Articles on this Page
- 11/27/17--07:27: _Week of drunkenness...
- 11/29/17--07:59: _Week of drunkenness...
- 11/30/17--07:41: _Week of drunkenness...
- 12/01/17--00:44: _Week of drunkenness...
- 12/01/17--06:37: _Week of drunkenness...
- 12/04/17--22:49: _Year end catchup
- 12/06/17--07:49: _Ro ro for birthday
- 12/11/17--06:58: _Impromptu sushi
- 12/13/17--07:15: _Michelin star after...
- 12/14/17--07:38: _Durian and French food
- 12/16/17--07:00: _Days of burning ton...
- 12/16/17--23:55: _Days of burning ton...
- 12/17/17--06:37: _Days of burning ton...
- 12/17/17--21:48: _Days of burning ton...
- 12/18/17--07:57: _Days of burning ton...
- 12/21/17--06:53: _Noodle trumps pigeon
- 12/22/17--07:46: _A feast before Chri...
- 12/27/17--23:04: _AC x2
- 12/29/17--06:04: _Slaughtering fat sh...
- 12/31/17--01:48: _The best dishes I h...
- 11/27/17--07:27: Week of drunkenness: kaiseki with French reds
- 11/29/17--07:59: Week of drunkenness: Sine Qua Non toast, part 3
- 11/30/17--07:41: Week of drunkenness: A Night Among the Stars
- 12/01/17--00:44: Week of drunkenness: cinq chariots
- 12/01/17--06:37: Week of drunkenness: young and old rieslings
- 12/04/17--22:49: Year end catchup
- 12/06/17--07:49: Ro ro for birthday
- 12/11/17--06:58: Impromptu sushi
- 12/13/17--07:15: Michelin star after Star Wars
- 12/14/17--07:38: Durian and French food
- 12/16/17--07:00: Days of burning tongue day 1: Ice, Ice, baby
- 12/16/17--23:55: Days of burning tongue day 2: more Ice
- 12/17/17--06:37: Days of burning tongue day 2: goo goo Gaa Gaa
- 12/17/17--21:48: Days of burning tongue day 3: two trips across town
- 12/18/17--07:57: Days of burning tongue day 3: Christmas in Bangkok
- 12/21/17--06:53: Noodle trumps pigeon
- 12/22/17--07:46: A feast before Christmas
- 12/27/17--23:04: AC x2
- 12/29/17--06:04: Slaughtering fat sheep, part 3
- 12/31/17--01:48: The best dishes I had in 2017
As the end of the year approaches, we are also counting down towards the last couple of our MNSC dinners. Tonight Juliano a.k.a. Mr Mars graciously hosted us at Kaiseki Den by Saotome (懐石 さおとめ) - which re-branded and moved from his original location earlier this year. I haven't been back to the restaurant for a long time, and was pretty happy about having the chance to come back.
BTW there are some serious translation FAILs on the menu tonight. "ジュレ" is "gelée", not julienne...
And yes, I counted 2 translation FAILs here.
Sashimi : wagyu sashimi (造り：牛刺身) - very nice.
Chef selection dessert (甘味：シェフセレクション デザート) -
Ever the generous host, Juliano treated us to a stunning lineup of wines, including a couple of legendary vintages.
First pair: decanted for 1 hour and 50 minutes prior to serving.
Second pair: opened without decanting 2½ hours prior to serving.
Third pair: opened without decanting 3 hours prior to serving.
Fourth pair: decanted 4 hours prior to serving.
A really awesome evening. Great food and fantastic wines. What a way to kick off the week!
Roughly 6 months after our last gathering, our organizer once again rallied the troops for another tasting of Sine Qua Non wines. Originally we had been promised seats at the tasting organized for the Hong Kong Wine Society tomorrow night, but as there was unexpectedly high interest and most of us aren't members, we were not able to join.
Undaunted, we decided to do our own gathering tonight - meaning that our organizer would be doing back-to-back all Sine Qua Non nights. We agreed that we would bring out the "big guns" - meaning that wines had to be rare and generally older and more mature. Beefbar was chosen as the venue, and we took the private room.
A menu was set up, and we decided to add a little extra, too.
Kobe mini burger with paprika and sesame seed sauce - I normally dislike these burgers made with fatty beef, but this was not bad as there wasn't much melted beef fat dripping down as I bit into the burger. The sauce had a nice, spicy kick to it.
But the focus tonight was all on the wines. The 8 of us would open 10 different bottlings - or the equivalent of 9 bottles of wine. Given the alcohol levels of most of these bottles, I knew well ahead of time that I would be pretty toast by the end of the evening...
2009 Sine Qua Non Packin' Rosy - 70% grenache, 16% syrah, 14% roussanne. 15.5% alcohol. A little pungent at first, with lots of toast and plenty of cool fruit. 10 minutes later showing more sweet fruit, with tons of strawberries like a young Rayas, or a young pinot. Really ripe and hot on the palate.
1997 Sine Qua Non Twisted and Bent - 60% roussanne and 40% chardonnay. 14% alcohol. Rich and mature now, with sweet grass, a little acetone, and a hint of polyurethane. Beautiful and fragrant. Totally awesome with straw notes. 45 minutes later the nose was full of sugarcane and vanilla. 1 hour 15 minutes after opening it smelled like cotton candy. 2 hours 15 minutes after opening the wine was just sooo buttery. Fantastic!
2012 Sine Qua Non Pearl Clutcher - 100% chardonnay. 15.3% alcohol. Showing beautifully 15 minutes after pouring... toasty and stunning. 40 minutes after it showed a little American ginseng. 1 hour 25 minutes after there was this huge, amazing, toasty nose. Fucking awesome! 2 hours after it showed like a Kistler chardonnay, with lots of popcorn.
2001 Sine Qua Non Midnight Oil - 96% syrah, 2.5% grenache, 1.5% viognier. 14.9% alcohol. Served 1 hour 20 minutes after opening, and already beautiful, sweet, with nice oak. Almost metallic, with vanilla, a little dried herbs, and forest pine.
1999 Sine Qua Non The Marauder - 100% syrah. 14.9% alcohol. Served 2 hours 50 minutes after opening. Lovely but still needed a little more time. Pretty smooth on the palate now. 3 hours 20 minutes after minty notes came out, but one could still smell the alcohol. 3 hours 30 minutes after, more cedar and woodsy notes showed up, and at 4 hours 10 minutes a hint of burnt rubber came out.
