|Shelling out for a decadent meal at Stone House|
A few months ago my friend from California told me about a food blogger who flies just about anywhere for good food and was coming to Hong Kong. He was going to arrange a series of dinners and she encouraged me to sign up.
I contacted him and he gave me a long list of places and dates for the dinners. I signed up for three of them... and then later realized how much they would cost.
I tried to reason with myself that it's not often I get to go to private kitchens as you usually need a big group of people, and if I was able to tag along with some other foodies then it would be a good opportunity for me to try these places.
But then it turned out one of dates for one of the dinners I signed up for was changed and I couldn't make it; then a second one didn't have enough people so it was cancelled.
So I was left with this last one yesterday.
|Roast suckling pig|
Anxious to make sure I got the address, I looked it up online and copied it in Chinese characters in case I didn't pronounce it right in Cantonese to the taxi driver. It was 15 Kotewall Road, in mid-levels, supposedly in an old house.
But when I got there, the white building with red lanterns in front and giant black steel doors was shut and it didn't look like anyone was in there. I rang the doorbell several times and no answer.
Luckily I had copied down one of the dinner guest's mobile number and called him. He himself got the address wrong too and it turns out the restaurant had moved to the first floor of the Cosmo Hotel on Queen's Road East a few months ago.
|Seafood platter with the broth added|
It was a grab-bag mix of people, a restaurateur who had her own private kitchen in Sai Kung with her husband, a wine importer with his wife, a girl in public relations who brought her two cousins who are also trained chefs, a food blogger, a guy who deals with equities and a girl who writes for travel guides.
It wasn't until about 9pm did we get the dinner started -- did I tell you it was supposed to be about HK$1,000 ($128.50) per person for this dinner?
We sat down in a large private room, with a giant round table and large lazy susan in the middle that required some effort to rotate. There was also a sofa off to the side complete with karaoke equipment.
On the lazy susan were some appetisers -- chopped deep-fried lotus root, barbecued pork shoulder, deep-fried tofu cubes and deep-fried salt white fish. They seemed quite ordinary and not particularly outstanding.
|Fried crispy chicken|
After came the seafood platter, a giant one filled with slices of abalone, geo duck and lobster. The server poured the broth over the dish before portioning it out to each person in a bowl with slices of deep-fried dough sticks. All the seafood was so fresh and sweet, combined with spring onions and coriander. The broth was also delicious.
|Water chestnut cake|
Then came the old style stewed beef shin, braised for a very long time as the beef was so easy to break up into smaller pieces and practically melted in the mouth. The gravy that came with it was also delicious.
We also had sauteed garoupa with broccoli, a standard dish with large pieces of fish that was firm and cooked just right. For a fine dining Cantonese restaurant it was a bit strange we didn't have a complete steamed fish, but perhaps the dish we had was considered better for a large party.
The fried crispy chicken was excellent -- the skin definitely crispy and not too greasy, meat tender and succulent. If I had more room in my stomach I'd have eaten more. It was a classic dish done very well.
|Deep-fried dough with honey and sesame sauce|
Dessert featured a dough that was lightly deep-fried like a butterfly and we each drizzled as much honey sauce with sesame seeds we wanted. This is a classic dessert not many restaurants do anymore. We also had pan-fried water chestnut cake perhaps left over from the Chinese New Year holidays, and a giant fruit platter.
The restaurant didn't charge corkage so some people brought wine to go with the dinner which was nice. In the end we each paid HK$940 for the dinner.
|The colourful fruit platter|
1/F, Cosmo Hotel
375-377 Queen's Road East