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Hangzhou—Fragrance Pavilion Restaurant, CHN(杭州解香楼)
送交者: 天边的红霞 2020年07月29日06:56:44 于 [五 味 斋] 发送悄悄话

2019-07-22


 

【Aiden in English】

        Fine dining just took on a new meaning for me. 

        When people eat gold, it's the equivalent of running expensive wine through a wire mesh and throwing out the wine that passes through as if expecting to retain some nutrients. Luckily, I did not eat gold tonight. No, what a waste that would be. But I bring up gold because it certainly feels like we dined as wasteful aristocrats today.

        When the bathroom entrance includes an automated sliding curved glass door, I knew I was in for a show. I also knew whoever designed the bathroom was kind of an idiot for making the bathroom door out of transparent glass.

        The restaurant, Jiexiang Lou (Fragrance Pavilion), is known for its great food and atmosphere and ridiculous prices. Through reservation, we happened to receive a private dining room on the second floor, fitted with private servers. Greeted with hot towels and gracious waiters, I felt like a fish out of water, suffocating in the air of the upper class.

        Obviously, we weren't the only individuals to enjoy tonight's dining experience. Mother finally decided to meet an editor of my books in person from Shanghai. Before entering the room, I felt a slight nervous tingling; that tingling dissipated after a handshake and smile. While meeting his son, Maomao, I sat at the table in preparation for an experience I will not relive until who knows. Being the type of person she is, mother took the menu by force and ordered for all  deservingly, as the check was all hers as well.

        And on came the dishes. In a top-notched restaurant, appearance absolutely becomes a new flavor in the pallet. Sweet yams and rice cake? Sure, topped with a golden strand of sugar that looked like a bow tie. While the decoration tasted like cotton candy, the eye candy was surely worth the however overpriced amount of money listed.

        It didn't take long to discover that the price of food did not necessarily correlate with its tastiness. Much like classical music, if one pushes the difficulty too high, it becomes contemporary music -- spectacular, but only for professionals. This fine dining experience flirted with that crazed food experimental dishes, but never relinquished that household taste. The best way to describe it is like having a gourmet chef make your mac and cheese. He'll have macaroni and cheese, but not only will both the macaroni and cheese be the most expensive items at the supermarket, but there would also be three black truffles shaved on top. Is it still mac and cheese? Technically.

        Not that there wasn't a notable dish, but all the dishes were exceptional (except this one dish that was like a veggie wrap). I enjoyed a boatload of seafood in many ways previously unexplored: Sea Urchins in Tofu, Abalone on Eggplant, Traditionally Braised Yellow Croaker with Scallions, Signature Jellyfish Heads, King Prawns Fried with Crispy Garlic Hong Kong Style, Baked Sea Cucumber en Casserole, etc. Never losing a home-cooking feel, I thoroughly enjoyed even the vegetable dishes. Perhaps that was the highlight of the meal: seafood-flavored Chinese mustards, the purely green dish. Mixed in a mysterious yellow sauce and covered in garlic, a spinach-like vegetable shined through with a creamy, tender taste. In normal dining occasions, any leaf on the table equaled a chewing nightmare. In this case, the extra money spent paid for an unbelievably smooth trip down the throat. That is a great accomplishment: creating enjoyment out of the unenjoyable.

       I cannot say I expected more from such a pricy restaurant, but what I received definitely was unexpected. Enjoyable and unforgettable memories created over food might highlight this vacation, but in China, that is predictable. And while other delicacies laid beside my plate, the marvel of the night may have gone to the devil's invention: leafy greens.

【红霞译文】

        我才对雅宴有所认识。

       人若以黄金为食,等于把昂贵的葡萄酒倒进铁丝网里,酒流光了,有用的东西也荡然无存。幸好今晚我没馔玉炊金,否则奢侈乃恶之大也。我为何搬出黄金说事,肯定与今天咱过了把贵族生活脱不掉干系。

        当我走进装备了自动滑移弧形玻璃入口的盥洗室,恍若出场作秀,不管谁用透明玻璃材料设计厕所大门,在我看来简直是个疯子。

        这个名叫解香楼的餐厅素以美食精致、环境优雅和价格离谱而著称,为此我们提前预定,如期约到二楼私密性良好的单间客房,并配备专人全套服务。笑容可掬的帅哥美女先用暖洋洋的贴心毛巾迎候我们,让我反倒感觉像一条离水之鱼,浑身憋得毫不自在。