1998 Sine Qua Non E-raised - "predominantly syrah, with a spritz of viognier and a dash of grenache". 14% alcohol. 1 hour after opening there was still plenty of iron, with eucalyptus, really sweet fruit, a hint of leather, and some smoke. 1½ hours later the wine was beautiful.
2003 Sine Qua Non The Inaugural Syrah - 97% syrah, 3% viognier. 15.8% alcohol. 2 hour after opening the nose was soooo big and fragrant, woodsy, so alcoholic it was singeing my nose hairs... So ripe, but sooo fucking good! 2 hour 40 minutes after opening the wine was beautiful, a little smoky, so concentrated, and the alcohol was still burning my nose hairs. 3 hours 40 minutes after some coffee notes showed up.
2004 Sine Qua Non Poker Face - 96% syrah, 2.5% mourvedre, 1.5% viognier. 15.5% alcohol. 2 hours after opening it was showing a hint of grass, but still ripe and sweet. I briefly wondered whether it was lightly corked, but perhaps not. Very smooth on the palate, but the tannins were still there. A little smoky, too.
2006 Sine Qua Non To The Rescue Roussanne - 100% roussanne. 10.5% alcohol. Honey, grapey, honeydew melon, acetone, and polyurethane.
2001 Mr. K The Noble Man - 100% chardonnay. 11.3% alcohol. Richer on the palate, nutty, more honeydew melon, more marmalade. Sweeter with more depth. Beautiful.
What an incredible evening! Every single bottle of wine tonight was showing well, and more than a few were simply stunning! It's rare to have a chance to taste some many of the older bottlings together, and this was certainly one of the best tastings I've participated in this year. Now I look forward to our next gathering... hopefully I wouldn't have to wait till next November!
The 10th edition of the Michelin Red Guide for Hong Kong and Macau was rolled out today, and in conjunction with the announcement, title partner Melco Resorts and Entertainment once again hosted a gala dinner at one of their properties. 6 chefs - each with at least two Michelin stars at their restaurants - coming together to cook for a few hundred guests at the Grand Hyatt Macau, with wine pairing. The entry price this year was MOP 4,888 - a reduction of 15% from last year, but still nothing to scoff at.
Thankfully, I received another invitation to attend the gala. I initially had a scheduling conflict which would have prevented me from coming, but that gathering was moved to last night. Which was how I found myself on the ferry to Macau while still a little hung over...
After checking into the Countdown Hotel, I quickly changed into my penguin outfit for the black tie event. There were already plenty of people outside the ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Macau when I arrived, and I got a chance to catch up with quite a few friends and congratulate chefs for their awards.
With the first course, the organizers wanted to make sure we have a dramatic start to the evening. As an army of waiters entered the ballroom with dish on their hands, the DJ decided to play The Uruk-hai from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Sure, it's a piece that makes a dramatic impact, but is there a subtext here I don't know about?
This year the organizers also presented a short video from each chef describing the story behind the creation of each dish, which made things a lot more interesting.
Riviera Reverie: gamberoni, delicate jelly and caviar, by Alain Ducasse - the gemberoni from the Gulf of Genoa were lightly cooked, and paired with a delicate gelée made with rockfish broth, then topped with Chinese caviar (Kaviari Kristal?). A very delicious start to our dinner.
Paired with Mumm Grand Cordon Brut.
Reunion: poached free range chicken in ginseng broth, by Tam Kwok Fung - unfortunately, despite only removing the lids to the clay pots after they have arrived at the table, the broth was only lukewarm. The chicken was very tender, although there was a surprising amount of fat. I thought the strong ginseng flavors in the broth were pretty good, but I was slightly disappointed by the fact that the wolfberries (枸杞子) were still dry and had not been cooked - just sprinkled on at the last minute.
2012 Château des Quarts Pouilly-Fuissé Clos des Quarts - nice and toasty on the nose. Very ripe and soft on the palate, almost limp, and no finish other than the feeling of alcohol burning the back of my throat.
Perfect Day: Brittany blue lobster tart, watermelon and yuzu vinaigrette, by Fabrice Vulin - this is a dish I've had before, most recently when Fabrice invited me to The Tasting Rooma few months ago. Putting different parts of homard bleu together with lobster bisque, lobster gelée, avocado, green apple, watermelon, Kaviari Kristal caviar, and cream... makes for a refreshingly delicious dish with a symphony of different flavors.
2013 Pernot-Belicard Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Champ Gain - nose fairly aromatic, with surprisingly good ripeness. Minerality came out when paired with the homard bleu, with some acidity at the back.
The real surprise was how well the dish worked with a glass of red wine. One would have thought that with sea urchin, seaweed, and wasabi, any one of those ingredients could have clashed with the red. Turned out not to be the case at all. I guess it just goes to show how little I know about food and wine matching...
the beef at Narisawa. However, for me this ended up ruining the flavors because the ratio of meat to powder was all wrong, and we've got entirely too much carbon in each mouthful.
After a musical interlude where Cantonese pop superstar Joey Yung (容祖兒) came on stage and delivered 3 of her hits, it was time for "Chef Nic" to come out. He had the title of "Friend of Michelin" (whatever the hell that means) bestowed on him at last year's gala dinner, and this year he was also contributing a dish to our evening - only this time it was a dessert, instead of an amuse bouche as he had done last year.
Unlike last year - when he came on stage in proper chef's whites and introduced his contribution via a pre-recorded clip, Chef Nic decided to make a theatrical entrance tonight. What happened for the next 5 minutes or so - can't say I actually timed it - can only described as a SHITSHOW. A TOTAL FUCKING JOKE.
In case anyone was wondering, our celebrity "chef" - dressed up in a costume one friend referred to as "organ grinder monkey" while another thought to be "high school marching band" - squeezed white and dark chocolate onto wooden serving boards in a frenzy. While some would comment that he was trying to emulate either Jackson Pollock or Grant Achatz, to me he just looked like a male porn star finishing up for the money shot.
Every single person at my table watched first in amazement, then cracked up as expletives began flying around... and F-bombs were dropping left and right in multiple languages. What a fucking disgrace! What the fuck did he think he was doing?! And to think that he was doing it in front of legends like Alain Ducasse - not to mentioned all the other chefs who worked hard to enable their restaurants to earn the coveted Michelin stars. Imagine how they must have felt watching him make an idiot of himself.
