Friday, October 13, 2017

Mott32 卅二公館 [Hong Kong] - Chef Lee from Michelin 1 Star Mandarin Oriental now Helming the Kitchen

  At Mott32 Hong Kong & Vancouver,  Head Chef Lee Man Sing now cooks and overlooks the kitchen duties,  when he was previously poached from the admirable kitchen at Michelin 1 Starred Man Wah Restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Hotel HK.  In fact Chef Lee has been running the kitchen at Mott 32 for over a year already,  although with his persona as such a low profile Chef who is more into actions than words,  we noticed that we have hardly felt his presence in the social media limelight these days since his latest career move.   I do owe him an overall write up and introduction too,  since I have been here a few times but never had the time to officially put him onto my website for reference.  One thing that triggered and motivates me to do a write up about the updated Mott32 - is that we notice most customers arrive in for their famous wood fire oven Peking Duck,  BBQ Iberico Charsiu Pork with Yellow Mountain Honey,  and also the Truffled Siu Mai dim sum, and that's where it ended for them as a culinary destination.   However,  this is not what Chef Lee was originally famous for when he ran the kitchen at Mandarin Oriental Man Wah,  and he certainly created some labour intensive and creative dishes for the Mott32 Menus,  to which I can hopefully showcase to you some of his best dishes..





The Peking Duck Oven -
We had this a few times previously,  it is admirable, but this overall review is not about this aspect of Mott32,  which is well proven as a formula !





Sichuan 'Lantern' Air Dried Beef  燈影牛肉 - HKD $105
A beautiful rendition of this tedious dish to make, which actually requires steaming, air drying and frying,  to give it the thin translucent look,  but with a crispy crackle rather than a jerky-like texture.  Here, it is quite Ma La numbing as well as Spicy, definitely one of the best versions in town and a must order after Chef Lee has arrived into Mott32 from Mandarin Oriental. ~




Seasonal Yunnan Mushrooms Sang Choi Bao Lettuce Cups -
Neatly done.  In Hong Kong nowadays,  Sang Choi Bao does not make as much an appearance on menus,  but usually as a supplementary dish to say a Peking Duck's carcasse meat being used up as a 2nd dish.  Or perhaps wrapping a Spring Roll.  Here,  it definitely appeals to foreigners and expats who love to eat exotic Chinese food..




椒鹽鮑魚仔併金菇 Salt & Pepper Fried Abalone with Enoki Mushrooms -
Another Signature starter here,  this time around it appeals more to local Hong Kong customers,  especially when in the recent decade or so,  it has become popular again in the ex Fishing Village area restaurants in town,  especially near Saikung.  Here it is paired with addictive enoki mushrooms.  I was joking that this dish would pair exceptionally well with Whisky or X.O. based Cocktails..




Iberico Pork Charsiu with Wild Yellow Honey -
This was originally one of the Signature items here since the inception of Mott32 opening,  even before Chef Lee's time.  However,  these days it has evolved into two versions - here is the cut which uses the Iberico Presa instead of the Pluma,  which gives it slightly more texture and melty connective tissues,  and closer to what Hong Kong-Cantonese style Charsiu is expected to taste like.  Customers can still choose between the both cuts on the menu these days.



Iberico 'Presa' Cut Charsiu -
Despite looking almost the same,  this is actually an alternative muscle cut used...





Quail Egg Truffled Siumai Dumpling -
A part of the trio of Signature items here, apart from the Peking Duck & Charsiu,  again these were already here and preceded Chef Lee's arrival,  the latter is more contributing towards the labour intensive and chef dependent dishes here.  We order this every time during Lunch or Dinner,  but I am glad to say this time has been the best version we have tried,  with the pork bouncy and not too solid,  the quail eggs still runny and wrapped inside rather than placed on top,  the traditional way.




Seasonal Autumn Yunnan Mushrooms Soup with Fish & Pork -
Double boiled and sweet tasting, aromatic. 





Shanghai Smoked Fish 熏魚 - HKD $260
A dish that Chef Lee does very well of,  the traditional Shanghainese version is actually not smoked but only called so for its similar flavors after braising and frying,  but here it goes the extra step to fulfil it's potential.  Again a dish that we have to order every time nowadays in the revamped Mott32 menu,  and definitely one of the best authentic tasting versions in town.  The other is at Michelin 1 Star Zhejian Heen in Wanchai.




Yunnan Morel Mushrooms with Scallops -
A stir fried dish that is quite typical Cantonese,  but here the thickish scallops had a more caramelized surface from wok frying,  which seems to be a food trend nowadays.  Previously the Cantonese version of this dish had softer, wetter versions of the scallops which were more thinly sliced, and remember that previously in Hong Kong we actually ate more of the Pen Shells varieties,  than the Hokkaido or European style scallops.




Scallion Stir-Fried Angus Beef -
This is a newer addition to the menu here.  The Beef are thickly sliced,  which differs slightly from the thinly shaven Beef or Mutton version which is predominantly eaten in Beijing or Mongolia for this recipe.  To me,  I think it could handle more wok searing aroma of the scallions and spring onions,  or leeks,  which was the essence of eating this dish.




鹽焗野菇法國春雞 Salt Baked Mixed Mushrooms & French Spring Chicken - 
A seasonal recipe using fragrant Mushrooms as stuffing, in a Chinese style with shadows of French cuisine.  The Lotus Leaf was of the fresher variety which imparted a greener aroma.  Inside were stuffings of mushrooms and pearl barley.  Someone said online that this resembles a bit of a Beggars Chicken,  which in hindsight is probably quite true,  just without the pickled vegetables lying the bottom of the poultry,  but using mushrooms instead.




Fried Beancurd Skins with Gingko Nuts, Red Dates, and Broccoli -
A Vegetarian dish that has some crispy elements,  and definitely appeals to locals and foreigners alike.  In fact I have hardly seen this typical Chinese medicinal vegetables dish done in this fashion.  Bravo.




Lobster Rice -
This is a relatively newer Crustacean rice dish,  and it was also served recently at the Singapore F1 Grand Prix circuit by the Mott32 team.  It has a decent amount of lobster bisque for cooking the rice,  and there is actually a history to this dish too...  Initially Chef Lee wanted to cook his Crispy Rice in Lobster Bisque dish,  which he exceled in at Man Wah at Mandarin Oriental.  In the end he created this drier version just for Mott32,  to distinguish itself from the previous version.  Having said that,  I have actually eaten that wetter version here too on a previous visit luckily..





Blood Orange & Guava Mousse Cake with Oatmeal & Jasmine Ice Cream - $105
A new dessert creation here.  Pictured above is the updated version of the Soy Sauce Ice Cream with Strawberries and White Chocolate Panna Cotta, which is a perennial favorite here. 




The Latest Food at Mott32 -
It is not my first visit after Chef Lee arrived into the kitchen, but it has stabilized and found a footing.  Of our multiple visits to Mott32,  we can tell instantly that there are two crowds which patron here - those who are more dining here for the Peking Duck, Truffled Siu Mai and BBQ Iberico Charsiu who might be lured into the space as these dishes appeal to foreigners from Asian to ABC,  Expats alike.  And then there are some of us who followed Chef Lee from his Mandarin Oriental days and come here for his Signature dishes,  some of which are unique and deserving merit, and which he helped to re-create for the Mott32 kitchen.  Which camp do you belong to when you arrive here to dine next time!! 





Price:  Around HKD $350 to $550 + 10%  (Media Invitation Meal for Autumn Yunnan Mushroom Dishes + Multiple Self Visits combined)
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕

Address: Basement, Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road Central, Central
Phone: +852 28858688







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