Welcome to my tales of cookery school, food and travel

The first 30+ posts of this blog describe my experiences as I complete a nine month cooking course - the City and Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation and Culinary Art. I did this after I moved out of full time employment and it was purely selfish - I love food, cooking, eating and drinking. Subsequent posts are about, food, travel and adventures.

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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

What to eat in Hong Kong? Tapas

What is it with Spanish chefs?  There seem to be more - including several with Michelin stars -  in Hong Kong than in Spain.   Well that's probably not true, but there's enough to form an Asian Spanish Chefs' Association,  the purpose of which is to "disseminate Spanish culinary techniques on the Asian continent".  

Cuttlefish, chorizo and broad beans
On my recent foray into the rice bowl of Hong Kong, I spent some time exploring some of the new tapas restaurants infiltrating the city.  

At 22 Ships I get lucky and a seat at the horseshoe shaped bar.  Here I can not only watch the bar staff, but also see into the tiny kitchen, and - added bonus -  the chefs plate up on the benches in front of me. Bliss! 

I  want to eat EVERYTHING on the menu, but settle for a couple of seafood plates and one of the most excellent desserts.  
Tuna tataki with yuzu and apple mousse

The Executive Chef is Jason Atherton, a Michelin starred chef who used to work for the Gordon Ramsey group, opening maze restaurants in the UK, Prague, Durban, Qatar and Melbourne.  He is now his own man and runs a stable of restaurants across the UK and Asia.  So as you would expect, the food is rather good. 

Everything is beautifully plated (the photos on the 22 Ships website are much better than mine) and have fresh and sometimes surprising - in a good way - flavours.  For example, regular readers know my aversion to sweet and savoury, yet the apple and yuzu (an East Asian citrus, something like a sour mandarin) mousse with the tuna is delicious.  Besides, this is subtle flavour, not chunks of fruit sitting astride unsuspecting fish.

Texturas de chocolate - heaven on a plate
Now, art on a plate.  As I watch the apprentice chef plate dessert after dessert, I have time to examine the components of each and make an informed decision - as if any dessert related decision is informed by anything other than greed.  

It is the Texturas de Chocolate that proves irresistible. 

 I wish this picture did true justice to the artful design:  so much like a little mushroom on a pebbly path through a leafy forest floor (well, that's my description). The mushroom is a perfectly formed meringue balanced on a vertical quenelle of ice cream, with tiny volcanoes of piped mousse and crunchy little bombs of milk, white and dark chocolate.  I can not begin to describe how divine it is.  All in all, a fantastic evening's dining and entertainment.

At the other end of the scale there are some very ordinary tapas bars cashing in on the trend, and we don't need to discuss those here. 

Did I eat any Chinese food?  Yes, I did, and I'll tell you about it shortly.