Paired with Jean-Marc Roulot l'Abricot du Roulot
This evening turned out rather differently than I had expected. Overall the dishes from the chefs - and I meant the real ones - tasted better than the ones from last year. I think they learned from experience, and 3 of the chefs offered chilled dishes which would be easier to serve to such a large crowd. Perhaps due to a budget reduction - the ticket price was lower this year, and they did have to pay for Joey Yung's performance, after all - the wines served tonight were not nearly as good as the ones last year, but the reds were certainly very decent.
Many thanks to the powers that be for the kind invitation. I was especially glad to be able to slink back into my room after the festivities, so that I wouldn't have to take a late ferry back home looking like a penguin... Finally, congratulations to all the restaurants for earning their stars!
Thanks to some last minute work, I ended up checking out of the Countdown Hotel a little late. Coupled with the shitty taxi situation in Macau, this meant that I was a few minutes late to my lunch appointment at Robuchon au Dôme in the Grand Lisboa Hotel. The Great One was already chatting with Jonas Schuermann - the MD of Hospitality Services at SJM who had extended the kind invitation to the two of us. They were already happily sipping on their first glass of bubbly.
It has been waaaay too long - almost 17 months - since the two of us were last here. Oncle Joël is in town this week for the Michelin festivities, and Jonas wanted to make sure that we come and try out the dishes of the season. And lunch here - at least for the Great One and I - is always a drawn-out and relaxing affair... punctuated by the 6 trolleys that come our way.
Once you dig in with your spoon and take the first mouthful, the reason this is a signature dish becomes glaringly apparent. The sweet yet slightly savory crab; a hint of anise; the Imperial caviar from Sologne with its oily, salty flavors; the sweet and creamy cauliflower cream; and the savory and umami lobster gelée... all coming together to work their magic in the mouth. Each spoonful is a lesson in elegance.
I can think of no better way to start a meal.
Le bœuf: châteaubriand et foie gras en une interprétation "Rossini" au vieux Porto - next came our main course... and what an incredible dish! Opening the lid of the re-used Boerl and Kroff Champagne lacquer box released beautiful smoke which filled the air, while we admired the beautiful piece of châteaubriand inside.
Curé Nantais - as its name suggests, the cheese comes from the city in the Loire valley. The outer rind is washed with Muscadelle. Nice and a little chewy.
Mango tart - more mango? Yes, please!
Jonas was his usual generous self today, so we were treated to a beautiful lineup of wines...
This was a fantastic meal. Every single dish was superb, and I was ever so glad to see that Oncle Joël was looking better in person than in some of the recent pictures I had seen. We also congratulated Chef Julien Tongourian for maintaining the 3 stars the restaurant has held for 10 consecutive years. Is there any doubt as to why this is my favorite French restaurant in the Pearl River Delta?
Many thanks to Jonas and the Grand Lisboa Hotel for the generous treat, and thanks to Carlyne for taking excellent care of us. Too bad Hello Kitty arrived about 2 hours late...
Three hours after I finished my 4-hour lunch at Robuchon au Dôme, I found myself sitting down to dinner at The 8 Restaurant (8餐廳). Despite having taken a broken nap in the room that the Grand Lisboa Hotel had generously provided me in between the two meals, I was still pretty drunk from lunch... and running at about 50% of my normal capacity for food.
This was supposed to be a "casual" dinner, without the burden of lots of pre-arranged dishes. So we tried to take it easy and ordered a few things we wanted to try. Of course, Chef Joseph Tse (謝錦松) did send along a few courses that he wanted us (read: The Great One) to try.
Barbecued pork (玫瑰蜜汁叉燒) - how blessed am I to be able to have this twice in the span of 7 days?! The best of pork collar (脢頭肉), with wonderful marbling. So, so, sooooo tender. And just a touch of charring.
No surprise that the silky chicken meat was tough.
Manager and sommelier Nigel Chan came over with 2 wine suggestions from Jonas, and I decided we should start dinner with something a little easier to drink...
I then proceeded to order a bottle from the list. I have had my eye on this wine since my visit last week, and finally decided to try it out. It's nearly 100 years old and I was curious to see what it would be like...
Once again I should thank Jonas for letting us tag along as he rolled out the red carpet for The Great One today... stuffing me and making sure I had a buzz starting at lunch. To be able to dine at two of my favorite restaurants in the world - both with 3 Michelin stars - on the same day is quite a treat! And I'm grateful that I was allowed to pay for the bottle of old riesling without much protest. Many thanks to Kenneth, Nigel, Chef Joseph Tse and the team for the pampering.
The end of the year is fast approaching, so my friendly neighborhood prime broker once again arranged for a lunch to catch up. The venue this year was China Tang (唐人館), and as I haven't been back in some time, this was a good opportunity to get another taste. Since this is one of Uncle Peter's restaurants, I'm not too worried about the quality of the food.
A pretty good lunch, with good conversation all around. Many thanks to my friendly neighborhood prime broker for the treat!
If one's fondness of a particular restaurant is measured solely by the frequency of visits, then Neighborhood must be my favorite restaurant in the whole world - as I generally make about 10 visits per year. I'm back tonight for the 13th visit this year, as a few of us help Ro Ro celebrate her birthday.
Shortly after we started, Sato-san and Takano-san walked through the door. They were dropping by after finishing mis en place for their 4-hands event with Tokuyoshi Yoji at their restaurant - starting tomorrow evening. We invited them to join us at our table, as we had two extra seats anyway. Besides, as I keep telling my friends, the dining experience at Neighborhood can be totally different between a small group and a large group - and I was fairly certain that Sato-san had not tried the larger, special dishes.
My friends know that I'm a huge fan of Sato-san's, and I admire his dedication and hard work. Another anecdotal evidence? He politely declined when we offered him the raw oyster. Why? Because he doesn't want to take any chances with getting sick from eating it. After all, the next few evenings are very important for him, and he wouldn't want to not be in top shape. RESPECT!
The celebration was helped along by a few bottles...
A friend is in town from Beijing and in dire need of some good food. The request came for sushi, and with such a last-minute request for a Monday, Hello Kitty decided to book us seats at Sushi Ima (今鮨). Not having been here before, I was hoping that I could have a light dinner by getting myself one of those nigiri sets one often finds at sushi restaurants. No such luck tonight... Only two omakase sets are available at dinner, so I picked the lighter option without otsumami (おつまみ).
