Monday, December 28, 2020

Quick Italian Lunch Feast

The promise of a whole new experience at 208 Duecento Otto got my trekked out of the WFH mode to have lunch in Sheung Wan just the week before Christmas. To be honest, I never took the restaurant too seriously beyond a casual, neighborhood venue for pizza and a beer, but as I found out, they turned out to be much more than that with the modified space and menu. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Pre-Christmas Brunch

We never need any excuse to eat out any day, any time of the week, but we thought we would have our little pre-Christmas celebration over at the Sunday brunch at Landmark Mandarin Oriental in early December. I always enjoy the ambiance of MO Bar during the day, which felt like a little oasis right next to the busiest street in town and inside the busiest shopping mall, and even better was the Christmas decorations that’s already set up weeks ago bringing a sense of joyous mood.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Last Night Out

This was literally the last dinner out I had before the latest government restriction to shut down restaurant’s dinner service. I was at Ying Jee Club for the first time a few months ago during the first wave of the pandemic, and here I was again a few months later, in what’s described as the fourth wave in town. It did feel like it's centuries apart with so many changes and happenings in between.  

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Peanut Gang Gathering

We finally managed to eat at Renren Heping Restaurant for our regular "Peanuts Gang" meetup a few weeks ago, after our original plan kept slipping because of typhoon and the everchanging COVID government rules. The restaurant is one of those places I frequented - at least once every 2 weeks I swear - but with a slightly bigger group this time and someone else taking care of the menu, I managed to check out a few new dishes with a few bottles to go along with.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Lifesaver

My complacency got me into a mini crisis when I found myself not able to get a table anywhere for our annual celebration meal - got no one to blame but myself for thinking no one's going out for dinner on a Friday night. Thank God my friend E came to rescue with a confirmed dinner booking at one of her restaurants at the last minute - it sure was a lifesaver, or at the very least, kept me out of the doghouse for the day. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Three Meals in One Night (At Least It Felt That Way)

It remained somewhat a mystery why we ended up having twice as much food as we ordered when we visited Neighborhood recently, before the further COVID restriction kicked in early December. Restaurant was as popular as ever despite the circumstances, filled to the (reduced) capacity on the Monday evening we visited. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Private Room Dinner

Given this was probably our last group fine-dining meal for the year, it just seemed appropriate that we got to enjoy it at the comfort of the private room at Roganic. We have had a few great meals at the restaurant which opened a year or so ago, and so when our friends asked us for recommendation, this is one of the first few places that came to mind and with tables available on the date we wanted to go. And better yet, they arranged for us the private room situated on the side of the main dining area, giving us some privacy and space to enjoy our Sunday dinner in. 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

White Truffles Encore

I wanted a white truffle encore just before its prime season ends (some time between early to mid-December), so we paid a visit to Nicholini’s at Conrad on the last Friday of November for their tasting menu. With the restaurant (and other F&B outlets inside the hotel) pretty much booked up for the staycation goers, we went for one of their early seating and got ourselves a table of two right by the window - not bad for something arranged only at last minute. 

Friday, December 4, 2020

Fun Hangout


A couple weeks ago I popped by Zuma to check out some of their new dishes after work. With the evenings now much cooled down as we approached winter, their outdoor terrace provided the perfect setting for a pre-meal drink before we sat down inside their dining area for a long meal prepared by their Chef Oscar Luzon de Arcos. Edamame was perhaps the bar snack of choice in every contemporary Japanese-inspired dining places but I particularly like this version here with drizzle of Amalfi lemon juice and shichimi pepper, bringing up a notch of the usual version. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Ming Court Dinner

Our choice of staycation destination has always been driven by the type of places we wanted to eat, and this time at Cordis, the highlight meal was at Ming Court, their Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant. We haven’t visited the restaurant for a while so we were glad to come back for the special tasting menu prepared by Chef Li for the hotel’s 5th Anniversary celebration (and came as part of our hotel room package)

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Late Night and Early Morning

There’s no better time to check out a few spots in Mongkok that open in odd hours – either late night or early morning – while “staycationing” in the neighborhood. In the area “that never sleeps”, there are plenty of those and here are two of my favorites. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Annual Ritual

