Wednesday, October 19, 2022

More Mora

I had a lovely lunch at Mora a few months ago soon after their opening, and I certainly came with a heightened expectation when I visited the restaurant again in late September, for dinner this time around on a quiet night. 

The restaurant menu continued to focus on a single ingredient, soy, using the variations of it including tofu, soy sauce, soy milk and so on, and the chef team of Vicky (who owned the restaurant) and Percy (who ran the day-to-day at the kitchen) kept on amazed me with even more new dishes. And with their soy-themed food factory (called Ān) up and running, they managed to prepare and supply many of their ingredients straight from the source and get more adventurous with their creations. 

We started with something similar to what I had last time, with the velvet tofu topped with caviar and condiments served on the side along with some pickled vegetables. The soy flavor in that tofu was richer than what I remembered last time, and century egg (pei dan) was still my favorite condiment to go with the spoonful of soft tofu and caviar. Maybe I am a Taiwanese at heart, falling for this classic combination. Next was a pair of appetizers done with tofu two ways – first the smoked eel with fried bloc of tofu, and then it was the deep-fried tofu pocket with tiger prawn. I love the tiger prawn tartare with the aromatic kaffir lime added, plus the julienned jicama gave it some crunchy texture. 

Then it’s the bowl of cold noodles which was my favorite dish of the evening. Said to be inspired by the Korean Kongguksu, this is definitely an elevated version with thin thread of Inaniwa-style udon served with bean paste (Shanghainese dou ban jiang), crispy chicken skin and a thickened soy milk and chicken broth prepped with three-yellow chicken, all in a flower-shaped bowl in the most colorful presentation. And the complexity of its taste definitely matched with the many colors in the bowl, and the soup was amazing, refreshing and rich at the same time. After that, it was the little brioche cube, slightly toasted and served with whipped soy cream on the side. The cream, done in espuma consistency, was a playful resemblance to hummus dipping, even complete with spoonful of extra virgin olive oil on top, except it’s lighter in flavor and texture, worked perfectly well with the butter-rich piece of warm bread. 

The fish course of threadfin was memorable as well, with the piece of fish fillet seared on the pan, pressed with skin down to get the perfect crispiness, and then underneath, koya tofu, the freeze-dried tofu cut to cubes and said to be “invented” by the Buddhist monks up at the temples in the mountainous Koyasan, and a savory soy milk “soup” made with fish fumet. The delicate texture of the fish, plus the crispy skin and the rich sauce just worked together so well. Our next course of drunken pigeon was fun to have, with the piece of super tender pigeon breast cooked medium rare and tofu marinated in Cantonese lo sui sauce served on top of a thin piece of “tofu paper” with which we rolled and ate, similar to how we had Peking duck with the steamed pancake. 

The tasting menu always ended with a tofu stew (which they called Mora Tofu, a quip from the Sichuan-style Mapo Tofu) with ingredients that rotate depending on seasonality. This time it’s with a mix of mushrooms. As for dessert, it’s red bean ice-cream with soy cream espuma, guava gel and aged mandarin peel. I like the touch of acidity from the guava which brought out the sweetness of the other ingredients. 

We went for the wine pairing with a few lovely selections prepared by Romain the co-founder of the restaurant who also managed the front of the house, but I also enjoyed the non-wine drinks that were served, including the cold-brewed gong mei white tea, the aromatic puerh, plus a couple of soy milk from Ān that I managed a sip with the jazzy tunes somehow ringing over my head… “quiet nights of quiet stars… and the window looking on the mountains and the sea, how lovely” (which by the way, you could listen here:

(Dinner was by invitation) 

When? September 30 2022
Where? Mora, 40 Upper Lascar Row, Sheung Wan
Menu Highlights? Cold Noodle in Soy Milk Chicken Bouillon and Bean Paste
Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Nature NV
2017 Domaine Francois Carillon Bourgogne
Kiku Masamune Hyakumoku Alt 3 - Kiku Masamune Shuzo, Hyogo Prefecture
菊正宗百黙Alt.3 -兵庫県菊正宗酒造
2018 Chateau Le Puy “Emilien”, Bordeaux

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