Last night, I was fortunate enough to have been invited to attend a preview dinner for The Pig and the Lady pop-up that will take over the Kakaako location of Hank’s Haute Dogs 4 nights a week beginning on June 28. This pop-up is a collaboration between former Chef Mavro sous chef, Andrew Le, and one of my favorite local food writers, Martha Cheng.
The cuisine served at this preview dinner takes its inspiration from Southeast Asia, gravitating specifically towards Vietnam. The bold, robust flavors combine delicate herbs with an array of spices, to form an intricate layering of taste sensations. Other elements come into play in the dishes served here as well.
nairagi sashimi, Asian pear, water lily herb, banana blossom, toasted rice puffs, lemongrass; maitake mushroom, jicama, pickled lotus root, jasmine rice croquette, curry
Nairagi (striped marlin) sashimi is topped with a banana blossom salad, crisp batons of Asian pear, and puffs of toasted rice and is accented by a swirl of lemongrass sauce. The mildly flavored fish, proved to be the perfect canvas for the faintly sweet and lightly floral notes present in the dish; while a subtle, yet lingering heat, provided some much needed balance.
Next, spheres of jasmine rice were coated in breadcrumbs, fried until golden brown, then set in a pool of curry. These Southeast Asian “arancini” were wonderfully fragrant and had great texture; crunchy on the outside and slightly creamy inside. The accompanying vegetables – fingerling potatoes, pickled lotus root, maitake mushrooms – made this a deconstructed bowl of curry rice.
roasted pork, betelnut leaves, watermelon, dragon fruit, ginger, nước mắm; phở, handcut noodles, brisket, tendon
A medallion of pork tenderloin arrived next, wrapped in betel leaf and served with a dollop of watermelon and dragon fruit “salad” and a pungent sauce seasoned with nước mắm and ginger. The tenderloin was slightly overcooked, but I enjoyed the bitter, peppery flavor imparted by the betel leaf. The salad of watermelon and dragon fruit, was light and refreshing, cutting through much of the dish’s richness.
The final savory course was simply a bowl of phở. A handful of hand-cut noodles were swimming in a bowl of broth topped with chunks of brisket and tendon and garnished with sliced onion, cilantro, green onion and a wedge of lime. This was the most straightforward dish of the evening and the light, yet beefy broth was the star, resulting in a most excellent bowl of phở.
toast, coconut pandan curd, thai basil; the handwritten menu
After a short time, we received a tall glass of cà phê sữa đá and dessert. The toast was slathered with a thick coconut pandan custard and layered with lychee halves and Thai basil leaves. A scoop of vanilla ice cream dusted in coconut powder and a lilikoi and basil seed sauce complete the dish. This was a sweet and satisfying way to end the meal.
Based on the dishes served, I would like to come back in a few weeks to see how the menu has evolved. A few of the dishes could be refined and presented with more focus, but all in all, the concept and flavors speak for themselves. Good luck to Andrew, Martha and the rest of The Pig and the Lady crew in the weeks ahead.
The Pig and The Lady @ Hank’s Haute Dogs
324 Coral St