Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hong Kong - T'ang Court 唐閣

The company does not organise DnD's any more...  apparently it's too expensive to find a venue in HK which accommodates the close-to-600 people we have, and then hire an entertainment company to set the tone for the night's activities and then obviously feed everyone decently.  And so, every employee gets HKD500 to bond with others usually by department.  Pretty tidy sum and as good "HongKongers", what better way to spend it than eat it!  And so, off we trot to our favourite Chinese restaurant nearest the office.

T'ang Court, appropriately awarded 2 Michelin stars is Chinese fine dining at its best.  With tables sparsely positioned, the restaurant can be as quiet as any fine dining restaurant you would expect, so you can actually have a decent conversation without raising a decibel so it's a favourite with businessmen in the area.

I was all about quality and not stuffing our faces at lunch but you quickly realise, that even with HKD500, it doesn't go a long way with the ala carte selections especially with the sharks' fin servings averaging about HKD500 per person!  So we very quickly zero-ed in on the executive lunch where we would have a very decent lunch, and still have change left over.

We started with a bowl of superior sharks' fin with crab meat laced with birds' nest.  Extremely good value with a generous clusters of the precious fin in a a superior stock.  Definitely one of the better places to indulge your politically incorrect cravings.

This second dish was a delight to bite into.  Well fried with a black bean sauce and asparagus, it was extremely tasty and everyone was amazed at how well done the "chicken" was - crunchy, juicy and sweet, unlike any chicken they've eaten.  I was still savouring my sharks fin soup and so I said it was a "gwai gai" (Cantonese for weird chicken or colloquially used to describe a weirdo).  I said it a bit loud and was promptly politely corrected by our server that it was lobster, to the laughter of everyone, including the neighbouring table.  It was probably the loudest I've heard at T'ang Court.

The good thing about eating fish at these establishments is that for those who don't like to manoever through the bones, it's deboned for you so all you have to do is just pick up the well steamed, firm but not hard, and breaks only in the mouth soft and sweet flesh and enjoy.

For the fish lover, fret not.  The best parts ie. the head and the tail are reassembled and put on the lazy susan so you can still have at it if you like.  More for me!

The most unexciting dish for me was the stir fried chicken with abalone mushrooms, but even then it was well executed and actually if I wasn't pacing myself, would have ordered a bowl of steamed rice, and downed the whole bowl without difficulty as it was very tasty.

I love "mai fun" or rice vermicelli, especially a well fried one.  This version had good wok hei without the "burnt" taste at most places, a slight sacrifice especially at Dai Pai Dongs.  But this was so well done, the combined flavours of the char siu, eggs, with crunch from the chives and bean sprouts, as well as the perfectly al dente mai fun, was a delight to savour as everyone happily tucked into it.  I could have had another serving, in fact, I think everyone could have.  We were just thinking how fortunate for us that H had the connections to get us this in place of the e-fu noodles which were on the original menu, which everyone frowned on.

As H continued to work her connections, we got to enjoy one of T'ang Court's signature desserts, the almond tea with egg white florets.  The fragrance is a dead giveaway that it is made from freshly ground almonds, and not the paste or syrup you might get in a lot of establishments on account of less labour and effort involved.  Perfect finish and not too sweet.

And just for good measure, the "petit deux" in this case was the red bean/coconut pudding cake (which I didn't care much for although it was very smooth), and my favourite, baked egg tart.  Perfect with the freshly brewed cup of tea at the end of the meal.

Until next time, this meal was great team-building over superb food, where Chinese food does not have to be hearty and greasy.

1/F, Langham Hotel
8 Peking Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: +852-2375 1133

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