        显然,我们并不是单独享用今晚盛宴的,妈妈终于决定从上海邀请一位我的出版编审过来见面。没到之前,我真有点局促不安,直至两人握手相视而笑时,紧张的神情才消失得无影无踪。跟他儿子毛毛寒暄过后,我坐到桌边暗自揣摩想象不到的事情。妈妈拿出惯有作风,顺手抄起食谱,三下五除二替大伙儿张罗起杭帮菜──反正过了这村没这店,她请客,她买单。

        上菜了。但凡天下一流餐厅,其外观卖相绝对独领风味品牌新潮流,地瓜年糕能上台面吗?没问题,顶部点缀一条金色糖浆打造的领带,虽然装饰品尝起来像棉花糖,但养眼尤物确实令人忘乎所以,视钱财如粪土,看富贵为浮云。

        要不了多久你便发现价格贵贱并不一定与味好坏道成正比,就像古典音乐,如果技巧过高,它会变成现代音乐──叹为观止,但仅供专业人士欣赏。这席精致餐饮卖弄的无异于超乎寻常的食材搭配,轻奢浪漫且不失家的味道,恰当点说好比厨师给你做奶酪通心面,他除了选用超市里价格最贵的两种材料外,再把三个切好的黑松露放在上面,这么一来还算奶酪通心面吗?本质上换汤不换药。

        不能说它不是名菜,何况全部佳肴都很特殊(除了那道像蔬菜卷例外),我非常喜欢别有创意的风味海鲜:豆腐海胆、茄子鲍鱼、古法葱油黄鱼、招牌海蜇头、美极大蝦菇避風塘、生焗海参煲、等等,家味香浓意犹未尽,我甚至更爱吃蔬菜系列,也许这才是浙江厨艺精华所在:海味妙煮鸡毛菜,正宗纯色绿菜,大蒜拌上神奇的黄酱,菠菜状青翠嫩苗绽放出油滋滋脆乎乎细腻芳香。通常情况下,餐桌上任何带叶子的菜肴都让我难以下咽,而在眼前这个被评为杭州浙菜三甲之榜眼的解香楼餐厅却是“滑嫩爽口”、“糯而不腻”、“清淡纯鲜”,因此多破费一点钱财在所不惜,能从不尽人意的食(事)物中挖掘快乐是非常了不起的。

        虽说对高档餐厅我不敢有太多奢求,但今晚收获匪浅。杭州之行中,赏心悦目的地方风味令我终生难忘,其实这也是回国旅行必不可少的经历。其它美馔佳肴固然可歌可泣,但值得大加赞赏的应该首推魔鬼发明:绿叶蔬菜。

Today in History(历史上的今天):

2019: Hangzhou—Lingering Snow on Broken Bridge(杭州—断桥残雪)

2019: Hangzhou—Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake, CHN(杭州—平湖秋月)

2019: Hangzhou—Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, CHN(杭州—三潭印月)

2019: Hangzhou—Viewing Fish @ Flower Pond, CHN(杭州—花港观鱼)

2019: Hangzhou—Temple of Soul's Retreat, China(杭州灵隐寺)

2019: Hangzhou—Flying Peak, China(杭州飞来峰)

2018: Port of Barcelona, Spain(西班牙巴塞罗那港)

2018: Barcelona—Public Arts, Spain(西班牙巴塞罗那—公共艺术)

2018: Barcelona—Emblematic Thoroughfares(西班牙巴塞罗那—地标建筑)

2018: Barcelona the City of Gaudi, Spain(西班牙巴塞罗那—高迪之城)

2018: Barcelona—Gaudi's 7 Masterpieces, Spain(西班牙巴塞罗那—高迪七大杰作)

2018: Barcelona the City of Counts, Spain(西班牙巴塞罗那—伯爵之城)

2015: PSC B-Ball Camp─Just A Game(费城运动俱乐部篮球营─比赛就是比赛)

2014: Two Summer Camps(两种夏令营)

2013: 水上派对(Pool Party @ Maplewood)

2012: Camp Report(夏令营简讯)




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