Friday, June 23, 2017

Tokyo in 40: Take Me Out to the Ballgame

I finally managed to catch a professional baseball game in Japan this time, as this is something I always wanted to do but never had a chance to. I was planning my itinerary for Saturday afternoon when I realized Den was literally right next to Meiji Jingu Stadium which is the home field for Yakult Swallows, and they happened to be playing at home that weekend against Seibu Lions. So I thought it would be a good idea to attend the game after my lunch at the restaurant.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tokyo in 40: Mo-DEN Kaiseki

After breakfast, I managed a quick nap in my hotel room (thanks Hilton for letting me check in at 8am - must be my record of earliest check in at a hotel), and after that I was all refreshed and ready for lunch at Den, a restaurant owned by the young Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa that many of my friends have gone and loved, and now it became so popular that I needed to call them a month in advance to confirm a spot.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Tokyo in 40: Ramen Breakfast

Last year I spent a quick weekend in Tokyo with approximately only 50 hours on the ground - turned out the weekend was filled with happenings but didn't feel the rush. So this time I am doing it again with an even shorter stay (10 hours less, to be exact), made possible by the favorable flight schedule by the local low-cost carrier HK Express with red-eye flights both way.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ushering In a New Era

Recent changes at Caprice saw Chef Guillaume Galliot now at the helm. And some of us went there recently to check out the new weekend lunch menu as he has well settled in at this Michelin-starred restaurant at Four Seasons which happened to be one of my personal favorites in town. It’s another full-house at the weekend lunch service and this time, we were seated at the round table near the front and the window, offering us a view of everything.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Drinks at the Barber

Despite the un-proportionally high number of drinking venues at MO, I thought I have tried them all – then I was told there’s a little bar in Mandarin Barber which actually opens to the public (not just the customers at the barber shop) And one Monday evening, my friend J and I went to check it out.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Stumbling Across Tim Ho Wan

It’s a pure coincidence that we ended up at Tim Ho Wan on this holiday morning – we were aimlessly driving around trying to find a parking space we could stop and eat and we ended up just a couple blocks away from the restaurant's Shum Shui Po branch, so that is why we dropped by for an impromptu breakfast stop. Both of us have never been to this branch so we were happy to try for the first time.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

New Steakhouse in Town

Everyone at our table walked in and asked the same question - "what was this place before it's converted into a fancy steakhouse?" (by the way it was a spa, according to Google Map) A few evenings ago we were at Wolfgang's Steakhouse, an import from New York City, on their first day of business. The restaurant took over this vast space on the street level on the quiet Duddell Street in Central and has turned into that classic steakhouse look, with the classy façade, dark wooden décor with gold accent, with the bar in front near the reception and dining area further back. We were all amazed at how this hardly noticeable store space has gone through such transformation (hence the question)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Extended Breakfast

In between patches of rain, we managed to conduct a Sunday morning food crawl in old town Macau as our extended breakfast on our last day of vacation. When I look beyond the dazzling casinos and shopping malls that came as a dime a dozen in the newer part of town, I actually found the old town more charming, with traditional shops inside relatively well-maintained building in mixed Chinese and European style - thanks to the Portuguese colonial influence.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Macau Dimsum Part 2: Golden Flower

Of the many restaurants on my to-try list, Golden Flower has always been the elusive one for whatever reasons. But we worked around our itinerary a little bit this time to make sure we stopped by for lunch at the restaurant this time we were in town for the weekend.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Macau Dimsum Part 1: Pearl Dragon

Given their target clientele, there's no lack of high-end Chinese restaurants in many of the new Macau casino/hotel complexes. This time right after we arrived and settled in our hotel room, we headed straight out to Studio City nearby for a dimsum lunch at the relatively new Pearl Dragon Restaurant.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Fancy lunch across harbor

