Seabass for the Soul

It was with the promise of the best seabass I’d ever eat that I went to the Peak Lookout for dinner with my friend Natasha.  As we took the Peak Tram up from Central, Tasha continued to build up the suspense for the Tandoori Seabass: “you’ll hear it sizzling from miles away!”.

The Peak Lookout was, by far, the priciest Bakker’s Bites excursion since I began blogging about food in Hong Kong – yet it also offered one of the best eating experiences that I can remember for a while.  Sitting down in the outside terrace near a calming fountain, we were surrounded by trees, flowers, soft lighting and a Romantic European atmosphere that made it hard to believe we were just above the hustle and bustle of the city.  On another occasion I would not have been tempted to splurge on a cup of champagne whilst ordering, but this time it seemed only appropriate :).  

Considering how magical the seabass main course ended up being, the starter was somewhat of a disappointment.  Too heavy on the avocado, the result was a bland mush saved occasionally by a delicious bouncy-textured shrimp.  I never put salt on my food, but this time it was necessary.  It was cool, though, that the dish was served with a big pickle, so rarely seen in HK.
Arriving at a comfortably spaced interval of about twenty minutes after our starter came the highlight of my week: the Tandoori Seabass.  Indeed we could hear it long before we could see it, and smell the delicious fumes rising off of the tender meat before we sunk our teeth in it.  The portions at the Peak Lookout are quite big for Hong Kong standards so Natasha and I, despite loving to eat, shared both the starter and the maincourse because it would have simply been too much for two girls to order one each.
Served with a side of naan bread (you can choose between plain, butter and garlic naan when ordering) and two accompanying dips: mint sauce and a yoghurt-based sauce called “raita”, the Seabass arrived on a charming wooden platter.  As Tasha and I separated the meat to share onto our own plates, my fork and knife simply glided through the texture.  Cooked in a tandoori oven, the seabass had dark toasted edges whilst staying tender and moist on the inside = in effect, the best of both worlds.
It was accompanied by soft-cooked onion, red and green peppers providing a mild crunch to balance the extreme buttery perfection of the fish meat.  If anyone reading this does end up trying this dish, we both recommend NOT to dip the fish into the naan’s sauces as it simply hides the delicate flavour of the main attraction.
The tandoori flavour was quite mild compared to the spicier chicken versions I’ve tried before, which probably was to accommodate the international clientele who can’t handle too much spice.  But the result was an elegant Westernised version of Indian cooking that really pleased me (me being one of those people who can’t take too much spice, haha).  The dish also hit a soft spot for me as it was infused with bountiful amounts of coriander, my all-time favourite herb.
Despite feeling quite full by the end of the seabass and naan (yummy!!!), we were so high on food and on life that we couldn’t resist sharing a dessert together.  After a brief glance at the menu, it became clear that the Chocolat Fondant was the way to go.  Having lived in France before, where this is an extremely popular and well-known dessert, I can confidently say that it was up to par.  The only thing missing was some fruit to balance out the richness of the chocolate and the sugary intensity of the honeycomb chunk decorating the plate.
I know this may sound incredible to some, but since my only experience with honeycomb up to this point was with the processed Cadburys version: a 7-11 treat called “Crunchie”, I honestly never realised that honey was the main ingredient.  The honeycomb served at the Peak Lookout was the real deal and as I chewed the honey melted and trickled down my throat.  I turned to Natasha in amazement and said, “so that’s why it’s called honeycomb: because it’s made with honey!”.
This experience was a reminder that sometimes the real deal and imitations can evolve into two entirely different things: whether this is a good or bad thing, I leave to you.

Is this what Darwin had in mind?

I write to you from Singapore, where I am staying a week for my 21st birthday… so you can expect a special Singapore edition of Bakker’s Bites coming up very soon.
Bakker x

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