Starter consisted of two pieces of dried sea cucumber stomach, as well as diced scallops and mantle with what seemed to be truffle sauce.
Japanese green sea urchin (馬糞雲丹) - opening the lid of the cute container revealed a couple of large tongues of sea urchin on top of shari (シャリ). Sweet and creamy, and nice with a sprinkle of charcoal salt.
This was more food than I had wanted tonight, but I gotta admit that it was pretty damn delicious.
My dinner would have ended here, were it not for the sudden appearance of a glass of red wine in front of me. Mr and Mrs Birdiegolf were having dinner nearby, and they decided to ask staff at their restaurant to bring over a glass of wine to me. It was a little unusual...
1967 Cheval Blanc, en magnum - a little smoky and earthy. Good acidity here, but a little short on the palate... and a bit savory.
It was past 9:30 p.m. when we tried to look for a place to have dinner in Kwun Tong. I had just come out of a premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and figured we should stay inside apm. With many outlets closing or already closed, we ended up getting a table at Lei Garden (利苑).
This restaurant chain's ability to secure Michelin stars for several of their outlets has long been a mystery to many of us living in Hong Kong. In fact, no less than TEN branches of Lei Garden has received the coveted star in the 10-year history of the Michelin Guide Hong Kong and Macau, and 3 of them still do in the latest edition announced on November 30th. The branch in apm happens to be one of the three.
It was late but they were still operating, so we quickly ordered a couple of dishes to fill our stomachs.
Not a fair sample to judge whether this place is star-worthy, but I suspect even on a good day, this could never hope to beat Seventh Son (家全七福) or even Fook Lam Moon (福臨門).
I had big plans for tonight. I was re-introducing Petrus at the Island Shangri-La to not only Hello Kitty but also to Mr and Mrs Birdiegolf. It's been a few months since we last had a meal together, and I was rather insistent on the venue. I like what Chef Ricardo Chaneton is doing there, and I've kinda been on a mission to spread the word to my friends.
Ricardo's always been very good to me, and I know that each time I come, he would do what he can to show me his best dishes. So tonight would definitely be a feast.
However, a few days ago my friend L pinged me to let me know about the party she's arranging for clients at the Island Shangri-La. She was bringing in Malaysian durian, and told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to miss this opportunity.
So... about an hour before I was to start what turned out to be a 14-course feast, I would myself by the pool of the hotel, wolfing down a plate of delicious durian... as a pre-dinner snack!
By the time I hauled my ass upstairs for dinner - after watching the crowd devour 300kg of durian in 2 hours - I wasn't the least bit hungry. In fact, I was a little stuffed...
But Ricardo had prepared a nice array of his creations for us... so I tried to power through.
He's put together a collection of 15 ingredients in a bowl, with no seasoning whatsoever other than the pickled baby snake cucumber. Ricardo suggested that we at them "as is" - without adding the Sicilian olive oil he provided on the side - as each of the leaves would provide its own seasoning. I understood what he was trying to do, but still found the result a little bland.
Lentils / Colonnata / ham - apparently Ricardo calls this a "salad"... even though there is clearly plenty of lardo di Colonnata with the slightly toasty lentil germs, lentil sprouts, and tarragon. The dish was finished with some broth made with jamón ibérico de bellota. Nice and light, n'est-ce pas?
A real warm and comforting dish. Such wintery flavors. The Taleggio cream was soooo satisfying, working well with the sweetness from the onion. I was a real happy camper after this dish.
Oh, the juvenile in me couldn't help but flashback to this scene in Austin Powers in Goldmember...
I was too full by this point, and did not finish the dish.
Hare rolled up with foie gras at the center and some black truffle inside, and of course drenched in the blood sauce. Served with celeriac purée on the side. I would have inhaled this dish on any other night, but failed completely tonight.
We brought 2 bottles of wine tonight - the limit imposed by the restaurant's corkage policy. This was just as well, since I had plenty of durian before dinner and was watching my alcohol intake...
This was a fun dinner. I would have enjoyed it more had I actually been hungry, but I could still appreciate the thought process and worked that Ricardo put into all the dishes. Hopefully he can continue to develop his repertoire, and it would be interesting to watch him come into his own over the next few years.
I'm back in Bangkok for a long weekend, eating my way around town again (so what else is new?)... Having not had breakfast and only shitty airplane food for lunch, I was pretty hungry when we checked into the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. It's been more than a decade since I last stayed at the grande dame of Bangkok, and I absolutely love the classic colonial style of the place. As we were having dinner relatively early, I decided to stave off the hunger pangs by nibbling on a few longans () that the hotel had provided us in our room.
A little more than an hour after we left the hotel on foot to take the BTS from Saphan Taksin Station, we arrived at Baan Ice Restaurant (ร้านบ้านไอซ์) in Thong Lo. The people who run this chain were responsible for gathering the street food vendors for Gaggan's after party back in February, and I have heard numerous recommendations from trusted friends. It was natural, then, that it should be on my hit list for this trip. And the branch on Thong Lo (Sukhumvit Soi 55) seems to be the one where we should visit... or so I thought. It was a little more out of the way for us, but as it turned out, more convenient for our old friend Vincent Thierry.
Thankfully our Thai friend was able to join us, and we left the ordering entirely up to her and The Great One - although Hello Kitty and I did behave like food Nazis and strictly limited the first round of orders to 6 dishes.
Grandpa's kao yam (ข้าวยำคุณปู่) - 12 ingredients mixed together with rice, including lemongrass, winged beans, string beans, pomelo, and kaffir lime leaves.
At this point the chef came out to greet us, as The Great One had run into some people last night who had told the chef about our visit. This was when we started getting dishes from the kitchen that the chef wanted us to taste...
I was completely stuffed. And my tongue started burning about halfway through dinner, and nothing seemed to be able to put out that fire. I ended up ordering 3 ice-cold drinks made with local herbs, and for a while even that didn't do the trick. We were very, very happy with the food tonight, but next time I would probably need to request that the kitchen dial down the heat.
I had to run out a little earlier as I had made plans to meet my friend B and her husband, who are on their annual holiday from Switzerland. It's been almost 4 years since I last saw her in Taiwan, and as we couldn't meet up for dinner, we ended up having a drink on the Riverside Terrace at the Mandarin Oriental.
This was a very good night... good food plus catching up with two sets of old friends.
