PANDA HOTEL [悅來酒店] in Tsuen Wan is not somewhere I am really familiar with, and before I hit here I consulted some locals from this area and even they haven't heard about it much. It was an educational night for me however, so thanks to Panda Hotel for the invitation to try out their Balcony 歐陸餐廳 x Tunisian Wine Event. Just a side note that the PR Email I received from Panda Hotel was very thoughtful, I must be thankful for the really well organized meal tonight. Both wines and the food surprisingly impressed!
Panda Hotel is popular with Overseas or Chinese Tourists,
it even has a Shopping Complex underneath -
It's around 20-45 mins away from the major tourist spots by MTR Train, which might be a positive thing if you want to stay at somewhere localized but not too far away in reality.
Tunisian Wines now being Imported into Hong Kong -
Tunisia is one of the oldest Wine Producers in the world dating back to the BC period, much like Georgian wines. One of the major advantage of Tunisian wines is that they carry a similar A.O.C. system that is set up by the French but somehow most wines range at only $80-$180 max. I have got to say fairly these rather impressed me at this price point, and although I have drank Tunisian wines before, after drinking wines from so many countries these 2 years, I actually think Tunisian wines are very French. Most of the wines were close to the taste of real AOC French Wines at a fraction of the price. You can't level criticism at these before you really try them out yourself.
Assiette D'Antipasti -
The presentation was so pretty and unexpected from a restaurant situated in the middle of the New Territories. Sliced Prosciutto, Chorizo, Salami, Bocconini cheese, Melon fruits. This was so thoughtful indeed. ~ 9/10
Seared Tuna with Harissa, Tunisian Pepper & Olive Salad -
The Harissa spice was on the weaker side than normal, but expected in Hong Kong context, toned down. This is almost like a French Nicoise Salad. Simple yet effective. 7/10
A Syrah, Grenache and Carignan Blend -
This blending reminds me of French Minervois AOC wines with a shadow of the Southern Rhone GSMs. It was quite ruby red but well structured, again, it was really French in performance. You can find really French style wines from California, Australia or Italy or a few other places, but those are rare. Tonight’s wines to me were surprisingly just French tasting. :O
Orecchiette Pasta with Sautéed Porcini Mushroom & Parmigiano Reggiano -
A lovely dish. The stock beneath was a bit too intense salty, but the Porcini and other Mushrooms taste was strong enough to beset it. The Cat Ears pasta was cooked perfect. Really loved this dish except the saltiness, one of the best Pasta dishes I ate recently. ~ 8/10
2008 Magon Majus – Carignan and Syrah blend
Quite peppery with dark berries,
this was a great pairing with the below Lamb dish.
Roasted Rack of Lamb with Moroccan Spiced Eggplant & Vegetables Couscous
in Black Garlic Gravy -
My piece of lamb was cooked pink and tender, but other customers received end bits which were slightly over-cooked. The Moroccan spice was once again toned down but I love the couscous as usual. I liked the concept of the Black Garlic and Lamb jus gravy but it wasn't that strong in the end. ~ 7/10
Warm Spiced Molten Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Compote -
Another Winner. The Dark Chocolate bit was tasty but not too sweet, but the inclusion of the Wintery Spice had me swooning at it's correctness for the occasion . Really liked this and it was so out of the blue to see a slightly wintery spiced version... ~ 8/10
The ending course of Minardises were also thoughtful but could be more carefully executed -
Overall no complaints as the whole meal has been very thoughtful.
Despite this meal being by INVITATIONAL nature, I actually thought that this was done really really well. One of the most surprising meals I ate in Hong Kong this year. Even the Tunisian wines were performing at more than their expected quality for the price range! You definitely learn something new every week, and here I learned both about the food here and the Tunisian wines.
Price: Meal was Invited by Tunisian Wine Importer and PANDA Hotel
Ease of Access: 4/5 (MTR Tai Wo Hau station)
Rating: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2
3 Tsuen Wah St, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong.
Ph: 2409 3226