Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Touring Middle East 1: Madaba and Our First Lunch

In just slightly less than 12 hours, our uneventful Royal Jordanian flight (a new Boeing 787-Dreamliner by the way) landed at Amman Airport at day-break. We try to do at least one long trip every year and this year our destination is Jordan and Israel. It’s only our first time setting foot in the Middle East.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sukiyaki at the Counter

It’s my fault that I had to rush across the harbor to make my 6:30pm reservation at Sukiyaki Mori, but I was glad I made it right on time (okay, I was more like 15 minutes late) at the doorstep of this new restaurant at the junction of Elgin and Hollywood. I couldn’t recall any other restaurant specializes in sukiyaki in town, and being meat lovers as ourselves, we were eager to check it out.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Beer Crossover

I think it's a brilliant idea for Beef & Liberty to join hands with Brooklyn Brewery for this interesting project to deliver an unique drink-pairing dining experience which normally reserved for wine people. One corner of the restaurant was converted into a private dining area (think Krug Room but for beers) completed with wooden insignia on the wall and the collection of Brooklyn Brewery beers on display, and a special menu designed by Chef Uwe was served matching with several beers, some not commonly found in Hong Kong market.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Proper Kaiseki

I came to know this Japanese place through a rather unusual source - sponsored ad on Facebook how about that? (just to show it does occasionally work you marketing people!) I was intrigued by the fact that the restaurant, called Tenkuni, is specialized in Tempura and Unagi, or freshwater eel, as they advertised. You know, there's only a handful place in town that serves even half-decent Unagi dishes that can be somewhat close to any random ones in Japan, so that got me curious enough to give it a shot on one weeknight.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Loading up on Canto

I was back at Cuisine Cuisine at The Mira in TST just a few days before we embarked on our long trip to the Middle East in October. I was lucky to have a series of fine Chinese meals around town lately and this one was definitely ranked right up there. I was here only a couple months ago attending a wine tasting followed by a sumptuous feast and I loved the food prepared by Chef Edwin Tang then, so I was interested in checking out more of his creative dishes, this time over dinner with the hotel's PR team.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

Not The Usual Lounge

It's just unfair to put The Lounge at Four Seasons Hong Kong on the list among other hotel cafes. True they all serve the somewhat predictable menu trying to cater to a wide spectrum of customers, from proper breakfasts to sandwiches to salad and pasta, and of course the must-have "Asian Delights" section (whatever it's called in individual places) with dishes like wonton noodle soup and chicken rice. Plus the afternoon tea completed with the silver-plated tower with all the sweet and savory goodies. That's what this kind of restaurants are designed for in the first place.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Wine Dinner Avant Premiere

Late last week I attended the preview dinner of the new collaboration project between Conrad Hong Kong and Burgundy wine powerhouse Maison Albert Bichot. One of the private rooms of the hotel's Chinese restaurant Golden Leaf was transformed into a wine-themed dining area, completed with tableware and stemware with engraved Golden Leaf and Albert Bichot logos. Special menu designed by Chef Wan will be served with wine pairing selected from Albert Bichot’s wide repertoire, from some harder-to-find village wines to ones from the premier cru and grand cru climats owned by the winery.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Serious Kappo Dinner

Maybe it’s what I heard from others who have been, or I am just curious about this interesting combination of the chef and the concept and the venue, but Haku is one restaurant I have been wanting to visit for some time, and we worked out of the way to arrange this dinner date there in September before our long trip out.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Flavorsome Dialogue

Sichuan cuisine is perhaps one of the most well-known yet least understood style of cooking in our culture. As representative Sichuanese dishes like Kung Pao chicken, Mapo Tofu, Hot and Sour Soup or Dan Dan Noodles are now enjoyed by people all over the world from college kids sitting in their dorm rooms holding the Chinese takeaway box to workers squatting by the curb in the province capital of Chengdu with food from a street-side stall, to a certain extent and to many, Sichuan cuisine is their entry point of knowledge about what constituted "Chinese food" in their minds. But the popularity of those dishes all with intense flavor also causes a general misconception that Sichuan food is all about being hot and spicy, which is far from truth.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Celebration at Man Ho

