Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: G/F, 11 Hing Wan Street, Wan Chai 灣仔慶雲街11號地下

Telephone: 2915 2261

http://www.maureen.com.hk/

我最近在灣仔發現了一家叫摩廚麵館的特色小店。餐廳的招牌菜是撈麵,用的是自創的麵條,混合了北方擔擔麵及廣東雲吞蛋麵的元素,所以有前者的彈牙口感,又帶有後者的濃郁蛋味。此外,其他小菜也很有特色,例如乾燒日本吉品鮑,慢煮三文魚等等。有幾道菜味道偏淡,但整體而言食物水準不錯。我個人認為六道菜,只需每位$238-$268的Tasting Menu,最值得一試。

With many upscale restaurants’ obsession with molecular cuisine, nowadays one almost instinctively equates “molecular” with “stratospheric prices”, so I got curious when I heard about a noodle bar that serves molecular dishes without charging prices that would make me need to remortgage my house.

Opened by owner-chef Maureen Loh, a fiercely independent and creative woman, Maureen is a small establishment that is situated behind the Blue House in Wanchai. The eatery can accommodate around 20 diners, and at the centre of the dining room is a long bar table overlooking a tiny open kitchen. The menu includes Chinese-style noodles, slow simmered broth, slow-cooked meats as well as molecular dishes that Ms Loh has been experimenting with. Worth a special mention are Maureen’s signature lo meins, a crossover between thick, Sichuanese dan dan noodles and thin, Guangzhou-style egg noodles, which have a springy, al dente texture like the former, yet a beautiful, eggy taste like the latter; all noodles are served with a bowl of homemade broth.

You could come here just for a bowl of noodles, but the 6-course Tasting Menus at $238-$268 per person (min 2 persons) is definitely worth a try if you have time. In terms of hospitality, while I wouldn’t peg the service as seamless, the staff were generally helpful and Ms Loh was very happy to accommodate any special requests.

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(1) A plate of Tomatoes and Spanish Ham made its way to our table – the Spanish Ham was firm and flavour-packed, and the cherry tomatoes, marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and shallots, were brimming with exotic flavours.

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(2) The Perfect Egg, a signature dish of the restaurant, comprised of a fantastically runny and velvety egg, cooked at 63°C and served with mushroom fluid gel and Chinese ham. While the egg was exquisite, the mushroom fluid gel was unfortunately a tad bland.

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(3) The Charred Garden Vegetables were simple but brilliant – the choy sum, lightly torched, was delicate and fresh, and an enticing chargrill taste lingered on the palate.

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(4) The Abalone with Truffle Infusion was extravagantly delicious, with the natural taste of abalone going surprising well with truffle’s unique flavour.

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(5) The Grilled Japanese Abalone was well executed; the tender chicken infused with lemon olive oil, if not special, was at least pleasant.

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(6) The Grilled Hoisin Pork was soft and tender, and the hoisin and bean sauce marinade gave the meat an alluring sweetness.

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(7) The Beef Short Ribs, cooked for 48 hours with Char Siu sauce, were tender and succulent.

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(8) The Noodles Lo Mein, the crowning glory of the restaurant, were innovative and scrumptious. The al dente dan dan-slash-wonton noodles were a bundle of delight, and the other ingredients added a range of vibrant flavours. A blob of (molecular!) sesame oil mousse sat atop the mound, giving rich and enticing flavours to the dish.

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The Chinese Broth, simmered for six to eight hours, had a fine layering of natural tastes; however, a pinch of salt was much needed to draw out the ingredients’ flavours.

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(9) Even though the taste of plums in the Braised duck leg in Plum Sauce ($68) was hardly detectable, this dish was overall accomplished and the flavours were well-judged.

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(10) The Salmon Sous Vide Canto Style ($72) was tender and smooth, and the thin slices of ginger gave it extra flair.

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(11) The Char Grilled Lamb Chops with Red Wine Sauce ($84) was nicely punchy. I wished it was served to us sooner though, before the lamb started cooling off!

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(12) Our dessert was the Chocolate mousse with ground peanuts; while the chocolate mousse was tasty with an appealingly strong cocoa taste, the portion of ground peanuts was way too little to help break up the mousse’s creamy texture – around a spoonful would have been needed!

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Conclusion: The cuisine at Maureen was delicious in a playful, inspiring way, but a few dishes begged for more salt and more precision. It seemed that at times the playfulness of the food has trumped its taste; however, dining at Maureen was overall a fun-filled experience, replete with culinary creations that were designed to tease and excite the tastebuds. Our bill only came to around $300 per head – with all the abalones, slow-cooked meats and molecular concoctions that we got to try, it was not a bad deal at all!