So I have a couple of friends who moved to Hong Kong a two years ago. We haven’t seen each other in ages, but its great to finally catch-up. The venue for our lunch is a the beautiful Duddells Restaurant. Located at the top of the Shanghai Tang Mansion, Duddells offers fine Cantonese cuisine with a decadent setting with a marble floors with touches of dark cream and jade furnishings. It does whisk you back to the colonial era with touch of modernity.
My friends arrive and we start chatting and truly we pick up right where we left off. We share our travel stories and the usual chit chat about work before tucking into the Executive Lunch Menu.
Here is how the lunch unfolded…
The truffle and mushroom dumpling has a deep pungent earthy flavour which exudes flair and elegance. There are a light mix of crunchy vegetables which add a texture overlay while the glutinous sack provides a jelly-like feel on the tongue and does a wonderful job containing the main ingrediants.
Dim Sum Combination: BBQ Pork, Prawn Dumpling and Prawn Spring Roll
BBQ Pork: The smoky sweet and lightly caramelised pork which is firm on touch and tender on the palate. The juices of the pork are there albeit slightly consumed during the cooking process. The outer part of the pork proves to be the true winner and dominates this dish.
Prawn Dumpling: The succulent juicy prawns are comfortable within the dumpling sack until I disturb them. The prawn and the light juices escape from the dumpling and work their way across my palate. The dumpling casing again adds a nice jelly like “glug” as a signature for the dish.
Prawn Spring Roll: The spring roll is crispy and flakey, while the prawn and wheat form a soft inside lining to the battle the firmer textures of the outside of the spring roll which felt the wrath of the oil in the fryer. It is the perfect touch to round out the tasting platter.
Sweet Corn, Carrot and Short Rib Soup
The oils of the short ribs with its gristle and tender fall-of-the bone meat is the epitome of comfort food, while crunch of the corn and carrot provide some weight to the broth. The saline mineral richness of the soup provides a powerful flavour to stamp this dishes authority on the lunch.
Fried Lobster with Vegetable in Black Bean Sauce
The lobster has a beautiful transcendent flavour with a firm but “flake” like texture as it works its way through your palate. The fermented taste which is associated with the black bean sauce does try to assert itself but is gently slapped back into place with the lobsters natural flavours. The beautiful experience rounds itself out when the well seasoned broccoli steps in to the cleanse the palate with its clean fresh salty taste. A highlight of the afternoon.
Braised Seasonal Vegetable with Bamboo Pith
The dish is dominated by soy / saltiness of the sauce. The pith has a spongy texture and neutral flavour while the crunchy stem of the vegetables are harmonious with their soft plush leafy ends. It is a basic dish, but one that is well done.
Fried Rice with Minced Beef and Garlic
To finish we have some fried rice, which has a smoky flavour of the beef with a strong streak of garlic and bits of egg which run through like a dashing swimmer to hold it together. It is, for a dish of this simplicity, quite well done I must say.
Dessert: Coffee Cake and Almond Sesame Ball
A very unique set of desserts. The coffee cake is like a jelly layer cake with a bitter espresso layer followed by a slightly lighter cream coffee layer. The two intermingle effortlessly to provide a little afternoon wake-me-up sensation. The sesame ball, not to be outdone, has a crunchy golden outer skin which is chewy and glutinous with a rich distinct almond liqueur paste inside to complete the experience.
A truly enjoyable leisurely lunch indeed. It’s always so great to catch-up with old friends and this occasion is certainly no exception. We finish lunch and make our way off into the heat of the Hong Kong afternoon.