I keep hearing great things about the food at Man Ho of JW Marriott at Pacific Place so we decided to check it out one evening to celebrate papa's birthday. And I solicited help from Chef Jayson Tang to set up the menu for us as I was interested in trying some of the signature and seasonal dishes by his team.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Late Summer at Caprice

Four months on since Chef Guillaume settled at the kitchen of Caprice of Four Seasons Hong Kong we saw another change of menu with even more new dishes being introduced by the team, just as we were about to say goodbye to the long summer season in the beginning of September. Like last time when we were here a couple months ago, we left it entirely to him to decide on the menu for us and we had a blast with a series of delightful dishes.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Korean Brunch

With the latest typhoon just brushed by us, we managed to come to Jinjuu to check out their new Sunday brunch menu as scheduled. I did enjoy having a leisurely stroll up to Lan Kwai Fong during weekend day time, with the street cleared of the crowds, the curb properly cleaned up and most of the places just generally quieter and more comfortable, for someone who just wanna chillax.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Standing Strong

The team of Posto Pubblico must be doing at least something right - while every restaurants on the block came and went like a merry-go-round in this challenging environment of Hong Kong dining scene, they are still standing strong at its original location on Elgin after eight long years, just as popular night-in, night-out as they have always been.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Gin + Sushi

I count Kishoku in Causeway Bay as one of those few local sushi restaurants I go every now and then to satisfy my sushi crave. Recently they have been trying to do a few new things on their menu offering, including the one that I recently went which combined the omakase dinner menu with gin pairing – specifically the house-made infused gin with various flavors designed by mixologist Antonio Lai to serve with a different seafood dishes.

Friday, September 8, 2017

It Never Rains...

Let’s get the rant out of the way first for one of our recent dinners at 11 Westside of Kennedy Town. Problem #1: we had a reservation for 6 persons at 7pm and confirmed in writing by the restaurant team 3 days before, but when I walked in at 6:45pm I was told they only had my booking for 4 persons at 7:30pm (and the maître d’ even tried to correct me til I showed her own email in her face suggesting otherwise). Problem #2: to make up for their mistake they tried to offer me a square table for 4 with 2 additional chairs pulled up instead and asked whether that would be okay – are you f*cking kidding me?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Pizza Pizza!

It may sound a bit gimmicky to run a special menu promotion branded as a "Bake Off" between professional chefs and professional food writers (who wouldn't want some rivalry talk?), but then I couldn't care less as long as it was a good enough excuse to have more pizzas at Lan Kwai Fong’s Mercato, one of my favorite joints in town for casual dining. This "Great Pizza Bake Off" campaign was running for 10 straight weeks starting late August, with each fortnight featuring two different pizzas, one by someone who cooks for a living, and one by someone who writes about cooking for a living.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Fancy Pub Grub

There were definitely other sports bars in town that I felt more like at home either for practical or sentimental reasons, but I must admit as far as food and location go, none of them beat Dicken's Bar in Causeway Bay. Recently I was there on Friday evening to check out some dishes from their new a la carte menu after not being here for God-knows-how-long.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Another New Sushi Place

Seems like there's a constant stream of sushi restaurants coming and going in the rather crowded field of Causeway Bay and Sushi Tsuboni represented one of the latest entries joining the frenzy. Located up inside the new V-Point Building on the buzzling Yiu Wa Street, the restaurant features a contemporary design with a well-lit and spacious dining area with a gorgeous harbor view, unlike many other sushi restaurants which has a cozier ambiance.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Family Dimsum Lunch

Shang Palace at Kowloon Shangri-La was filled to the capacity already when we went for an early dimsum brunch one Sunday morning last month - much to my surprise given we arrived well before normal lunch hours. We rarely dined in TST East area but thought we should give it a try, thanks to some expiring cash coupons I got as benefits for being a certain credit card holder.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Unfinished Mission

