*Opened April 2011
*118 storeys tall
*Has world’s 3rd highest observation deck, 393-metres above sea level (on 100th floor)
*Houses tallest hotel in the world: Ritz Carlton which occupies floors 102-118
Menu (A) gets a "Double Boiled Sea Conch Soup with Fish Maw" - which elicited some sounds of lip smacking from the other side of the table as well. Sea Conch is a pretty popular ingredient (along with whelk) in Hong Kong cuisine - it's a sort of sea snail. Fish maw is the air bladder found in most fish, that helps them stay buoyant - it's full of collagen and considered a luxury item in Chinese cuisine - mostly used to make soup. It has a pleasing, soft spongey texture - and doesn't have much taste on its own, but takes on the flavors of the soup that it soaks up.
Again the English names don't do the dish justice - the lobsters really lay on a silky bed of the lightest custard made with fragrant huadiao wine (a glutinous rice and wheat wine used a lot in high end Chinese cooking - when used, it's always called out on the menu for it lends prestige and says 'quality')
I've never liked chicken feet as there's nothing to eat - it's skin over willowy bones - and there's really no appeal for me (though I love chicken skin, this type is usually too rubbery with not enough fat underneath). Goose palm, prepared with Yunnan ham sauce, I loved - maybe as the skin is more tender, and there's a bit more fat underneath. Sea cucumber, I hear, is another one of those things that "everyone knows" is good for your eyes - no idea why, just ancient Chinese wisdom passed through the generations. The texture of cooked sea cucumber is an interesting mix of soft, crunchy and gelatinous at the same time - and Dragon Seal does a good job here of making it tender without being mushy (some places make it too tough and rubbery).
Surf: I've never seen white abalone before - it looked more like some odd-shaped cut of lobster tail at first, and sort of has a softer texture than regular abalone as well, that is reminiscent of lobster. It's also more subtle in flavor and less chewy.
Turf: Seared foie gras. A perfectly sized and seared lobe, earthy and buttery - and a brilliant pairing with the Australian abalone.
a previous post, bamboo pith is an interesting type of mushroom that has a net hanging from the cap - this net when cooked to me resembles the spongey texture of fish maw (fish air bladder), a very expensive Chinese delicacy. Obviously bamboo pith is not of the same quality as fish maw, but is a more affordable alternative that I think is very unique and tasty. It's balanced here with a crunchy spear of asparagus and again some truffle for flavor. Love.
Menu B: "Baked Rice with Goose Liver & Mixed Seafood" this was a Hong Kong cafe-style preparation of rice with cheese, goose liver and various seafood mixed in. A nice and satisfying end to the savory portion of the meal.
It was also the first time I'd ever seen a Pocky stick used in fine dining.
All in all, a fun haute meal towering above the city (and we got the best view of Hong Kong harbour during its nightly light symphony - where skyscrapers light up/down synched to music, which we couldn't hear at Dragon Seal but the light show was beautiful!). The desserts were a bit of a miss, but the rest of the meal for the most part was very enjoyable.
It was Christmas night, so every place was going to have inflated prices - but Dragon Seal is known to be on the pricier side as well. The food was enjoyable for a special occasion splurge, but on a regular day/night it may be the view that would be anticipated to be the more compelling draw. Will let you know if we go back on another trip!
[For more photos of fun / good eats from my HK trip, check out the album on my Facebook page!]
On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 5.5 bites
Presentation - 6 bites
Originality - 5.5 bites
Ambience - 5.5 stars
Service - 5.5 stars
Overall experience - 5.5 bites
Price - $$$$ (4 bite marks)
Probability of return visit - 70%
Dragon Seal 龍璽
Ph: +852 2568-9886