Sunday, December 29, 2019

New Smokehouse in Town

I came to Henry at Rosewood Hong Kong with a lot of expectations when I was invited for a dinner tasting there just a few weeks ago.. A proper steakhouse was few and far between in Hong Kong, especially if I started counting out those with style but no substance. With the hotel owner eager to please and spare no expense in doing so, and with Chef Nate Green, which came with a reputation for being a grill expert from his days at Rhoda, at the helm, there's every reason to be hopeful.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Weekend Chinese Lunch

I probably do fancy western meals far more often than I do with Chinese ones, and perhaps that's why it's been years since I last visited Duddell's, and probably only my second time ever when I went for lunch a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon to try some of their new Cantonese dimsum and dishes at this upscale restaurant in Central.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Lingonberry Meal

We spent one evening to do we thought to be a “very London thing” – that is to have a pre-theatre dinner at a restaurant followed by watching the actual theater play at West End. And doing it on a day with absolutely horrid rain and freezing cold - along the same theme, I suppose.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Middle Eastern in London

We had an awesome time at Yudale Bar in Jerusalem a few years ago for what’s possibly our best Middle Eastern meal ever, so I thought we should visit The Palomar in London under the same group serving a similar style of dishes while we were in town.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Night of Glamour

For the past few years, Michelin Gala Dinner has been one event that I am particularly excited about during the festive December. There's everything that makes this the perfect evening - the excitement, the drama, the glam, the chance to dress up, to mingle, to chit-chat and gossip, and of course, the wine and food that's served.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Pre-Flight Treat

There’s no words more comforting when Chef Bombana dropped by our table and said he would take good care of us, especially during the white truffles season and when you knew he's a man of his word. I was excited to be able to join some other friends for a dinner tasting at Chef Bombana's Otto e Mezzo restaurant late last month, on the very evening I flew out to London for a week - that's the way to start off the holiday with a sumptuous feast.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Another Winning Performance

I didn't realize it's been quite a while since I last visited VEA until I received a kind invitation from Chef Vicky and his team to check out their latest menu. I assured him the hiatus was unintentional - my few previous visits to the restaurant were nothing short of exceptional, and I did come to his restaurant a few months ago for one of the crossover meals he hosted (so that at least should count as half a visit).

Friday, December 13, 2019

Cross Border Fine Dining

"Wanna join us for dinner in Shenzhen this coming Tuesday night?" Crazy propositions such as this will normally be politely turned down, but when my friend RC asked this very question just a few days before, within a minute I told him yes and cleared out what's originally on my diary that evening to make the long trip across border for the meal with a few good friends of ours.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Last Minute Lunch Omakase

As another indication that local restaurant business has clearly slowed down, I managed to make a last-minute reservation for weekend lunch at a sushi-ya that I have been wanting to try for a while. Heard good things about Sushi Nakamoto at Pottinger and with its small space – counter only with less than a dozen seats available – means advance booking was often required. But not this time: I woke up Saturday morning and craved for some decent sushi, so I called and got us 2 seats for lunch. Much to my surprise actually.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Dinner That Almost Didn't Happen

We managed to make it to Neighborhood for dinner against all odds a few weeks ago. We came close to calling it off at the last minute because of the deteriorating traffic situation in the city that day but at the end we actually arrived ahead of the planned booking time because most of us were allowed to leave office early.

Friday, December 6, 2019

That Epic Casserole

I could only count with one hand of a meal as memorable as this in recent times when we went back to this secret spot in Sheung Wan for a feast with some friends. It’s been around a year since my last visit, and the first time CYY managed to make it to this unmissable place for the first time since they moved to its current location.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Snake Soup, And Then Some

When my friend E suggested we got together for dinner over a bowl of hearty snake soup, Ser Wong Fun is the first restaurant that came to mind. Its Central location works best for everyone, not to mention I could solicit help from my another friend G, whose family owned this restaurant for more than a century, to reserve a table and sort out the menu for us.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Creative Four-Hands Effort

With almost every fine-dining restaurants in town offering some kind of special collaboration dinner events on a regular basis these days, I got pickier in choosing which one to go. But the one at Arbor recently just fits all the criteria, so I made the booking the first day I got the news about the event featuring guest chef Yusuke Takada of La Cime.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Weekday Buffet

I always considered the breakfast buffet at The Blue Bar at Four Seasons Hong Kong the best in town, so I was as happy to drop by during the day a couple of weeks ago when they introduced a few new dishes at the lunch buffet at the same place.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Evening with Natural Wines

Nothing stopped us from assembling at our friend J and C's Interval Coffee Bar near LKF for a special natural wine dinner they organized despite the slight disruption of traffic in the city. The place has recently introduced the new bistro-style all-day menu and they hosted a one night event with a few of their courses paired with a few bottles from Radikon winery in Italy, considered one of the pioneers in the natural wine movement. So we went on the evening before the actual event for a preview and test run of sort.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Cheesy Dinner

