Sunday, December 30, 2018

Decadent Beef Hotpot

A bunch of us ventured out to Tsuen Wan on a random weeknight for some decadent beef hotpot at a speakeasy style restaurant inside an industrial building. The place went by the name of "Prime Team"  (傲嚐) and it could be a bit hard to get to, even when we decided to drive and park, but at the end, I am sure everyone at the dinner thought it’s well worth the hassle.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Two in a Row

I haven’t made my way back to Tate Dining Room for years, and not since chef-owner Vicky Lau moved her restaurant to the current location on Hollywood Road in 2016. But when I finally did, I went not once but twice in the same week earlier this month.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Whimsical Celebration

We were at Chef Uwe Opocensky’s namesake restaurant a few weeks ago for our annual celebration. The restaurant, called Uwe and opened slightly over a year ago, is the chef’s next big project since his days at Mandarin Oriental – and in between, a hugely successful casual dining chain Beef and Liberty in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

End of an Era

"The End of an Era" was the feeling most of us shared when a group of us walked in to the private dining room of Amber at Landmark Mandarin Oriental for a special dinner recently. The Michelin-starred restaurant (and a prominent feature of Hong Kong’s fine-dining scene) would close for a few months to undergo a facelift and transformation, and before that, in their final week, they were hosting a series of "farewell dinner" featuring signature dishes from each of the 14 years of “Amber 1.0”, as its chef Richard Ekkebus called it.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Five stars (and counting) plus the First Growth

Just a glance at the menu put on the table one would know this is going to be an extraordinary night of wining and dining. On one side was 8 courses of dishes including items like beef tartare with oyster and caviar, or double-boiled sea whelk soup with walnut and conpoy. Then on the other side was the flight of wines, including a few different vintages by one of the best known names spanning over 4 decades. And all of these were put together by two amazing chefs and a prominent local wine merchant featuring one of the most well-known wine estates.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Game On

A few weeks ago we had a delightful meal at On Dining when Chef Philippe Orrico presented a few seasonal game dishes in the prime of the game season. I was at the same restaurant only a couple of weeks before for their Sunday brunch, but it did feel a bit different being here in the evening with the office buildings and the neon lights in the city as backdrop in a clear but slightly chilly night.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Four-Hands Menu at Nicholini's

As I returned to Hong Kong on late Saturday afternoon after a “whirlwind staycation” in Macau, I headed straight to Nicholini’s of Conrad for a special dinner featuring a guest chef from Tuscany. Chef Gaetano Trovato of Arnolfo Ristorante in Northern Tuscany joined hands with Chef Riccardo Catarsi of Nicholini’s joined hands to present a special 6-course dinner menu, with both chefs taking turns in presenting each course.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

White Truffles and Company

A few weeks ago we were back at Neighborhood for another epic meal. After our meal at Belon in late September, we plotted for another dinner gathering and this casual bistro helmed by our friend and chef David Lai was our choice. And it came right at the prime of the traditional white truffles season so we ended up having a few dishes that were served with the piece of white truffles we picked from Chef David’s stash which he got from his supplier regularly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Quick Stay at Palace

In between two excellent meals at two separate Wynn properties in Macau the kind hotel PR team put us in a suite at Wynn Palace on the Cotai side. We have visited the hotel briefly previously but this is the first time we were staying there.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Tan Lunch at Golden Flower

The next day after our dinner at Wing Lei Palace we went across the bridge back to Macau Peninsula for lunch at Wynn Macau’s Golden Flower (京花軒), another restaurant by the same group. But unlike Wing Lei Palace which put more focus on Cantonese cuisine, Golden Flower specializes in Tan Cuisine (譚家菜), a cross-regional style of cooking combining Northern and Southern Chinese cuisines with an imperial touch given its root from a high scholar family in the Qing Dynasty Imperial Court some centuries ago.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Cantonese Dinner at Wynn Palace

We made our way to yet another Macau trip this time mainly for a single reason, that is to have dinner at Wing Lei Palace, where Chef Tam Kwok-fung (formerly of Jade Dragon at City of Dreams Macau) has moved across and took the helm at the kitchen there a few months ago. We left office on the dot, hopped on to the Macau-bound ferry and made it to Wynn Palace hotel right on time for our late dinner.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Snake Soup and Much More...

