This is a place definitely worth blogging about :)
I’ve been to the old “Lot 10″ in the same location on Gough Street before the Siuyeh days and didn’t think much of it (i.e. I never went back again) … until recently, when a friend suggested that we arrange yet another wine dinner and this time, the location would be “On Lot 10″.
Before I go on any further, it is probably worth mentioning that this restaurant changed owners recently, and hence the name has also changed … well, slightly. The bar and the tables were rearranged (here’s the website for Lot 10, again, not to be confused with “On Lot 10″ so you can compare!) in what little but cozy space they have and the walls repainted. What goes unnoticed amid these subtle changes, is the seismic shift behind the scene. The new chef/owner is David Lai, who spent quite some time with The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco (and as I’ve found out here, he was also with Annexx and Zuma) prior to starting his own restaurant.
In a 30-second interview I had with Mr. Lai after my cover was blown (thanks guys!), he had mentioned that the concept behind this new restaurant is, to put it simply: Simplicity. Nothing too fancy, just simple, hearty dishes that hits home. And if I were to tag a style (of cuisine) to this restaurant, I’d say its a little leaning towards Spanish / French style.
Anyway, here’s what we had:
Garlicky-buttery mash potatoe with crispy bread slices to go with. Nothing extraordinary, but definitely a good way to starty the night.
I’ve had lots of clam dishes with white wine sauce + garlic + onion before, but not with razor clams (蟶子). And guess what? It tastes the same! But what I really do appreciate about this dish is the dab of spice added to the dish. When you drink the white wine sauce, its got a bit of a tingly feeling on your throat. I quite like that. Besides, I sometimes prefer razor clam because its got a bit more to chew on. The only problem with this dish was one of the clams I had, had a mouthful of sand in it … bleh … but this was probably more to do with my luck (or lack of) rather than the quality of the restaurant’s food.
This was a lot like how sardines are usually cooked – sliced into strips and I imagine the chef poured boiling hot oil (garlic flavoured?) onto the raw fish, and in this particular case, it was tuna (or TORO!!!) which made it even better. The fish was extremely fresh and especially after always having toro as sashimi or sushi, this was definitely a good switch.
All the while, we were washing down – more like savouring – our appetizers with this little gem, an aromatic and floral white from Rhone (Thank you Albert), which also has a 97 from RP. Unlike whites from say, New Zealand, this white has got a lot more layers and depth to its body. With a Cloudy Bay, you get that initial fruity “bang” and that’s it. With the Condrieu, you get a hit of flower … and after about 3-5 minutes, when you take another sip, you’d get a hit of fruits. It was evolving like a red.
It would’ve gone very well with truffle and foie gras and I’m starting to think maybe we should’ve saved this for the last dish. Nonetheless, this was an extremely good choice.
Edit: If you ask Nick to describe the wine to you, he would say “春天雨后的桃花香”. Yep. Go figure.
Meanwhile also, we played a game of iniminimanimo to see which of these grape juice gets to pair with the main dishes.
Then came, as the name suggests … the fish soup. It was (if I can decipher what was in it) tomato soup / paste / base, fish stock, and fish fillet that was all blended together, topped with a thin piece of crispy bread, spice and salty cream foam. Even after letting it cool for a while, the soup was still pretty hot – a sign that the oil content in the soup is quite high? That also means, perhaps, the fish was seared on a pan on high heat with olive oil and tomato paste, and after it was done, fish stock was poured into the pan and was simmered for a while … before everything was thrown into a blender, blended and served. I should write a book.
The host (Albert & Christine) had specifically asked for something out of the ordinary to pair with the wines in advance. So David handpicked this monster of a skate fish fin to be served as 1 of 2 of our main courses. To be quite honest, it didn’t look like much and maybe the word “fin” was a little misleading, but once we started cutting into the fin we can see it was actually like a big fish fillet … but some fin got in the way :)
The meat was very juicy and texture was smooth, save for bits of the outer layer that was oven-cooked until crunchy. I also like how the fish was able to retain so much of its own flavour without being marinated like crazy. If I remember correctly, only the outer layer was slightly salted … don’t quite remember if I’ve tasted any parsley and garlic … but if there was, it was very subtle.
It was the Carruades de Lafite that we opened, which is a second wine from Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. It is definitely not as intense, and initially, I thought it was a little too light to be a Bordeaux wine. But after it opened up a little, the aroma was begging to come out, but you really had to work hard wondering what you taste.
This and the following dish was cooked just right (and I don’t use this term loosely … or do I?). It was as if both dishes needed to be cooked for a good 20 minutes on high heat and there was a 10 second window where the chef has to take it out, otherwise the dish becomes over-cooked? The chef manages to do it here with the skate fish and with the following roasted locally farmed chicken with black truffle, sweet peas “a le Francaise”.
I’m a HUGE fan of foie gras so I had requested that a couple be seared and thrown onto this dish. In retrospect, I could’ve done without because 1) I’ve had better foie gras and 2) the chicken, truffle and sweet peas combo was borderline orgasmic.
I should also mentioned that I rarely ever order chicken dish as a main course because 9 out of 10 times, the chicken usually turns out to be too dry. It happened to me at the Press Room. It happened at a few restaurants in Soho and some big name hotel restaurants. I didn’t do the ordering … so when I heard we got a chicken dish as a main course, I thought maybe I’d drink my sorrows away (yes, with HK$ 2,000 bottle of wines … I’m pimp like that) … but I have to say, this dish was definitely the underdog.
The chicken was juicy insides, crispy outside (just like that fish!) … and everything in the pan (i.e. chicken, carrot, radish, red radish and especially the peas) had absorbed what is now a very thick and potent chicken / truffle sauce.
A week since, I’m still reminincing that very dish. I’m going to write a poem now.
What you see in this last photo? That’s not how it ended. We killed every last pea on the pan, licked every last drop of chicken-truffle oil and then I used it as a mirror to pick teeth with toothpicks.
Siu Yeh Rating: 9.5/10!
Point were deducted for the sand in the razor clam and the foie gras, sorry!
On Lot 10
34 Gough Street
Tel: +852 2155 9210
Mon-Sat 12.15pm-3pm & 6.45pm-midnight (last orders 10.30pm).
Filed under: Hong Kong, Noho Tagged: | Aromatic, Carruades de Lafite 1995, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Lafleur 1996, Cloudy Bay, Floral, France, Fresh Baby Tuna Strip in Hot Oil, Fruity, Gough Street, Guigal La Doriane Condrieu, Hong Kong, Lot 10, Mash Potato with Thin Crispy Bread, Noho, On Lot 10, Razor Clam in White Wine Sauce, Rhone, Roasted Locally Farmed Chicken with Black Truffle, RP 97, Skate Fish Fin, Soupe des Poissons, Sweet Peas "a le Francaise"