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HK Magazine - - DINING -

Be­hold the Hairy Crab

We’re just on the cusp of hairy crab sea­son, and these furry lit­tle crit­ters are about to in­vade our din­ing ta­bles—from Groupon deals as low as $30 per crab (sur­pris­ingly not too shabby: sim­ply steam at home on a bed of per­illa leaves with ginger) to $2,000 epic hairy crab tast­ing menus. For the crème de la crème, make a reser­va­tion at two-Miche­lin-starred Yan Toh Heen (Lower Level, In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Hong Kong, 18 Sal­is­bury Rd., Kowloon, 2313-2323), which is cel­e­brat­ing the best catch from Yangcheng Lake in an eight-course hairy crab de­gus­ta­tion ($2,488 plus 10 per­cent, avail­able Oct 14-Dec 10). Con­ceived by guest chef Wang Bo and Yan Toh Heen ex­ec­u­tive chef Lau Yiu Fai, the la­bor-in­ten­sive dishes (some take up to a half-hour to pick enough meat for just one serv­ing) blew us away, with a num­ber of dif­fer­ent prepa­ra­tions to high­light the fla­vor of the crab: from crispy taro dumplings with seafood and hairy crab­meat roe; to hairy crab­meat roe and bird’s nest soup with lob­ster and veg­eta­bles; and ten­der garoupa filet with, you guessed it, more hairy crab­meat and roe. The most in­no­va­tive dish is the last course: gluti­nous rice dumpling soup with a fried pur­ple sweet potato stuffed with crab­meat— sub­tly sweet, del­i­cate and a de­li­cious end­ing to a meal that only comes around once a year. In Hong Kong, it’s out with the old and in with the new… un­less the new hap­pens to be the rein­car­na­tion of one of Hong Kong’s old­est Ital­ian restau­rants. Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Dan Ryan’s, Grappa’s Ris­torante was the lat­est in­sti­tu­tion to get booted from Pa­cific Place last month, clos­ing down af­ter 26 years of ser­vice. But grieve not: They’ve popped up again at a new venue with the same staff—and an ex­panded menu and wine list. The new Grappa’s QRE (G/F, 18 Queen’s Rd. East, Wan Chai, 2868-0086) com­bines the old dé­cor—in­clud­ing the sig­na­ture hand­painted mu­ral and vin­tage Ital­ian wine and liqueur posters—with new el­e­ments such as wooden air­plane pro­pel­lers as ceil­ing fans and a vin­tage Ital­ian Vespa above the pizza kitchen. While sig­na­ture dishes re­main, you can look out for a few new items, in­clud­ing the “QRE house pizza” with green olives, pota­toes and pep­per­oni; the slow-roasted suck­ling pig with grapes; and the Haa­gen-Dazs ice cream with 30-year-old bal­samic vine­gar. The bar has also been ex­tended to in­clude the largest se­lec­tion of Amarone in Hong Kong, a unique dry and full­bod­ied Ital­ian wine from the Valpo­li­cella re­gion of Italy.

Kim­chi gy­oza “lol­lipops” at Fu­jiyama Mama

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