Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hong Kong - 豪門火鍋 Rich and Powerful Restaurant (*seriously)

Getting a reservation for hotpot during the cold season in Hong Kong can be a b*tch.  In a city obsessed with keeping warm to the point of almost discomfort, this is the food of choice.  Every resident just wants to gather around a bubbling pot, dunk raw food in and cook it alongside booze and conversation.  Never mind that eating scaldingly hot food is bad for you.  Make it up on that next visit to the Chinese physician and the ritual starts over again.  On my 4th attempt late Thursday night, I managed to get a reservation for a late dinner Friday night.

Condiments 混醬
While many hotpot places offer the variety of condiments, not all places do.  I like places that do since it's an integral part of the cooling process for me.  Take food out of bubbling pot, then dunk in cool sauce before consuming to avoid scalding and ulcers.  And everyone's sauce is unique depending on what and how much you put into the base soy sauce.  Creativity at its best.  Clockwise in the above pic: sesame sauce, XO sauce, fried garlic, hoisin sauce, coriander, spring onions, fresh garlic mince and fresh cut chillies.

Soup base - clear brisket stock 清湯腩
We were recommended a clear stock made from beef brisket and radish.  Simple but naturally sweet.  And every other piece of brisket wasn't too tough for consumption.

Hand Cut local beef 本地手切牛肉
Cubes of tenderloin 牛仔粒
A must-have and must-do-well at a Hong Kong hotpot is the beef.  However good everything else is, this is the main event and so we were very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the hand-cut local beef slices.  Well marbled, a touch of chew to release beefy goodness and after that, it's almost effortless melt-in-the-mouth quality.  Awesome.  The tenderloin cubes weren't too bad either but paled in comparison to the sliced beef.  Still drooling 2 days later at the memory..

Black truffle selection 黑松露精選
Every hot pot place also has its own signature item to differentiate itself from the competition.  In this case, the Rich and Powerful have a selection of items where it uses the fragrant black truffle as a highlight.  We passed on the black truffle based soup base since we thought it would just overpower everything else.  Instead, the trio of 2 types of dumplings and meatballs all with truffle centers were an interesting delight.  Just beware of squirting centers!

Organic vegetable basket 有機蔬菜籃
Everything was fresh including the basket of crunchy organic vegetable selection from baby choi sum,  watercress, lettuce and sweet corn. 

Huadiao Chicken 花雕雞
Perhaps the only thing I would give a miss is the Huadiao chicken.  This always sounds like a great dish to order but the fragrance from the wine is lost in the pot and all you get is a piece of boiled chicken, with everything else so subtle that I won't even bother.  This is best steamed at home so the chicken is just barely cooked and the sauce, a magical potion with rice.

This was one of my better hotpot experiences, eating in comfort and our female server was just the smiliest ever.  I didn't even blink at the fact that she forgot my order of vinegar 3 times over, each time accompanied by an apologetic smile which makes you shrug and smile in return.  Unheard of in this city.  I would return just for the beef and the smiles.  And isn't the English name just a real hoot!?

G/F & 1/F, Charmhill Centre
50 Hillwood Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852-2730 1118

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