We thought we should give it a try to some of the restaurants on the other side (of the harbor) so we made a booking for lunch at Epure. We have been here before once about 2 years ago and thought that was enjoyable, so we expected even more now that they have the first Michelin star. Though the main dining area was more or less the same as before, now they also expanded to include an outdoor area for their Bistro/Café serving a more casual, all-day dining menu. Definitely worth our consideration next time when we wanted something less formal.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dai Pai Dong Encore

When our friend V proposed that we do a Dai Pai Dong run in the forgotten neighborhood of Shum Shui Po, I obliged. We had a great time on our last time out at the restaurant so all we need is just any excuse to go back there to eat. A few more later signed up to this plan and we fixed a Tuesday night to go.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Sneak Preview from the Kitchen

As our friend Fabrice is ready for his new post heading The Tasting Room in Macau after moving on from Caprice, we want to pay him a visit just to catch up, and CYY’s birthday in mid-May gave us the perfect excuse to spend a weekend in town as part of the celebration. So I let him know of our plan in advance and check whether the restaurant would be open then after being closed for the past few months for a makeover.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Old School Hangzhou

I am always on the fence about the food at Tin Heung Lau (天香樓), the old-school restaurant sitting in this quiet street in Tsimshatsui for as long as I remembered. Some friends swore by this humble-looking place serving the best Hanzhou cuisine in town, but from the couple of times that I went, it was a rather meh experience – pricey, apathetic service and quite ordinary in all aspects to be honest.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

All Chicken!

An all-chicken Cantonese feast must be something we found it so hard to miss that despite a few last minute changes of plan, we finally made it at the end of April when most of us were free to go. We had a few decent meals at Kin’s Kitchen in Wanchai before so we were happy to be back for this special menu specially designed by Lau Kin-wai and Lau Chun, the father-son team who own the restaurant.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The New but Familiar One

I know what some of you might be thinking… Cheesecake Factory, really? Yeah, there’s really nothing much to blog about the food at this mainstream restaurant chain except the wide selection of delicious cheesecakes and a few other dishes, but the place always has a special place in our hearts. (I know that’s the cheesy way to put it – pun intended) So we were excited that the restaurant finally made its way to this side of the coast with its first outlet right in the heart of Hong Kong inside Harbour City TST.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Dom Perignon Part 2

Of course no one's going to say no to free-flowing champagne on a Sunday afternoon, let alone recent vintage of Dom Perignon. And that's what many of us got to enjoy with more food and drink on a recent weekend, when Ritz-Carlton re-launch their Sunday brunch at Ozone on top of the hotel at Level 118. After my Dom Perignon x On Dining dinner last month, consider this the sequel.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Stellar Shunde Meal

Stellar House is among the handful of new independent restaurants serving traditional Chinese cuisine in a cozy, contemporary setting, providing more fine-dining choices to the local dining scene in a space formerly occupied mostly by those Chinese restaurants inside upscale hotels.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Make-ahead Meat Dishes

From what the names suggest, pork rillettes and gyuniku shigureni sound like two dishes from entirely different worlds, but in reality they were surprisingly similar. Both were meat based and made use of only a small set of ingredients; both involved slow cooking to bring about the intense flavor, and both can be made ahead and served at room temperature (no reheating required!), which made them great candidates as part of a simple home-cooked meal.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Not just another dimsum lunch

I didn’t come to Lung King Heen for meals as often as I would like to, simply because there were way too many good Chinese restaurants around town than I had time to eat. But they do consistently delivered excellent dishes from a few times I was here over the years, including this one weekend afternoon recently when I met up with some foodie friends, joining them for their "quarterly meet-up" at the restaurant.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Travelling afar for breakfast

We took our new toy out for a spin on the last day of Easter long weekend and found ourselves in this unfamiliar neighborhood of Luk Keng Village at the north-eastern tip of Hong Kong early in the morning. It was a very pleasant drive actually with the clear sky and all (we finally got a moonroof! Woohoo!), and only took us slightly less than an hour from where we live, with the last bit though a picturesque two-lane road past the Tai Po country parks along the reservoirs and coastline with a bit of twists and turns until we almost reach the Hong Kong-China border at this rural village with far more visitors than residents on weekends and public holidays.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Barolo Night