It's probably more common to see a winemaker or sommelier joining us for dinner rather than a fromager, or cheesemonger, but recently I got such an experience with Francois Bourgon of Fromagerie Xavier co-hosting us at Epure in TST for a special cheese-themed tasting dinner prepared by its Chef Nicolas Boutin. I guess I could call myself a cheese lover but definitely not an expert so it's an excellent opportunity to learn more from someone who's a specialist in his trade (and a decorated MOF because of that)

Friday, November 22, 2019

Weekend Spanish Lunch

I increasingly felt La Rambla is becoming what Catalunya aspired to be before this restaurant of the same group closed a few years ago. The more central location (in IFC) meant it's much easier to draw a crowd day or night, and the open kitchen and spacious, well-lit dining area makes the venue much livelier, and of course, it's all backed by the same level of excellent food and drink selection.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Back to Back Hotpots

We always joked when we chose the place for hotpot meals, more often we go for quantity rather than quality since it made little difference to us as long as the food is plentiful. But recently we did try two hotpot restaurants that offered both and more.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Twelve Courses and No Chicken

We were excited that Chef Dan managed to get us a table to eat at his restaurant Belon on a Friday evening despite we planned this rather late. It’s been a few months since we last ate there – if we didn’t count the times we dropped by for a quick round of drinks or desserts – and we have always enjoyed the meals at the restaurant with well executed bistro-style dishes and the lively vibe inside this cozy space in Soho.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

For Wellness' Sake

At first I wasn't quite sure about Asaya Kitchen at the new Rosewood Hong Kong when I received an invitation for a dinner tasting recently. With its emphasis on "wellness gastronomy" or "health-conscious fare", it sounded like the menu would be filled with just avocado, quinoa and Brussels sprouts (obviously not my BFF ingredients). But I figure it wouldn't hurt giving it a shot before passing the judgment.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Classic Giando

I felt like Giando is exactly the restaurant I love with the casual Italian trattoria style ambiance and decent food based on traditional cooking and seasonal ingredients. And I thought I just visited at the right time last week when white truffles were in season (plus they were running a special anniversary tasting menu), and even better when Chef Gianni Caprioli was there to personally attend to us and brought us a few new dishes.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Right Time

From the onset Hop Sze Restaurant in Sai Wan Ho looks just like any neighborhood eatery serving home-style Cantonese dishes, but one got the hint this one stands out in this old and worn district, either by a quick glance at their menu with a separate section filled with extravagant ingredients, or by the fine wines on display in the cabinet or brought in by their customers.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Off Menu at The Chairman

I don’t like pulling strings to make restaurant booking but this time I made an exception by reaching out to my friend DY for help. Some friends and we were organizing a Sunday lunch with the group at The Chairman so I wanted to see if DY could arrange for us a few off-menu or new items at his restaurant, now many considered to be serving some of the finest Cantonese dishes and most true to the traditions.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Event Preview

I was gutted for not being able to attend the T.Dining Off-Menu event in mid-November because of other engagements, but glad I was given a sneak preview in an afternoon recently with a few participating chefs showing us some of the dishes that would be presented at the actual event. T.Dining has been great in bringing together some of the best culinary talents in town for one-of-a-kind collaboration events for the past few years (such as this and this), and this may be their most ambitious one yet, featuring over a dozen chefs not only from Hong Kong but some flying in later this month, all paired up to create a number of unique dishes only available at this event to be held at The Peak Galleria.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Time for Hairy Crabs

Outside of white truffles, I would say hairy crab is one food ingredient that I relate most to the coming of the fall season. And glad we got to share our first hairy crab meal this year at our favorite Shanghainese restaurant with some friends we haven’t seen for a while. We always thought Shanghai Fraternity Association is a place perfect for casual dinner gatherings in the area, and their food has always been decent.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Ta Vie Celebration

"Pure, Simple, Seasonal" - what's written on the menu by Chef Hideaki Sato seems to have captured the true spirit of the dishes served at his restaurant Ta Vie. There were only a handful of Michelin-starred restaurants in town that I have yet tried, and I was eager to cross Ta Vie out of that list after hearing all the good comments from my foodie friends. And what's more appropriate than to go on a day of celebration with a special meal there?

Monday, October 28, 2019

All About Sake

We spent our second day in Hakone visiting a local sake brewery; then later on, a dinner at our hotel specially crafted for us to pair with a few bottles produced there. Hakone area, or to a wider extent, Kanagawa Prefecture, was probably not the most prolific sake producing area in Japan, but with the water coming from the nearby Tanzawa Mountain long considered one of the best underground water source in the region, there are a number of decent breweries around. (Of course it won’t hurt by its proximity to the capital and the local demand from the popular travel destination of Hakone nearby)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Last Lunch in Tokyo

We wanted to stay in at our hotel on the final day of our Japan holiday, just to spend the morning in the neighborhood then lunch at one of their restaurants. Azure 45 is considered one of the best French restaurant in town (with one Michelin star which they keep for a number of years) and shared the same floor as the hotel lobby up at the 45th Floor of Tokyo Midtown.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Zest-y Lunch

It's a pure coincidence that we had quite a number of meals that featured western style cooking re-interpreted by Japanese chefs in quick succession, first while we were in Japan late last month and that trend continued after returning to Hong Kong, including my recent visit to this new restaurant at the top floor of a commercial building in Central.

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.