Coming back from a weekend trip from Thailand only recently doesn’t mean we couldn’t have more Thai food. A few weekends ago we went to check out the weekend brunch at Mak Mak and felt we have uncovered the best hidden gem in this part of town. Took both of us a while to find the restaurant, located at a corner of the luxurious Landmark shopping mall in Central. The façade looks just like a glorified Pret A Manger takeout stall, with ready-to-eat lunch boxes and drinks in the refrigerator shelf and a long open bar, but through the tucked-away entrance on the side, we were led to the dining area at the back.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Nothing More Than Ordinary

We thought we should give Celebrity Cuisine a try after seeing their 10th Anniversary menu offered at a special price with a few of their signature dishes. Despite the Michelin stars (they only dropped from two-star to one last year), somehow the restaurant was never on my list as somewhere I was too eager to check out, perhaps due to my (mis)conception that the place is more about expensive ingredients than solid cooking and execution. Anyway, we were about to find out over the dinner here one night a few weeks back.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Champagne Food Crawl

We had an interesting evening a few weeks ago following the Krug team to a few restaurants trying out new dishes specifically designed to pair with their champagne. Every year they ran a campaign with participating restaurants and chefs creating special Krug pairing menus using a theme ingredient. Last year it was eggs, and this year, it came to the time of mushrooms.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Impromptu Date Night

I felt Hong Kong has been cursed with a long streak of terrible weather lately (either unbearable heat or non-stop rain and thunderstorm), but when the sky briefly cleared up this week, we managed to enjoy the breath-taking view from our table at The French Window one weeknight for an impromptu date of sort, courtesy of the restaurant PR who invited us over for a tasting of their new menu by their new chef Simon Kealy.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Ever Elusive Khao Soi

The Khao Soi has always been the elusive item at Samsen, even for many who came to this popular Thai noodles joint at Stone Nullah Lane in Wanchai regularly. This northern Thai-style chicken noodles never appeared on its menu and only showed up occasionally and unannounced as an off-menu special whanever Chef Adam felt like and they were in limited supply on first come first served basis. But a few friends who tried that before swore by this is the best bowl of Thai noodles in all of Hong Kong.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sichuan Omakase

Many of us were fans of Chef Kaitak Chan's innovative take on Sichuan dishes combining traditional and modern techniques, so with the pending (temporary) closure of his restaurant Yun Yan at its current Causeway Bay location, we decided to go one last time to say goodbye. And to make it more interesting, this time we asked Chef Chan to prepare a special menu for us, Sichuan omakase style.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

French Omakase

We had an epic dinner at Neighborhood a few weeks ago. I forgot what we were talking about over another dinner when the name of the restaurant came up, so we picked a date and I called to make the booking. We were just planning to pick whatever available on the seasonal menu on the night, but then Chef David messaged me that morning offered to sort the dishes out for us. “Just a bit of everything I think people should try” he said; “Sure, as long as we have enough chocolate palette cakes and caneles to share among us at the end” was my response. So just like that, a random dinner became a French-style Omakase meal of sort.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Refined Thai

We squeezed in one more proper sit-down meal in Bangkok before heading off to the airport for the late afternoon flight home on Monday. Before Gaggan stealing the spotlight, it's Nahm at COMO Metropolitan Bangkok that was voted Asia's Best, with its Australian chef David Thompson being considered the pioneer of bringing Thai cuisine to the fine-dining radar first with his restaurant in London (now closed and replaced by Ametsa which we adored) then this Bangkok branch (opened in 2010, one time winner of Asia's Best restaurant in 2014)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Marquee Meal

By all accounts dining at Gaggan is the marquee event of our Bangkok weekend trip – to the extent the rest of our itinerary was planned around it. Barring a few Michelin stars (which was widely tipped to be forthcoming when the first Michelin Guide Bangkok releases later this year), Chef Gaggan Anand's namesake restaurant has all the accolades that other restauranteurs can only dream of - Asia's Best for 3 years in a row (2015-2017 and counting), number 7 on this year's World's Best Restaurant list, and being featured in the famous Chef's Table series by Netflix, just to name a few. So we were super excited to score a table at Gaggan with rather short notice and came to the restaurant with very high expectation.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Essentially Thai

There's a long list of restaurants we would like to check out in Bangkok but with such a short stay this time we could only pick and choose a few. But I did specifically want to drop by bo.lan, one restaurant I kept hearing good things about from my foodie friends (well, most of them, though one called it boring). And we had a glimpse of the cooking of Dylan and Bo, the couple who owns the restaurant, at a pop-up dinner in Hong Kong last year already and loved what we have tried. So I emailed the restaurant well in advance to make sure we had a table for the only time-slot we were available - that is Sunday afternoon for lunch.