A visit to Sabatini is always a good idea especially during the white truffle season with their special tasting menu by Chef Claudio. And I was glad the restaurant (and hotel) was re-opened just in time before the end of the prime season for the treasured ingredient. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

What's Said In The Room

There’s never lack of interesting topics going round the table when this group of friends got together for a meal, this time at Duddell’s to check out Chef Li Man-lung’s new seasonal menu one evening. The private room right next to the dining area provided just the perfect setting, starting with a round of pre-meal drinks before moving onto the long, customized 10-course menu. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Gentrified Neighborhood

Just a few weeks ago we bemoaned the closure of TAP (The Ale Project in full), one of the pioneer gastro-pub specializing in local brews, when the original lease was not renewed but glad to know they re-opened shortly after at a shop just down the street from its original location on Hak Po Street, which has been gentrified to a somewhat hipster block thanks to a few restaurants and cafes opening in the last few years.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Extended Staycay

Turned out it was a great idea that we extended our weekend staycation at Cordis at the last minute thanks to a new room package with steep discount. We thought Mongkok is a somewhat familiar neighborhood to us but still there were much to see and do plus the extra day gave us more time for a much-needed break from the hectic life.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Smoky Bit

There were definitely times when I crave for the good old American family meal – you know, those with the likes of barbecue ribs, potatoes and Mac n Cheese spread across the whole table - but strangely restaurants specializing in such seems to be few and far between in this part of the world. So I was somewhat excited with the news about the arrival of Smoke and Barrel (one without the trailing s) which promises to deliver true old-school American BBQ (and “best in town”) and at the time when new restaurant opening has become somewhat of a rarity. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Sans the Neon Light

“Cuz I heard you didn’t like the neon lights so we turned it off for you”… of course Chef May was joking when she said that at my recent visit to Happy Paradise, reopened at its original site a couple of weeks ago after a “brief” hiatus. Well it’s been a while since I last visited – no, not just because of the lights – but glad to see the place is back to business with a full house on a Monday night, sans the funky lighting and loud music that was almost like a signature at this restaurant at the fringe of Soho but I am not so much a fan of. It’s much toned down, but still kept its cool, I reckon. 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Tuesday Night, Tapas Night

Was looking forward to this tapas dinner at 22 Ships after a long day at work. Not a happy camper after coming back from the long weekend so really need something to cheer me up. It's my first time coming back after they re-opened, now with a new chef Antonio on board. A new menu and many new dishes were introduced, but the same lively vibe remained, along with their no-reservation policy. Thank God for friends who came early to save us the spot at the back of the open bar/kitchen, where we got the perfect view of the cooking. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Birthday Treat

Coming here has always been a pleasure, even more so when we were here for a celebration of sorts a couple weeks back. We felt it’s long overdue for an occasional splurge at our favorite restaurant in town so we made our way to Caprice at the Four Seasons for dinner on a Friday evening. 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

30th Anniversary Menu

"30 years, really?" I only realized Golden Leaf and Conrad Hong Kong is celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year when I was at the restaurant for a dinner tasting the other night. They even came up with a special tasting menu for the occasion, which was the one we tried this time. 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

West Kowloon Picnic

We always wanted to do something different while on staycation, and this time at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong we headed down for a picnic right by the harborside at the West Kowloon Art Park Sunday morning before we checked out.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Light Italian Dinner

We headed down to Tosca di Angelo for a quick dinner on our staycation weekend at The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong. With literally non-stop eating (and drinking) since the night before, we opted for something light this time. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

Sky High Getaway

Our obsession with staycation continued with a “weekend away” at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. With the craze for staying a night or two away from home now catching on with the rest of the city, we arrived earlier than usual to check-in to avoid running into the crowd. And that strategy worked as we were given the room key quickly by the front desk staff upon arrival slightly after noon. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Gossip and Celebrate

This group of us got together regularly mainly for gossips over meals, but this time we tagged in another reason of celebrating with our friend GB, as if we need any other excuse to eat and drink. G graciously scored us a private room at West Villa when the restaurant in our original plan was shut because of typhoon – a blessing in disguise as it turned out. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Food Pairing Experiment

