This Michelin 2-star Chinese restaurant is located in Central, headed by the famous Chef Siu, who came from T'ang Court, then to Duddell's, before coming here, bringing fresh ingredients with traditional Chinese culinary techniques to guests. On the ground floor there is a bar area, featuring a nice range of wines and other liquors. We were shown to the upper floor which is the main dining area, and tonight the restaurant was not particularly busy so we did enjoy a quiet corner for our dinner.
The decor is modern, with a nice ambiance highlighting a premium yet comfortable environment. There are some emerald green plates and chopsticks stand which kind of remind me a bit of Yan Toh Heen, though to a much lesser degree in extravagance. The staff are all very friendly and attentive, coming to introduce the menu, each course along with the wine throughout the whole meal.
We decided to order the Tasting Menu ($1980 each) to sample more dishes, with wine pairing ($600) for me as well. Before the first course an Amuse Bouche was served, including two small pieces of dried tofu soaked in a nice broth, as well as Chinese style pork terrine. I like the latter more as the gelatin and meat was so rich in flavors and even without dipping any vinegar. A nice starter.
The first course was Chilled Sliced Sea Whelk with Jelly Fish and Caviar, along with Wok-fried Kagoshima A4 Wagyu Beef with Scallion and Soy Sauce. Very beautifully plated, the sea whelk is tender, delicate yet flavorful, and the caviar provided a bit of savory to enhance the overall enjoyment. The jelly fish is very crunchy, seasoned well with sesame oil but not overly so. But the beef is the true wonder in this dish. So intense on taste, I found the scallion having a magical effect to showcase the beef flavors as well as the soy sauce. The meat itself is very tender too. The wine paired is Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc 2016 from Languedoc, and I like the matching also. A great dish.
The second course was Baked Lobster with Cheese and Garlic. The two halves are the lobster tail was coated with some cheese and garlic, and I like the chef did it with the right proportion, making the feature still on the lobster and not on the cheese. The lobster was very fresh, with delicate taste yet one can tell the quality with the firm texture of the flesh. The garlic also helped to enrich the whole flavors without overpowering the finesse of the lobster. Very nice indeed.
The third course was Steamed Garoupa with Egg White and Hua Diao. When the cover was lifted we already could smell the nice hua diao aromas, and the egg white certainly was silky smooth and soft, complementary to the equally soft garoupa fillet, steamed to perfection with the flesh not 'over-cooked'. A very delicate dish that in my opinion a true test to the ability of the chef to control the temperature and steaming time, the quality definitely for a great chef for Cantonese cuisine.
The fourth course was Braised South African Abalone with Pork Belly and Vegetable in Oyster Sauce. The size of the abalone was fairly large, and I guess had been braised for a long while to make it so soft that the knife can cut clean through easily. Very rich in the abalone taste and also absorbing the oyster sauce really makes this a dish from heaven. I also like the pork belly a lot. It is not fat at all and equally tender, and while taking on the oyster sauce still retained the nice pork flavors. While I would still rate Forum as the best abalone I had experienced, this dish is among the very good ones I tried. The wine paired was Stags' Leap Chardonnay 2017 from Napa Valley, a nice match with both the abalone and pork belly.
The fifth course was Poached Fish Maw with Wolfberry in Chicken Broth. The fish maw was very nicely done, very tender and giving a rewarding and satisfying bite with sufficient thickness. The young kale was also of great quality, without any fibrous chew to show how tender they are. But overall the biggest highlight is the chicken broth. So rich and concentrated, the broth clearly reminded me of the homemade broth in which my mother would put a lot of ingredients to prepare a thick and rich soup like this one, with every ounce of essence tasted. It was so good that I cannot help but to finish the whole broth with a spoon.
The sixth course was Fried Rice with Barbecue Pork, Roasted Duck, Shrimp, Crispy Conpoy and Vegetables. Honestly this one was my favorite in the evening, and I don't think I had a fried rice better than this one. With plenty of ingredients, all the different components sort of complement each other, no matter in taste, texture, or colour. Each rice is distinct and individual, creating a harmony in the bowl that I almost tempted to ask for another serving. A must-try in my opinion.
Finally it was the Ying Jee Dessert, including Double-boiled Imperial Bird's Nest with Almond Juice, Lotus Seed Paste Puff with Tender Ginger and Preserved Egg, and Glutinous Dumpling with Mango, Egg Custard and Coconut. Unfortunately for dessert I did have a recommendation. I am not sure why but there are simply too much bird's nest added in the almond juice, so very soon the whole dessert became a thick gelatin. With the bird's nest not having taste on its own, the almond note is diluted disproportionately, making it bland and tasteless. It might seem generous and luxurious, but I would rather have less bird's nest in this case. The other two desserts are good but could not rescue the shortfall on the main feature in this course. The wine paired was Szepsy Szamorodni 2013 from Tokaji.
My wife told me throughout the meal that she thought one of the staff was familiar. And at the end of the dinner when we chatted a bit we found he also came from T'ang Court, and probably had served us when we were a more frequent customer many years ago. We exchanged cards and I think I would like to visit again to try some other dishes and also the dim sum during lunch. The bill was $5,100 and considering all the elements I would say this is worth the price.