Date: Oct 25, 2011
We went to 喜宴 to celebrate birthday for two fellows. One of Raymond's friend invest in this restaurant. This is a private dining restaurant. They do not entertain walk in customer as they do not have ingredients prepared for these walk-ins. So, you must called in and do your reservation. You can ask them to cook anything that is not on the recommended menu. Or there are pre-set menus prepared ranged from $88 to $188 per pax.
Jacky Yu is the founder, and he is a celebrity chef in Hong Kong. They are located just opposite Craig Place.
OK. We took the $88 per pax package. And This is the birthday menu. So, it is a 10 course dinner.
One thing about the menu, it was printed this way. I think because they are aligned against the right, and the placement of their logo, almost everyone, turn it upside down to read initially. :)
This is the first time I read the menu. So, I hope the red wines I brought is not too strong for pairing with these. I should have brought some white wines. Oh ya... It is BYO at 喜宴 here. There is no corkage charges here. Yipee!!!
Chateauneuf -du-Pape is a blended French wine. This bottle I boughted from Little Provence @ the Market Place. I was hoping this will go well with the stewed beef.
I also have a bottle of Refosco too. One of my favorite wine variety from Italy.
And Michelle brought along a Bordeaux Haut-Medou. This should be the strongest wine of the night. Luckily, Anna brought a bottle of Pinot Noir along, so that we don't have a lot of strong red for the night.
1. The first dish is Green house tomatoes in wasabi sesame sauce. If you notice, the naming for some dish is very straight forward. It tells you what the dish is. It is Japanese tomatoes.
I once had "Japanese Tomatoes" in Tokyo, and I could not forget about the taste of that Japanese tomatoes. In Japan they served the tomatoes as if it is a Sashimi. So, when you eat the Japanese Tomatoes Sashimi, it has the texture of fish or meat, and taste very nice. This is where I set my expectation wrong.
So, the texture of the this tomatoes is not as nice. To me, it is like a normal beef tomatoes that you can buy at Tanglin Mall Market Place. Second, the apperance of the dish does not look so attractive in my opinion.
2. In Xi Yan, the waiter actually bring out every dish to show it to you at the centre of the dining table, let you take photos, and then they bring it back so that they can serve you separately. Cool.
The second dish is simply "Stir fried portherb mustard with edamame". It is an interesting dish which I like. Because they have the salted eggs in there. So, it paired the salty and sour together with fat edamame. But it is the salty egg taste that's gives a very nice taste and overshadow the potherb mustard.
Very interesting that they do not mention salty egg in the name of the dish.
3. This is the third dish. "Dried oysters with water chestnut in lettuce wrap. They choose very nice lettuce. And the taste of the dried oysters is nice. I only had dried oysters once a year which is in New Year. :) High cholesterol food mah.
I like this dish. If you eat it from your plate, not nice. If you dirty your hand and eat it from your finger. It taste very nice.
Dried oysters is the main taste for the meats.
4. Oolong tea smoke chicken with mango salsa. Interesting combo. I found the skin is over cook a bit. The meat inside is a bit dry. Not sure what is the Oolong tea taste as I am not a big fan of Oolong tea. Suppose to give a very 清谈茶香味. But sorry, may be is the wine we had. I couldn't taste that.
5. Luckily we have this 5th dish. Otherwise we don't have anything to pair with the Chateauneuf -du-Pape.
The Stewed beef shin with preserved tangerine peel goes well together. And the meat is nice, and well stewed.
6. Surprise to see a Fried Fish as a dish. It is a Golden Fish in lemongrass sauce. OK. The reason is I was once been taught that... If your fish smell a bit funny or fishy, fried it. :) So, there are a lot of places which is not near to the sea, they will always serve it fried. :) I myself think this is a very Ang-Moh dish. i.e. Sweet and Sour Friend Fish, etc. Just surprise to see it in a private dining menu.
It's my preference. For Chinese food, I like to eat either raw or steam fish. :)
7. The Golden crab roe glutinous rice with steamed crabs. I always thought this is a famous among the Hokkien especially during the first month after the baby was borned. My mother in law cook this once during the baby first month, and it is very nice. So, my expectation for this dish is indeed high.
It turns out that the rice is a bit crunchy, hard and dry. I could not really taste the crab roe taste in the rice. Can eat, but it is just normal dish. May be 大闸蟹 version will taste nicer as the roe are much more.
8. Angel hair tofu & mushroom soup. Again... also surprise to see this here. Hong Kong is famous for soup. Especially those 老火汤. This is not the soup I enjoyed. OK. May be is because we did not take the expensive packages? But for $88 per pax, I really expect a little bit more.
9. The stir fried kale with ginger.
10. Poached Pears in aged Osmanthus wine.
Overall, I just wanted to comment that, I had never eaten in a Private Dining restaurant before. This is my first time. And since it is a famous Hong Kong restaurant, and I actually have much higher expectation, and would pretty much compare the food to those two Chinese high end restaurant in Paragons or Takashimaya top floor. In my opinion, I still love those restaurant food, be it 翡翠 or 御宝. But my palate and taste buds is really different.
But, if you wanted to spent time with your friends, love one, family and so on, the private dining gives you the restaurant dining table for the whole night. So, you can eat, talk, drink freely without the disturbance of the waiter and waitress. And if you are famous, and you wants some privacy, Xi Yan will be a good place to do such event.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to HOCK KOON & ALICE!