Friday, 25 November 2011

Uneven Cooking

Steamed whole crab claw with egg white was a winner
Some friends from out of town were keen to try a Michelin-starred restaurant so we took them to Tim's Kitchen.

A few days ahead of time we pre-ordered a few dishes and then hoped the place would live up to its two-star billing.

Fluffy but meaty crystal king prawn with Chinese ham
It wasn't too busy for a Wednesday night and we were seated upstairs by the window where there is a balcony area converted into a pond for goldfish and fake floating lotus flowers.

We started off with a bottle of red before the first dish of crystal king prawn, delicately cut so it looked like a giant white shiny ruffle on the plate accompanied by a thin slice of Chinese ham. It was meaty and crunchy.

Then the signature steamed whole crab claw with egg white arrived and our guests were impressed by the size of the dish. The egg white was steamed to perfection, silky smooth and delicious, while the crab was very fresh and had lots of meat to dig into. After finishing this our stomachs were already partly full.

Oven-baked pigeon with preserved vegetables was pedestrian
The next dish was oven-baked pigeon with preserved vegetables wrapped in lotus leaf. It looked impressive, but the taste was nothing special -- in fact the traditional roasted pigeon would have been better, juicier. Nevertheless, this one was interesting with strips of preserved vegetables for a more savoury taste.

Our guest spied a dish of deep-fried frogs' legs with peppercorn salt at the next table and ordered a dish to try. Unfortunately the frogs' legs didn't have much taste as the batter was too thick. One piece each was as much as we could handle and left the rest untouched.

Another disappointing dish was steamed rice in casserole with preserved pork sausage, liver sausage and duck. While the server portioned out the rice into four bowls, we were surprised to see there was hardly any evidence of the savoury oily meats having been cooked with the rice as it tasted quite plain. Instead they seemed to have been cooked separately and there weren't even any crunchy bits of rice as it should have been cooked within the clay pot.

Chinese sausages and duck with rice was a lowlight
We also had a dish of seasonal pea shoots that were delicious in a broth.

Throughout the meal our guests began to wonder what the fuss was about this restaurant and why it was given two Michelin stars. It then dawned on them that perhaps the food critics did not necessarily know much about Chinese food and this subjective exercises was even more swayed by their ignorance of the cuisine.

In the end the meal was saved by dessert -- almond tea with egg white that was creamy and delicious as well as steamed red jujube cake that wasn't too sweet.

However the best part of the evening was the good conversation and lots of laughs that made it even more memorable.

Tim's Kitchen
84-90 Bonham Strand
Sheung Wan
2543 5919
www.timskitchen.com.hk


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