Among the 4 unique franchise of Xi Yan, this Private Dining outlet acts as the flagship whereby new dishes are to be introduced / experimented first. This franchise was established by Jacky Yu, a designer turned celebrity chef who followed his heart for the love of food. you may see him on various TV food/ cooking related shows.
Anyhow, to be honest, I was expecting the venue to be small and cozy but instead it was fairly spacious capable of hosting a dozen or so tables. With that many tables, the environment and atmosphere is bound to be rather commercial in my opinion. Jacky dropped by to greet the guests that evening but I really doubt that Jacky himself cooked our meal or other diners'.
As a ceramic artist, Jacky Yu must have made all these one of a kind tea cups and chop sticks holder. It was nice, somehow made me want to try applying for ceramic classes as well.
Tonight's meal was a set one with some interesting dishes. It was a nice touch to provide guest with the printed menu in both Chinese and English.
(1) Cold tofu in pickled Sauce 秘製凍豆腐
The presentation was great! Very strong tofu taste and the flavor of the sauce was not too rich as well but it was rather cold in the center, must have been straight out from the fridge not too long ago.
(2) Conpoy shreds with choy-sum 瑤柱絲涼拌油菜花
Another well presented dish. The individual piece looked firm but it was just molded together loosely before serving. I wasn't sure if it was the normal choy-sum we usually get, must have been a variant of it I guess because it carried a very strong flavor similar to that of coriander in my opinion.
(3) Sichuan spicy chicken 金牌口水雞
Wow, that huge chili freaked me out! Good that it was more for decoration only and the whole dish was not as spicy as I expected. It was very good especially with the thousand year preserved eggs addition. The crispy texture of the peanuts went well with the softness / tenderness of the chicken as well as the rice paper sheets.
(4) Stewed thin beef slices with mustard 芥末燈影牛肉
Nice Chinese name for this dish. It was very crispy but the mustard flavor was quite strong! I coughed after the second bite as well. Not bad by any means but they should go light on the mustard in my opinion.
(5) Braised pork belly 雲上東坡醉千層
I was told that this is one of their award winning dishes and it looked interesting indeed. Strips of thinly sliced pork belly were use to wrapped around the preserved vegetables inside. This dish is traditional known to be very fatty due to the use of big fatty pork bellies but the varied technique being applied here was very nice indeed.
Another thumbs up would be the sauce and how it was not greasy and overly rich. The meat and sauce was best to go with some white rice!
(6) Stir fried shrimps with basil 金不換辣酒煮蝦
I love basil! I love shrimps! I kind of lost my manner with this dish by eating one after another until all shrimps were gone and I mixed some sauce with the white rice as well!
(7) Chrysanthemum mandarin fish with lemongrass calamansi sauce 香茅柑桔菊花魚
Looked nice but too starchy and dough-y, cannot really taste the fish or find the fish inside the thick layer of batter. The sauce was rather strong in terms of flavors and smell!
(8) Soaked guavas with dried sour plums 梅孑石榴
I certainly did not expect the dish to turn out to be like this based on Chinese name. It was literally soaked guavas and not something with the use of guavas as ingredients. IT was served chilled and acted more or less as a palette cleanser in my opinion. The sour plum juice carried hints of sweetness which was wonderful indeed.
(9) Chinese turtle soup 養生滋補山瑞湯
The English translation sounded so WRONG! Turtle soup? Anyhow, I don't have a better word for it, please help provide a better word if you can. The soup was heavy and intense on the Chinese herbs, typical with the use of similar ingredients. Not suggested for those who are pregnant.
(10) Stir fried kale with ginger juice and spring onion 薑汁香蔥芥蘭片
While it was an ordinary dish, there was hints of sweetness to the ginger juice which went very well with the very crispy kale.
(11) Dan Dan noodles 招牌擔擔拉麵
One word, spicy! After mixing it thoroughly, spiciness in every bite, but it was the addictive kind of spiciness which I enjoyed!
(12) Fresh lotus seed puree pudding with bird's nest 燕液蓮香露
A very interesting way to play with the dessert by pouring the concentrated bird's nest syrup into the puree. I think it was just a smart way to let guest know that you are getting a lot of bird's nest, no tricks involved. It was alright, nothing outstanding or surprising unfortunately. I guess it was a "fun" dessert in a sense?
- Stir fried shrimps with basil 金不換辣酒煮蝦 - moderate spiciness and huge shrimps!
- Braised pork belly 雲上東坡醉千層 - an interesting variation and interpretation of a traditional dish
- Sichuan spicy chicken 金牌口水雞 - love to combination of flavors and textures
- Not as cozy and homely as I hoped for a private kitchen venue
- Chrysanthemum mandarin fish with lemongrass calamansi sauce 香茅柑桔菊花魚 - too starchy and batter was too thick. Flavor of sauce was too strong.
- Stewed thin beef slices with mustard芥末燈影牛肉 - too much mustard, too strong.
Xi Yan 囍宴 廚‧藝 (Private Dining)
3/F, 83 Wanchai Road, Wan Chai
Tel: +852 2575 6966
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