 

An even bigger crab was then presented to us (compared to the one we had for appetizer) before it's ushered away to be portioned and served individually.  This time it was the king crab and served baked and topped with the succulent crab roes on top with scallions, leeks and stir-fried vermicelli at the bottom, similar to the classic Cantonese way of preparation. 

The pigeon was another highlight of the evening - a few of those were carefully roasted, basted with sugarcane juice (for moisture and sweetness) and smoked with sugar cane bagasse (for the aroma). I love the crispy skin in dark bronze color and the juicy meat too. Completing the main courses were the pork ribs with dark vinegar glaze (done similar to traditional Wuxi style using meat from local black-hair pigs) and the impressively organized Chinese cabbage with ginger juice. 

Then it's the bowl of rice to finish. We had the similar dish a few weeks ago when Chef Vicky put this on its takeaway menu during the charity sale, and I was happy for an encore and only better as the bowl was served right after it's ready. The fish maw was perfectly done, tasty and tender, and the combination of the rich abalone sauce (in gravy like consistency after slow cooking with scores of ingredients including chicken and ham) and the aromatic sauteed morels worked wonder with the steamed rice, served in a fancy porcelain bowl. 

The desserts were similar to what we had in our last 2 visits, starting with the great summer dessert of chilled snow gum and coconut sorbet and osmanthus syrup, then a couple bite-sized sweet snacks (mochi and fried egg puff aka sa yung in Cantonese) and the seasonal fruit platter (the honeydew melon from Kyushu was super sweet and delightful!)

Three bottles for the six of us felt just the right amount of alcohol this time. The clean and crisp Loire Valley chenin with its restrained acidity, some stone fruit on the palate and plenty minerality went well with the dishes and the well-aged barbaresco was enjoyable even on its own - with some red fruits and plum and aromatic on the nose. And we finished with a cup of hot tea carefully paired for the sweets - brewed using Wuyi Rock tea leaves if I remembered correctly - for a soothing conclusion. 

More photos here:

When? May 13 2022
Where? WING Restaurant, 29F, The Wellington 198 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Steamed Japanese Pomfret, Preserved Vegetables
Champagne Pierre Baillette Le Village Brut NV
2018 Thibaud Boudignon Savennieres Clos de Fremine
2005 Albino Rocca "Duemilacinque" Barbaresco 

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