Saturday, October 19, 2019

First Night at Hiramatsu

We love everything at Hiramatsu Resorts while staying there for 2 nights at their Hakone property, but one thing that truly stood out was their culinary offering. It’s something they are proud of and by all means they should. Our half-board package came with breakfasts and dinners for both nights, so on the first day, after settling in at our gorgeous room and a relax dip in the onsen bath both in our room and at the private outdoor hot spring in the annex building, we walked down to the restaurant located on the lower floor, where a table has already been set up for us.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Start of the Season

It’s somewhat a rare sight these days in this town – with a restaurant filled to its capacity, but Nicholini’s at Conrad was packed with customers on a Friday evening. I guess partly because everyone are just itching to be out and about freely as things got stabilized a little bit and partly because the white truffle season has officially begun and the restaurant received its first batch today.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Omakase in a room

We managed to try Sushi Masuda in Tokyo's Aoyama right before Chef Rei Masuda closed his namesake restaurant to focus on his outlets elsewhere. I did hesitated when i was told the only seats available would be the one in the private room instead of the counter, but given our tight schedule this time and it's "now or never", I reluctantly said okay to such arrangement and confirmed our booking. And part of me wanted to treat this as an experiment to see how much our dining experience would change at a rather unusual setting.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

New Level of Fine in Fine Dining

I felt like this is only the first time I could properly sit down and check out the food at Bibo, with Chef Nicholas Chew settling in his new post after moving on from the much-acclaimed, now-defunct Serge a la Phoque almost a year ago. That plus it's only my first time coming for the dinner tasting menu, with my previous visits during day time on weekends for the simpler brunch.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Returning To An Old Favorite

I felt obliged to go back to Tempura Fukamachi to eat this time - it's been one of my favorite restaurants in Tokyo (back when I came more regularly) and I wanted to show CYY what the fuss is about this small restaurant at the back alley not far from Ginza. So I asked the hotel concierge to make the booking for us once our Japan itinerary was confirmed.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Satisfaction Restored

We felt we needed time to adjust as we left the tranquil Hiramatsu resort in the countryside of Hakone and checked into our hotel in metropolitan Tokyo for 2 more nights. I normally prefer staying in Shinjuku for its proximity to the shopping district and major train lines, but this time we decided to visit The Ritz Carlton in Roppongi for a change.

Monday, October 7, 2019

An Itinerary of Do-Nothing

Given we have been to Hakone before, albeit more than a decade ago, and hit most of the tourist spots back then, we decided to bypass the common itinerary and hit a few spots slightly off the beaten track, so instead we spent a leisure afternoon walking through a few galleries/museums in the proximity of the hotel.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

My Perfect Kind of Resort

After a summer of turmoil in our city, we were desperate to get out for a little break where we can switch off and relax. Earlier we received a kind invitation from The Hiramatsu Hotel & Resorts group for hosting us a couple of nights at their property in Sengokuhara near Hakone, so we thought the timing was just perfect and it’s perhaps a blessing in disguise.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Learn and Feast

Barely a week after we spent the weekend at the Four Seasons Hong Kong for the much-enjoyable staycation, I returned one morning to attend a cooking demo plus lunch at the Caprice with the restaurant's culinary team plus guest chef from Valrhona.

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Re-invented Tate

I cannot believe it's only my first time sitting down at Chef Vicky Lau's restaurant at its current venue for her full tasting menu when I visited a couple of weeks ago (previously I was there for one of those "four-hands" meal thing - and that's late last year already). I am always impressed by Chef Vicky's spot-on techniques and aesthetic presentation in her beautifully designed dining room up on Hollywood Road, and I think over the years, she has begun to develop a consistent theme of taking on ingredients more common in Asian cuisine with her interpretation to create something unique.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Place to Rest

Recently we became more conscious to bring our business to local and small shops around our city as our tiny contribution to support them. And it often led to pleasant surprises as we ventured out of what we are more familiar with and started checking out new places.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Italian Feast

Theo Mistral in TST East has quickly become one of my favorite casual Italian restaurant in town since its opening last year, and I was glad to make a quick return visit last week when Chef Theo Randall was in town to present a series of special menu at his namesake restaurant. With the invitation that only mentioned a “1-meter Italian Feast”, turned out they did literally prepare a feast for the few of us who attended the dinner at their private room.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Best Things Begin in the Mornings

