Monday, October 26, 2009

The Chinnery

The Chinnery is one of the few remaining old-school English pubs around town to my knowledge. Hiding on the 3rd floor of the Mandarin Hotel, it is not a common walk-by establishment unless you know it exists. The first thing you notice when you step into the premise is the huge shelf of whisky behind the bar and once you look around, you notice the heavy wood decor, soft lighting, oil paintings and leather chairs which you can hardly find in Hong Kong nowadays. Yes it carries a heavy masculine atmosphere to it but that is how a traditional English pub / club looks like.

My friends and I come here often for its large selection go Malt Whisky. There is a Malt Whisky List as thick as the wine list! I picked something new, something I never tried before. Caol Ila 12 years. It was very smooth and the fact that I ordered it with the ice sphere instead of cubes made it even better because the melting rate of the ice took way longer, keeping the whisky flavors intact for much longer.

(1) Bangers and Mash
The dish came with pork, lamb and venison sausages. Accordingly to some sources, there must be 3 bangers and not more or less, must be 3. Interesting indeed. Among the 3 bangers, the lamb one was wonderful with a crisp outer layer and tender insider. The mash potato was buttery and silky smooth, thumbs up! However, the sauce was a bit too strong and salty to my liking.

(2) Roast Prime Rib of Beef
One of my friends ordered this great looking dish but I did not try any myself. However, from the fact that he was chewing his beef very slowly with his eyes closed was definitely a positive sign of enjoyment.

(3) Baked Sea Bass
Again I did give this dish a try because I was too focused on my bandgers and mash (plus whisky). It looked delicious enough that I would come again to try it another day.

(4) Bread Pudding
Whenever I see Bread Pudding or Bread and Butter Pudding, I would order it because I am in search for a wonderful offering around town. As mentioned by Jodi in one of the comments from my previous entries, one of the more difficulties in making a good bread pudding is to find the right bread. (the same with bread and butter pudding) To my knowledge, the best and traditional method is to use stale / left-over bread (French and Italian bread preferred because sandwich bread would dissolve in the soaking process); however, many places nowadays use fresh bread instead. I wasn't sure if fresh bread was used for the bread pudding we ordered, but it certainly did not looked stale or maybe not stale enough. The whole pudding was too soft like a sponge cake and the vanilla custard was slightly too sweet. So far the vanilla custard from Jimmy's Kitchen's Apple Crumble remains on the top of my list in terms of dessert sauces.

(5) Dessert Side dishes
All meals came with a small dessert side dish consisted of mini-apple crumble and chocolate cookies. Flavor wise the apple crumble was fair but texture wise it was too dough-y / flour-y. The cookies on the other hand was a pleasant surprise with a soft and warm inside like a mini-molten chocolate cake. Thumbs up on the cookies.

Note: Thanks to smogsblog, I am learning new things everyday! Apparently the spelling of whisky (vs whiskey) has its fair share of history and the different spelling represent different origins of the spirit . "Today, the spelling whisky (plural whiskies) is generally used for whiskies distilled in Scotland, Wales, Canada, and Japan, while whiskey is used for the spirits distilled in Ireland and America." - wikipedia

  • The comprehensive whisky list
  • wonderful old school English pub / club decor + atmosphere
  • Buttery and silky smooth mash potato
  • bread pudding - too soft and custard too sweet. Rather disappointing.
  • Sauces too salty (of the Bangers and Mash dish)
Avg Spending: HKD 300 - 500 per person

The Chinnery
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
5 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 2825 4009

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Anonymous said...

Please! If it comes from Scotland then it's whisky (as the cover of the list that you photographed showed). Whiskey comes from Ireland and the colonies.

Jason said...

@Smogsblog, thanks for the correction! As you can see I have much much much more to learn! Thanks for pointing it out and I will update the entry accordingly!

Thanks again! I am learning new things everyday! :)

Jin said...

that's a really fantastic shot of the prime rib! makes me wanna run to mandarin oriental at this ungodly hour. what your photos do to me! tsk!

Jason said...

@Jin: regarding the prime rib, med-rare it was ... yeah !!! (I should have ended my meal with something chocolate!!)

