Saturday, May 8, 2021

Two Month Wait

Batard is arguably the local restaurant with the longest waiting list right now. When I contacted the place back in February (as soon as the dining restriction was lifted) trying to get a booking, I was told the only available timeslot within the foreseeable future was a random Monday in April. I am cool with that, but then at the same time thinking, “it’d better be real good”, with all the fuss and hoopla that I need to go through. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Ode to Soy

A table at Tate Dining Room has been hard to come by especially for their popular weekend lunch menu with the theme of focusing on a single ingredient at a time. We called two months ago and managed to get the booking on the last week for the Ode to Soy Sauce menu just as we began our Easter super long weekend. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Dinner For the First Time

With all our previous visits came during day time, we thought it would be great to check out Ando’s dinner menu in early April. With this being our third meal at this restaurant this year and with higher expectation after each meal, I did secretly wonder whether Chef Agustin and his team could once again wow us in the same way they did previously.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Now Asia's Best

We love our last meal at The Chairman in January so much that we made another booking to eat at the restaurant before we finished the meal, and before we know for sure dinner service would be resumed by then. And I am glad that we did have the foresight of planning in advance. 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Spreading His Wing

It took a bit of guts to open a new restaurant in this time of uncertainty; more so for someone without formal Chinese cuisine training to start one focusing on Chinese fine dining, in the city where there’s no lack of top-notch culinary talents. But that’s the hill chef Vicky intended to climb with his new venture Wing being the first step of that quest. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Suan Cai Beurre Blanc

I wish I could say this is entirely my idea, but this originally came from a dish I had recently, when the chef prepared the seared threadfin fish with fermented cabbage, fish broth and chili oil, a dish said to be inspired by the Sichuan classic “Suan Cai Yu” (hot and sour fish with fermented vegetables 酸菜魚). Taking the cue, I decided to do my own version, switching the local threadfin fish with the pack of Patagonian Toothfish which I received from the online seafood purveyor Qwehli served with Beurre Blanc sauce made based on the traditional recipe with the addition of “suan cai” (fermented vegetables 酸菜) and fatty pork. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Poetic Menu

I was scratching my head when I first saw our menu at Cuisine Cuisine at The Mira recently. With the poetic and somewhat cryptic names, Chef Edwin didn’t give away much what we were going to have at a dinner at the restaurant a few weeks ago. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

It's All About The Season

I love the sense of exclusivity when we walked into Kappo Rin at Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong for our dinner. With the dining restriction still in place, the counter-only restaurant specialized in Japanese kappou cuisine could only seat two groups at a time, so we only shared the long counter with another couple in front of the chefs working behind the open kitchen the entire evening. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Challenge Accepted

Before the Easter long weekend, the team at Qwehli has generously sent me a few of their products for me to try and see what I could do with them. One of which was their Atlantic Salmon which was farmed in the North Sea in Denmark, and delivered to me as the frozen whole fillet with the skin on. I took it on as a challenge to see how many dishes I could create with this 2kg piece, and as it turned out, quite a lot actually.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Brunch at Night

It did feel like there’s a common theme going on with another all-you-can-eat meal at Conrad Hong Kong after our “unlimited” Sunday brunch at Henry only a few days ago. The weekend buffet at Brasserie on the Eighth has always been well-known for its luxurious offering and huge spread of food and drink across both the brasserie and the Nicholini’s next door, and in the month of March, they brought this to night-time for one evening only with its “brunch at night” special menu and asked me to join the fun. 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Better To Know Someone

“Better to know someone than to know how to read” (識人好過識字)… that’s a common local saying that highlights the importance of having the right connection rather than the right credential when it came to having a good meal. I never got around to eat at Run, the Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant at St Regis Hong Kong, so when my friend S asked whether I was free to eat there one evening with a group of friends, with him taking up the task of sorting out the menu personally with Chef Hung who’s the head chef there, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Unlimited Servings

We caught up with our friends A and C over Sunday Brunch at Henry of Rosewood Hong Kong a few weekends ago, as we knew they were always up for good food. I enjoyed my last visit when this Texas-inspired smokehouse first opened more than a year ago and I would be interested to see how Chef Nate and his team evolves over what’s been a challenging times in restaurant industry in the past year. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

More Wines Than Food

While we were still waiting for our turn to check out Batard in Sai Ying Pun, with their waiting list now extended to 3 months plus, we went to visit the wine bar by the same group on the other side of the harbor at K11 Musea a few Fridays ago.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Mono Lunch

A few weeks ago we had lunch at Mono, something we meant to do for a while but didn’t get a chance to. I have been to the restaurant twice last year and enjoyed Chef Ricardo’s unique take on French cooking with heavy South American influence in his casual restaurant in Central which opened in late 2019/early 2020 (which seems ages ago, I know), so a return visit was definitely warranted. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Another Restaurant Opening

Even though Cyberport was hardly 30 minutes away by car from home but it did feel like another world. When we heard our friends Caleb and Josh’s new venture, called Interval Farmacy, has just opened in this part (outside) of town, we went to check it out with my parents and made this a field trip of sort on a sunny Sunday afternoon. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

The Long Awaited Sushi

It's been a good six month since we last had a proper sushi meal. When we were able to travel to Japan a few times a year, we often prefer eating sushi while we were away rather than having that in Hong Kong, but well, now we just have to settle with whatever we could until we are able to hit the road again. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Cultivate

