Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'm gon-na par-ty like it's my birth-day..

For my surprise birthday dinner, my parents and the boy took me to Nadaman in Shangri-la for a teppanyaki dinner.

I apologize in advance for the horrid photos. I just received a new phone and haven't gotten the hang of the camera function just yet...nor the boy's iBook!

Onto the dinner!

We started with daily appetizer, which was, on the day, corn tofu and shitake spinach. Sounded simple but was not easy to make. The chef at our teppanyaki grill told us that it took 3 full days to prepare the spinach. The first day the spinach was quickly blanched and water drained while the shitake mushrooms were soaked and cooked. The second day the mushrooms were dried and grilled to get a smoky flavor before being soaked with the spinach to absorb the flavor. The third day other flavorings were added and the shitake sliced and the two combined. The result was spinach that was so flavorful and silky with an aroma that filled the mouth.

The corn tofu was nicely flavored but I felt that the grainyness of the corn diminishes one of tofu's biggest qualities, the silky mouthfeel.

The second course was sashimi, which consisted of approximately 4 slices of what I think is 'tai' (red snapper) and 2 'amaebi' (sweet shrimp). Extremely fresh, they were sweet and tasty.

Following that came the Japanese pumpkin cream soup. Velvety smooth but a touch too salty for my taste and I would have preferred that it was served slightly warmer as cream soups tend to taste a bit grainy when cooled.

The next course was beautiful 1.5 inch slices of foie gras simply grilled and dressed with a bit of soy and served with an unusual yam mash pancake, designed to help cut the richness of the foie gras.

The foie gras tasted so good that it was all eaten up despite seeing how much oil exactly came out of the foie gras when cooked!

Scallops grilled and then gently poached in sake was served next. The scallops were halved horizontally and then grilled before being put back into their shells with sake poured over them and poached in the shell. The scallop was tasty but slightly over cooked. I couldn't help thinking that I would have preferred that the scallop remain in one piece as it was so fresh, it just needed a light grilling on both sides before being poached.

What followed were some lightly grilled vegetables including asparagus, pumpkin and fresh shitake mushrooms, before leading on to the star of the meal, what the chef called Aussie Kobe beef. I asked if it was Wagyu but he said Kobe. It was beautifully marbled and grilled to be served with slices of fried Japanese garlic. When asked what the difference was, the chef went and brought back a clove for us to compare. The Japanese garlic clove was about 4 times the size of a normal garlic and said to be slightly milder with a sweeter taste but yet more fragrant at the same time. Sold for about HK$200 per gram, it was a pricey accompaniment. The beef itself was simply grilled with the fatty and less premium parts removed for a later dish.

The beef was cut into cubes before being served to us with the garlic slices.

Honestly I could feel myself drooling inside my mouth the whole time I was barely chewing it. It was just unbelievably delicious with the garlic to bring out the flavor.

Next came the fried rice, flavored with the less desirable parts of the steak, egg, onions and carrot. As much as I enjoy a good bowl of fried rice, especially with Japanese pickled burdock, cucumber and radish, I had just had way too much food and only picked at the beansprouts and spinach which came a little later.

I did manage to finish my red miso soup as it was quite different than other miso I had tasted previously. Tasting more 'earthy' and rich, it was also quite pungent and I could imagine some people taking a dislike to this stronger tasting fermented miso but I enjoyed it very much, especially the aftertaste which did linger.

It wasn't long until we were presented with dessert, green tea ice cream and fruit with sweet champagne jelly. As I've always believed, dessert goes into a different part of the stomach so there is always room.

Even with the beautiful cake that came at the end of the evening....

1 comment:

ttfnRob said...

Well it looks you like you did quite well out of your birthday! Quite a selection. I thought you might like to know that you inspired me to do just one food post of my own. I'd be interested to know if you or Drew have actually eaten any of the things on my list being the two 'extreme eaters' that i know of... (

Well anyways a belated Happy Birthday to you my dear and I hope this year is even yummier than the last.