Dining at Elegant is such a fine affair.
Foie gras, Matsutake Mushroom, fish roe on egg custard, served with a Crunchy Sesame Prawn roll
And I always feel spoilt rotten when I am dining here as Jeanette’s guest. She really sets the bar high, when it comes to fine-dining Hong Kong Chinese style.
On this particular occasion, the egg starter was deliciously soft and fluffy, with a custard like texture. It tasted wonderful with a touch of the meaty Matsutake Mushroom chunks and the rich and creamy Foie Gras. Mouthfeel matters and it was fantastic when my teeth collided with the prawn roll in a crunchy bite, descending into a layer of sesame bean curd skin, with the aroma of fried prawn enveloping my senses.
century egg (Peidan)
A plate of 4 century eggs arrives, neatly arranged on spoons, to facilitate swift consumption, with the freshest, moistest ginger, made in-house I have ever tasted in my life. The idea is that the clean, zing of the ginger and the julienned zucchini, cleanses the mouth after each egg is consumed.
So, the Peidan, preserved it in a mixture of clay, ash, salt and lime for several months until the yolk becomes greenish grey, creamy and stinky while the whites become black, translucent and gelatinous in texture.. either you love it, or you hate it. I really love the Tong Sum – the soft creamy center which is what is known as the “heart” of the dish – it’s thick, velvety smooth with just a slight aftertaste of ammonia, which is what folks crave in a good century egg. The jelly like bits (of the whites, that are now black) are to die for as well. Perfect!
Pig’s Stomach Soup with Pepper and Salted Vegetables
Can’t go wrong with this one.. especially in cold, rainy weather. One mouthful and you will feel the warm heat from the peppery soup, spreading over your body, starting at your mouth and ending in your stomach. This incredibly sweet, clear soup is steeped in pork ribs, ham, chicken feet, dried scallops, salted vegetables and pig’s stomach. It’s soup with lots of kick, that leaves a slight sour-salty after taste (from the ham-choy), that’s super addictive.
So, what ‘s the main difference between the South African dried Abalone and the Japanese Abalone.. apart for the jarring price difference that is? Can you guess?
Well, again definitely the mouthfeel. And the flavour. Size for size, the South African Abalone is just RM68 and the Japanese one is a whopping RM588. Was it worth it you ask… yes, every single mouthful.
A good dried abalone has a rich and unique aroma after being braised with sauces until tender. Its special grain in the meat is visible after being cut in half and it has a nice gooey texture which is slightly chewy yet soft. The most important part is again the “Tong Sum” – the heart of the abalone. The Tong Sum is the gluey texture of the heart (note the top photo is the Japanese abalone, and it has a dark soft center, meaning it possesses the prize heart). The South Africa one below, though cooked in the same manner, could not achieve that soft heart.
Texture wise, the Japanese one was softer, denser, meatier and more flavourful that the South African one. Word cannot really describe and that is why you need to eat them side by side to gather the difference. You only need to try it once, to know the difference forever. Woe is me, how will I ever go back to eating regular abalone!
Pan Seared Bird’s Nest Tofu
Silken, fluffy tofu, laced with bird’s nest.. super luxurious and super tasty. One pop and it was gone! The broth was a murky white, and I was assuming it came from Pork meat, Bones, and Bird’s Nest reduced stock as well, and I drank up every last drop.
Prime Pork Belly bun, with Dark Prune Vinaigrette
This classic pork dish is a fluffy steamed bun filled with a rich, meaty, savory-sweet slice of braised pork belly, but it’s the added accoutrement served with it, that makes it a true signature. Elegant Inn’s Pork belly bun comes with a wafer thin, deep fried, crispy layer of bean curd that’s irresistibly creative and tasty. The beancurd is stuffed with onions before it is deep fried – all combined, the pork belly bun is a messy, colorful, glorious combination of salty, sweet, meaty flavors, with multiple textures to boot! Totally addicted to it.
Steamed Custard Cake (Ma Lai Go)
Love the Ma Lai Go at Elegant Inn. Reminds me of my childhood. The Ma Lai Go is fluffy, soft and spongy at the same time. I love the airiness of the cake with the streaky holes – it’s such a great Chinese dessert this one.
Black Sesame, glutinous balls in Almond sauce (Tong Yuen)
Another dessert my grandma used to be brilliant at making, the Tong Yuen. Elegant Inn’s version is served warm and this is how I like to eat it. I take a tiny bit on the doughy skin, then as the steam escapes and the black sesame rushes out from the core, I love to suck up all of it. Then I eat the ball last. And then I drink the super creamy, rich and deliciously aromatic Almond sauce. In that order. Nothing comes close.
Right now, Elegant Inn is having some amazing dining promotions, where on a rotating menu (different items each week) if you buy 1, you get one free, or 50% off that selected dish – and I am not talking low-end items either, there’s Wagyu and Bird’s Nests on this Menu. Also a menu of RM676++ for two pax full 6 course dinner, top up RM300 to upgrade to 24 Head Japanese Abalone (from South African Abalone). Such a steal – you need to visit this place for Lunch and Dinner ASAP, don’t you think?