Monday, October 15, 2012

Off the City Track - Rustic Farm Luncheon with Marco

I’ve actually moved cities. About two months ago I packed a suitcase and moved up to Hong Kong and so here I am in a new city, living in a pretty small apartment with a tiny tiny  kitchen and a renewed appetite for eating out and with that I shall attempt to be back on the blog.

In the spirit of adventure and exploration of the foreign land that I am now in, I and two others signed up for a dining event called “Rustic Farm Luncheon with Marco”. Lunch promised to be something different:  rustic Italian cuisine, slow food style – where they serve a course every hour, set in the beauty of the Hong Kong countryside. A great escape and change of scenery from the concrete city centre that we live, eat and work in. And if you wish, you can also come early and help prepare the luncheon. We opted for the lazy route, which was to show up for just in time for lunch but we arrived a tad too early and I was recruited into the orecchiette production line. Well, my orechiette skills were “non so niente”. I’ve seen those Italian mamas make it on TV and it looks like a breeze and they gave me a quick demonstration but I’ll be honest and confess that the first twenty to fifty orechiettes rolled and pressed out were just utter ugly pieces orechiette wannabes, after which I got slightly better in understanding how much pressure I needed to apply to the dough but it was really not my best work.

The journey to lunch was also a good part of the adventure. It is hard to imagine that all we did was to ride the MTR for 45 minutes to an hour and we were out of our concrete jungle environment and in a farm land area with the romantic backdrop of the mountains. The only thing that spoilt it was the vicious mosquitoes that still took a few good bites at me even though I had periodically doused myself in repellent.
What should we expect from such a lunch? It is out in a co-operative farm area and the surroundings scream rustic. Well, it is. Everything is served family-style. To a very hungry crowd, lunch itself kicked off with a bang. Marco, Betty and their kitchen help laid out plates of antipasti – Roasted beetroot with goat cheese and avocado, octopus with broccoli and potatoes, seared tuna with herb salad, Parma ham with Italian rock melon, panzanella Tuscan bread, burratina cheese with tomatoes, served with bread, sun dried tomatoes and olives. All which were well received by the hungry crowd. 

The next few courses ...

homemade orecchiette with mussels and calamari and tomato sauce

Baked Italian sea bass Mediterranean style

Braised beef cheek with cauliflower puree and fresh garden salad

Italian fruit – no pictures but the figs were absolutely amazing

The cooking was simple and the food was and the ingredients spoke for themselves. The rock melon’s natural sweetness was more pronounced with the Parma Ham and the branzino was perfectly cooked and just coaxed with some lemon that allowed us to enjoy the natural subtle taste of the fish. The very unfortunately thing about this lunch was the heat. The heat zapped the energy and most of the appetite out of us. And although well intentioned in the nature of slow food, conversation and building community, the combination of the wait and the heat between courses made it the heat more uncomfortable than anticipated. It is a good afternoon out but wait a while till the weather gets cooler.

If you want more information on them ...


Anonymous umami said...

Very nice! Hope to see you if we go to Hong Kong.

3:34 PM  

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