If I really need to find one reason to join the recent dinner at Cuisine Cuisine hosted by the PR team of Mira Dining (not that it’s really necessary), that would be for the rare opportunity to try Chef Lee Yuk Lam’s famous snake soup. Chef Lee (李煜霖師傅), or Lam-gor as some people affectionately call him since his days of being a resident chef for the rich and famous and also at a hidden speakeasy, is known for his preparation of fine-dining Cantonese dishes, and among them, the Imperial Scholar Snake Soup. It’s often said he’s one of the few chefs who mastered the art of making the most true-to-tradition version of this dish, which is popular among locals during the colder season.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Going Back to Haku

When our friends C and M asked us for recommendations of casual fine-dining place on the Kowloon side, we told them about Haku and Chef Agustin’s creative cooking. And we were just as happy to tag along when they made a booking to eat there one weekend evening.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Everything with Truffle Flavor

The other day I went for a dinner tasting at yet another new restaurant that popped up inside Harbour City – I am still amazed at the number of new openings happening here on a regular basis. And this time I am even more amazed at the restaurant concept itself, with the whole place focused on the single ingredient of truffles.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Another New Chef on Board

We were at Gough’s on Gough a couple of months ago checking out their Restaurant Week menu just as they were undergoing a change in culinary direction, and late last month, I went back to meet their new Chef Cary Docherty and check out some of the new dishes he introduced at the restaurant as part of that transformation.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Sunday Brunch

It was a perfect day to go up to On Dining on a sunny Sunday afternoon to check out their new brunch menu with the theme “French Roast”. What’s not to like about the restaurant with the perfect city view through the huge balcony on the top of the building?

Monday, November 26, 2018

Dinner that almost didn't happen

“Oh, I thought you guys cancelled your booking a few days ago?” Some mis-communications among our group of 8 meant our dinner reservation at a fully-booked restaurant on Halloween weekend was no longer there, just as we were informed by the maître d’ when we arrived at ICHU at H Queen. Luckily for us, after a brief moment of panic (and despair), the restaurant staff managed to find us a table, in none other than their private room, and we were extremely thankful for them saving the night for us and not only that, turned into something quite extraordinary.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Rest of Morpheus

I felt we didn’t spend quite enough time enjoying the hotel facilities and the gorgeous room arranged for us by the PR team of Morpheus Macau as part of our fam tour (and weekend stay-cation). A pity really, because they were just every bit as good as the many meals we had the opportunities to sit down and check out during our brief stay.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Lunch Before We Go

I can’t say I have been to too many Alain Ducasse restaurants, but Voyages at the new Morpheus did stand out to be somewhat different than the others bearing his name. We sat down at the lounge inside the restaurant for a couple of drinks and snacks the night before, and we returned for lunch the next day, just before we headed back home.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Chinese Tasting Menu

I felt we really didn’t stop eating since our long lunch at Morpheus’ Club Lounge followed by a quick tour of the hotel and a dip in their swimming pool on the top floor. We retreated to our suite and found a gorgeous looking cake in Pierre Herme’s signature Ispahan flavor and a bottle of bubbly sitting on the table (thanks Chef Sebastien and his pastry team and for the hotel PR to remember my birthday just a few days back) And soon enough, and a quarter of the cake after, we were back downstairs for our dinner after a couple drinks and plenty of snacks at the fantastic lounge at Voyages by Alain Ducasse.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

"Simple" Lunch at the Lounge

Last month we spent yet another weekend in Macao in one of the newest hotels in town. If there’s a time that I made a trip just to check out one new hotel and that hotel alone this year, I am sure Morpheus is high on anyone’s list and I was glad that the PR team at City of Dreams extended an invitation for us to spend the weekend there and to check out some of their facilities.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Fancy Mushroom Night

