A Rare Gathering of International Foodies at ' Ming Court'!
Six long standing chowhounders and die hard foodies started to chat about food and exchange personal experiences on this blog well over 7 years ago. Before long, we all became ' virtual space ' food buddies!
During this whole period, however, the right opportunity never came up that would allow all 6 friends to have a face to face gathering, sit down and share a meal together....until now!!
Like a rare astronomical event, whether for business or pleasure, all 6 buddies managed to descend in Hong Kong this weekend at the same time. As such, we decided not to let this rare opportunity go by and have our 'first' group face-to-face meeting.
Based on past positive experiences and reputation, we picked the 2* Ming Court to have our cozy and intimate meet. For food, we allowed the extremely helpful personal director, Eva and the newly appointed Chef Tsang, full 'Carte Blanche' in coming up with a suitable pre-arranged tasting menu for us, in accordance to our budget.
The following menu was what Chef Tsang conceived for us:
Ming Court Appetizer trio combination
(roasted sliced Suckling Piglet, Chilled yellow cucumber with Abalone marinated wih Japanese Sake, Sauteed diced Wagyu beef with sliced Garlic)
Baked Crab Shell stuffed with Crabmeat and Cheese topping
Double-boiled Black Shitake Mushroom, Bamboo Pith and Brassica in dense Shang-Tong Chicken Soup.
Braised fillet of whole Tiger Garoupa with Ginger and Spring Onion in Premium Top Soya Sauce.
Simmered Amaranth and Conpoy with Gogi Berries and Chinese Herbs
Chicken prepared with Salt in Chef's Special Recipe
Seafood fried rice in individual claypot
Duo dessert of Osmanthus Jello and Roasted almong coated fresh mango Crepe.
We arrived and were seated in the bright and roomy 'newly renovated' part of the dining room. Restaurant Manager William, who is also one of Hong Kong's best sommelier, personally looked after us. The result was immaculate service that was smooth, efficient, professional and extremely friendly.
Now came the food! Our meal started off impressively with the three dainty appetizers. The Suckling pig skins were perfectly crisp and crunchy. The delightful abalone, infused with sweet aromatic Sake was tender and flavourful. The beef, nicely caramelized, was tender and delicious. The baked crab shell was a variation of the traditional 'Bread crumb coated' rendition. Smooth and packed entirely with fresh crabmeat sans filler, this was nicely executed. The soup was also delightful and served piping hot. The flavour dense yet delicate and complex.
However, what follows was a strange change of course by Chef Tsang!! Expecting the remaining entree courses to follow a more innovative and adventurous trend, Chef Tsang suddenly turned cautious and adopted a conservative and traditional appraoch in offering us some good and nicely prepared but rather ' run-of-the mill ' dishes. We refer specifically to the Vegetable, Steamed Garoupa and the Salt Baked Chicken.
The meal was once again back on track with the interesting and tasty individual small claypot fried rice. Of course, the delightful and tasty Mango crepe deserved a special mentioning!
Noticing some very interestingly arranged dishes, with exquiste aromas, coming out of the kitchen, we were so tempted to try some of them!! Unfortunately, by that time we were all stuffed!! Nice time, may be??!!
Good food, wine and service together with GREAT COMPANY complted a fine and delightful evening!
Until next time, dear Chowfrends!!
Perhaps, for some reason, the Ming Court folks thought Charles was an out-and-out conservative Cantonese cuisine purist - so they prepared a meal which would please *any* traditional Cantonese food connoisseur, and not attempt anything which could be seen as *too* revolutionary.
Irregardless, I enjoyed this meal very much (loved the wines), and am so glad to be able to make it at the last moment (there *are* some of us who actually arrived on the day itself).
Actually, one dish that I enjoyed the most was the dessert: the crisp almond-encrusted Chinese cannoli filled with mango emulsion - purportedly a specialty of Ming Court's Executive Chef Mango Tsang. It was a triumph. One question: was the chef named after the dessert, or was the dessert named after him ;-)
Once again, a big thanks to Charles for arranging this. This was my first Chowmeet after the London one last year organized by long-time Chowhound, Howler, which brought together London-based CHs like JFores, limster, etc. to the Bombay Brasserie for a bespoke Parsi dinner. For me, every Chowmeet is an enjoyable and memorable event, as Chowhounds come together to trade stories and the latest dining tips.
Maybe it were the wrong dishes, but last years Chowmeet at Ming Court was far better. But I also think the very good starter spoiled our expectations for what was to come. But the service was first class and the company great, so it was a good evening.
Just could have had more desserts tough. ;)