Friday, August 11, 2017

German Dinner in Bangkok

"Huh?" was the most typical response we got when we told (most of) our friends that we were going to have German food while in Bangkok. It may sound like a strange choice but as the restaurant was highly ranked in the Asia's Top 50 Restaurant list (making its debut at Number 13 this year), we wanted to give it a shot.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bangkok Bits and Pieces

I felt like I hardly know Bangkok anymore after a hiatus of more than 6 years since our last visit. The unbearable city traffic and inefficient airport immigration has been the major turn-off for me for coming back more often, but with a few "new" restaurants now gaining worldwide fame we thought we should pop by for a quick long weekend to check some of them out. Gaggan is obviously top of our list, being named Asia's Best 3 years in a row and clock is clicking for its eventual closure in 3 years' time, but there are a few others we would like to try too.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Riesling Tasting

There's this subtle sense of seriousness in the air when I walked into the private room right behind Whisk at The Mira hotel in TST. The long table inside the room was filled with (literally) hundreds of glasses, each well labelled and filled with a dozen of different wines, and people were already swirling, sipping, spitting, tilting their heads in deep thoughts, rigorously making tasting notes on the paper in front of them, ranking each of the bottle.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Chef Masa's Masterpieces

In my opinion there are only a handful of high-end sushi-ya in Hong Kong that's comparable to the decent ones one may come across in Tokyo. And earlier I was lucky enough to be dining in one of them and had an amazing sushi omakase right at our doorstep.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Temple Food

Every time when I visited my friend Mina's kitchen studio Sook in Chaiwan, I couldn't help but exclaiming how much I love this space inside an industrial building, so spacious, tastefully decorated and practical - exactly how I wanted my own kitchen to be. Of course, adding to that Mina was an excellent cook and always enthusiastic to share the skills or inspirations by hosting pop-up dinners with specific themes or kitchen workshops with friends over.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Good Old Restaurant, More New Dishes

"Let me know next time when you come over again so I can show you more new dishes" I don't think when Chef Gauillaume said that he expect I would come back so soon after my lunch at Caprice back in June. But here we are again for another lunch only a couple of weeks later, since CYY missed out the first one and she wanted to make up for it.

Friday, July 28, 2017

On Doctor's Order

I never seem to catch on the local craze for afternoon tea despite my love for all pastries, but I recently had a good one at Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour, a speakeasy-style bar hidden in the basement of The Landmark in Central. The place has slowly become my go-to place for a simple drink (or two) at night since they had an awesome selection of my favorite gins (well, that’s their specialty, as their name suggests) Often I would just hop by either for a drink after work, or just drop in after dinner for a quick nightcap.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Elegant British Fare on Gough

“What’s a restaurant serving ‘Modern British Cuisine’ like?” That's the question I asked myself when I braved the heavy downpour to walk up to Gough Street last week for a dinner tasting at this new restaurant called Gough’s on Gough specializing in such. Pictures of the restaurant and its food started popping up on my Facebook feed regularly and from what I have seen and heard it’s more than decent, so my expectation was high.

Monday, July 24, 2017

New Italian Private Kitchen

There's every reason to be excited about this new restaurant opening. With Umberto Bombana being unarguably the most well-known Italian chef in town with three Michelin-starred restaurants under his name (Otto e Mezzo in Hong Kong and Macau plus Ciak in the Kitchen in Central), his latest project Octavium, branded as his "private kitchen", was eagerly anticipated by many months before it opened its door.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday Morning Dimsum

I have been to Tin Lung Heen at The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong a few times previously but this was only my first time going there for a weekend brunch with dimsum dishes when I visited a couple of weeks ago. Just like other hotel Chinese restaurants in town, during the day they offer a combination of dimsum items and other a la carte choices on their menu, and with even more variety during weekends. After all, having dimsum is one of the local favorite past-time.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Spicy Feast

Among this particular group of friends I am probably not the one with the highest tolerance to spicy food, but that doesn't mean I can't join them for a spicy feast, like the one we had recently at Dong Lai Shun of Royal Garden Hotel in TST East. The restaurant specializes in Northern Chinese cuisine which I love, and I figured  even if the dish became too spicy to handle, there’s always a glass of beer (or wine) that could tame the heat.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Eight Countries, Eight Restaurants Later...