I honestly could not remember when’s the last time I was at Sabatini – don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my meals whenever I was there and I am a sucker for the old-school Italian trattoria vibe the restaurant is known for, along with its classic cooking style and many of its timeless signature dishes. I blame that on the location really, just slightly out of the way of where I usually hang out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Late Late Dinner

We made our displeasure known to the staff when we finally got our table some 30 minutes later than what we have originally booked for, an inexcusable mistake any restaurant could make no matter how good the food was, or how many times they said sorry for, or how many rounds of drinks they offered to compensate with. Not to mention we already made accommodations by taking a late seating (9pm) for our big group but turned out we weren’t seated until half past, and it was another 20 minutes before the first dish of the tasting menu arrived.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

First Crab of the Season

A combination of weather and government bureaucracy issues meant hairy crab season still hasn’t arrived even at the end of October – something unheard of for as long as I remembered (crab season usually began in early October). But the other day I managed to enjoy my first hairy crab this year, courtesy of some friends’ friend who organized a crab feast using Shanghainese hairy crabs she directly imported from the source.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Birthday Meal at a Steakhouse

After a few evenings of feasting in the past weeks in the month of birthday celebration, I decided to go for something simple on the actual day, and dinner at Porterhouse in Lan Kwai Fong seems to fit that criteria. They were running a new promotional menu called so I thought this is the perfect excuse to go check it out.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Late Night Spicy Hotpot

We kept saying we wanted to eat something light after attending a social event at the Central Harborfront, but we ended up having a long late dinner at a new restaurant in Causeway Bay specializing in Taiwanese spicy hotpot. I found Spicy Spirit on the Eatigo app just as I was searching for somewhere to eat and I remembered some friends were raving about the place earlier. That’s why we ended up making a last-minute booking and showed up at their door 10 minutes later.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Eating Spree Continued...

My 3-day "non-stop eating spree" continued with a trip to Caprice for a special menu featuring two pairs of twins chefs - Jacques and Laurent Pourcel of Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier and Chefs Mathias and Thomas Sühring of their namesake restaurant in Bangkok. We have been saying that it’s been a long while since we went for dinner at Caprice, and this unique collaboration menu gave us the perfect excuse to do so, on the second (and last) evening that it’s offered in early October.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Thai-French Four-Hands

When Chef David Lai told me about the upcoming “4-hands” dinner he’s organizing at his restaurant Neighborhood with Chef Ton of Bangkok’s Le Du and asked whether I am interested to come over, I didn’t blink (nor check my schedule) before saying yes. All the meals at his restaurants were nothing but spectacular, and I have never seen him done a crossover menu before, so I know it’s going to be quite a special evening that I was willing to adjust my diary to attend no matter what.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Celebrating 40 Years

After my first visit to the restaurant 2 months ago, I returned to Hoi King Heen earlier this month again, this time for a special menu presented by Chef Leung Fai Hung, who’s celebrating his 40 years working inside the kitchen. I love the meal during my last time out here so I was looking forward to the dinner hosted by the hotel PR team and specially prepared for us by Chef Leung as part of this tasting menu available til end of this year.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Street Food Fest

A whirlwind visit to Macau brought me and some other friends to Studio City to check out the Michelin Guide Street Food Festival over the Golden Week long weekend. Normally I wouldn’t fancy such a long day-trip commute for only dishes at a few food stalls, but with the line-up included restaurants and chefs from all across Asia and a few starred establishment, I figure it’s still worthwhile - just think of it like those pop-up restaurant/guest chef event, just that this time these were street food stalls.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Third Time's (Still) A Charm

When I was organizing a quick catch-up with some friends in late September over dinner, I did confess to Chef Daniel Calvert that his restaurant, Belon, was not the only venue I have suggested as options. Well, in my defence, I just didn’t want to be like a “Restaurant Nazi” dictating where people should go eat, but at the end I was glad that we reached the consensus to convene at Belon for our long overdue dinner gathering.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

New Chef, New Dishes, Same Look

My lunch at Man Wah was pushed back by 2 weeks because of Typhoon Mangkhut which hit us in mid-September, but glad we could finally re-schedule and made that happened before the October 1 long weekend. I am an admirer of Chef Wong Wing-keung’s cooking at Yee Tung Heen of The Excelsior, and recently Chef Wong moved across to its sister property at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong to be their new executive chef at the Chinese restaurant (where he used to work as sous chef before his post at Yee Tung Heen). MO’s PR team has been arranging meals at the restaurant to introduce their “new” executive chef to the media, and hence I was invited to one of them.

