Sunday, June 10, 2012

Adventure #76: 牛料理(火鍋)私房菜

Last night we were invited to a very unusual dinner party.  The party took place at a very local "restaurant" known as 牛料理(火鍋)私房菜 or beef hotpot private kitchen.  It is located on the ground floor of one side of an industrial building, in an industrial area in Tsuen Wan (a place I have never been to and know only because it is the last stop on the red MTR line).  It is a 茶餐廳 or canteen by day, serving food only to the employees of that building but a private restaurant by night.

I was told that the chef was unable to give us the menu for the evening because he won't know until he goes to the market that morning! Talk about freshness!

Anyways, there were 24 of us (and we only know the hosts) that evening and we booked out the entire restaurant which was not very big to start with. We were all to bring at least a bottle each to the party, a rough estimate indicated that we had a least 30 bottles that night.  G and I had no expectations of tonight's dinner (only know that it was a beef dinner) and it turned out to be a great experience for us.

Hanging around the restaurant, chatting to the chef and sampling wine while waiting for everyone to arrive

1st starter - beef tartare.  Not your usual beef tartare, this one came in big slices. I very rarely eat beef tartare as I am not a fan of raw meat but this one looked rather appetizing.

This is the chef's son. After each dish is served, he would explain which part of the cow the meat is from and how best to eat it.  The beef tartare was "made" from the middle part of the tenderloin 牛柳心.  To eat this, he recommended a 3-way tasting.  First, eat it as it was 原汁原味.  Next, break the raw egg yoke and coat the beef with it.  Eat the beef coated with yoke with or without the slightly sour soy sauce that came with it.

Finally, eat the yoke coated beef with the onions and dipped in the sauce.  We found that the onion and the sauce actually brought out the beef-taste 牛味. Amazing!

Next came a veggie dish - grilled aubergine with Japanese sauce (the one used in grilling eels, I think). One of my favourites.

The hotpot journey began with original and satay soup base.

For a beef hotpot dinner, I was rather surprised that they started us off with white eel.  However, we were told that this is one of the chef's specialty.  In any case, the eel was very juicy and crunchy.

Next came the 聖子, I don't know the English name.  Dropped it whole into the hotpot and it would detached itself from the shell when cooked.  Again, extremely yummy.

Next is a combo dish.  First came the 胸軟骨 some kind of soft bones or cartilage from the cow's chest.  This had to be cooked a little longer to get the oil out.

Then, meat from the cow's shoulder (during the presentation, I thought I remembered all the names he mentioned but after one too many glasses of wine later.....I struggled to remember). This one just a quick blanch will do.

Put the soft bone and the shoulder meat together and eat. The combination of soft and crunchy was quite remarkable.

Then came something very unique, I don't even know the name. I just know that this came from or near the muscle which controls the diaphragm.  This can be cooked for any duration and will still be very soft. Amazing texture.

Cow's tongue - not an unusual dish in HK. Interesting taste for me, again crunchy. Slightly different from the BBQ one I tried a few weeks earlier - by mistake!

Some veggie dishes to neutralised the taste buds.

After the short interval, we were served meat from the cow's bottom, apparently not so unusual in HK - 金錢展. Also execellent were the balls: the squid balls were bouncy with chunks of squid, the black pepper beef balls were firery and the beef balls very crunchy (not sure this is the right word to use but in Chinese 爽)

This was the highlight of the dinner.  And no, this was not wagyu.  This came from a local cow and somewhere between the 5th and 8th rib.

Just look at the marbling!  We were told that this was very rare and we were very lucky to have this.  Very fat but very soft!

Last came the meat from the cow's neck 牛頸肉.

Took a break from the beef for a group photo - before we all got too drunk!

The finale! Instant noodle. Never have I had such SWEET 公仔麵! 

It was a great dinner and an unique experience.  As they will be moving soon, I will not be listing the contacts here. 

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