One Star House Party seems to be a fascinating concept - a group of culinary professionals would travel around the world and host pop-up dinners drawing inspiration from local cuisines and ingredients, then moved on to another country/town and did the same, like a nomad with a purpose. They started in Hong Kong one year ago, and 12 months later, after various stops and numerous stories to tell, came back to town for a 5-week engagement to host another series of pop-up dinner, showcasing their favorite dish in 8 different countries they hosted dinner at.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Say Cheese on Sunday

We met up with some friends at Upper Modern Bistro a few Sundays ago before they embarked on the month-long summer vacation. We came across the restaurant's FB posts about their cheese promotion on weekends and thought the offer to tap into one of our favorite cheese collections in town at such price was something we don't want to miss.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Legit Local Tempura Place

To be honest I was not all that convinced when I received an invitation to check out this new tempura restaurant in Central. Coming off a weekend in Tokyo just recently I wasn't exactly in the mood for a Japanese meal knowing it's likely not close to what I would have in Japan, but I was relieved somewhat after seeing Chef Eric behind the counter when I walked into the restaurant on a weeknight joining a group of friends for a dinner tasting. Chef Eric was the tempura chef at a Japanese restaurant in Causeway Bay some years ago which we frequented then, so on more than a few occasions we enjoyed many of the tempura dishes prepared by him. That certainly gave me some level of comfort, and not haven't tried his food for a while I was curious to check it out.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

New Ramen Joint with a Queue

It's not uncommon to see long waiting lines outside the newest and hottest restaurant in town, at least until the next newest and hottest one came around - thanks for the patience and persistence shown by many food lovers in Hong Kong who always want to be the first to try just about anything. Lately we have witnessed another such new entry to our local dining scene in Tsuta, the ramen joint in the unofficial ramen street in Causeway Bay recently making Hong Kong their third overseas home after Singapore and Taipei.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Tokyo in 40: Cheapo Steakhouse

After an afternoon at Ghibli Museum and wandering on the streets of Kichijoji for a mini zakka crawl, I decided to stick around the neighborhood for dinner before catching my midnight flight home. There's no lack of choices of places to eat near the train station, either inside the food halls of shopping centers and department stores, or inside a few blocks of narrow alleys lined with bars and izakayas (called Harmonica Yokocho)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Tokyo in 40: Kichijoji Zakka Hunt

Hopping on the bus after visiting Ghibli Museum, soon I was back to the busy streets of Kichijoji. I did my research in advance and made out my itinerary for a mini zakka hunt in the afternoon before dinner time. There are so many interesting shops in this area that I could easily spend a few days going through them one by one, but with only a few hours to spare, I got to be a bit selective.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Tokyo in 40: From Toro to Totoro

The neighborhood of Kichijoji, a western suburb near Tokyo, is known to be a shopping haven for homeware and zakka, and being a self-professed shopaholic for both, I am still puzzled why I have never visited there before. And this time shopping wasn't even my main purpose as I hopped over to this side of town for a museum that I always wanted to go, after my sushi lunch in Tokyo.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Tokyo in 40: Sunday Sushi Lunch

Finding a proper place to eat in Tokyo on Sundays is not as easy as one might think since many fine dining establishments chose to rest on that day, but Sushi Shin in Nishi-azabu is a rare exception, which stays open on Sunday and closes every Monday instead. So I asked the hotel concierge to make the booking for me for Sunday afternoon.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Tokyo in 40: Morning in Daikanyama

With the many times I have been in Tokyo, I have never been to Daikanyama – I still don’t understand why as the setting would have been my favorite hangout. But anyway, I rectified this situation this time with a visit to this trendy neighborhood on Sunday morning.