Jodi said...

According to the Martha Stewart Magazine, any yeast bread is suitable for bread pudding, but an egg bread, such as brioche, produce pudding with the best tender-crisp texture. Unfortunately, brioche seems to be a rare item in local bakery! Also according to the magazine, they found no difference between pudding made with fresh and one made with stale. I have yet to compare myself (I've made versions using fresh egg bread), so I cannot prove this to be right or wrong.

Jin said...

must always, ALWAYS end your meals with chocolate!

Jason said...

@Jodi, o yes, I can certainly imagine it right now how the brioche can give the pudding the tender and yet crisp texture!So when are you planning to try it with the stale bread? :) ... o btw, I am now a kin follower of the Gourmet site thanks to your introduction. :)

Jason said...

@Jin, meal can be started with chocolates as well HAHA ... maybe some lime flavored chocolates !!! :)

cheeky angel said...

I agree with Jin that shot of prime rib is unbelieveable!

As for the bread and butter pudding - I was always under the impression that stale bread was always the better choice and that brioche was a fab choice if available. I remember a friend said she once made bread and butter pudding with Panettone and it wasn't bad (her own words).

jodi said... I have a recipe (also from Martha Stewart) called Louisiana Bread Pudding using day-old baguette and bourbon. Wow! Sounds fantastic! I shall try it out soon and report. May be I should invite you for tasting....not a bad idea since I always brag about my food. Should do that if you ever move back to Happy Valley!
I think Panettone should make a good bread pudding. It is also a brilliant idea to used up those leftover after Christmas!

Jason said...

@cheek angel, you and Jodi are making me very hungry and triggered my craving for bread pudding right now!!!

@Jodi, the tasting idea sounds great!!!!!! I am really thinking about moving back to Happy Valley, hopefully soon, and if everything works out maybe early next year ... finger crossed!

Babedolphin said...

If what we sought from a Bread Pudding in Winter is about the beautifully glazed-caramelised top with a strong egg-creamy centre - I reckon flaky Brioche or Challah bread would be perfect or the over-priced Japanese Bologne bread. However it'll turn out really wet and literally a pudding rather than layered!

As for stale bread - its original concept is same as Pain Perdu, which is not wasting leftover bread I guess! ^o^' Its all about re-soaking and re-hydrating the dried bread with more cream and eggs and alcohol and raisins, etc, to revive it from the dead. :P

Some people mix in either crustier or denser bread, such as Baguettes or ones with less flour because they holds its shape and texture better after re-soaking and then baking again.

If it was me, I'll use more of the crusty outer layers from say the Challah/Brioche or the Baguette or a German loaf lol! :P And make sure not to cut across the grain !

jodi said...

Seems like we're having quite some discussion about what makes a good breading pudding! Maybe some one should organise a tasting party with different version of pudding. I don't mind to do the baking, since I have at least 4 different recipe, but Babedolphin should provide the bread from Bologne. Too expansive!
Come to think of it, this can be a fun dessert party, with versions of breading pudding, chocolate pudding cake (those translated as "soft heart"?), apple crisp with ice cream.....yummy!

Jason said...

Yes indeed, a dessert party seems like a great idea! o o o apple crisp, bread puddings (4 different versions) and chocolate pudding cake ... yummmmmmmmmmmmy

Babedolphin said...

Sounds great!
Who's organising :)

And I don't have equipment to cook anything lol! I'm plainly eating and paying.... but Bologne bread is too expensive lol. Why don't u ask me to buy Poilane bread to make your pudding! Its like $100 a loaf! :P

Jin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jin said...

please, i want to be in this dessert party! when and where???

Jodi said...

An update on bread pudding:
I finally make one using day old baguette. It is an adult version because of the addition of brandy (the original recipe is using bourbon, but I don't want to buy a bottle). The texture is more crispy on top and less soft in the centre. Since it was a while that I prepared the bread pudding using brioche, I cannot tell which version is better! Really should do a tasting, but where can I find brioche loaf? The shop where I bought the brioche are not making this anymore!
....May be I can try using Danish from local bakery....

Jason said...

@Jodi: I am back! The adult version sounds perfect in this weather!!!

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