My right hand holds my chin.
I do it to regain the stability that I seem to have lost.
I do it to think, to reflect on what happens to me.
I squeeze it.
I put all the energy I have. I squeeze so hard that my lower lip is slightly deformed, giving my face a detached and perplexed expression. In fact I think I’ve never had so many doubts as tonight. My mind is overbooked by questions: their weight is likely to bring down the walls that I built to separate life from work.
I’m afraid of being invaded.
And so I keep holding: I do not give up for a second. Rather, I relaunch, if possible: I send the index to check the cheek, with the excuse of a gentle beard massage. I trust that gesture: I see it capable of giving me the right idea. A semicircle movement to reconcile the words I’m trying to tell me and tell you.
They do not exist.
This is shown by my face, which suddenly takes on an unplanned expression. The corners of the mouth curve downwards, while the throat lets itself go to a single syllable: “Meh!”.
Unique and general commentary on what I ate and drank.
I did not say anything else for the whole evening.
I thought I’d better end my brief but intense relationship with Hong Kong: T’ang Court, instead, the restaurant of chef Kwong Wai Keung, turned out to be a disappointment in every sense. Three-star Michelin’s since 2016, it is located inside a wonderful five-star extra-luxury hotel: The Langham. The cleanliness and elegance of one of the most beautiful structures in the area, however, does not prevent the T’ang Court from graduating as the worst three-starred restaurant in Hong Kong: it has nothing extraordinary and above all nothing good. Imagine that I managed to make only fifteen photos. Yes, me, the one who sends really too many pictures to the editorial staff.
The beginning, however, had not been the worst: the T’ang Court room is beautiful and elegant. The tables are wonderful, as the curtains on the windows and walls. The recurring colors are red and gold, recalling the splendor of Imperial China.
I decide to discard the tasting menus and to order a la carte. An error? We will evaluate it in a few weeks …
First I ask for a green tea: it comes to the table accompanied by what, according to the chef, should be an appetizer. Nothing farther away: it really looks like the dish served in the Chinese restaurant that you can find at home. We talk about a fried shrimp (really bad …), accompanied by a salad and a leaf of a plant that even the waiter couldn’t explain, finished by two rectangles of peach jelly. Embarrassing.
To make up my mouth, I rely on the wine. I choose a bottle of Coldstream Hills: a very good Pinot Noir. This red, on the nose, shows notes of red fruits, such as cherry, raspberry or blueberry, while on the palate it is long and soft, with the right tannins to provide body and structure.
Meanwhile, the T’ang Court Combination arrives to my table: fish, abalone in soy sauce, crispy pork with soy sauce and caramelized cod with soy sauce. Apart from the taste, revisable, I am surprised by the portion: tiny. After the appetizer, I feel hungrier than before …
Let’s go to the pigeon: served with head and with strawberries to garnish, it is cooked in soybeans, which allows it to keep the skin soft. Much nicer to see than to eat. Total fail.
The other main course of the meal includes the crab: accompanied by a nest made of zucchini, filled with seasonal fruit and fresh hazelnuts, the crab is inside a soup, surrounded by very fine soy spaghetti. Nothing special: the broth has no verve and is tasteless.
We close with another portion of pigeon: stewed with ginger and litchis and cooked in its own broth, with the addition of soy. It shows a great taste and a fantastic sauce, but again it is the quantity that leaves me dissatisfied.
Nothingness that becomes food.
The dessert, a cream of almonds with solidified egg white, remains on average with the rest of the dinner: “Meh!” I cannot make any other comment.
At the end of my usual inspection of the bathrooms (nice and clean) I decide to let me go to the final considerations. The Cantonese cuisine at T’ang Court does not seem to be for tourists. I think it may be more suitable for Chinese diners. Moreover, Chinese diners with little passion for cooking …
Maybe I have a minimum of responsibility: choosing dishes directly from the menu, discarding the tasting, could have misled me. I will think about it in Shanghai when I visit the other T’ang Court. At that point I will be able to tell you if the feelings of tonight can be confirmed.
For now, the final mark is a beard and a half.