Thursday, 26 April 2018

Chicken Feet for the Foodie’s Soul


Here’s a fact – there are many restaurant-cum-bars where one of the two always supersedes the other. The Hong Kong Club is a refreshing new addition on the Delhi NCR restaurant-scape that is already known for its food as much as the swanky bar and cocktails. In fact, the bar is the focal point of the expansive space whether you’re standing around the bar counter, sipping artisanal cocktails and nibbling on small plates or seeing it in its entirety from the top floor. And as far as the food is concerned, Chef Alex Moser, who is at the helm, along with Chef Yu Fuhai from China, has created a fantastic menu of modern Cantonese fare. In keeping with the food philosophy of Andaz Delhi, locally popular spices and ingredients are procured as far as possible to maintain freshness as well as to lend a unique flavour and a modern twist to classic Cantonese dishes.

The Highlight of The Hong Kong Club: the gorgeous bar!

The Hong Kong Club can be accessed through the hotel as well as from an exclusive street-facing entrance. The glass pavilion surrounded with a water body and set amidst landscaped lawns is beautiful and inviting even from a distance. The courtyard in front has a faux cherry tree, complete with a red bench and the moon forming the backdrop a perfect photo-op. Inside, the long wooden corridor is lined with empty wine bottles and the space then opens up to an amoebic-shaped bar counter with a two-storied center-piece filled with Oriental artefacts. Friendly bartenders whip up classic cocktails as well as they cater to specific requests. But we recommend the signature cocktails inspired by the twelve signs of the Chinese Zodiac. While my zodiac-based Sleeping Dragon is a smoky drink of Scotch, martini mix, orange liqueur and chocolate bitters, I also enjoy the fragrant Moon Rabbit made with jasmine gin, champagne, lychee and rose. If you’re in an experimental mood go for the Sun Wukong. It is a heady mix of coconut Scotch, banana liqueur, fivespice, yuzu and bitters. According to lore (and the menu) “Sun Wukong is the handsome Monkey King. Blessed with incredible strength and powers, the character can defeat all the armies of heaven single-handedly and features in many legends”.

With seating across split levels, the bar area is where ‘the action’ is, from the DJ console to spectacular acts including exotic dancers, themed shows, aerialist and acrobats. The small-plate appetisers are thus ideal for this space. The choice ranges from refreshing cold appetisers like marinated green asparagus in mustard oil, pickled radish with chilli and soya, crushed cucumbers in black vinegar to cuttlefish salad with orange, sweet basil and pok choy and roasted duck salad with pomelo, pine nuts and shallots. Although it is unusual to find cold appetisers at a Chinese restaurant these dishes actually showcase the beautiful flavours of farm-fresh produce that is the highlight of the menu.

Succulent Chicken Feet at The Hong Kong Club

Move upstairs for a quieter, sit-down meal. In keeping with Hong Kong’s traditional dimsum teahouses, the dimsum menu has it all from crystal dumplings to shumai, crispy fried to boiled, baos to lotus leaf wraps. We tried the soup-filled Shanghai dumpling and crystal dumplings with prawn and asparagus to exotic ones like lobster shumai and mushroom bao that actually looks like a large mushroom and is stuffed with a mixed mushroom filling. Meatlovers should definitely try the crisp pork belly that is delicious as is but works beautifully with the kasundi mustard that it is served with. The Hong Kong style duck is also a winner and is served with a homemade barbecue sauce and mini bao, instead of the usual pancakes. While we covered the entire gamut from free range chicken to rock lobster in black bean sauce in our meal the highlight turned out to be something that we tried for the very first time, which is probably not available in any fine-dine restaurant in Delhi yet. Chicken feet! As soon as Chef Alex mentioned it, I wanted to try it despite an initial apprehension. So out came the bamboo basket containing chicken feet that are poached, fried, marinated and then steamed. The gelatinous meat surrounding the soft bones is actually very comforting and the mildly spiced broth is extremely flavourful. If you’re up for trying some authentic Cantonese fare do give this one a try. Another street-side dish from Hong Kong is congee with chicken, crispy shallots and ginger. Here it is oomphed up with a soft duck egg.

The Hong Kong Club fruit platter with mandarin sorbet and ginger wafers is ideal to round off this hearty meal. But if you want a richer sweet ending, the star anise brulee with caramelized pineapple and banana fritters lends the perfect Asian flavours to a French classic. 

Details:
The Hong Kong Club, Andaz Delhi
Timings: 6.00pm – 4.00am.  Bar: 6.00pm – 4.00am; Dinner: 7.00pm – 12.00am.


This article first appeared on LivingFoodz.com on February 20, 2018. 

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