Monday, March 18, 2013

Fishing for More

Guest blogger hkLifestyleGeek gets down to some fishy business

The Chinese Restaurant in the Hyatt Regency in Tsim Sha Tsui is a cosy place that offers top quality Cantonese cuisine thanks to the culinary skills of head chef Lo Kwai-kai.
During the day the dim sum he presents are exquisite, while the signature double-boiled fish maw soup with sea cucumber in a young papaya is gourmet comfort food, the barbecue pork one of the best in the city.

And to mix things up a bit chef Lo periodically adds promotional menus and from now until the end of April it's on freshwater fish prepared in various ways.

We had a chance to sample some and it was quite the treat. The restaurant manager insisted we start with a few appetisers and recommended the marinated fresh baby abalone, chilled (HK$220) that were presented on a bed of jellyfish. The abalone was eaten in two to three bites, chewy and flavourful, that contrasted nicely with the crunchy jellyfish.

Another starter was the marinated cucumber in dried plum sauce (HK$80) that was meant to have a subtle taste, but ended up a bit saltier from the salted plums. Nevertheless we liked the crispness of the vegetable that whetted our appetite for the main event.

The pan-fried Mandarin fish in bean paste sauce (HK$290) Xichuan style had a beautiful presentation, covered in the bean paste that had not only been deep-fried, but also seasoned and stir-fried again to give it a lot of flavour. The dish had a spicy kick thanks to the dried chillis, but it was a subtle hint. We enjoyed the contrast of textures with the meaty but soft fish meat with the crunchy bean paste sauce.

Meanwhile the steamed yellow fish in black bean sauce (HK$290) were actually small fish, one for each person. They were butterflied for easy cooking. While there were some small bones to beware of, the meat was especially tender and succulent.

For a change of pace, the stir-fried pigeon with minced pork, bamboo shoots and pine nuts (HK$200) came with lettuce cups that were carefully trimmed with the culinary equivalent of pinking shears. We liked this refreshing dish for its combination of ingredients that were hearty.

The season for pea shoots is almost over and we managed to have some in chicken stock (HK$135) that were delicious.

Finally for dessert, chef Lo has some culinary inspirations up his sleeve with the addition of baked egg custard tarts with glutinous rice flour (HK$38). It takes a few minutes to bake, but well worth trying. They are kind of like mini egg tarts with delicious custard and pastry on top, but underneath the top is a layer made of glutinous rice to give some chewiness and bind the dessert together. Not too sweet and just the right size to squeeze in something sweet at the end of the meal.

There are a number of other dishes on offer during the river fish promotion, including fish head soup with preserved vegetables; stir-fried fillet of water goby rolls with shredded carrot, black mushrooms, celery and Yunnan ham; eel with roasted pork belly, bamboo shoots and black mushroom in clay pot; and catfish in clay pot with garlic, shallots and premium soy sauce.

The Chinese Restaurant
3/F, Hyatt Regency Hong Kong
18 Hanoi Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
3721 7788

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