Friday, March 24, 2023

Champagne and Dimsum

The Champagne-Dimsum gig at Ho Lee Fook seems like a deal too good to be true - one Sunday every month Chef ArChan and her dimsum specialist sous Winson introduced a brunch menu full of dimsum items and other dishes with unlimited refills, plus one bottle of champagne per person from their wine list. Yes, that's one full-sized 750ml bottle that each could pop open and share at the table. 

And I finally made time to go on one of the Sundays when they offer this "Good Fortune Club Dimsum and Champagne" menu earlier this month. It's actually my first time dropping by during day time, and I really do like the casual vibe down in the basement - funky but in a restrained manner and didn't distract us from enjoying the serious cooking put together by Chef ArChan's team. 

We wasted no time putting in our first round of dimsum order while sipping on our first bottle that was just popped open by sabrage. It's easy to dismiss the food here as being not authentic or catering mainly for out-of-towners, but those stereotype or misunderstanding have proven to be urban legend as I think their food was as good as any decent dimsum restaurant in town. The bite-sized salt and pepper tofu was done with a crispy crust and plenty of flavor after tossing with salt, pepper and fried garlic. So was the fried turnip cake, cut into dices and served with their house-made XO sauce. The chicken wings got just the right spicy kick, with plenty of dried chillies and sichuan peppers sprinkled on top. 

Chef Winson presented his dimsum dishes based on traditional version but with a slight twist on his own. The fried taro puff - traditional done with pork, shrimp and taro as stuffing with a golden-color crispy crust - was prepared with wagyu beef and truffle instead, and presented in a black exterior. The beef meatballs, which usually were just soft meatballs made with minced meat (majority beef but usually with added pork for the texture) were done with filling of mala sauce and kaffir lime leaves in the center, with the spicy sauce burst into my mouth as I bit into it. So good we asked for a repeat on that one, twice. The prawn toast was done like a crossover with Japanese okonomiyaki with Bull-Dog BBQ sauce and kewpie mayo along with shaved cabbage and aonori powder on top. 

Meanwhile, both the har gow and siu mai, perhaps the two most recognizable dimsum dishes, stuck with the more traditional version. I was surprised to see Fan Gwor on the menu as this has became a rare item elsewhere these days, with the flat dumpling with pork and bamboo shoot filling served deep-fried with a bowl of superior broth for dipping on the side. It's one of my favorite dimsum dishes and I enjoyed this one too. Other dishes I like included the char siu puff with Kurobuta Pork charsiu and pineapple, and the vegetarian spring rolls with mushrooms, jicama and carrots. 

Chef ArChan also sent over a few dishes from their normal a la carte menu. Can't go wrong with their signature char siu, and the stirred noodles tossed with prawn roes, crispy scallops and the aromatic spring onion and shallot oil. 

I love their champagne menu filled with unconventional choices, many from boutique grower houses. The Blanc de Noirs worked perfectly well with rich dim sum dishes, with full body, apple and pear on the palate, plenty of minerals and hint of white flower floral notes. I like the second bottle too - zesty, ripe lemon, mineral and some wheat - an easy-going one which would work on every weekend. 

When? March 5 2023
Where? Ho Lee Fook, 3-5 Elgin Street, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? All the dimsum dishes, really.
Champagne Coessens Largillier Blanc de Noirs Brut
Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne Brut

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