Our stay at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok during this trip was a short one, so we decided to stay in this morning and had our Thai breakfast at The Verandah. The temperature was pretty cool this morning, and it was really nice to be able to sit outdoors and watch the traffic go by on the Chao Phraya River.
Since we were staying on the riverside, I figured that it would be a good idea to hit Krua Apsorn (ครัวอัปษร) on Thanon Samsen for lunch. I really enjoyed my lunch there last year, and Mr. and Mrs. B really enjoyed their lunch 2 days ago after I recommended it. Unfortunately, they are a family restaurant chain and don't open on Sundays... which sent me back to the drawing board for our lunch plans.
After moving across town and checking into the St. Regis Bangkok, we took the BTS Skytrain 1 whole stop and went into Siam Paragon. Baan Ice Restaurant (ร้านบ้านไอซ์) has its newest location inside this shopping mall, and we enjoyed our dinner so much last night that we figured it couldn't hurt to go and try a few more of their dishes.
Spicy curry with crab meat and wild betel leaves (แกงเผ็ดเนื้อปูใบชะพลู) - pretty good, and there is a certain level of pungency from the spices. Try as I might to pick out the small bits of bird's eye chilis, it wasn't long before my tongue started burning again...
This was definitely enough food for the two of us - especially considering I had to down 2 lemongrass coolers to put out the fires dancing on my tongue.
Our exploration of Bangkok restaurant continues, and we were checking another restaurant off our list. In addition to running his namesake restaurant, our friend Gaggan Anand has also helped a few other chefs launch their own restaurants - where he and his partner retain a financial interest. One of these is Gaa, which is located just opposite Gaggan and is run by Garima Arora - Gaggan's former sous chef.
While planning for our short trip, I had wanted to try out one fine dining venue that I hadn't been to. Having run through the list of fine dining Thai restaurants on my last two trips, I focused on two venues of interest - both of which are ventures in which Gaggan had a hand in. When I left the decision up to Hello Kitty, she chose Gaa without any hesitation. We are always looking to support female chefs, and here in Asia there really aren't many of them helming kitchens at fine dining establishments.
We took a leisurely stroll from the St. Regis Bangkok, and arrived at the same time as The Great One. Even though I booked the table under my own name, I hadn't told Gaggan that we were going there. Having failed to pay for a single meal at Gaggan in the last two years - and even for my meal at Meatlicious - I was trying to stay under the radar in the hope of finally being able to pay for a meal. I wasn't sure whether we had been made when we walked through the door, but we did get seated at a table by the window with good lighting...
This being our first time at the restaurant, we chose the larger of the two tasting menus - with 14 courses. The Great One took the 5-glass juice pairing, while I chose the last 3 out of the 5.
But here is where I think service fell short. The Great One was still on her first glass of juice, but I was being served the third glass that she would be having later. If this were a true pairing, shouldn't this glass of juice be served later - even for me?
The balls were actually takoyaki (タコ焼き) filled with duck vindaloo. These were fantastic.
Noma Tokyo? No surprise that this one came with an Indian twist, tasting of turmeric and curry. Some longans (龍眼) between the mousse and the toast provided a nice addition of sweetness. Very tasty.
The baby corn had already been separated from their husks, and of course this would be the perfect time for me to revert back to being a juvenile teenager...
FYI this was delicious.
Moving the leaves aside reveals a pile of very soft and jiggly tofu made with cow's milk (wouldn't it be more like panna cotta?), topped with finely chopped salted mustard leaves and coriander leaves. Different and contrasting textures in one bite. Not bad.
We chose to pay an additional THB 500 for the sturgeon caviar. Not sure that it added much to the dish...
Khanom-la - the inspiration came from the Thai sweet khanom la (ขนมลา), except this is a savory version shaped like a taco. Nicely crispy and toast shell, with a layer of milk skin whose sole purpose seemed to be to insulate the crispy shell from the juices of the succulent grilled garoupa inside. The mustard sauce was a little spicy and acidic. Pretty decent.
Keema pao, homemade butter - the keema pao was stuffed with mince lamb inside, and it was so, so, sooo tasty! Too bad we were already full from the pork rib, so each of us only took one little square of the bun and didn't even bother touching the butter.
Bhakarwadi, koji ganache - this was like a cinnamon bun but tasted of cumin and curry leaves, while the koji (麹) ganache was both savory and sweet, and made with coconut and sesame seeds.
This was a very good dinner. No fails out of 14 courses, and there were quite a few hits that brought us pleasure. Considering the cost of dinner was THB 2,600 without the caviar supplement, this meal at Gaa certainly delivered - in spades.
And the best part? We asked for the bill and actually got one! After 5 failed attempts to pay, I finally succeeded for a meal because Gaggan wasn't around this time...
We stood outside the glass house at Gaggan and tried to peek inside, but it didn't look like the boss was in the house. We knew he was up at Wonderfruit yesterday and would have been pretty tired today, so Hello Kitty and I took the leisurely stroll back to our hotel... with smiles on our faces. We'll see the big guy soon enough, anyway.
We left our hotel a little early so that Hello Kitty could make her obligatory stop at Erawan Shrine, which was just up the road. We then crossed the street to Gaysorn Village, where we camped out at Starbucks Reserve to get our caffeine fix while waiting to see whether Paste would have a table for us at lunch. Without a booking from at least a few days earlier, I wasn't the least bit surprised when The Great One told me that they were fully-booked after getting themselves a well-deserved star in the Michelin Guide Bangkok 2 weeks ago.
We still wanted good Thai food at a place we have been before, and since I wasn't able to get in yesterday, we took a taxi across town to Krua Apsorn (ครัวอัปษร) on Thanon Samsen.
The first thing I wanted to order was the stir-fried Tonkin jasmine with minced pork (ดอกขจรผัดน้ำมันหอย), but it wasn't available. Is it the wrong season? Sooooo bummed...
Crab dip (หลนปู) - this wasn't just a crab meat and tomalley paste with chiffonade of kaffir lime leaves... It also came with tiny crabs still in their shells chopped in half.
We went back to our respective hotels for a break/afternoon nap, and tentatively planned to hit Raan Jay Fai (ร้านเจ๊ไฟ) a few hours before our late dinner. One of our mutual friends had visited Sister Mole just a few days after she received her Michelin star, and reported back that it took her about 3 hours to get her dishes for lunch. We figured that the lines would be crazy, but decided to try our luck anyway. It was, after all, a Monday...
