Thursday, February 28, 2013

OpenRice Annual Dinner 2013

Yee Tung Heen (Causeway Bay)

Thanks to OpenRice for organizing this event held every year.

This was my second year attending.

Each course was paired with wines from Marks and Spencer's my favourite food store in Hong Kong.

Although I do not drink, I tasted them and appreciated the colours and smells of each wine.

Marks & Spencer Sparkling Burgundy:Diced beancurd with spicy salt and marinated pork knuckle:
The diced beancurd were neatly stacked on the plate surrounded by pork knuckle slices.
It had a nice crisp coating with smooth and soft tofu in the middle seasoned by the spicy salt on the coating.
Marks & Spencer Crow's Fountain Chenin Blanc:Sliced braised live abalone with oyster sauce and Japanese soya sauce:

When the oysters came, there was dry ice beneath so it was surrounded in lovely smoke.
I am not sure what flowers they used but the flowers looked like pansies.
I preferred the abalone cooked in oyster sauce because the soya sauce one was a bit sweet.
Double boiled soup with tea tree mushrooms, sea whelk and caterpillar fungas:

The soup was rich and served at the right temperature.
It was nice how the soup was presented in a tea pot and served like Chinese Tea.
Marks & Spencer Secano Estate Pinot Noir Rose:Crab claw steamed with egg white and Chinese wine:

The crab was cooked just right with fragrant Chinese wine.
It would have been nicer if the wine was stronger.
The egg white at the bottom tasted the best because it had absorbed all the essence from the crab and wine.
Marks & Spencer Contino Rioja:Sauteed King prawn in supreme soya sauce:

The King prawn was huge and meaty.
Marks & Spencer Crozes Hermitage:Mini squash pot with Australian Wagyu beef and vegetables:

The presentation of this was really cute and the meat inside it was sweet with delicious pine nuts.
Sauteed kale with ginger:This was a huge kale stalk carved like a flower.
The pairing of ginger and kale was nice.
Fried rice with assorted seafood:
The rice had lots of seafood in it but the taste of the seafood could have been stronger.
Marks & Spencer Malmsey Madeira:Dessert platter:

There were three items on the dessert platter and this one was my favourite because it was light and dreamy.

See you all next year and the future gourmet pros and gourmet elites to be.

Thank you to all my fellow openricers for support, there are too many names to list here so I have not in case I miss any out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Guten Tag - Gute German food for sharing

I would just like to Thank the Cafe Deco Group for inviting me to try Berliner.
As well as Berliner, they have other great eateries which are listed on their website and each restaurant has a menu online with the latest promotions.

I have always wanted to try this place for the Berliner donuts and the pork knuckles.

While I was trying the food I found some similarities between German and English food, and some of it tasted as good as the school meals I had.
Usually people hate school meals in the UK, but the food at our school was quite good and I always had seconds.

Chefs Salad (assorted vegetables, lettuce and herb dressing):
To start off we had salad as an appetizer.
The salad was really colourful and had a bit of everything, from lettuce, asparagus, egg, julienne carrots, cheese, rocket lettuce to radishes.
It was nice starting of with the salad because it was refreshing and the sauces were not heavy, so the salad tasted nice and light.
They also had other salads which I want to try next time such as the salad with buttermilk sauce because it reminds me of the lovely green salads in Switzerland.
Roasted Pork Knuckle:
Next we had the pork knuckles which is deliberately slightly smaller than the usual pork knuckles.
The pork knuckles here have been steamed first to tenderize the meat and then roasted to get the skin crispy.
When I tried it, the pork was nice and tender with a lovely salted flavour and the skin was lovely and crisp.
The meat was so tender that it felt like I was eating duck meat (leg part).
As well as the pork knuckle, there was sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.
The sauerkraut was pickled cabbage which helps to balance out the heaviness of the pork knuckles, and the sauerkraut was delicious and not too sour.
The mashed potato was delicious and potatoey just like the ones I had at school.
Traditional Flammkuchen:Tarte Flambee with onions and bacon
Basically this was similar to pizza which they call Tarte Flambee in French meaning cake baked in flames, and Flammkuchen in German meaning Flame cake.
It was simple and delicious with bacon, onions and cheese. The diced onions and bacon tasted nice together.
Next time I am going to try the Fiery Flammkuchen which has camembert, chili and beef for extra flavour.
Sausage platter:
(Regensburger, Nurnberger, Cheese Krainer, Thuringer served with sauerkraut and roasted potatoes)
This is a signature dish at Berliner and it was good to sample all the sausages.
My favourite was the Cheese Krainer.
They also had Currywurst as well which are sausages in tomato curry sauce.
Currywurst is the first thing you are taught in German classes for food vocabulary as well as the bockwurst!
Jägerschnitzel - Hunter Style with Mushroom sauce and spätzle:
I really liked it because it was pork escaloupe.
An escaloupe is a breaded cutlet made with boneless pork thinned with a hammer coated in bread crumbs and fried.
The size of this was quite big and reminds me of the A4 sized pork cutlet at some Japanese place in HK.
It was served with cream mushroom sauce and came with spätzle. Although I liked the green peppercorn sauce as well but that option only came with chips.
The pork was lovely and tender and I liked it because it was really thin, the mushroom sauce was not sickly at all and tasted similar to the mushroom sauce in the UK.
Lastly the Spatzle was the best, it was pieces of small irregular shaped dough and tasted exactly like pasta.
It might be bland for some but I found it delicious as there were hints of green peppercorn in the taste.
Berliner Dessert Combo:
Berliner donut
Again these donuts were delicious and similar to the British jam filled donuts.
It seems that they were cut from frozen because there is a clean cut and the jam does not ooze out.
german cheesecake (middle on the photo)
The colour of this cheesecake was slightly brighter than the usual ones, and the taste was amazing, because it was much softer than the American cheesecake and it was silky as well.
There were tones of lemon in the taste and the cheesecake had raisins in it as well tasting exactly the same as the cheesecake sold at UK's Marks and Spencers.
Vanilla pancakes with warm cherry sauce The pancakes had the lightest taste out of the three desserts but the sauce that came with it was strong enough because it was delicious tart cherries.
apple strudel This was basically apple wrapped in puff pastry served with vanilla icecream.
The vanilla icecream was delicious and the vanilla taste was strong with vanilla seeds in it.
The apple strudel was deliciously hot so it tasted nice with the icecream, while the pastry was nice and crispy.
For drinks, I was so lucky to try two lol
Apfel Strudel Drink:
(apple puree, ginger beer, cream and cinnamon)
This drink is a MUST for apple pie lovers and I loved the way the apple puree gave it more dimension and sharpness.
After drinking half of it and mixing it together, it tasted like apple pie with cream and together with the fizzyness, it tasted like heaven.
Erdinger Alkoholfrei:
It was really good that they offer NON-ALCOHOLIC beer on the menu.
Since this was alcohol free, I did not hesitate to try it, when it was poured out, it had the same characteristics as beer with the fine foam on top.
It was fun drinking this because it was bitter which went well with the desserts and the best part was I was able to drink more than one sip to get a real taste of beer.
Anyway, I cant wait to come back and try their other items with friends.
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