Saturday, May 23, 2009

The last tomato

Could this be Melbourne's last tomato?

Being strictly of the seasonal food camp, it has greatly amused me that my tiny courtyard garden has proven to be so unseasonal this year.

When everyone else was experiencing bumper crops of tomatoes, my heirloom bushes barely had a flower and the fruit that did eventuate died in our desert like heat wave of 40+ degree temperatures.

And now when I should have pulled out the dying vine months ago (but I held out hope for this tiny slowly growing tomato), I have this a gorgeous Black Zebra tomato, my last.

As you can see from the first picture, the vine is totally dead apart from the one stem holding on to my tomato, just grown in a pot in my sunny courtyard in St Kilda.

Weird unseasonal stuff huh!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hutong, Hong Kong

Amnesty Post

This will be the last of my catch-up posts but I think the best.

Hutong was on our must dine list whilst in Hong Kong in July last year; Sichuan food as good as it gets apparently. Didn't need to know anymore apart from the instruction to have a pre-dinner cocktail at Aqua on the floor above.

High attention to detail tables, beautifully lit.

Ornate flatware that has me flipping it to take down the details.

" Green asparagus coated in white sesame"; crunchy fat asparagus with sweet sesame crunch.

" Chilli spiced bamboo clams (razor clams) steeped in Chinese rose wine and chilli sauce"; stunning, powerful flavours. Absolutely the dish of the night, and beautifully presented.

"Drunken crispy pigeon, half a crispy roasted pigeon and half a pigeon poached in Chinese wine"; the most tender of meats, intriguing presentation and pigeon brains to nibble.

"Golden fried pork tendon with scallions and dried prawn roe"; texturally perfect, crunchy, chewy, gelatinous and incredibly rich. Needed half this quantity.
"'Red Lantern' crispy soft shell crabs with Sichuan red peppers"; this dish reminded me of a child's play pen with thousands of balls... find the crab in the chillis.

Even with removing the crabs from the pit of dried chillis, this dish was so hot we laughed and cried at the same time. Perfectly crispy and seasoned well, just not as interesting to the palate as to the eye.

Dessert because we felt obligated but wish we didn't bother. "Coconut three ways(I think)"; bland dull, no passion.

Hutong offered some amazing food, presented in a beautiful manner in stunning surrounds. The service, as with all of our experiences in HK (except the 'western style' service at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon), was shaky at best. Too many waiters, too many strange repetitive conversations, too often.
The experience at Hutong, sets a new benchmark in my mind of how stunning Chinese food can be, elapsing every experience I have of this style of food, Flowerdrum included.

Go for the food and views, and the stunning food porn images you can take with the spot-lighted tables!