After a few messages exchanged, turned out we were having dinner in a group of 9 people over 3 separate tables on a Sunday evening at Shanghai Fraternity Association Restaurant, a rare occasion these days given we were not allowed to have a table more than 4 people at a restaurant.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Nice and Easy

We ended up eating at One Harbour Road at the Grand Hyatt on a Friday evening when we managed a last minute table booking. It’s been a while since we were last here and we wanted something nice and easy so that fits the bill. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

A Rare New Opening

Aria is one of the rare new restaurant openings in this rather tricky time, but I think there’s always room for another Italian restaurant if it’s done right. And I was there earlier this week in one evening to try the dishes prepared for us by their chef Andrea Zamboni. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Back to an old favorite joint

My crave for yakitori dishes brought us back to this joint in Causeway Bay, a place that we used to come regularly but haven’t been for quite some time. And glad to see their old chef Ben back working behind the open kitchen with all the familiar staff working in the front of the house at this small, hole-in-the-wall place in the building with the entrance inside a quiet dark alley. 

Saturday, October 3, 2020

All Crab Menu

We finished our staycation weekend with another dinner at a hotel restaurant, this time Yat Tung Heen at The Eaton for their 8-course seasonal all-crab menu on Sunday evening. Good to see the restaurant has filled to its capacity again during the weekend dinner service, a sign that everything is slowly returning to normal after the latest wave of pandemic has cooled down. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

30 Hours at the Hyatt

We went for yet another weekend staycation this past weekend, this time at the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui. I wanted to give both their hotel restaurants Hugo’s and The Chinese Restaurant a try for some time and the room package which included dining credits plus free breakfast sounds like a deal too good to miss in the time of pandemic lockdown. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Brunch at an Insitution

Staying at the Hyatt TST gave us the perfect reason to eat at their fine-dining restaurant Hugo’s, a place that I have never been, whether that be at their original location at the old Hyatt on Nathan Road or the one at its current location. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Back to Normal (Kinda)

We were at our friend A’s restaurant Nikushou on the first night when the "dine-out until 10pm" restriction was lifted. When everyone in town seems to be out and about eating and drinking, we were glad to score a table at this popular restaurant at the last minute - thanks to whoever bailed and freed up the spots.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Seafood Boil

Seafood Boil is always a good option if you need to entertain at home with little time to prepare. Not sure if it’s an American-only thing but you can see different versions of seafood boil dishes served at every household starting at around the July 4 weekend all through summer, from New England to New Orleans and from Chesapeake Bay to San Francisco Bay.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

In-Room Everything

We came to the realization that stay-cation in town is perhaps the closest thing we could do in place of travelling, so we went for a weekend “getaway” to the Four Seasons again. We were here at just around the same time last year, but what a year this has been since – to start, the beautiful swimming pool, sun deck and even the gym were off-limit this time because of the pandemic restriction. 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Beginning of Another Staycation

We couldn’t think of a better way to start our staycation at Four Seasons with lunch at the Michelin-starred Lung King Heen. It seemed like centuries ago since we last set foot here but nothing much has changed at this fine-dining Chinese restaurant – I admired the consistency of execution by Chef Chan Yan-tak and his team. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Matsutake Kaiseki

When a friend of ours passed us a batch of freshly picked Matsutake mushrooms from Yunnan, I decided to turn that into a feast of mushrooms for six people, Iron-chef style. 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Quick Weekend Sushi

I will be lying if I say the food quality and variety has not been taken a hit since the start of the pandemic, and the most noticeable were the dishes served at sushi restaurants in town, where they relied heavily on fresh ingredients shipping frequently from mostly Japan. But that didn’t stop us from trying to find one that were still decent especially travelling to Japan (or anywhere for that matter) became next to impossible these days. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Four Hour Farewell

