Saturday, January 2, 2010

Xi Yan 囍宴 廚‧藝 (Private Dining)

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
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
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
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
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.
Avg Spending: I was invited by my friend to this meal in celebration for her recent Ph.D graduation and the meal was free. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate her once again and thank you for the meal!

Xi Yan 囍宴 廚‧藝 (Private Dining)
3/F, 83 Wanchai Road, Wan Chai
Tel: +852 2575 6966

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Jin said...

i love their 口水雞! haven't tried most of the dishes you had. should probably make a return visit soon. i love their greenhouse tomatoes with sesame dressing, wagyu beef, and tofu ice cream.

Jason said...

@Jin: yeah, I kind of want to return for their 口水雞! perhaps the Braised pork belly 雲上東坡醉千層!

Anonymous said...

I like its name.

Would you recommend it for ruby wedding anniversary celebration?


Jason said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for dropping by my blog! It is a good place for family gatherings or small group celebration in my opinion. How many people do you expect for the Ruby Wedding Anniversary? :) ...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your sharings. Expected to be around 2 dozen people there. But we have decided to pick Luk Yu Tea House for brunch also based on your review. "down to earth", "homely" sounds more relzxing and enjoyable for the old folks who are mostly in their 70s. Xi Yan might be too hip and possibly restraining. Besides, we thought the long history of the tea house in a fast paced place like Hong Kong is a validation on its own of the place's worth and bless, just like a long marriage thru many up and downs of life. We also book the old folks into the Penisula for the same reason. For dinner we are still undecided between Whisk and the Kimberly Chinese Restaurant. Both are close to each other. The attraction of both is suckling pig. Most of the old folks probably have never tried fusion before so we tend to favour Whisk a bit more, hoping the novelty might help make it an even more memorable experience.
Our decisions have benefited much from your sharings. Thank you again.

Jason said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for your kind words! Before I continue, congrats on the Ruby Wedding Anniversary! If you are to go for fusion and give a bigger impact ti old folks, Whisk is definitely the pick! I think they have a small function room at the back and front to hold 2 dozen ppl. If you do pick Whisk and plan to order the Apple Tart, please ask them to serve in the steel saucer pan. Based on my knowledge, they know serve the apple tart by slices instead of the whole tray as shown in my entry. It makes a world of differences if you ask me so please do ask them to serve it as a whole if possible :)

Please do let know which one you picked at the end :)


Anonymous said...

sorry this is a way overdue thanku reply. me and my hubby had a test run on whisk and decided the atmosphere might not be right for the old folks. a good decision as kimberly turned out excellent. everyone enjoyed the meal. love the piglet. best piglet we ever tasted. we r going back there again for moonfestival.
apple tart in whisk is good but really pricy considering the size. anyway thanku.

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