Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hong Kong - iDelicious 好知味菜館

Once in a while, you find a restaurant which resonates with your past and brings a certain familiarity that is welcome.  iDelicious reminds me of many a Chinese restaurant I've dined at on the mainland, which tries to bring you the chef's take on the food that is representative of the cuisine of popular cities like Beijing, the greater Shanghai area and of course spicy Sichuan.

The place isn't fancy, like those many mainland eateries, but was comfortable with the air-con working overtime.  The exhaust isn't the best since we came out still smelling like dinner afterwards.  But the servers were a fun and friendly bunch, egging you on to order the specials while trying to do so via a witty repartee.

We got a private room, which looked more like a store room with space for a table of 12.  No ventilation, no decor, just a large table with chairs to accommodate us all.  We sat away from the main dining area which boasted apple green walls and black and whites of old Hong Kong.

What to order:

口水花甲 Steamed clams with a Sichuanese soy/sesame sauce
Served cool, this will as the Chinese name suggests, get you salivating immediately.  Not as spicy as its true Sichuanese cousin, this still packed a punch and is an excellent starter.

酒醉鵝肝 Goose liver in Huadiao wine
This was another awesome starter.  The liver was so smooth and captured the essence of the Huadiao perfectly, with which it was easily to have quite a few pieces.  If you have a big group, you'd probably do better friendship wise, if you have 2 orders.

酒醉乳鴿 Pigeon in Huadiao wine
If for some reason you don't like liver, there is a pigeon version.  But really no match for the liver.

菜乾豬肺湯 Dried bokchoy and pig's lung soup
An old Cantonese fave, they did this one pretty perfectly.  While it may sound gross to the uninitiated, this is really a richly packed soup full of umami flavors one would not ordinarily experience.  This is the combination of sun-dried vegetables, lots of lean pork and the slightly crunchy slightly fatty slightly chewy goodness of lung.  Even if you don't eat any of the ingredients (not uncommon) I'll bet you will enjoy the soup itself.

紳士雞 Gentleman's chicken
The signature of the restaurant and a great photo opportunity.  More a novelty than anything else, I've had better roast chicken elsewhere.  Not bad but perhaps compared to other things on the menu, it may not be what I'd order on a repeat visit unless I was bringing first-timers.

Other dishes that weren't bad but not a wow:

Crispy Brisket
This was lightly battered and deep fried, to retain a tender brisket inside.  Enjoyable.

Stir fried Hangzhou Tiger Chillies with thinly sliced pork and scrambled eggs
Good with a bowl of rice and there's enough heat to keep tongues wagging, that is if you're brave enough to eat the chillies too.

大澳三寶 Deep fried vegetable trio
This was a Chinese take on yasai tempura - with long beans, eggplant and yam.  Definitely a fun way to eat your vegetables even if not the healthiest.

水煮魚 Sichuan fish pot in hot oil
The taste on this wasn't too bad, obviously milder than in Sichuan, but for some reason, the consistency was a tad thick and gooey.  The fish wasn't bad but it was actually the mung bean noodles slathered in the flavored oil that was the addictive part of things.  An "ok".

While execution wasn't perfect in every instance, the variety here made for an enjoyable experience.  A great option if you're in the vicinity.  And if you're into name dropping, the chef is apparently the apprentice of a famous chef from an established Chinese resto group in Hong Kong and has won quite a few awards.

G/F, Wang Fung Building
31A-B Chi Kiang Street
To Kwa Wan
Tel: +852-2364 1220

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