Friday, March 4, 2016

Zafran, with New Chef from Barcelona - [ Hong Kong ]

 Zafran just one street up from Lan Kwai Fong bar district,  Central at Wyndham Street,  has always been one of the most mysterious underground Spanish restaurant and bar ever since they opened.  It has a low ceiling and I would say quite romantic,  I have been here a few times for either drinks or food,  but this time around it was for a Cooking Class with new Chef Pere from Barcelona who has been here for 6 months behind the background.  This round of a class only had basically myself and also organized by who were present here too,  themselves successful Restauranteurs and in Marketing of the same field. 

We Brunoise Diced up initially some Piquillo Pepper,  Onions,  and decided to slice the larger Squid into Rings instead of Dicing them for mouth feel.
Have to say this might not be the most traditional Spanish way but hey we thought this worked well,  as Chef Pere said we can be open mined..   Mixed with Spanish Bomba rice for the upcoming Paella..

The Latest Menu -
Actually from my own memory of visits,  Zafran (meaning Saffron) has undergone at least 3 Generations of Chef changes.  Nowadays it is more Catalan or Barcelonan in accent to me,  yet modernized too.

Palamos Red Prawn Tartare,  Sesame Caviaroli,  Sea Samphire Asparagus,  Avocado,  Radish,  with Tostadas bread -  HKD $190
I jokingly said during the cooking class,  we barely helped to peel these.  I was actually surprised they decided to use the extra rare Palamos red prawns here from Girona Spain,  as they are so treasured they are hardly exported  (coming from a Red Prawn Seafood distributor myself).  There is an element of Spanish molecular cooking here silently behind the background too,  typical of the upcoming trend of kitchen fare especially from Spanish trained Chefs.  

65C Slow-Cooked Egg Fried with Bread Crumbs,  Wild Mushrooms and Porcini Cream, Chives and Pinenuts - HKD $80
I find it interesting with the Egg Temperature and cooking time.  Personally I do the same from 63 to 63.5 to 65C with varying times,  it is again quite molecular Scientific,  but within this micro-window it seems every Chef still have their preferred temperature vs cooking time.  Here on this day it was full of Porcini cream aroma,  whereas apparently the week before it was Black Trumpet,  my favorite.

Salted Cod Brandade,  with Black Garlic,  Fried Garlic,  Parsley Leaf and Oil,  with Piquillo Pepper Sauce - HKD $80
This was creamy and not overly salty,  overall a very satisfying dish for sharing.  Right on the spot I kept thinking the term brandade is quite French,  but then again Salted Cod is usually registered with Spanish or Portuguese cuisine....   As a Miss Universe might say,  if everybody can reconcile their differences,  let's hope for World Peace  

Our Squid Ink Bomba Rice Paella,  with Squid,  Baby Squid,  Garlic,  Onions,  Red Pepper, Catalan Saffron,  Dollops of Red Prawn Head Emulsion,  Garlic Allioli - $320 
This is what we were learning to cook and dicing up,  of course Chef Pere helped the final finishing touches.  

Socarrat 'Crispy' Layer - 
This is quite similar to Cantonese Bo Jai Fan rice,  but in a shallower dish.  I did enquired before we finished this whether this would be the traditional Bottom Socarrat layer or the Top Salamander finished Socarrat style -  I don't mind both although the former is more traditional,  but the latter style I have seen many times recently.  (Which I suspect they are pre-cooked just Salamander finished for efficiency).   Not here !  Expect a 20 Minutes wait as they adjust the fire during the course of cooking from scratch.

Price: $300 - $400 + 10% Per Person
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕

Address:  中環雲咸街43-55號地庫
B1,  43-55 Wyndham Street,  Lan Kwai Fong,  Central,  HK
Ph: +852 21168855

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