In 1851 New York's first Chinese convenience store opened at 32 Mott Street in Lower Manhattan. A tip of the cap to the nucleus, the epicentre, of what would become New York's Chinatown, Mott 32 makes a vast, subterranean former bank basement lush and inviting. Renowned interior designer Joyce Wang went all out creating unique dining areas and nooks utilizing the nuanced layout of the award-winning space. The frosted glass ceilings inside matching octagonal dining areas in the main room fool the eye and the mind into believing sunlight and views would be pouring through, even several floors underground, were there no need for privacy glazing; truly a feast for the eyes!
Even being a lunch engagement Jenn and I were in full vacation mode so we dabbled in a few of Mott's signature cocktails. Jenn opted for the The Milk Tram, a vodka, milk, matcha concoction that she really enjoyed and I tried the Hong Kong Iced Tea and the Blanco Avion Tequila gives it a really nice back, I'd recommend it! If you're in HK you're doing, or at least should be doing, dim sum. Translated it means 'touch the heart' in the way that food brings people together and parents nurture their offspring and give life with its sustenance. If you haven't tried it think high end Chinese tapas, each course is brought out piping hot in its own little, round picnic basket. Siu Mai is the 'gateway dim sum'; the non-offensive, Caucasian-palate-friendly offering which has been known to lead one to a life of harder dim sums. Without hesitation the Soft Quail Egg, Iberico Pirk and Black Truffle Siu Mai is the best I've ever tasted! The light, runny egg explodes in your mouth as you pop it in and the flavours mesh really well. Next they brought out a very nice dumpling comprised of South Australian Scallop, Spinach and Caviar. The freshness of the scallop and the ever so slight caviar tinge gives it a very complex flavour and it will certainly please most tastes. The Hot & Sour Iberico Pork Shanghainese Soup Dumpling rounded out the first delivery and its unique flavour survived through the cocktails and lingered, thankfully, until the next course arrived.
Assorted wild mushroom in lettuce cap with black truffle sauce descended upon our table, ominous I know, accompanied by Barbecue Pluma Iberico Pork with Yellow Mountain Honey. So many different flavours going on in each wrap and to describe it would not do it justice. Jenn ate most of them and that's usually a good indication that it's excellent. Lean cuts of pork came alongside bathed in a sweet honey sauce; delicious! By the time the Signature Smoked Black Cod came out and its signature campfire presentation was wafting through the room I was near bursting, but for the team, for you guys, our readers, I soldiered on. You're welcome. The pine, hickory scent that was now permeating the room is infused, magically I'd wager, in the fish. Do you love the smell of summer and barbecue and campfire? Then this is a lakeside, catch and cook, fish plate that you cannot pass up on trying. I let Jenn handle the critique of her Wok Fried Cauliflower with Air Dried Szechuan Sausage because I was unable to go on and she gasped at the spice level of the sausage so naturally I tried it as well. Very, very tangy and a bit of a slow uptake on the heat, but it's coming baby! Jenn adores cauliflower so she went through it and really liked the freshness and snap of the different colours of one of her favourite plants.
Dessert can either be your best friend or your worst nightmare. Picture a late night glass of champagne at an upscale lounge with your sweetheart. You're laughing, bubbles are flowing and you order a plate of strawberries and vanilla ice cream layered in whipped cream. How can you go wrong there? Impossible! BUT you put that same bubbly couple at the end of an eight course meal and bait them with Fresh Mango, Coconut, Glutinous Rice Rolls? It may end with a trip to the ER. Not unlike a previous HK dining experience I've had, but that's for another place. I mean the word glutinous and gluttonous are so similar, who's in charge of marketing 'round hurrr? I ended up eating most of it, but that's beside the point. When is manslaughter by food Mott? When? Top shelf, imaginative food, great service and award winning ambience. Safe to say that if you miss Mott 32 right by the Central MRT station you've missed Hong Kong.