We were at Giando one evening during the Easter long weekend for a wine-pairing dinner featuring a few bottles from Barolo with dishes of the cooking style from the same region. I have never been to the restaurant ever since they moved into the Star Street area, and I am glad to see they were as busy as ever with most of the tables filled when we arrived slightly before 8pm when the dinner was supposed to start.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Newest on the Block

We kicked off the Easter long weekend with a visit to a new restaurant in Soho. We loved both the previous restaurants by Chef May Chow (of Little Bao and Second Draft), so we expected great things from Happy Paradise, her newest project not far away from the ever-popular Little Bao, one that shot her into fame with contemporary, playful twist to the traditional Chinese cooking.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Remodeled Takumi

Recently I had the opportunity to try Chef Daisuke Mori’s cooking at his restaurant Takumi in Wanchai, which went through some slight renovations to keep the venue afresh. The restaurant, with counter-only seating tucked away on the ground floor of an apartment building, joined a handful of other places around town serving a genre of French cuisine with Japanese influence (or the other way round, depends on how you see it)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Slow Food Awakening

Up a flight of stairs of a random industrial building in Kwun Tong is a small café/restaurant called "8104 Box of Life", and every Monday evening, Kong Yeah, a small advocacy group that supports local farming and food products, puts words into actions by hosting dinners at this place with an ever-changing menu using produce freshly harvested from local farms and other locally made artisan products.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Teppanyaki Omakase

Sans the Japanese dessert stall at the street corner, I have never set foot on Haven Street, a little cul-de-sac at the tip of Causeway Bay. Once filled with filthy car repair shops and garages, it has slowly transformed into a corner lined with hip cafes, bars, small restaurants and at the end of the street, a Japanese restaurant called Kyoku specializing in sushi and teppanyaki. And that's where I was a couple of weeks ago trying out their new omakase menu in front of the teppanyaki counter.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

On My Day Off: Izakaya Dinner

A long story why I ended up on this side of harbor after spending a good afternoon browsing through exhibits at the Art Basel on the other side (alright, for me it’s more about the champagne at the VIP lounge than the art pieces, I admit), but anyway, since we were around this neighborhood (TST, that is), I thought it's a good idea to check out this new Japanese izakaya nearby that I always meant to try. Goshaku sat on the sixth floor of a commercial building on Knutsford Terrace and behind the restaurant was the same team which operates Keyaki near LKF and a handful of other Japanese casual diners around town.

Monday, April 17, 2017

On My Day Off: Pasta Bar Lunch

I heard great things about Pici, the new pasta bar at Wanchai's St. Francis' Yard, but I also heard it's next to impossible to get a table at this no-reservation restaurant opened by the same team behind Pirata (and TokyoLima, which I went recently also). So with my day off I decided to try my luck by going there early before they opened for lunch service at noon.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

On My Day Off: Early Bird Breakfast

After my original plan didn’t pan out as expected (for the better), I found myself having an extra day off in the middle of the week. I decided to make best use of it to do things that I wouldn’t be able to do normally when I had to work. I woke up, thinking what that might be, and the first thing that came to mind was this little dai pai dong in Central called Yue Hing (裕興大排檔). Multiple friends have sworn by the place serves the best sandwich in town (some even said the world), but the catch of this casual restaurant is first, they only opened on weekday mornings, and second, you just had to be really patient to wait for their food as it may take up to an hour to arrive.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

C'est Magnifique

With an invitation for Dom Perignon stating the event starting at 6:30pm with pre-dinner drinks, I ain't going to miss any minute of it and arrived right on the dot. And as a bonus of arriving early, in addition to a few extra glasses of the current 2006 vintage being poured for me, I got to enjoy a bit of the sunset off the terrace of On Dining on a particularly clear day, along with plates after plates of Joselito ham and 24-month aged Comte cheese being passed around. That certainly made what was an awfully-long work day less painful.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Uncharted Territory

