Sunday, January 15, 2023

Two Point Zero

"Wanna join us at dinner at The Chairman?" when my friend F offered me one of the prized seats for a meal at the most sought-after restaurant in town, I didn't hesitate to say yes even though that meant having two serious meals back-to-back on the same day.

The restaurant closed its doors at its original location early summer and reopened in a building just a block down the road in late September. The contemporary decor is a welcoming touch though the new dining space felt smaller and tighter at this place many people now dubbed as "The Chairman 2.0". We also saw the change in their menu system with all dishes now require pre-ordering on prix fixe basis rather than the a la carte option available before, plus some new dishes being introduced. 

The pork intestine was one of those new dishes we tried this time, stuffed and roasted with soybean paste with pickled vegetables on the side. The texture was excellent, bouncy with plenty of fat in the intestine lining with a mild gamey flavor partly hindered by the spicy pickled vegetables. The thick-cut Char Siu kept up with the high standard at their old location, perfectly roasted over wood fire with the firm and fatty meat. 

The steamed fish head was served in thick “slices” and prepared with lark, lemon and scallion – need some effort to get through the bones but nonetheless delicious with nice umami flavor. The beef quartet was another dish I tried for the first time, with honeycomb tripes, short ribs, fatty beef slices and tendon done in a spicy stew with Sichuan peppers, garlic and pickled vegetables. Love that right balance of hot and sour flavor and beef presented in different forms and textures. In between we were served a small portion of soup in an espresso cup, and the papaya soup was surprisingly rich and tasty (and I am not a papaya person)

And then there were a few old classics. The slipper lobsters and freshwater seasarmine crab roes with porridge was always comforting with good accent of umami flavor, and we opted for the mud crab sauteed with soy sauce, soy beans and pickled kale this time instead of their iconic flower crab dish. That was excellent as well, and so was the rice casserole with smoked threadfin that served towards the end of our meal. 

We had a few desserts after, including the tofu pudding with osmanthus sugar and candied lard - which we asked to be served towards the end of the meal rather than at the beginning like they usually do. Reminded me of something similar I had at the restaurant a few years ago as an appetizer but this time with added sweet taste as a pre-dessert of sorts. That was followed by the sweet trio, with the sweet and warm almond soup being my favorite this time. 

Overall, a satisfying dinner and good to have caught up with some friends whom I haven't met for a while. No wine this time, only a glass generously passed to us by a friend sitting next table with too many bottles to share. 

More photos here:

When? December 17 2022
Where? The Chairman, 3rd Floor, The Wellington , 198 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Sweet and Hot and Sour Beef Quartet with Garlic 大班樓酸辣甜蒜牛四味
Drinks? 1986 Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Brut

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