Okay, I am going to try not to sound like this is an eulogy like many people have done. The other day we had lunch at Belon at Soho, for what possibly was the last time with Chef Dan Calvert still at the helm. All tables at his restaurant were snapped up soon after the news broke that he’s leaving for Japan at the end of the month – and we were just lucky to get a booking for lunch on one Sunday. 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Fine Dining Takeaway Part 4: Roots Eatery

I messaged Chef Stephanie the night before to order our takeout dinner so we could pick it up at her restaurant Roots the next day. I was intrigued by the dishes she posted on the restaurant’s social media account (@RootsEateryHK) and we were curious to check it out. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Coq au Blue Nun

I bought this bottle of Blue Nun as part of a prank for a few wine-loving friends who were around long enough to remember the brand being the de facto standard bearer of German wines in the late 70s and early 80s – no, I still wasn’t legally allowed to drink then but I did remember having a sip or two when I was a kid. We ended up not opening that bottle to drink that evening – rightfully so – and it’s been sitting around at home since. Guess the joke was on me. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Simple Italian Brunch

Every time we eat out has become a special occasion now that we could only do that twice a week, on weekends during the day. A few weekends ago we went back to our old favorite for something simpler at Giando at Star Street district.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Leonard's Kitchen

One thing I learned from my last dinner at Chef Leonard’s place was if he invited you ever again, you just say yes and ask when. We enjoyed it last time around with a series of excellent and original dishes a few months ago and he somehow exceeded my expectation yet again with another epic meal last week. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Fine Dining Takeaway Part 3: Nikushou Bento

When we heard our friend A (aka Meatchelin by his social media handle) started offering dinner bento box deliveries from his restaurant Nikushou in Causeway Bay, we immediately called to order. We have had a few rounds of western and Chinese food deliveries recently but not yet Japanese, and as far as food is concerned, we have little doubt A will deliver at the level we expected. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Fine Dining Takeaway Part 2: At Home By Ando

Continuing our series on fine-dining takeaway meal, we took up Chef Agustin’s generous offer to check out the new “at home” menu from Ando. I suppose this is extra challenging for him and his team given they were still settling at this new restaurant and kitchen, and then everything just changed at last minute with the dine-in ban and everything, but they pulled this off marvelously.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Again

Yet another change in government policy concerning dining at restaurants meant we needed to switch our table arrangement for our lunch at Caprice, but again, the team at the restaurant did a fine job in accommodating even with rather late notice. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Fine Dining Takeaway Part 1: Roganic At Home

With further lockdown being implemented territory-wide and we were stuck in work-from-home mode since mid-July, we resorted to cooking at home or takeaway a lot more than we normally do. And facing the adversity, restaurants have upped their game in the quality of takeaway meals. 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Change Of Plan

After the minor issue of having to switch our dinner reservation to lunch next day at last minute, we were just glad to have visited Ando, the new restaurant by Chef Agustin Balbi, two weeks into its opening. Normally we would rather wait for the new restaurant to kick into high gear and settle with the team before going, but we know Chef Agustin well and had great experience with his cooking at his previous restaurant Haku, there’s no doubt in our mind he’s going to deliver at the usual high standard even when the restaurant literally just got its stove warmed up. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Last Supper

When we planned for this meal a few weeks ago little did we know it turned out to be our last dinner at a restaurant for a while. Our friend Suveg told us about this pop-up Bombay East Indian dinner series hosted by his wife Saimara – we immediately signed up for a table, partly because I wanted to support a aspiring new chef and partly because I am curious what “Bombay East Indian” cuisine is about. 

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Late Night Yakitori

I almost forgot my booking at Toritama until a few days ago before the meal when I received their message reminder. With they still going strong when business got tough elsewhere, I made a reservation for one of the nights in July almost a month ago and it has since slipped through my mind. My craving for yakitori has somewhat satisfied by another meal I had in late June, but of course I didn’t mind another yakitori meal at arguably one of the best specialist restaurant in town. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Bit of Everything

I was glad to have met up some friends over dinner at Shikigiku at IFC before the July 1 long weekend. I have visited the restaurant – both this branch and another one in tst - a few times before for their signature tempura menu, but this time we went for their wider tasting menu, which offered dishes in various styles from their kitchen.