Breakfast at Four Seasons Hong Kong was the part I most looked forward to before the start of our weekend stay-cation at the hotel. With both The Lounge and Blue Bar offered separate breakfast menus to guests, we decided to go to both on two separate mornings just to check it out.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Japanese Buffet Lunch

Not wanting to feel like we were stuck in one building all weekend long, we did venture out to eat during our "Central vacation". It's been a long while since we last ate at Kaetsu, the Japanese restaurant at the Grand Hyatt so we made a booking for their popular buffet lunch on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Chilling at the Top

The Four Seasons Hong Kong marketing team was kind enough to extend us access to the Executive Club Lounge facilities throughout our stay (which otherwise would have cost extra unless you booked for a "selected" suite), in addition to the generous gift of the hotel stay voucher. And that turned out to be one of the favorite bits about our Central weekend staycation.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Vacation in Central

With weather forecast suggesting there’s going to be severe thunderstorm and rain throughout the weekend, we seriously thought about postponing our staycation plan til some other time, but at the end we went on with our original plan, and proved that weather forecast cannot be more wrong this time (much to our delight). Last year at the hotel media party, I was lucky to win the lucky draw prize of a 2-night weekend stay at the Four Seasons Hong Kong, and so we thought we should take advantage of that and have a little staycation at the end of August to spend some time lying by the pool and chill or something.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Not the Usual British Bar Fare

The other night I was at Gough’s on Gough to check out the new bar menu that they are introducing, in addition to their regular a la carte menu. The entrance area on the street level was remodeled slightly to fit in a small bar counter with trays of seafood on display, which formed part of this new menu featuring a few seasonal dishes and some simple British bar bites.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Dinner By Chance

A chance encounter with our friend DSJ led to me crashing the dinner organized by her and other common friends the evening right after. Dinner was at Man Wah on top of Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, and I had little doubt that the meal was going to be spectacular even before the first dish was served. With their Chef Wong Wing Keung working hard to pick up a few cooking skills from DSJ lately, I know he would pull all he’s been learning to impress his si-fu.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Long Table Lunch

(Almost ) the same group went for a repeat of weekend lunch at Caprice a couple of weeks ago, this time with even more people. The restaurant was kind enough to arrange the private dining room for us - that's the only table that could seat 12 anyway - and Chef Guillaume Galliot offered to customize our menu with a mix of his signature dishes and a few new ones on the upcoming seasonal a la carte menu.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Contemporary Old Bailey

We had a strong preference as in our favorite Shanghainese restaurant in town, so guess that’s the reason we never came around to try the food at Old Bailey, a chic restaurant (not far away from our go-to place) specializes in Jiangnan cuisine, which essentially encompasses Shanghai and its proximity (though we did find it to be a nice place for a quick drink in the neighborhood with its quiet setting)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Great Food By The Street Corner

The only thing that stopped us from trying Cornerstone earlier was their no-reservation policy, but we took our chances one Friday evening and tried to get our table, and surprisingly, we were promptly seated in the cozy dining room at the site formerly occupied by a sushi joint with only a quick 15-minute wait.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Yakitori in Tai Hang

We came across this izakaya while wandering in this Tai Hang neighborhood looking for a place to eat. What caught our eyes first was this place seems to be relatively packed while most other places looked like half deserted, so we figured that's a good indication of the food quality.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Green for a night

Last week I attended yet another Green Monday dinner hosted by Ming Court of The Cordis. It's not my first time trying the meatless menu prepared by Chef Li but this time I got to taste a few of the new dishes. And even better as they put us up in the private room for a more cozy setting.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Yakiniku Night

We wanted to find somewhere nice to eat in Central on a Friday evening and made a last-minute booking at Yakiniku Jumbo while heading over. The restaurant was considered one of the more exciting openings last year with its original branch in Tokyo was known to be a mecca for yakiniku cuisine – Japanese-style grilled meat, so to speak. I have tried their lunch menu previously and loved my bowl of curry beef donburi, and I always wanted to go back to check out their more elaborate dinner menu, featuring various cuts of wagyu with most of the dishes prepared on a grill at each table.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Dinner Near the War Zone

With random passersby being beaten by batons and tear gas firing aimlessly at protestors just a couple blocks away from where we sat and ate, we were not in particular joyful mood to enjoy a nice dinner at this new restaurant near Soho. But we got on with our original plan – figured one still had to eat no matter what circumstances, right?

