Thursday, April 24, 2014

Encore at Fofo Privat

We were part of the group who booked out Fofo Privat, the private venue owned by the Fofo by El Willy people, for a birthday celebration dinner of our friend this past Saturday.

The restaurant occupied the top two floors of a six-story building right beside where Fofo the regular restaurant is located, with the entrance opening up to a dark side alley. On the first level is the kitchen in an open set-up, with a dining area which can sit 6-8 people, and the floor above - where we were seated - is another private room which could sit up to 20. Decor followed the similar minimalist theme of its regular restaurant, and it also came with a small rooftop lounge, perfect for chill-out before or after the meal.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

More Tokyo - Back in history at Nihonbashi's Tenmo

I felt like going back in time when I arrived at Tenmo, a tempura restaurant in Nihonbashi district in Tokyo, in a rainy evening in late March. The small and humble wooden 2-story house - which is both the restaurant (downstairs) and the family residence (upstairs) - was built in 1947 and stood as stark contrast to the surrounding skyscrapers which came well after it. Same retro theme continued with the decor inside, which seems to have left unchanged all these years, with a simple open kitchen setup that resembles more of a family kitchen than a professional one, and a fan-shape counter with high chairs that can sit up to 6 right in front. As I saw the framed newspaper hung on the wall that read "February 1955", I subconsciously took a peek at my iPhone to check the clock and make sure I didn't literally go back in time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

More Tokyo - Good ramen at Kudan Ikaruga

I managed to check out a few other new restaurants in my recent trip to Tokyo, and one of which is a ramen place called Kudan Ikaruga (九段斑鳩) in Kudanshita. To outsiders, the place may not be as famous as the likes of Ichiran, Ippudo or even Menya Musashi (all of which have opened shops in Hong Kong recently), but it's often mentioned by many ramen aficionados as one of the best kept secrets in town.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cooking at home: When Mexican met Mediterranean

I am planning for a dinner at home for 8 last weekend and I wanted to make use of saffron which we received from a friend after her recent trip to Iran. While a number of countries produce this exotic space known for its special fragrance and color, particularly those around the Mediterranean, it's often said that those from Iran were of the highest quality and the most sort after. Then I came across a recipe on a magazine for a Mexican dessert known as "Tres Leches" cake (which literally means "Three Milks" in Spanish) so I figured it would be interesting to match it with a saffron icecream to bring some sassy exoticity to the menu, matching creamy richness with the unique fragrance; a contrast of off-white and bright yellow colors; a fusion of Mexican and Mediterranean inspired cooking.

Recipe: Saffron Icecream

The second part of the dessert is the saffron icecream. Saffron has this mistakenly exotic fragrance, either you like it or hate it, and while it's originally in bright red color, it will turned into a golden yellow color when it's soaked in water (or any liquid you happen to cook with). That's why it's often used as dye for cloth in ancient times as well.

Recipe: Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches literally means three milks in Spanish, because three kinds of milks were used - evaporated milk , condensed milk and the regular whole milk. We Hong Kongers are more familiar with evaporated milk (花奶/淡奶) and condensed milk (煉奶) for their wide use in local street foods and drinks such as milk tea and toasts, but they are almost as common as a cooking ingredient in many Latin American dishes. So for those from overseas, they should be readily available in supermarkets stocking Asian or Latin American grocery items - try find them in those specialty spots.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A short one on FINDS - Restaurant Week Menu

Another restaurant we managed to try out for the first time during the Restaurant Week was FINDS in TST. We went for lunch on a Sunday after church service just right next door.

FINDS is one of the few restaurants in town specializing in Nordic cuisine. The Restaurant Week menu was essentially an abbreviated version of their tasting menu, celebrating some of the better known regional dishes with a fancy touch.The restaurant is located on the first floor of a boutique hotel on Kimberley, and we were impressed at the spacious dining area, with a huge bar in the middle, and the minimalist decor.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

More Tokyo - Lunch at Sushi Iwa

On the last day of the trip, I hopped on to the train on Marunochi Line for one last time to Ginza for lunch before my early evening flight out of Narita. This time I decided to check out Sushi Iwa because it's been on my "to-do" list for a while and is only one of the few finer restaurants in town which was open on a public holiday (it was the Spring Equinox Day then)