Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Elegant Inn Third Anniversary Promotion - Sturgeon Fish Feast
The Chinese can sniff out a good thing especially exotic fish. First we had the Soon Hock flooding restaurants, then came Empurau which was touted as the most expensive fish in town, now we have the latest craze in town...the sturgeon fish.
It was by fluke I ended up sampling this pre-historic fish as I was asked to go for an impromptu dinner one night. "Sturgeon?" Isn't that the fish that produces caviar?"... I was asking when I got the invite. I admit my curiosity was piqued.
Turns out the ancient fish (it is claimed to have lived during the dinosaur's time) may be endangered in China but a nifty group of fellas had decided to rear them here. They had seen similar fish farms in Taiwan and they had brought in the fish and its technology as it needs very clean water to survive. The fish is also high in calcium, packed with antioxidants and fatty acids and collagen rich since it has a cartilaginous skeleton. The fish was highly sought after in the olden days in China and reserved for the Emperor that earned its nickname wong yue, literally translated in Chinese as Emperor's Fish. It is also known as chum loong yue in Chinese.
Luckily we don't need to be an Emperor to dine on this fish as it is now on offer at Elegant Inn for its third anniversary promotion. The eight course meal starts off with the sturgeon fillet cut sashimi style and one of the best ways I reckon to enjoy this fish. Orange hued slices of the fish is artistically draped over an ice bowl to keep it cool and make you go wow! The sashimi has a sweet taste with a slight bite to it, which I reckon is best eaten without dunking it in soy sauce.
Nothing is wasted for this 3.8kg fish and the cartilaginous bones are deep fried till crisp with a light batter coating. Diced garlic and pepper round up the flavours for this dish. Unlike the usual fish bones deep fried, these one are a little special since you can taste the fatty bits in your mouth that melt away. Even the head is chopped away and double boiled with herbs for soup. We didn't manage to try the soup that night but I can imagine it'll be wonderful (a smooth mouthfeel to each spoonful) since I've tasted shark bone soup and the fish structure reminds me a little of the shark with its firm flesh and rich collagen.
The next course is all about contrasts - the deep fried crunch of the sturgeon tail paired with the velvet smoothness from the firm sturgeon fillet. I'm always partial to the side bits of a fish (give me the fin and tail to crunch on and I'll be a happy camper) so I really enjoyed the deep fried taste of the sturgeon tail with the ginger shreds. It's interesting to eat the rich flesh deep fried as it leaves an oily mouthfeel but unlike the Empurau fish, I felt the balance between the flesh and the omega 3 oil within it to be much more balanced (the Empurau felt like it was just oil only). The omega oil also seems to give the fillet pieces a velvet-like sensation that contrasts with the crunchy asparagus and wood ear fungus. We had also compared the fish fillets with the fish belly slices, that was also stir fried (not available in the menu). The fish belly slices had a richer taste since it had a little bit of the skin.
Instead I preferred the fish belly cut into chunks and braised in a claypot with red dates, waterchesnuts, bamboo shoots, soy bean skin (fu pei), mushrooms and roast pork. Each bite is wonderful with the rich collagen - yields a little in the beginning and crumbles on the tongue to a smooth mouthfeel taste. For the feast, it's a choice between the braised and the traditional steamed version. While Elegant Inn does a lovely steamed fish, I must admit it felt a tad ordinary after sampling the fish in so many more exciting ways. If you're choosing which one to eat the fish belly, my recommendation is go for the braised version for a more unusual taste.
For the 8-course meal, there's two courses that are not sturgeon fish. Here you have the first one, a choice between braised six head South African abalone and sea cucumber or Japanese Kobe beef done in Elegant Inn's garlic style (I've blogged about this before in my beef post and it is gorgeous!). The next course is the last one before dessert - you get twin claypots, one where the sturgeon oil is used to fry rice and the other which contains brown rice porridge to add the sturgeon fish slices. We didn't get to sample the rice dish but the porridge version was wonderful with the sweet sturgeon fish slices. I especially liked the colour of the fish slices as you could distinctively see the golden hued fat glistening under the skin. Bird nest tartlettes and double boiled hasma with imperial dates round up your wonderful feast.
Definitely a chance of a lifetime to try this fish. If fish is not your thing, there are other things on promotion from 13 June to 10 July - RM3++ weekday lunch specials, RM33++ twin delights for weekly dinner and even RM333++ lobster meal for 3 persons. Also on offer is their Japanese Kobe Beef for RM333++ for 300grams. The feast is priced at RM3,333++ for a table of 10 persons. Pre-order 72 hours prior notice required. For the full list of items in the feast, see this link and this one. More pictures are found in my Flickr set.
Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
2.01, 2nd Floor
Menara Hap Seng
Jalan P Ramlee
Tel: 03-2070 9399
Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
16, Jalan Waras 1
Tel: 03-9130 2626 (Open Friday to Sunday only)
* This review was an invited one.