Monday, October 22, 2018

A Restaurant Week Night Out

We thought we missed out on the Restaurant Week promotion this summer until we realized a few restaurants were extending their special menu til the end of September. But instead of using this opportunity to try something new like we did before, we opted to go back to somewhere we have tried and like this time around.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Chef Vs (Paella) Pan

I did say it would be a long while before I will even consider doing the “chef gig” thing again since my “debut” at PMQ Taste Kitchen a few months ago. But when Chef Alex Fargas and his team approached me to be the guest chef for the weekend brunch menu at his restaurant La Paloma, it seems like a project having too much fun to say no to. The restaurant in Sai Ying Pun, with the promise of serving “Sexy Tapas”, has been doing this “Chef Vs Pan” series for a while, in which once a month one outside chef would come in to deliver his/her version of paella (using the giant 40-inch pan) and roast suckling pig as part of their weekend brunch menu.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Crossover Across the Straits

There seems to be a constant stream of chefs coming in from overseas working alongside with local restaurants for special collaboration menus, or so called four-hand meals. The latest I had the opportunity to try was the one featuring two creative chefs I love, Chef Agustin Balbi of Haku Hong Kong and Chef Kai Ho of Taipei’s Tairroir, plus the Japanese bartender Shuzo Nagumo of the Mixologist Salon in Ginza. They came into Hong Kong for a 2-day-only collaboration event in late September.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Spectacular Omakase Show

Since late last year, what used to be called Sushi Ta-ke has gone through quite a transformation from a cozy sushi-ya at Cubus to a new, much bigger location on the ground floor of Lee Garden shopping mall not far away. And in addition to sushi which they still offer at a longer counter, they also had separate sections for teppanyaki and tempura, making this one of the few in town that offers high-end Japanese fare in such wide variety of dishes and cooking styles.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Serious Wine and Dine Night - I Mean, Seriously

Our favorite “secret private kitchen” venue became not so secret any more, now that they finally put a discreet sign outside the building at their new location bearing the name “No 9 SBI Canteen” (9號軟庫飯堂). Apparently this is the name they were known by for those in the circle who has visited the place before. It’s been a while since my last visit at their old location on Pottinger Street, and then they have closed and didn’t re-open until a month ago at this new location in Sheung Wan, and our friend RC was kind enough to organize a gathering for a bunch of us.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Pre-Concert, Pre-Typhoon Dinner

We have always wanted to try the new Pici in Tsimshatsui since they open a few weeks ago and we decided to go on one evening for an early dinner when we had to attend a music concert nearby, just as the super typhoon loomed.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Summer Macau Stay-cation Part 3: Family Friendly Star

I found it kinda ironic that Grand Lisboa Hotel, the property that houses one of the biggest casino floors in the world under its roof, also features a few very good restaurants well-suited for families. After we had a great Italian feast at the friendly Casa Don Alfonso the night before, we visited The Kitchen right next door for lunch before we called an end to our quick Macau stay-cation.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Summer Macau Stay-cation Part 2: Long Table Dinner

After an afternoon of fun pizza-making, we returned to Casa Don Alfonso evening for a proper sit-down dinner at their private room at the back of the restaurant. We ate here once late last year after their renovation and re-launch, but this time we had the opportunity to try out some new dishes by the new chef Maurizio Ferrini, which showed further refinement from our first visit since they moved from fine-dining style towards a casual trattoria while sticking true to the traditional family-style Italian cuisine.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Summer Macau Stay-cation Part 1: Noodles, Congee and Pizza-Making