Understandably I was a bit surprised when I heard several high-end restaurants are opening up at the tip of Kowloon Bay all by the same owner. One of those restaurants is Le Pan, headed by the Singaporean chef Edward Voon specializing in contemporary French/progressive cuisine, which I had a chance to visit recently at the invitation of their PR team.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Forgotten Recipes

It’s pure coincidence that I ended up with another outstanding Cantonese meal within the same week after our dinner at the Seventh Son just a couple of days ago. I was delighted to tag along with a small group of media people for the tasting of the special menu at Ming Court at Cordis Hong Kong. For the next couple of months, Chef Mango Tsang introduced a series called "The Forgotten Recipe", with "new" dishes based on classic Cantonese recipes and offered them in addition to the regular a la carte menu.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

"Family" Dinner at Seventh Son

The last Sunday of March was a wrap with a trip to Seventh Son Restaurant in the evening. Well, I forgot how and when the conversation for the dinner started but anyway, we sorted out the date that we were all available and someone made a booking.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Lovely Catch-up at La Paloma

La Paloma in Sai Ying Pun is what I would categorize as a "no-brainer" restaurant - you know, one of those neighborhood hangouts that one wouldn't mind going every day with a menu you are so familiar that you memorized everything on it - whether you call this a pub, a diner, a chiringuito, an osteria, a chachaanteng or whatever depending on where you are from.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Restaurant Week at TokyoLima

The Restaurant Week promotion often gave us the chance to check out any new or up and coming restaurants that we somehow missed out, and this year we decided to visit TokyoLima, the new-ish restaurant specializing in Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine opened only a couple months ago. The restaurant, branded itself as an izakaya, has the feel of an exclusive speakeasy, tucked away on the ground floor inside a non-descript commercial building on Lyndhurst Terrace.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

New age with the new Rech

We made our way to the other side of the harbor to have dinner at the new Rech by Alain Ducasse in Tsimshatsui on a Friday evening. The restaurant took over the space formerly occupied by Spoon, another dining outlet under the Alain Ducasse "empire", on the ground floor of Intercontinental Hong Kong. Well, I did bemoan the closure of Spoon for a little while – after all the place always has a special place in my heart as being the subject of my first blog post (wait, is that 10 years ago already?) – but I am also hopeful of this new concept of a casual, Parisian style seafood restaurant taking its place, suitably located by the harbor front with the most gorgeous view. Sometimes change is for the good.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Omi Beef Lunch

Shiga Prefecture is famous for its Omi beef (近江牛). This premium breed, named after the ancient name of Shiga, is known as the top 3 wagyu breeds in Japan along with Matsusaka beef from Mie and Kobe beef from Hyogo. So of course we wouldn't want to miss the opportunity of getting a taste of the beef while spending our time in Shiga as part of our weekend getaway.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Onsen by the Lake

Early spring may not be the best season to visit Lake Biwa region (it's much more popular during summer time), but we wanted a quick getaway to somewhere nearby after spending 2 nights in Kyoto. So we hopped onto the train and spend a night at a lakeside onsen resort in Ogoto-onsen in Shiga Prefecture, on the west side of the Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Her Choice, and then Mine

One of my regrets for the trip being too short was not able to spend more time checking out the buzzing café scene in Kyoto this time. Nonetheless we did have the opportunity to check out two that were high on each of our must-visit list.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Reunion Dinner at The Chairman

It was a long overdue reunion for the H gang so we managed a quick dinner meet-up at The Chairman one Tuesday evening. The place just slipped out of our mind for a while for whatever reasons so I am curious how their food fare since our last visit.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Taste of Hong Kong"

