I think Chinese people are very superstitious, and whenever there are nice and enjoyable superstitions, I am a fan. So, to ensure a prosperous year with plenty of delicious eats for 2011, I celebrated the new year with a 10-course meal at a semi-private Chinese cuisine restaurant in Causeway Bay.
About a year and a half ago, Hong Kong was swept up in a storm of seeking out so-called “private kitchens”, they are restaurants that opened not at shop level or at shopping centers, customers need to seek them out as they are usually located on some unknown floors of some unknown buildings. Private kitchens are not cheap, diners are treated to dinner menus that are created by the chefs using fresh seasonal ingredients of the time, a small dining environment with only a few tables give off a warm/home cooking effect, and where the patrons and the chefs interact and the experience is more personal.
This trend is fading out and many private kitchens have disappeared, they probably could not sustain in an environment where there are usually less than 10 tables to serve per night and maybe people got tired of seeking out the “lesser” known private kitchens. The whole concept of “private” kitchen, and their need to survive through being known and being “public” seems a bit ironic. I have discovered this semi-private kitchen next to the Butterfly Hotel in Causeway Bay; I called it “semi private” because it is very much like a normal Chinese restaurant with signs and name of the restaurant visible on the street, but there are a lot of partitions that can be pulled out between tables to give off the sense of “privacy” found in private kitchens. It possesses the one element I enjoyed in private kitchens, which is informative waiters that could explain and describe each dish, I enjoyed that because it allows me to delve into the imagination, creation, and artistry of the chefs during my meal experience.
coldly sliced thousand years old preserved eggs to match with slices of ginger as an appetizer to open us up for the big meal ahead
soup made with conch, chicken, and honeydew. I thought the honeydew is an odd ingredient for soup that is salty, but it was very delicious and gives off a bit of texture to the soup
shark fin fried in a stone clay pot--it takes a bit of expertise to make it not greasy and it is a bit unique because usually people eat shark fin as a broth. I know shark fin is a very controversial food, while I would not request the item, I wouldn't change it or not eat it if it's part of the menu
abalone and goose feet goes perfectly well with the abalone sauce, I was licking up the sauce
long garoupa (dragon like type of fish) 龍躉 stewed with tofu, I love the fish, it was so tender and juicy and the skin was very chewey
fried spare ribs with a hint of citrus ( 陳皮), I could eat the whole dish
the signature dish of this semi-private kitchen is the soya chicken that is slowly braised until the meat is soaked with the essence of the soya sauce. I would have doggy bag the sauce if I wasn't thinking about plentiful eating for the year 2011
i find the baked duck breast dish odd on this menu personally, I don't care if the duck is from France, it doesn't really match with the Chinese menu I am eating
there needs to be a veggie dish in the presence of all the meat, this is bok choy soaked in a fish broth
fried noodle in abalone sauce, don't estimate the difficulties of this dish because this type of noodle is very hard to fry with, it's usually cooked as a broth type of noodle, but very delicious fried and then braised in sauce
i love my dessert, a simple bowl of freshly grinded almond and egg white tea soup