It's wonderful to treat ourselves to elegant meals from time to time, and what's more elegant than having lunch at Mandarin Oriental's Man Wah restaurant? The lunch was a bloggers gathering organized by Mandarin Oriental, where I got to meet some of Hong Kong's popular food and lifestyle bloggers, as well as try out the restaurant's new dishes, created by Chef Lee.
I can't believe I have been living in Hong Kong for over seven years, and I haven't been to Mandarin Oriental. I was so awestruck by the amazing view from the restaurant, I totally forgot to take pictures. Hop over to Mandarin Oriental's website to check out the lavishly decorated dining room and its breath-taking view of Hong Kong harbour.
Now, let's talk food.
The meal started with this dimsum trio...
...which are not your average har gaw/siu mai kinda dimsum, each and every piece has plenty of treasures on it.
The Vegetarian Shark’s Fin & Mushroom Dumpling is delicious. Nicely done dumpling skin with tasty filling, and we were pretty impressed by the vegetarian shark's fin on top of it.
Abalone with Kurobuta Pork Siu Mai. The siu mai was yummy and juicy, the abalone on top of it was absolutely succulent. And look at it! How gorgeous! Normally I don't really pay attention to details, but recently (thanks to watching one too many cooking shows), I've learnt that the amount of work that went into the details of a dish makes it extra special and differentiates it from others. This one is definitely one heck of a special siumai.
The Scallop, Shrimp and X.O. Sauce Dumpling has pieces of succulent, perfectly cooked seafood, and the touch of the famous XO sauce made it extra yummy.
I am sorry if I used the word "yummy" a little too often...
...but I wouldn't choose any other word to describe yumminess :)
I was told that the XO sauce's famous...we'll get to this a little later.
Double Boiled Silk Hen Soup, Pearl Clam, Chinese Herbs. Please accept my sincere apologies..my photograph didn't do this soup justice! Let's just say that I've never tasted a better Chinese soup in my life. Either my life is just too sad, or this soup is just too good. It should be the latter.
The Stir Fried Lobster, Egg White and Slow Cooked Scallop Mousse was presented beautifully with a modern flair.
But I personally am not crazy about the stalks of chives sitting prettily beside the stir fried lobster. The lobster was beautifully cooked, but if the chives were to be incorporated into the dish, I wish it was done differently.
The Slow Cooked Scallop Mousse was something I haven't tried before, so I was really intrigued and excited to give it a taste. It surely looked fantastic on the plate.
The texture was really interesting, it's more like a...softer, more delicate version of a jelly than a mousse. Anyway, mousse or jelly, you could really taste the sweetness of the scallop, and it's lovely.
The Wok Fried Pork Loin, Kuei Hua Flavoured Pear with Chin Kiang Vinegar looked like an artwork.
The pork was crispy on the outside, despite being coated by delicious sticky sweet sauce, tender and juicy on the inside. I love the cashew nuts too, but the most memorable part of the dish...hmmm, in fact, it's my favorite part of the whole meal, was the kuei hua flavored pear. They're tender but still with the perfect amount of crunch, they're fragrant and taste wonderfully refreshing. Plus, look at that shade of peachy pink...I was in love.
The only small thing I was not fond of from this dish was the three pieces of spring onion, I found that the flavor was a little too aggressive, especially against the delicate flavors of the pear.
After the tasty pork dish, we had the Vegetarian Platter. As a huge meat lover, I am hardly impressed by vegetarian dishes. Did Man Wah impress?
Hmmm...I quite liked the Braised Morel Mushroom with Bean curd, the morel tasted almost meaty, which was good.
Bamboo Pith with Vegetables. Very subtle flavors, but I always love the texture and crunch of bamboo pith.
Smoked Beancurd Roll. I am generally not a big fan of beancurd rolls, but we were all impressed by the smoky flavor of this dish.
Crispy Imitation Eel with Shredded Mushroom. The bouncy and springy texture of mushrooms made the dish even better than the original eel dish we normally get in Shanghaiese eateries.
The Lobster Consommé with Crispy Puff Rice...wait, there's more to this dish.
I always have a thing for table-side presentation.
And this broth? Absolutely delicious, and the succulent bites of treats in the dish didn't hurt either. But what's so special? It's the rice, which has been crisped up meticulously in the oven to give the dish a lovely crunch, and although it reminds me a little bit of dipping rice crackers into soupy dishes, I still adore the idea.
The dessert course consisted of Egg Tart, Fried Bitter Gourd with Winter Melon Filling & Jasmine Ginger Tea.
The egg tart was nice and I am very partial to anything winter melon, so I love the fried bitter gourd dumpling. There was absolutely no trace of bitterness at all, I was almost disappointed but pleasantly surprised :D
But for me, the real star was the jasmine ginger tea. It had just the perfect amount of sweetness, fragrance and heat, it reminds me of Indonesian ginger drink, but more subtle and elegant.
We all went away with a lovely souvenir, the famous Mandarin Oriental's XO Sauce.
...which I put to a good use immediately in this simple dish.
Shrimps in XO Sauce. Succulent bites of springy shrimps stir fried with a bit of garlic, shallot, chilli, a dash of salt, pepper, sugar and the famous XO sauce full of tasty bits.
I am surely no Chef Lee from Man Wah, but it was still pretty tasty. Heheheh. We also ate our Chinese New Year pan fried turnip cake with this XO sauce. Yum!
Many thanks again to Mandarin Oriental for the invitation.
25/F Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.
5 Connaught Road, Central
Tel: +852 2825 4003
The above special tasting lunch costs HK$880 per person
Generally, a lunch at Man Wah costs around HK$300-400 per person