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.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Dinner at a Speakeasy Bar

A week after attending the pre-opening media preview of the new Employees Only Hong Kong at Lan Kwai Fong, I was given a second opportunity to try more of their food and drink, this time at a sit-down dinner. Monday was probably not the busiest night at Lan Kwai Fong (plus we started a bit early), but it was fairly packed when I walked in to the bar (and soon it was filled to the capacity as the night progressed and by the time we moved to our dinner table)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Lantau Road Trip

"Cows!" we exclaimed at the first sight of wild cows wandering on the road along the southern coast of Lantau. And we felt the urge to stop the car and take hundreds of pictures of them enjoying their lunch on the curb-side pasture. Of course, our enthusiasm soon died down as roving cows became a more common scene than say, taxis passing by.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Hangzhou Guest Chef

The industrial area of Lai Chi Kok on Kowloon side seems to be an unusual place to open a high-end restaurant, but someone had the vision to start a new trend, not only with one but a couple fine dining outlets all housed under one roof in the form of a posh private dining club called Greater China Club inside a modified commercial building in the midst of factories.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Tokyo in 40: Dinner at Kanda

While my Tokyo weekend was not entirely about food, I did have a few restaurants in mind that I was eager to try this time around. After an extraordinary lunch at Den just a few hours ago, in the evening I went for dinner at Chef Hiroyuki Kanda’s namesake restaurant at Moto-Azabu. Chef Kanda-san is a legend on his own, having earned the 3 stars for his restaurant Kanda in the first Michelin Guide Tokyo and retained the accolade til now. But this is not the only reason I wanted to visit the restaurant. A few years ago we had a memorable meal at Tokushima’s Aoyagi owned by Chef Hirohisa Koyama, whom Kanda-san has worked under for over a decade before going on his own in 2004. So with the chef coming through the school of one of the chefs I admired most I am curious to see how their cooking styles compare.

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 Shop

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)