Saturday, July 26, 2014

Shane's Last Call at St Betty

My previous experiences at St Betty has been hit or miss - while I love their Sunday roast for a casual weekend day out, my dinner here on a few occasions were forgetable, both in terms of food and services. With the location and the team behind the place has every potential to reach for greatness but for whatever reasons it simply fell a bit short. But as words came out that head chef Shane Osborn - who first made his name at London's Michelin-starred Pied a Terre - is moving on, I think it's good to have another visit on his last day at work in this kitchen.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Saturday Morning at Caprice... Kitchen

I was super excited (and felt privileged) to have the opportunity to spend some time with Chef Marike van Beurden - the pastry chef at Caprice - inside the kitchen of Four Seasons Hong Kong a few weeks back on a Saturday morning to learn about chocolates. We were given a crash course on chocolate making, then some tastings of different kinds of chocolates, and at the end, created a dessert using chocolates under the guidance of Chef Marike.

That morning we had a chance to taste and compare different kinds of chocolates produced by Cacao Barry, a 170-year-old French premium chocolatier. They source cocoa beans from well-selected farms around the world, and supplies its products to many top restaurants, including Caprice. Many of Chef Marike's fancy dessert creations which were on Caprice's menu were now made with Cacao Barry products.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In the Meat Paradise - Butchers Club Deli

I finally managed to venture out to the new Butchers Club Deli in Aberdeen to check out the place and their menu.

This is the third outlet of the hugely successful Butchers Club "empire" famous for their dry-aged steak prepared in-house - the others being the original Butchers Club in Tin Wan, and the Butchers Club Burger in Wanchai. While the former focused mainly for catering and private dinners, and the latter a more casual place for a quick bite, Butchers Club Deli is kind of both - offering deli-style menu during day time, and in the evening, the venue's available for private functions or more elaborate steak dinners. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sunday Brunch at the Penthouse

We were chilling with some friends at Penthouse by Harlan Goldstein on a Sunday afternoon. The restaurant - the newest addition to the Chef/Restauranteur Harlan G's culinary empire - only opened a few weeks ago on top of the just-completed Midtown building - said to be the next Causeway Bay landmark featuring a bunch of soon-to-be-opened restaurants that got people excited about.

I think everyone who visited the place would be stunned by the gorgeous view as they stepped out of the elevator. Even though it's only the 30th floor, through the floor-to-ceiling window which stretches the entire side of the dining room guests would have an unobstructed view of the Victoria Harbor with the skyline from both sides, and on a clear day like the one we had on the day of visit, we could even see the entire Kowloon Peninsula with the mountains as a perfect backdrop. This is a billion dollar view and I think this would be a perfect venue to treat any out of town guests to impress them with the best of Hong Kong. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

New Chef, New Menu - A Sneak Preview at Nicholini's

A few of us were at Nicholini's recently for a sneak preview of the new menu created by Chef Luca de Berardinis, who just came on board to their culinary team. It's been a while since I last set foot in the restaurant (a long story), but I think it's time to come back, as I have heard good things about the cooking of Chef Luca, who was previously at the helm of the Michelin-starred Il Milione.

This evening's menu was designed just for the occasion with all new dishes - part of that menu will be available for a one-night-only event at the restaurant in August, and the rest will be revealed as the new seasonal a la carte menu soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Burgundian Delight - Yung Kee x Montille Dinner

We were on a rare weeknight out to join a dinner at Yung Kee hosted by the British wine merchant Berry Brothers and Rudd with Burgundy winemaker Etienne de Montille. Yung Kee, the legendary Cantonese restaurant famous for its roast goose among many other classic dishes, has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons, so I was quite interested to see whether those negative publicity has any impact to the overall quality of food.

The dinner was held in a private room on the VIP Floor, one level above their regular 3-story restaurant. I had never eaten in this more intimate and quieter section so that's yet another reason we were curious to come. Of course, the main attraction was still the wines being presented, which came from the two estates Etienne owned and actively managed - the Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet he worked and later acquired, and Domaine de Montille that he inherited from the family.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fly me to the (Mira) Moon

Last Tuesday night I was at Supergiant, the casual tapas bar at the new boutique hotel Mira Moon in Wanchai. Well I vaguely remembered there's some mentioning of the opening of this design hotel late last year, but I didn't realize there's also a full-service restaurant on-premise as well until the hotel PR team mentioned this one day and asked whether I would be interested in trying some of the dishes there.

The restaurant (and the hotel) is located somewhere in between Wanchai and Causeway Bay at a street corner on the unremarkable Jaffe Road. I was somewhat confused by the name which I didn't quite relate to being a tapas bar, but I was told that it's named after an astronomical term of a super bright star, hence consistent with the overall design theme of the hotel, which was inspired by the moon and the Chinese folklore surrounding it. Now that made a little bit more sense to me.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Nostalgia is overrated - so is Tai Ping Koon

Yes, I have always been extremely biased against Tai Ping Koon, almost with a grudge (so please turn away if you happen to like the place - I am not here to start any argument with anyone) I even think it is borderline ethical that they were allowed to serve such overpriced, overrated food with such poor quality, preying on customers' desires to go down the memory lane.

But last Sunday I decided to give it one more try, wanting to judge it purely on the food and dining experience, without taking account into what they claim to be serving (classic western cuisine?) nor the scandalous price they attempt to extort from customers for the food.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Homey lunch at Wanchai's Youka

My friend G who's in PR business was kind enough to invite me to try out this new Japanese restaurant in Wanchai recently. Youka - which literally means "The Eighth Day" - sat in the street corner on Johnston Road one block away from the Southorn Playground and at the helm is Chef Katsuhiro Ito, formerly of Tensho, and before that, Sagano at Nikko Hotel Hong Kong.
The decor - both outside and inside - was tastefully done. The dark wood facade resembled the body of a fish with its fin pattern, and inside was an amply lit space with a sushi counter that can sit around 6-8, small tables on either side of the walls, plus a high table in the middle for more casual seating. The arrangement was a bit cramped for a place of this size but not to the point of not being able to sit comfortably.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Peking Duck at Kowloon Tang

My friend from California Fro recently stopped by Hong Kong for 2 nights in his whirlwind "round-the-world in 30 days" tour, and we wanted to take him out for some classic Chinese food. Seafood at Sai Kung was our usual choice for taking out-of-town guests but this time we made a last minute change of venue to somewhere closer to town. At the end we managed to get a table at Kowloon Tang at the Elements shopping mall and better yet, they even had their signature Peking Duck available with such short notice - usually it required reservation 24 hours in advance. Lucky us.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Drinks at M Bar

Thursday is the new Friday? Well we can only dream that may happen one day when we all don't have to work after Thursdays, but nonetheless, I was out late last Thursday evening for an excellent time at M Bar on top of Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, to try out some of the drinks created by the visiting bartender Giancarlo Mancino. It did almost feel like a Friday evening.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 1 Lunch - Sushi Mori Tomoaki

We are always on the lookout for good sushi joint in town, one we could go regularly without breaking our wallet... and judging from what I heard from others so far, Sushi Mori Tomoaki in North Point/Fortress Hill area sounds promising, so I made a booking for lunch to check the place out on July 1 holiday.

The restaurant - opened a few months ago without much fanfare - is located in a small alley in the fringe of North Point, somewhere between Fortress Hill and Tin Hau MTR stations. Chef Mori-san left his namesake restaurant chain in Causeway Bay late last year and opened this new restaurant on its own. There's no sign at the door, but I guess since it's the only Japanese restaurant on the block, that must be it.