An hour of ferry ride in the choppy sea – thanks to the stormy weather – got us into Macau in a late Saturday morning for a weekend of staycation at the Grand Lisboa. And the hotel PR team was so kind to organize a weekend-full of “feastivities” to keep us entertained and well-fed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Dinner at The Chairman

Following a spectacular meal at the Ap Lei Chau fish market, almost the same group of people re-convened in the same evening at The Chairman for another eating session. It’s been a while since my last visit to this classic Cantonese restaurant which is already in its 10th year at the same location and has gotten quite a reputation for its intricate, true-to-the-tradition cooking. And with its owner DY – who is considered by many one of the more serious foodies in town himself - personally picking the dishes for us, I was really curious how the dinner would fare given my already-high expectation.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Fish Market Tour

The chef showed his disbelief when seven of us carried around 20 catty (or 12 kg) of live seafood to his restaurant just round the corner near the Ap Lei Chau market in an afternoon. “I doubt you would be able to finish all of them…” he said, and at the end, he might be right, but we all had a great time travelling to that part of town for some unusual catch, and rest assured all leftovers (not a lot of them) were carried home and didn’t go to waste.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Last Day of Freedom

I spent my “last day of weekday freedom” with a trip to a new pizzeria restaurant in Central which was still in their initial "soft opening" period. Kytaly is an "indirect import" from Italy, conceived by a famous Italian pizzaiolo Franco Pepe, born in Geneva and now made its way to this part of the world, and is said to serve the world’s best pizza. Well, of course there’s no lack of places that boasted the "best of (something) in the world", but with many who tried said the same thing after trying, I was curious to see if there’s any merit to that claim myself.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Not So Little Anymore

We went on an impromptu dinner date on a Monday evening at Chef May Chow’s Little Bao at its new branch at Causeway Bay (their flagship restaurant, I was told). They have been hosting their friends and families for trials before they officially opened later this month, and we were glad they considered us as such so we could get a sneak preview of the new venue and the new menu before the crowd sets in to this ever popular joint.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Catch up at The Neighborhood

We thought it was a great idea when our friend B and H suggested to meet up over dinner at The Neighborhood on a Friday evening. It’s a been a while since we last visited Chef David at his restaurant, and we always love to come back here to eat at any time. The place has become even more popular than it was, now that it’s ranked one of the Asia’s Top 50, but at least we finally got our table confirmed a couple of days before.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Return of Lobsters

We were pretty excited about the comeback of the “Lobsters and Bubbles” menu at Café Causette at MO Hong Kong. They have run the same menu during summer time a few years back and we loved it so much that we went there a number of times in quick succession, and glad they decided to bring it back this year for the month of August.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Breakfast Upper West Side Style

"What? You lived in New York City for a year and never heard of Sarabeth’s?"

When we got up too late for the traditional Taiwanese breakfast of youtiao, jianbing and soy milk on our last day in Taipei, I ditched our original plan and suggested to check out the Taipei branch of this rather famous New York institution known for its pastries and breakfast dishes. That’s when I realized CYY - an one-time New York resident - has never heard of the restaurant, let alone stepping foot into one (how could that even possible is beyond me - but then she lived in Queen's so that's perhaps why). Guess that’s the extra reason to go check it out just before we were to catch the ride to the airport for our afternoon flight home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Nostalgic Taiwanese Lunch

We didn’t make specific plan for our first lunch in Taipei, but decided just to try a luck to get a table at a place recommended by one of our friends. From outside, Mao Yuan looks just like any other casual, old-school Chinese restaurant with simple (dated) décor and well-lit interior, but we were told the place serves some of the best Taiwanese family-style cuisine in town.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Late Night Fine Dining

Eager to explore more of the rising Taipei restaurant scene, we made a reservation to eat at Longtail, helmed by the young Chef Kin Lam. We have long heard good things about the restaurant and the chef and we regrettably missed out last year when he returned to his hometown Hong Kong for a brief pop-up to much acclaim, so this is how we made amend to that.