Sunday, 26 April 2015

Mott32 - Modern Chinese with style

I've recently taken a real shine to char siu, and when I find something I like, I can get a little obsessive about finding more.  You can imagine what that means, right?  Pouring over every menu at every restaurant we visit looking for the Chinese style delicacy.  If you're not familiar with char siu, it's translates literally to 'fork-roast' but is more commonly known as barbequed pork.

Our recent visit to Mott32 was special for a couple of reasons, firstly, it was a surprisingly beautiful and funky restaurant but mainly because I found the most amazing char siu I've had in Hong Kong to date.

But I get ahead of myself...

Mott32 is one of those restaurants where it's recommended you make a reservation, but continuing my run of jagging a table, we managed to score a couple of seats straight after work.  Of course, we had that moment where you get the strange look for asking for a table without a reservation, but one I'm now quite comfortable ignoring.  

We were led down a huge escalator, then a couple of flights of stairs to the bowels of the Standard Chartered building and found ourselves in a dimly lit, but exquisitely appointed restaurant. Designed as a collaboration between Maximal Concepts and Joyce Wang, a designer who was recently awarded the 'Wave of the Future 2014', Mott32 is a stunning space.  Designed centrally around a custom industrial duck oven and special air-drying duck fridge, the dining room in immediately intimate and comfortable.

Presented with a couple of leather bound menus, we set about the difficult task of limiting our meal to a realistic number of courses. Practically everything on offer would have been on the table if we didn't show a modicum of self control.  Our waiter could sense our hesitation and came over to offer her help a number of times, but we knew it was a problem we would solve on our own, so kept asking for more time.....  

Eventually sorted, it wasn't long before our meal started to arrive, with our first course being the delectable barbecue prime Iberico pork with yellow mountain honey, char siu style.  I didn't have to taste the pork to know it was going to be amazing, just on appearances it looked incredibly tender, with a glaze that shone in the dim light.  My first mouthful transported me to my happy place, the pork was so tender and flavoursome.  The yellow honey added a subtle sweetness to the already sweet pork, which lingered on the palate for some time.  I have to tell ya, I could have (maybe should have) ordered this another couple of times.

The deliciousness didn't stop with the char siu though, with our dried Australian M5 wagyu beef lettuce cups with vegetables and mustard oil up next.  Three perfectly circular lettuce cups were filled with diced beef and vegetables sautéed in a mustard oil.  While the lettuce cups with beef had a lovely flavour, it was the attention to detail that really impressed me with the dish.  Not only were the lettuce cups perfectly circular, they were also crinkle cut with a precision that seemed almost machine like.  With three cups, I was able to convince SC that I needed to have the third to myself!

Most Chinese restaurants have a dim sum menu available for lunch only, so we were pleased to see that Mott32 also had an evening dim sum selection.  With my love of xiaolongbao, it was only natural that we ordered the Kurobuta pork, crab and caviar Shanghainese soup dumplings.  While the dumplings lacked the refinement of Din Tai Fung, they were still beautifully presented with a small pile of caviar sitting atop their crown.  The broth was deep and rich, pairing wonderfully with the sweet pork and crab.

Next was the shredded Peking duck salad, with crispy chicken and almond.  Now, there is a famous Simpsons episode where Lisa becomes a vegetarian and there is the classic line 'you don't make friends with salad'.  I guess that's true at times, but the simply presented salad was comprised of an unusual mix of crispy chicken and shredded duck.  The gamey flavour of the duck was the prominent flavour, however there was a sweetness from the dressing that helped bring out the flavour of the salad - kind of sweet also.  It was a decent break away from our very meat based meal, and helped prepare us for what came next.

The traditional twelve hour slow cooked sticky pork belly was a vision of porky goodness, in fact, I can't really recall seeing a better looking piece of pork!  There was a very yummy sticky sauce that was gooping over the top of the pork and slowly dripping down its side.  The exquisitely cooked pork was soft, oh-so-incredibly-soft, so much so that it fell apart under my knife.  It was rich too, the jelly like fat was rendered to perfection and had an incredible texture as well as flavour.  We even managed to eat most of it too, which was no small feat as it was quite large!

We opted out of dessert, the twelve hour pork belly was so rich and jelly like, it was almost like a dessert.  It had also filled us to breaking point, so sanity prevailed and we finished our meal.

A couple of things struck me about Mott32, firstly there was a sense of purpose and history in our meal. The restaurant is named after 32 Mott Street in New York, a location that was the first Chinese convenience store in NYC which opened in 1851, and later became the focal point for modern Chinatown.  The other was the absolute quality produce that was used by the team of chefs and clearly came though in the cooking and flavours

Service can be a bit hit and miss in Hong Kong, but thankfully the service in Mott32 was spot on, helpful and friendly but unobtrusive as well.  Given we had snuck a table and needed to vacate by 8:30pm, we never felt that there was any pressure placed on us to rush the meal.

Great food, in a cool spot right in the heart of Central, it was surprising that it took us over three months in HK to finally visit it.  Given that the place does an incredible job with pork, especially their char siu, there is no doubt at all that we will be back....  And we won't wait another three months for the next one!

The pork char siu was incredible
The level of detail in the beef cups was impressive 
You could make friends with this salad
Yeah, that pork belly was as good as it looked
Award winning design, makes Mott32 a funky place to hang out
A cool piece of wall art 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks very much for your comment, I really love and appreciate feedback and your thoughts


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...