Rush hour traffic was pretty crazy, and our taxi driver asked for double the usual fare - which we felt was reasonable given the circumstances. He then proceeded to weave through private roads inside Chulalongkorn University campus. I was pretty sure that this maneuver cut our travel time down significantly.
3 times before tonight, and Hello Kitty and I decided that we wouldn't want to wait around. It just didn't make much sense, especially given our very special dinner later on this evening. So we grabbed a taxi and returned to the St. Regis Bangkok, where we relaxed with a drink at the St. Regis Bar and chased away the hunger pangs with some fried chicken wings and delicious plantain chips... Washed down with a giant glass of mojito.
Dinner starts (hopefully) at 9:30 p.m....
So... tonight was the whole reason for our short trip to Bangkok... the GohGan Christmas party - the 7th iteration of the collaboration between Gaggan Anand and Fukuyama "Goh" Takeshi (福山剛) dubbed GohGan. We happened to be in Seoul a few months ago when the 6th iteration was held there, and we felt fortunate to have been part of it. It was announced that night that they would have a Christmas party in Bangkok, so here we are! Again, we are lucky to have been allowed to join the party.
We arrived shortly before the 9:30 p.m. second seating, but as usual the first seating was running overtime... So after greeting A at the door, we dutifully went back outside the glass house and waited. And who should I find not 10 feet away from me, but Gert de Mangeleer from Hertog Jan - whose collaboration with the Sühring twins ended the night before I arrived in town? I was glad to have a chance to catch up with him for the second time this year, even if I didn't get to taste this creations this time.
"Wine Boy" Vladimir Kojic came to say hello, and brought us glasses of Jacquesson (couldn't remember whether it was Cuvée 739 or 740 or...) to start our evening. It was nice and went down easily, but I didn't want to get buzzed before taking my first bite.
Uni cabbage taco - each of us get two different tacos, and on the small cabbage taco shells we had purple sea urchin (left side) and a combination of the "normal" and the red variant of the Japanese green sea urchin (right side), topped with Shogoin turnip (聖護院蕪) sauce and pineapple chutney. Definitely tasted some curry-like spice.
Edamame and shitake 7/11 dog - inspired by the "American dog" (アメリカンドッグ, basically corn dogs) that are ubiquitous in Japanese convenience stores, this version was made with seasonal edamame (枝豆) and shiitake mushrooms (椎茸) - with chili sauce, chutney, and Japanese mustard as condiments. Nice and spicy.
Needless to say the belly of the baby tuna was very, very tender... but the jelly on top had become very, very smoky.
And this would be one of those rare occasions when I would eat the tuna offered to me out of respect for the chef - since I wasn't given an opportunity to notify them about my dietary preferences.
The soup was made with the other parts of the Bresse chicken along with black truffles, onions, and what looked like Kintoki carrots. This was very delicious.
2011 François de Nicolay Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Fontenys - slightly pungent, a little stemmy and bitter, with good amount of sweet fruit. Slightly chewy tannins.
my first time in February this year, whenever I am asked about how big a bowl of curry rice I wanted, I would always answer "XXL". As far as ingredients go, in addition to the usual suspects, we've also got a lot of edamame as well as (curiously) caviar. I was getting pretty full halfway through my bowl, but there was no way I would leave anything behind... so of course I powered through it.
The desserts tonight would once again be taken care of by Hiratsuka Makito (平塚牧人) - the pastry chef at Le Moût in Taichung who was responsible for one of my favorite dishes last year - one of only two desserts out of a list of 31 dishes. He was also the creator behind the desserts at the last Gohgan, and tonight would be his third time as part of the team.
Marguet Shaman 14 Rosé - ripe with lots of strawberries.
Mulled wine Christmas balls - cracking open the shell revealed roasted apple espuma, mulled wine jelly, and two balls made with anise and cinnamon. Honestly, though, this was probably my least favorite dish tonight. I didn't get it.
With the end of service, it was time to turn up the music and party! Gohgan is nothing if not fun!
As I had suspected, my offer to pay for my meal was declined. Thankfully I had come prepared, and had brought along 3 bottles of wine as gifts for the Wine Boy - including 2 bottles of bong water! I look forward to seeing these guys again soon... and hopefully in Hong Kong! Or maybe at that new bong water bar that Wine Boy is setting up right next to Gaggan...
A friend is in town all the way from the Big Apple, and we figured that we should take him out for a nice Cantonese dinner. Chili Shrimp Girl was also in town for the holidays, so the four of us book ourselves a table at Tasting Court (天一閣). Our guest chose the simplest out of the three set menus, because he's been sorely missing pigeons cooked Chinese style...
Slow-cooked meat ball in chicken soup (葵花斬肉) - this has to be my second favorite version of meat ball - ranked after mom's, of course... Soooooo tender and delicious.
I brought a couple of bottles of wine to share...
L is back in town for Christmas, and when she planned her trip two months ago, she demanded that I take her to Uwe while she's in town. So I dutifully booked a table, then added an extra seat at our table when My Favorite Cousin couldn't join me for dinner last night.
It's Christmas holiday season, and given that Uwe's always had a tree in the middle of his restaurant, it wouldn't surprise anyone that there is now a Christmas tree in the space. Except... that in order to fit an extra table for the busy season, they've decided to hang it upside down from the ceiling. But this seems to be a thing these days...
Autumn landscape - once again we have a whole spread on the table as our "first course", but there is a little bit of variation this time.
This was served with a few side dishes...
And they're put over the fire for 3 hours, peeled, then grilled again. Garnished with flowers and served up on antique silverware - real silver, that is...
Minced pie with brandy butter, and salted caramels
Dinner tonight was, of course, accompanied by a few bottles... I decided to order a bottle of Krug off the very good and reasonably-priced wine list, because the markup was so ridiculously low... and what was on offer by the bottle was 3 editions ago compared to the current release.
Krug Grande Cuvée, 161éme édition, ID 412044 - initially more lean and light than expected, but still delivered a nice and toasty nose.
1989 von Schubert Maximin Grünhäuser Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett - pretty dry on the palate, but definitely mature. Polyurethane notes on the nose. Later this turned pretty ripe and mineral.
I think we were all pretty happy at the end of the evening... We were all very stuffed, to say the least!