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Private Kitchen Dinner

We had a great dinner at the home of Chef Edgar Sanuy Barahona a couple of weeks ago. While Chef Edgar may not be a household name in Hong Kong’s restaurant scene he’s the force behind many successful ventures over the years, from the now-defunct (but acclaimed) BCN to Mercedes Me to his latest project Pica Pica (a tapas bar in Sheung Wan). He also started this new project called Privat, serving meal in a "supper club"-like format for his guests once a month right at his residence in Sai Kung. Strictly by referrals, and thanks to our friend V, who organized this and invited us in.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Sushi Sase

Sushi is always a convenient choice whenever I am by myself and need something quick and nice to eat. And recently I popped by an old favorite of mine at a new location in such a situation. Sushi Sase is probably one of the first, and the last standing, of the earlier waves of fine sushi restaurants in town, starting off in the corner of Lyndhurst Terrace - Hollywood Road junction around 10 years ago by a sushi master from Hokkaido.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Chinese at Airport

Making a trip to Chek Lap Kok for dinner on a weeknight a few weeks ago reminded me of the days of working at the airport area. Back then the food choices were much limited and quality for most of them meh, but I am glad there are now a few more options available, including a few outlets at Marriott SkyCity which I visited this time - not new anymore by any means but somewhere I haven't been before, somehow.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Free Corkage Night

It’s hard to say no to Free Corkage promotion offered by restaurants when it presented a perfect opportunity for a friends’ night out on a weeknight and an excuse to pop open some of our own bottles. I have been to Theo Mistral at Intercontinental Grand Stanford at TST East a few times since the change of concept and renovation a few years ago and it’s one of my favorites in this neighborhood.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Express Lunch

It's unfortunate that my line of work (in my full time job) didn't take me to as many fine-dining places as I would like to, but here's one rare occasion that I got to join some of my industry peers over at a business lunch at Pierre of MO not long ago. Not my first time dining inside the private room on top of the hotel with perfect view of the harbor skyline and the city, but this time I realized the setting is just perfect for a casual, small group luncheon, with space to mingle and a comfortable long table for a sit-down meal in a cozy room at the back of the restaurant.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Shanghai Vegetarian

On our second night in Shanghai we went for something different and visited Fu He Hui. I am always curious about this restaurant as this is one of the two vegetarian places awarded a star in the local Michelin Guide, and ranked highly as one of the Asia’s best.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Good Old Jesse

We did two other serious meals during our short stay in Shanghai – one that we have been to before, one that was new to us. First, the good old Jesse Restaurant (or Lao Ji Shi 老吉士 as known by the locals) right in the center of the French Concession neighborhood. What started of as a home-style restaurant in a quiet block serving classic Shanghainese cuisine has grown into an institution, with multiple branches around the city and other places in China. We had a memorable meal there during our last visit to Shanghai so we were dying to go back, and we made a reservation at their original branch right after our flights were confirmed, helped by our friend M who was a regular at the restaurant during her days living in Shanghai.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Shanghai Shanghai

It kinda sucks when our entire weekend getaway was washed out by the continuous rainstorm, but if there’s any comfort from all that, at least this time we stayed in a lovely hotel and got more time to spend inside our room with possibly one of the best view in the city. It’s been years, over a decade even, since we travelled to Shanghai, so we decided to pop by during the July 1 long weekend.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Marathon Meal

I was recently eating at Aurora at Altira Macau when their chef Helder Amaral joined hands with Chef Eric Raty of Arbor from Hong Kong to present a four-hands menu as part of the Michelin Guide promotional series. I had a hard time trying to draw a connection between the two chefs and their cooking style, but since I have enjoyed Chef Eric’s food previously at both his starred restaurant and at events where he’s a guest chef, and this did give me an opportunity to visit a new restaurant, I went along and made a short trip over.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Young Chef's Pop-up Menu

We recently went back to visit PMQ Taste Kitchen to check out the latest pop-up menu from a local young chef. Biased as I might be, I always love this idea of restaurant incubator concept (managed by our friends J and C) that allows new chefs to test out new recipes and business ideas with full set-up and operational support, and we were always surprised (and impressed) from the few visits we made previously.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

New Place in Soho

Just when you think there's no more new spots for restaurant in Soho area, another one showed up, and this time is at a new building at the foot of Soho hidden next to the escalator. The first tenant is Kinship on the third level, open for business about a month ago.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Yuwaku Onsen