We were at the Central Harborfront to check out Taste of Hong Kong 2017 on their first evening of opening. To be honest I wasn't 100% convinced of the whole concept of this food event, now in its second year, bringing about a bunch of high-end restaurants in a food truck park-like setting, then calling this collectively "Taste of Hong Kong". But then when I was offered a pair of free tickets by the kind marketing team of Sheraton Hong Kong, I thought it's worth dropping by to see for myself. Plus this gave me some incentive to get out of office early and the weather was perfect for making the casual stroll to the space next to the Observation Wheel where tents and booths were set up for the 4-day event.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sunday Brunch Alfresco

The unintentional series of Sunday brunches continues, this time at Seasons in Causeway Bay's Lee Garden. With such mild and pleasant weather now that winter is (almost) officially over, we couldn't have picked a better day to sit outside at the terrace of the restaurant in the midst of a busy shopping district and chill. I have been to this place a couple of times in recent months and enjoyed many of Chef Olivier's dishes here, and this latest promotion obviously struck a chord with many local customers, as it was packed on the day of our visit.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Cooking at Our Temporary Home

One of the main reasons of renting a house rather than staying in a hotel was to have the opportunity to spend more time eating in rather than dining out all the time during our quick weekend getaway in Kyoto. I am always fascinated at the variety and quality of food ingredients found in the area, so I thought it will be interesting to actually cook with whatever I came across in the market at the time of our visit.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Plum Blossom

Mid-February is way too early for the annual cherry blossom festivities but we arrived at Kyoto right on time for the prime plum blossom season. These days, plum blossom might not get as much attention as the cherry blossom, which came later in mid-spring, but to me that means it’s less crowded but just as beautiful when the red or white plum flowers lined the street or park.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Shokudo in a Temple

We dropped by D&Department Kyoto on Saturday afternoon to do some shopping and have lunch there. D&Department Project is an fascinating concept being a social advocate for re-cycling, preserving traditional industries and designs and promoting local culture and food through shops, publications and exhibitions under the theme of “Long Life Design”… think of it as a combination of Monocle and Slow Food and pretty much resonate everything I have a fond interest in. So to me visiting their shops around the country is like a pilgrimage of sorts.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: First Time in a Sento

We were "forewarned" that the house we rented did not come with a bath tub but only a shower room. It's not a problem for us at all as the shower facility turned out to be absolutely spacious and comfortable. But we still managed to get a good soak in the hot tub after a long day’s walk while in Kyoto - in an old-fashioned neighborhood sento (銭湯) just 5 minutes away on foot.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Gion Matayoshi

I made only one restaurant reservation this time in Kyoto - partly because the trip was rather short and partly because by the time we started planning only a couple of weeks before the trip, many places we wanted to go were fully-booked. But at the end we loved our experience dining at this small kappou restaurant at Gion on our first evening in town.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Chinatown Style Dinner

Not in a thousand years would I have guessed dragon-i actually has a full dinner menu. With proper tableware set up and all for a traditional Chinese meal (in addition to other bar food and Japanese-style dishes). While during late night this place up on Wyndham, which for years have been the mecca of Hong Kong nightlife and the ultimate seen-and-be-seen venue, could get real lively, at dinner hour it was actually quiet and cozy – you can almost hear the pin dropped on the floor. That I didn't know before until I came over to eat recently. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Rustic Alsatian Duet

I was at Brasserie on the Eighth at The Conrad last Friday for a pop-up dinner featuring the chef couple Cyril Bonnard and Marie Wucher from Hotel Le Parc in Alsace. With most French restaurants at the hotels around town mostly of the fine-dining style, Brasserie on the Eighth stood out to be something different, in a more casual, brasserie/bistro style but with the same level of seriousness about cooking and serving authentic French cuisine.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Tempura at the Counter

We tried our luck in getting a couple of seats at the counter of Tempura Yoshikawa for lunch without a booking and glad we were seated right away when we arrived after the morning visit to Nijo Castle a couple of blocks away. The kitchen primarily serves the guests of their 8-room ryokan, but it also serves lunch at a cozy 11-seat counter inside a wooden house next door.