One Star House Party: A 5-Star Dinner that Dazzled
The word is out: the storied troupe of travelling chefs is popping up right here in Hong Kong from June 30, 2017 to August 4, 2017. One Star House Party is the unique brainchild of James Sharman, former protege of British chef Tom Aikens and chef at the lauded Noma in Copenhagen, and is made up of a group of passionate chefs on an ambitious 20-month journey around the world. Starting with a few test runs in Hong Kong and San Francisco, the group has so far opened restaurants through China, India, Nepal, Vietnam, South Africa, Oman, Kenya and Thailand.
Now back in Hong Kong, the chefs have prepared a fab 8-course dinner menu with each course inspired by their favourite dish at every country they've popped up at so far. Suffice to say, we were astounded by the sheer creativity and variety of flavours bursting from each dish, and I wouldn't hesitate to go again (and here's hoping I catch them on my travels in a totally different city somewhere down the line!). OSHP is popping up at the Test Kitchen located on Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, a few doors down from The Winery, and reservations can be made HERE at a set price of HK$1,000 per person. BYOB.
Read on below for details on each of the dishes we had! Note that the tables at the Test Kitchen are communal, and so you'll probably be making a friend or two as there's ample time between each of the courses. ;) Instead of servers, the chefs will be serving and explaining the dishes themselves, adding to the intimate nature of the unique dinner experience.
SOUTH AFRICA: This is a dish inspired by their most recent pop-up in Cape Town, South Africa - their take on "Biltong", a type of cured meat originating from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. The meat was incredibly tender and juicy, and was quite raw in the center which is why they've presented it as a cross between Biltong X Steak Tartare. It's enjoyed with a kicky peppercorn rub and paired nicely with raw hazelnut and burnt beetroot sauce.
CHINA: While in Beijing, the OSHP chefs of course had traditional local congee for breakfast. This is their utterly delicious reinvented version with a twist! When people ask me about my favourite dish from the night, I'd have to say it's this one. Instead of rice, the dish features barley that has been softly cooked in brown chicken stock. The ginger pickled in Chinese vinegar added a lovely contrast to the comforting flavour of the stock, and the thinly sliced raw scallops are gently poached as it's served.
OMAN: The chef began by explaining how many restaurants in Oman have stayed open for hundreds of years, as ownership is passed down the generations. For this reason, family recipes have been preserved and executed for ages, and this unleavened bread is one of them. This is the addictive yeast-less bread, served hot, fragrant and rustic still in its baking tin. With ingredients of fermented aubergine and apple mixed with garlic cooked in honey, the bread has so many flavour profiles going on and is simply delicious. Especially paired with the hummus on the side, made with 50% chickpeas, 50% garlic.
KENYA: The air started to fill with this intense, aromatic smoke, which we later found was from the chefs burning sugar canes to smoke the chicken with. It's a more environmentally-friendly smoking method than using traditional charcoals, and injects the chicken with sweeter smoke. The chicken is served with a tub of ugali, a traditional Kenyan dish that "you either love or hate", according to James. No way I could've hated that delicious maize-flour dish with smoky grilled corn pieces on top! It resembled the texture of mashed potato, but with a much more intense flavour. The chicken itself was smoky, tender and with a perfectly crisp skin.
INDIA: From their pop-up in Mumbai came this all-vegetarian dish: baked paneer on the left, and spiced tomato relish (cooked with coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and other tasty spices I didn't catch!) with spinach puree on the right. The rich paneer is scooped, and eaten with the relish and puree, making for a seriously scrumptious bite. Smelled so good too!
VIETNAM: This juicy pork belly on a skewer was inspired by their street food eats in Hanoi. The three sauces in the back are 1 - fermented soy beans and peanut sauce, 2 - lettuce and spinach puree, and 3 - sweet chili mayo. The story behind the first sauce is that the chefs had to barter their cooking labour for the recipe by a lady who owned a food cart (after much convincing!). The pork itself is marinated in oyster sauce, fish sauce, lemongrass and garlic over an entire day before being barbecued on the grill.
THAILAND: I remember Angel's eyes nearly popping out of her head when she took her first bite of this dish! This was the super fluffy lime leaf mousse with tamarind ketchup and fresh, caramelized pineapple on top, with a scattering of lime leaf powder. Definitely would make top 3 from the night, if I had to choose.
NEPAL: The unique finale dish from the Everest Base Camp pop-up OSHP did, a location they hiked to over 9 days from Kathmandu with all their equipment. Imagine this pop-up was along a snowy mountainside 5350 meters above sea level! This is a pumpkin dessert created with a variation of frozen pumpkin. Thinly sliced frozen sweet pumpkin, pumpkin foam and the most creamy and delicious pumpkin sorbet in the center.
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One Star House Party Pop-Up @ Test Kitchen
Address- Shop 3 Kwan Yick Building Phase 3, 158A Connaught Rd W, Sai Ying Pun
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Instagram - @onestarhouseparty