It's almost the end of the year, and I had originally not planned any big meals after going through a quiet Christmas. But The AC is coming through town again, and after meeting up with him exactly a year ago, I realized that he's not some crazy axe murderer and that I could join him for lunch - especially when it's at one of my favorite restaurants in town.
I didn't want to let Sato-san or Takano-san know that I was joining for lunch... I had wanted it to be a surprise. But when I showed up at the entrance to Ta Vie 旅 with my camera in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other, Takano-san didn't seem surprised to see me.
We decided to take the 5-course short tasting menu, but Sato-san was kind enough to send us two extra courses. I guess it's the holiday season, and we sure needed the extra calories...
I don't usually drink at lunch, but seeing that it is the second to last working day of the year, I decided to bring along a bottle.
A very good lunch to close out the fine dining calendar for the year, and thankful that The AC very kindly allowed me to join him. Of course, I am always thankful for the kindness and generosity of Sato-san and Takano-san, and for their excellent service. I will need to see more of them next year...
This is a rant. I'm not going to describe all the delicious food I had tonight at one of my (former) favorite restaurants. I'm too pissed off by the unprofessional service to care.
I was really pissed off about the way our orders were taken for our dinner at Above and Beyond (天外天) in Hotel ICON. To be fair, we were partly to blame for the problem. Hello Kitty had pre-ordered 1½ roast Peking ducks for the 12 of us, as well as the restaurant's signature steamed coral crab with glutinous rice. She was too busy at work when someone at the restaurant got her on the phone and tried to discuss tonight's menu.
So the task of ordering the rest of the dishes fell on our shoulders. I was feeling lazy and kicked the ball over to A, who had never been here before. He proceeded to order a few dishes, then passed the menu back to me so I could finish ordering the dishes.
This is where we ran into trouble.
I had not heard the entire conversation between A and the Tall Bespectacled Waiter who took his order, so I actually didn't know how many dishes had been ordered - although I was aware that no starters had been mentioned. So I picked out a couple of starters, then added a couple of more dishes - including 2 vegetable dishes to balance out the proteins and the carbs that we were getting.
Towards the end, I was half-reciting the dishes that I thought we had ordered, and half-expecting the Tall Bespectacled Waiter to confirm to me every single dish that we had ordered - as many, many waiters would do at most restaurants I go to. No such response from him. I did not grasp the full extent of our order.
Instead, the Tall Bespectacled Waiter told me that their dishes were designed to serve parties of 3-4 people, and asked whether I wanted to upsize my order by getting double portions or more. Again, not knowing how many dishes A had ordered, I figured that getting double portions of the dishes would be a sensible thing to do.
Everything was fine at the start of our meal. The 1½ portions of roast Peking duck was a big hit with just about everyone. The double portions of starters was a little much, but single portions would not have been enough. So far, so good.
Then it hit us. A had ordered fish, but it was leopard coral trout (東星斑) prepared two ways - pan-fried fillets and stir-fried fillets. So we already had two plates of fish - which was then DOUBLED to give us 4 plates of fish. A apparently also ordered both sweet and sour pork as well as stir-fried pork with black vinegar, as the Tall Bespectacled Waiter recommended the latter to him. This also became DOUBLE, so we now had 4 plates of breaded pork. Together with the double portions of the two vegetables (which were necessary and appreciated by many), as well as the double portion of stir-fried noodles with beef (one of which we cancelled), the amount of food was simply getting ridiculous.
The final straw came when I saw that two steamers of steamed coral crab with glutinous rice arrive at our table. Hello Kitty had pre-ordered two portions as she felt one wasn't enough, but I wasn't aware of this... and when the Tall Bespectacled Waiter reminded me of our pre-orders, he did not specify that there were two portions of this dish.
Again, I'll admit that we were partly to blame for our lack of communication among us. However, in my mind one of the most important jobs for a waiter is to help the customer order dishes - and to let the customer know when there is sufficient food to feed everyone. Letting the customer order way too much food without so much as a cautionary comment is not how restaurants should do business. Honestly, a good waiter should know that with the number of dishes being ordered, having double portions of just about everything is ridiculous. Do they treat all their customers this way, or did we look like fat sheep ready to be slaughtered?
I was very pissed and voiced my displeasure, but didn't make a scene on account of it being a celebratory dinner for a 90th birthday.
Which resulted in our final WTF moment. With the help of my old friend BM, I had managed to get us a salted caramel mille-crepes cake from Lady M on very short notice. After an excessive amount of food, we didn't think we could finish the whole 9-inch cake, so we asked the waiters to cut half the cake into 10 portions.
With round cakes, I had always had people cut them into triangular slices before. That ensures that everyone gets some of the icing or whatever is on the side of the cake. But the genius tonight decided to cut them into rectangular pieces, and I got stuck with an "inside" piece.
I stared my piece of cake in disbelief for at least a minute or two before finally picking up my fork.
I understand the peculiar nature of this hotel and of the restaurant, and that some of the staff here are students at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University's School of Hotel and Tourism Management. But for a restaurant that charges full retail price, I expect the service level to be on par with other restaurants at similar price points. Amateurish and shit service is not acceptable. I have always enjoyed my meals here and have fond memories of dining here, but I'm certainly going to stop recommending this place to friends after tonight.
So... at the end of last year I finally succumbed to publishing my first "best of" list for the dishes I enjoyed in 2016. As friends are now publishing their "best 9" on Instagram and "best" lists, I decided that once again, it was time to reflect back on a year with lots of wonderful meals.
I'm fortunate enough to be able to eat well, and lucky to have friends who share the same passion. I'm also grateful that enough chefs and restaurateurs choose to treat me well - probably better than I deserve.
Following last year's practice, the best dishes I have tasted in 2017 is listed in chronological order. These may not be the most complicated or fancy dishes, but rather, these dishes elicited a certain amount of amazement, joy, and emotion out of me to be memorable.
Sweet rice dumplings (破漿重圓) from Lee Lo Mei (李好味), Hong Kong - yes, spherification is still being done, but this one was really nice. I loved this modern take on the classic Chinese dessert, as the flavors of the ginger syrup hits one's tongue after the sphere bursts.
Barbecue pluma Iberico pork, Yellow Mountain honey (蜜汁頂級西班牙黑毛豬叉燒) from Mott 32 (三二公館), Hong Kong - after hearing about the hype surrounding this signature dish, I finally had the opportunity to taste it for myself. And it WAS damn good. It stands apart from many, many good versions available around town.
