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Showing posts with label Hague Eatery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hague Eatery. Show all posts

Monday, September 7, 2015

Bites NLD: Cantonese food with a touch of home@ Fat Kee, Chinatown

I'm always up for fine dining where over the top precision in presentation and meticulous composition of flavors are usually the highlight of a 4 hour evening. But at times, all that ones craves for is some comfort food that tastes like home. Traveling back from Amsterdam to The Hague, I decided to sample flavors a little closer to home.  Thankfully my veteran friends have a little place in Chinatown for that. 

Stepping into Fat Kee in Chinatown, this well-known Cantonese restaurant offers traditional Cantonese cuisine along with several other Indonesian dishes on their menu. For the three of us who were starving to death, we ordered three dishes which were plenty to go around.

Stir fried Kangkung with Belachan

Simple stir fried in the aromatic Belachan. The sticky consistency of the stir fried greens makes it a close match to what's found at home minus that fragrant "sambal" bite. A noteworthy find considering how most places serve Kangkung that is still wet. 

Mixed Roast - Soy Chicken, Roasted Duck, Roasted Pork and BBQ Pork. 


This large roast combination that we got was a bit of a mixed batch. My two friends very honestly called the Roast Duck an "overly roasted duck". It's not far from the truth but it was yummy. Something like the Hong Kong Violin duck.  However, the Roast Pork was my favourite of the lot with its crispy skin and salty five spice rub bearing close resemblance to what I would expect as a minimum.  The biggest loser would be the BBQ Pork.  The lack of caramelisation and smokiness made it no more than lean pork coated in plum sauce.

Yong Tau Foo stuffed with Prawn Meat. 

The last dish on the table was the Yong Tau Foo. A dish where bean curd and other vegetables are usually stuffed with meat and flash fried before being cooked further in various ways.  At Fat Kee, these were beautifully braised in oyster sauce. Quite delicious I must insist. 

Fat Kee is my first venture into the Cantonese food scene here in the Netherlands. The food is simple, humble and ridiculously tasty. So do not be surprised to come any day during dinner and find the restaurant jam packed. The good news is that Fat Kee serves the food really quick and so the turn over is only 10-15 minutes long. The three dishes including the usual suspects rice and tea would set you back 43 Euros which is pretty decent!


Monday, August 17, 2015

Bites NLD: Chinese-French @ HanTing Cuisine, Prinsestraat

The fastest way to the heart of a country is by eating food said many.  I have recently moved to the Hague as part of my training.  As a keen foodie, I walked the predictable path of attempting to understand a culture by eating my way through town.  Last week I took the time to visit HanTing, a 1 Michelin star Chinese - French restaurant.  Located in the city, it was in a convenient spot to begin.  

The concept was really unusual because while Japanese-French establishments are as cliche as humans’ breathing in Australia,  the Chinese - French connection was new to me! But lets leave the food to do the talking.

Tray of “snacks”.  

A superb mix of colours, textures and flavours.  The complex offering started with a squid ink bun filled with some mild horseradish which gave the sweet-ish almost brioche like bun a subtly pungent bite.  Next was the beetroot meringue.  It packed a crunch with an unmistakable earthiness from the beetroot.  This was followed by was a savoury macaroon, a crisp and crudités with a saffron aioli dip.

Amuse Bouche

Tomato Jelly, Mousse, celery and smoked eel.  It was acidic, creamy and salty.  All of which was serenaded by a whiff of smokiness.  Small and potent, but more importantly it was interesting.

Steamed bread with fried shallots.

The dish of HERRING was the First course presented to me.  This fish is a typical Dutch stereotype so when it was served it felt like a surprise but not really.  Served raw, I was really quite concerned by the thick layer of “blood" running underneath the skin.  But Chef Han’s idea of serving the fish with a host of fruity and refreshing elements was absolutely genius.  Among the accompaniments identified are compressed watermelon, Yuzu dressing, Guacamole and tomato jelly.  This oily fish was buttery and left only the slightest hint of the sea in my mouth.  But scoop a little of each element to eat with the fish and it did not at all feel like a fish!  It was light, subtle, and fruity.


For diners that find the HERRING fishy, HanTing serves a complimentary course which felt like a re-interpretation of the Japanese “ONIGIRI”.  Its sweet-vinegary flavours readies the palate for the next course.

The Second course featured TUNA in several ways.  Seared-all round and a sushi.  Served with red pepper puree, soya, cucumber and a wasabi jelly, this was an intricate dish. Not to mention melt-in-your mouth squid and aubergine in the middle.  But was all this effort in vain? Not all but some.  The sushi probably was the least impressive dish.  The sticky shards of rice and pressed tuna tasted stale.  With the seared tuna, I found the pairing with the lukewarm wasabi jelly log too mundane.  I did not get that kick which I got from the HERRING dish.  With the warm temperature in the dining hall, having served the dish with a wasabi sorbet would have totally win it.  Oh, do not forget to omit the sushi too!


My Third course was a dish of SEA BASS and razor clam.  Another dish from the sea, but this time cooked.  A good way to imagine this dish is to think of a perfectly cooked fish.  And then think of the last time you had a perfectly cooked fish and cry.  Ok just joking lol.  Think of the fish and at the same time imagine a soy based sauce that feels buttery, filled with shrooms and a touch of sweet rice wine.  Everything was bang on perfect.  The HERRING course I had at HanTing is probably not to everyone taste, but this was definitely a crowd pleaser.


The Fourth and last savoury course was a meal of VEAL.  Served pink in the middle the VEAL was tender, juicy and flavoursome.  The seared loin was well-seasoned and one flavour that was more prominent than others was five spice.  A spice frequently used by Chinese to season meat.  On the side you had turnips, yam and also a very special solidified lard with shallots.  By itself, the veal was delicious.  But melt the flavoured lard onto the meat and you get the hint of ginger and spring onions which perfumed the veal so very nicely it was awesome.


Last but not least was a sweet ending.  Sorbet frozen using liquid Nitrogen, white chocolate ganache shaped and twisted, and to cut through the sweetness of the lot, some sliced candied Mandarins. 


The meal at HanTing was nothing short of being impressive.  The kitchen’s thought on the plate was clearly “more is more” and not "less is more".  While this worked brilliantly for most courses, the TUNA took a few steps back with that thought.   I wanted a little more surprise that suited the warm summer season.  But with 4 out of the 5 courses winning my approval, it is a clear sign that HanTing’s 1 Michelin star is well-deserved.  If you had to ask me what my favourite courses were, I would no doubt vouch for the Herring which freaked me out initially.  Its buttery sweet flesh was second to none.   The Sea Bass is the second best followed suit by the Veal and Dessert of White Chocolate & Berries.