We wanted to stay close to Kanazawa on the last couple of days of our trip, so the town of Yuwaku (湯涌温泉) fits the bill perfectly as it's only 30 quick minutes away from downtown by car and so we didn’t have to spend much time commuting.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Hida Beef Craze

As we traveled through the mountainous area of Gifu Prefecture, one thing we couldn’t miss was the sight of restaurants serving the famous Hida-gyu, the local beef breed from the black haired cattle known for its taste and excellent meat texture and also one of the most coveted wagyu types.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A Century-Old Ryokan

We made a slight detour to stay in Gero (下呂) in the middle of our road trip to Central Japan, as the town is considered to have one of the best onsens in the country. Given we have been to the other two previously (Arita and Kusatsu), just thought we will hit this one to check off the list.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Another Sunday; Another Brunch

Our friends at church organized yet another brunch outing after Sunday service recently, this time to Gough’s on Gough on a weekend when our friend F was working in the FOH of the restaurant. I was at the restaurant when Chef Cary Docherty just came on board about 6 months ago and loved my dinner there, and as I keep hearing good things about his cooking and the restaurant’s new menu, I thought it would be great to check out their signature Sunday brunch, featuring some British classics.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Brunch on the Rooftop

We couldn’t have asked for a better weather to be up at the rooftop of The Murray to enjoy the Sunday brunch at Popinjays a few weeks ago. We had a pleasant meal at The Tai Pan just downstairs previously and we expected to be impressed once again.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Sushi Drama

I have been told repeatedly by my friends that the best sushi in Kanazawa is at this cozy restaurant called Otome Sushi, so we asked the travel concierge to help us make a booking and went on the last day of our trip. Given our flight was at in the early evening, I figured we should have plenty of time to make it back to the airport comfortably after finishing our meal there (more on that later).

Monday, June 24, 2019

Sushi Shinosuke

Our road trip through Central Japan was not meant to be just about food, but turned out we still had to twist our itinerary slightly to fit in a couple lunch reservations we made prior to our departure. First of those was at Sushi Shinosuke, the 10-seat sushi-ya in Kanazawa on the second day of our trip.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Transformed Amber

I came to experience the transformation of Chef Richard Ekkebus’ Amber restaurant recently, shortly after the place reopened last month after the renovation. And when I said transformation, I am not just talking about just the remake of the dining area, now featuring a more relaxed, contemporary design with more natural light beaming through from the window, or the much expanded “show” kitchen, moving away from being just the backstage where food was prepared to being in the spotlight completed with dining counters, spacious cooking stations and wall décor.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

When Weekend Buffet Was the Perfect Thing To Do

I am not the kind who usually vouch for all-you-can-eat menus, but this time we went along to one at The Tai Pan at The Murray hotel recently, joining a few friends of ours for a family gathering a few weekends ago.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Hometown Food

I have heard it all when people talk about their dining experience at Xin Rong Ji (新榮記), ranging from rage over the exorbitant bill that appeared at the end of the meal, to singing praises like they are in paradise, to simply an indifferent shrug. Such polarizing opinions always got me curious, and the best way to find out how I felt about was of course to try it myself, which we did a couple weekends ago when our friend organized a dinner gathering there.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Indian in Macau

Golden Peacock fits the bill when we wanted to look for something different to try whilst spending the weekend in Macau recently. Indian cuisine is not something we normally go for in this town but the Michelin star that they have been keeping for a number of years did make me curious how their food would fare.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Perfect Celebration

We rarely contacted chefs specifically before any visit to their restaurants, not wanting to give them a wrong impression that we were expecting special treatments, but this time I did tell Chef Fabrice a month ago about our plan to eat at his restaurant in Macau, and made a special request to eat inside the kitchen. Blame that on the missus who asked for the "Chef’s Table" to celebrate her birthday.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Pleasant Lunch Surprise

We went easy on our recent Macau weekend trip with only one serious meal planned along with a couple casual lunches, and one of them was at a small restaurant called Root Macau. I have heard good things about the restaurant and the cooking of their chef Anthony, so we headed straight to the restaurant upon arriving at Macau late Saturday morning.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Four Pizzas, One Wine

On her brief return to Hong Kong, my friend V organized a few get-together meals around town and I managed to join her and some others over dinner at Kytaly, the “new-ish” pizza joint at Wyndham that many has said made the best pizza in Hong Kong.