Newly Awarded One Michelin Star – Wang Yong and Friends’ Spring

Hangzhou Michelin announced today that Wang Yong, the chef at Hangzhou Four Seasons Jinsha Restaurant has been awarded one Michelin star. Hangzhou Michelin has a total of 6-star restaurants, with all have been awarded one star. Looking back to my visit to Hangzhou in early April, I had the opportunity to visit Jin Sha, where one can savour the expertise of Chef Wang Yong in Shanghainese and Zhejiang cuisine. In addition to seasonal menus that change every year, there is also a bespoke Chef’s Private Menu that’s designed to reflect culinary insights and inspirations Chef Wang has gained from travelling in search of exotic cuisines and global flavours.

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Chef Wang says the Private Menu is a conclusion for the inspirations accumulated during the past year of travel and reading, and a way to share fun, delicious dishes with good friends. Even though the inherently experimental menu may not be very rational, it is widely celebrated for its boundless innovation among regular customers and Chef’s friends. Each year, the much-anticipated Private Menu is always full of surprises and exciting highlights.

Early April is when Hangzhou enters its most beautiful season. This time, the menu features fresh seasonal ingredients crafted into a total of 11 dishes alongside 7 pairing wines, set in a lively ambience with stunningly vibrant decorations. Keller’s versatile Rieslings are selected. With their fresh and vibrant aromas, crisp acidity, and pronounced fruit flavours, the Rieslings are perfect for a variety of dishes no matter they are fried, richly sauced, or spice-laden.

The first cold starter echoes the theme of this year’s Private Menu – spring. Chef Wang combinesspring blossoms and broad bean puree, along with Yunnan citron, to symbolise that every fruit begins with a flower, but not every flower results in a fruit. The pleasantly astringent taste is balanced with a slight bitterness of citron jelly and chrysanthemum greens. The dish expresses Chef Wang’s most intuitive feeling about spring.

Chef Wang Yong has a special fondness for Guangzhou, a city that’s famous for serving some of the best chicken dishes in South China. To honour one of his favourite dishes – salt-baked chicken, Chef Wang presents salt-baked geoduck that captivates a variety of complex flavours of the spices while retaining the chewy texture and seafood aroma of the geoduck.

Spring Blossoms, Broad Bean, Cédrat Jelly/Salt-Baked Geoduck Clam

Dublin Bay prawn is paired with sweet and rich pine nut and a refreshing peppermint sauce to form a unique flavour scheme. Next up is chicken soup seasoned with white pepper, accompanied by herbal and slightly citric basil, typha latifolia (broadleaf cattail) and tender Australian abalone slices.

Dublin Bay Prawn, Pine Nut & Peppermint/Chicken Consommé, Sliced Australian Abalone Typha Latifolia Basil

The pairing logic for the next three dishes is determined by Heloise Huang, Market Director of L’Imperatrice Fine Wines (a HK-based wine importer), to match for similar intensity and textures. Kirschspiel, placed at the forefront, is more delicate. Hubacker has a broader and richer profile with prominent tropical fruit flavours, making it a suitable pairing for the garlic dish. Morstein at the end is grand and complete.

The soft-tender Qianjiang eel is grilled in honey glaze and coupled with fried sea urchin and a shrimp tomalley & pickled bamboo shoot sauce blended with ginger juice. An extremely rich and layered combination which made me want to ask for a bowl of rice.Would a white pepper soup perhaps be a good choice to cleanse the palate?

The next dish comes impressively rich as well. Creamy pufferfish roe is blanched in oil, baked in a pot of milky Cheddar cheese and topped with a luscious layer of golden fried garlic.

Jack Mackerel,Plum Sauce Jelly/Grilled Globefish Roe, Fried Garlic, Cheddar Cheese

In 2022, Chef Wang visited many places in China. After visiting Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, he developed a special liking for the gingery-spicy flavour, as he found that dishes from South China are typically less hot but rely heavily on the use of ginger as a seasoning.Spring saury fish is considered one of the best ingredients in season. The fish is deboned, stuffed into fish maw and cooked in a gelatinous broth made from ginger-spiced duck feet. The process is time-consuming and requires meticulous technique, but Chef Wang says this is what he finds to be the most interesting part: Hunan cooking techniques are employed with a lavish use of ginger and chili, retaining the tender texture of the fish maw and the original umami of the saury fish.

Braised Spring Saury, Fish Maw, Ginger

Braised cherry wagyu beef is served with spring bamboo and crunchy Chinese broccoli for extra texture. This is the Wagyu version of the soy sauce braised pork. Quite an amount of wine has been consumed at this point.

Based on garden peas and pork sauce, the dish also features tender mini shrimps and steamed rice. The shrimps are sourced from Qingdao, a coastal city in Shandong province. The locals there refer to these shrimps as “nano shrimps” because of their tiny size. Interestingly, Chef Wang felt that the “nano shrimps” didn’t quite highlight the cuteness of these delicate creatures and decided to call them “mini shrimps”.

Cherry Wagyu Beef, Spring Bamboo, Chinese Broccoli/Braised Rice, Shrimp & Pork Sauce

The steamed rice is mixed with pork sauce, mini shrimps and a dash of shrimp paste to make the dish full of flavour and texture. The shrimp doesn’t have a lot of fats so the addition of pork sauce provides extra richness and makes the overall mouthfeel more layered and satisfying. The sweet and smooth garden peas complement the dish beautifully, which I couldn’t resist asking for more of.

The first dessert is a refreshing and delightful Bird’s Nest with Loquat Dew. Chef Wang has a special affection for the cherry blossom season and enjoys delicacies such as Sakura-flavoured mochi and salted Sakura. Inspired by this, he made a Sakura sorbet, which carries a hint of tartness of salted plums, serving as a palate cleanser after the preceding powerful courses.

Loquat Dew, Bird’s Nest/Sea Salt Sakura Sherbet

The most impressive part came after the dessert: the hidden menu! The group of satiated diners was invited into the kitchen, where we were greeted by a joyful array of baked wheat pancake, fried dough sticks and savoury tofu pudding, as if we were inside a Chinese breakfast eatery. A complete reflection of Chef’s playful personality! To prepare for the surprise, Chef Wang specially ordered a baking oven to make the pancakes, and I have to say it’s the most delicious pancake I have ever tasted, perhaps because we had so much fun that day.
As Chef Wang says, it is a blessing to spend a lovely April day with your beloved people.

– Review on Jin Sha –

 

Author: Jocelyn 华姐

Photo: Jin Sha/Katherine

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Jocelyn Chen
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