Challans duck, foie gras and spiced organic pear from 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong - this piece of duck breast was just about perfect, with a layer of crispy skin and a rosé center.
Mazegohan from Den x Gaggan, in Bangkok - simply one of the most delicious curry rice I have ever eaten - the combination of Hasegawa Zaiyu's corn rice with Gaggan Anand's crab curry with two different types of crab.
Crispy noodle with shrimp cramb and egg (หมื่กรอบจีนหลี สมัย) from Raan Tek Heng (ร้านเต็กเฮง), Bangkok - this was the best mee krob (หมี่กรอบ) I have ever tasted, with crunchy texture and tangy flavors. The recipe has been around for more than 100 years, and the dish was served to King Chulalongkorn himself.
Crab meat omelet (ไข่เจียวปู) from Raan Jay Fai (ร้านเจ๊ไฟ), Bangkok - the famous crab omelet that I fell in love with last year, and thought was one of the best dishes I tasted in 2016. Now that Sister Mole has gotten herself a Michelin star, the lines for this delicious dish - priced at 10 times when other restaurants charge for their crab omelets - can now mean a 3-hour wait.
Chu toro from Gaggan, Bangkok - one of the most amazing bites I have ever eaten, and probably the most amazing texture from a piece of tuna.
Scallop curry cold from Gaggan, Bangkok - another very emotional dish, where I simply couldn't believe that my eyes were deceiving me. What I was eating and what I thought was eating were two different things.
"Swedish sushi" from Frantzén's Kitchen, Hong Kong - I had never eaten reindeer moss before, and the piece of tender fallow deer on top - with a sprinkle of dried foie gras shavings and ash - just seemed revelatory.
North Atlantic skrei "janssons" from Frantzén's Kitchen, Hong Kong - the dish seemed simple and straightforward at first, but for some reason it just ticked all the boxes... very tasty, comforting, and of course the presentation was very pretty. So good we ordered a second serving.
Toyama firefly squid / Hokkaido sea urchin risotto from Neighborhood, Hong Kong - firefly squids always make me happy, and putting them together with sea urchin in a risotto... just magnifies the flavors of a comforting dish. I could have a bowl of it all by myself. Maybe two.
Crispy pigeon (脆皮燒乳鴿) from Stellar House (星月居), Hong Kong - this was hands down one of the best pigeons I have had in recent memory, and very likely the best Chinese-style pigeon. Incredibly crispy skin, coupled with an abundance of liquefied fat underneath the skin - which then imparted its flavors to the meat. I could just have 3 of these in one sitting.
Slow cooked egg with onion and potato capuccino, Tasmanian truffle from Caprice, Hong Kong - I had this at the Tasting Room in Macau last year and it was one of my most memorable for 2016, and Guillaume Galliot brought the dish over to Caprice. Thankfully the portion size is smaller now.
Fraisier Gariguette from Caprice, Hong Kong - Nicolas Lambert continues to weave his magic at Caprice, and this was an incredible creation with seasonal strawberries.
"La vie en rose" buri from Gert de Mangeleer's pop-up at MUME, Taipei - the dish may have been centered around slices of raw yellowtail, but the ingredients around it packed a real wallop in terms of flavors.
Poached Brittany lobster, watermelon and yuzu vinaigrette from the Tasting Room, Macau - a dish that Fabrice Vulin put together while at Caprice in Hong Kong, then refined it. A wonderful balance between umami and sweetness.
Prawn roe stirred noodle with prawn and shallot essence oil (蝦子蝦油蔥油撈麵) from Tasting Court (天一閣), Hong Kong - it's a simple dish that could be found in many, many restaurants in Hong Kong, but this one has them all beat.
White baits "pil pil" baby eel style from Neighborhood, Hong Kong - such a simple dish with simple and inexpensive ingredients, but it delivered so much pleasure.
Kinki paella from Neighborhood, Hong Kong - putting a fatty and succulent fish like kinki on top of some rice. No brainer.
Royal hot pot (신선로) from La Yeon (羅宴), Seoul - an incredibly elegant and refined dish. Meticulous preparation of each ingredient, delivering a wonderful balance of flavors.
Summer zucchini : green and yellow zucchini, basil infused zucchini consomme from Mingles, Seoul - seemingly simple yet incredibly elegant and balanced. Purity of flavors.
Uncut steak galbi from Born and Bred, Seoul - on a night with so many different cuts and preparations of Korean Hanwoo beef, this piece with crispy charring on the outside and incredible marbling inside took top honors.
Fried rice with ginger, dried scallops, sakura shrimp and egg white (薑米瑤柱櫻花蝦蛋白炒飯) from Tasting Court (天一閣), Hong Kong - stir-fried at high heat to deliver dry, individual rice grains with bite... with crispy shrimp to boot.
Imperial scholar's five-snake soup (太史五蛇羹) from my favorite private dining facility, Hong Kong - simply the best. I expect this to be on my "best of" list each and every year.
Noble scallop (桧扇貝) from Frantzén's Kitchen, Hong Kong - I don't recall ever eating a more tasty scallop than this one. On top of the amazing texture, the flavor combinations were superb.
Wild boar garganelli from Neighborhood, Hong Kong - simplicity is not simple. Getting the right balance among all the ingredients of a dish takes experience and skill. When a chef from a restaurant with Michelin stars sings praises for this dish, you know this ain't just a dish randomly thrown together.
Barbecued pork (玫瑰蜜汁叉燒) from The 8 (8餐廳), Macau - so happy to have one of my favorite char siu again! Soooooo tender and delicious!
Le caviar: en surprise sur un king crabe rafraîchi d'une infusion de corail anisée from Robuchon au Dôme, Macau - one of the best dishes I had last year, and so thankful I was able to have it again this year. Classic from Oncle Joël.
La truffle noire: en ravioles de Pecorino crémeux cuisiné au bouillon de poule from Robuchon au Dôme, Macau - as The Great One remarked, these ravioli stuffed with Pecorino and black truffle cream were simply "ethereal".
Le bœuf: châteaubriand et foie gras en une interprétation "Rossini" au vieux Porto from Robuchon au Dôme, Macau - this has to be the very best tournedos Rossini I have ever had. The châteaubriand was incredible, as was the foie gras on top. Just watching it being sliced made me salivate.
That comes to 32 dishes - one more than last year. A very good year. Here's hoping that 2018 will be just as good.