Going to a new restaurant on its first week of soft opening was not something I would normally do, but we went to check out Cultivate a few weeks ago when chef Leonard told us there’s two seats available on a Wednesday, two days after they opened its door. There are every reason to be confident – I was impressed by his creative dishes from a few times I ate at his residence-turned-private-kitchen – and expected him to replicate the same level of success with the same team over at this proper dining space up in Soho, with the long open kitchen and counter that can seat around 20. 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Three Hour Sharp

We made the dinner reservation at VEA as soon as the local dining restriction was lifted, but that still meant we need to wait for almost a month for the earliest possible timeslot (in early March). That showed how popular the restaurant has been despite the challenging COVID situation. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Dinner Plus a Late Night Distillery Visit

We were surprised to see Hop Sze Restaurant completely packed when we walked through the frosted glass door late evening. This cozy neighborhood restaurant always attracted quite a following, and even more so given it's the second week in almost 3 months when we were allowed to dine out at night and people flock to enjoy the newly-granted freedom. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Calling This A Series

We made the table booking at Ando in late February just as we finished our lunch on the Boxing Day 2 months ago. With another meal in between, that made it three in as many months that we had Chef Agustin’s food at his restaurant. And first time since they got their first Michelin star. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The First Taste

Once in a blue moon I was lucky enough to be given a sneak preview of something before everyone else – this time it’s for the soon-to-be-launched Tatler Dining Kitchen series by chef Antimo Maria Merone at the brand new venue at HAUS on Queen’s Road Central. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

The New Man Wah

Other than the new Mandarin Club on the 23rd Floor, February also marked the opening month for two restaurants at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. One of which was Man Wah, the Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant which went through the renovation and now with an expanded space and totally different décor, and that’s where we dropped by for lunch right after we checked in for our staycation weekend.  

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The New Mandarin Club

We were excited to check out the new Mandarin Club facility in its first month of operation during our weekend staycation at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. With almost all the luxury hotels in town offering executive lounge facilities as one of the options for their guests, it’s about time they followed suit, converting what used to be the conference rooms on the high floors into an exclusive space where guests could rest, had a drinks and some simple food, or work in a more relaxed environment.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Suite Staycation

With no end of travel restriction in sight, we decided to continue our “staycation series” with a weekend spent at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong after the busy Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day weekends. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

The Fourth Day

We dropped by Caprice at the Four Seasons on the last day of Lunar New Year holiday (nin chor sei, or the fourth day) as we often did in the past few years as part of our "festival tradition". After stuffing ourselves with traditional Chinese dishes non-stop during the 4-day long weekend, we were just happy for a change.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Sukiyaki at Home

We discovered this new food delivery service through our friends E and J who posted very nice pictures of their products the other day. These days we are eating at home more often than ever and obviously we are always on the look-out for any decent place that could save us the trouble of having to prep everything by ourselves all the time. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Burmese Brunch

We wanted something different to eat during our Lunar New Year holiday so we decided to give Club Rangoon a try with their weekend brunch menu. Being always on a look out for nice new restaurants in town, I have been planning to check this place out for a while and what we have seen on the news recently did put Myanmar (or Burma) in front of my mind – hence our visit during the long weekend. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Yum Cha Omakase

It’s great to have run into Chef Jayson at his restaurant Man Ho at JW Marriott during our visit on the last day of January, especially on the heel of double good news for him personally and professionally this month. And that also meant we didn’t have to decide what to eat and just asked him to help sort out the menu for us.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

The Freshly Minted

Call it a stroke of luck when we managed to get a table at The Chairman on the weekend right after they have regained the Michelin star after almost 10 years. A table to eat there was already hard to get by these days given they couldn’t open at night, and the newly minted accolade won’t help on that front either. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Totally Off-Menu

“Everything you are having are not going to be in the menu” Chef David assured us as we began to look at the menu figuring out what we are getting at our lunch at Neighborhood one Friday afternoon. While the statement was not entirely accurate, it’s true that we did end up with most of the dishes that I haven’t tried before at this restaurant or anywhere else. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Last Day of Freedom

It just seems appropriate that I commemorate my last day of freedom (for a while – at least that’s the plan) with a lush breakfast at the Landmark Mandarin. Among many places that offer decent, proper breakfast in town, Somm at Landmark Mandarin stood out as the venue with a cozy and sleek ambiance with food and drink slightly different than the others. 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Chaat It Out

It did take some twist of my friend G’s arm to get a last-minute booking at the ever popular Chaat at Rosewood Hong Kong in Tsimshatsui. And even with that what we got is a table booking at 3pm – certainly not a complaint but that made it another late lunch/early dinner for us on a Sunday afternoon. 

Monday, February 1, 2021

Ando Encore

“Show us something different from the last one” was my only request to Chef Agustin when we visited his restaurant Ando for a second time within a month. We were here during the Christmas week last time with their festive menu, so we were glad to come back so soon for more new dishes by the talented team. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Chicken Lunch

I have not been back to Yardbird for years – not since they moved from their original location up near Soho to their much expanded space in Sheung Wan. Not that we didn’t like their food but waiting for 60 minutes plus for a table have never been our thing and there’s always choices elsewhere, but with them now accepting reservations in advance, we didn’t hesitate to make one to eat there this past weekend. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

A Postponed Lunch

Our lunch at Caprice originally scheduled for early December got pushed back til mid-January due to unforeseen circumstances, and that also meant our party of 6 need to be seated across 3 separate tables with the prevalent dining rule. But what didn’t change was the top-notch food and service that the restaurant team consistently delivered. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Ravishing Char Siu and an Unusual Pairing Idea

A box of wines arrived at our doorstep a couple of weeks ago, courtesy of Toasst, a new business venture based on the wine club concept co-founded by my friend A just over a year ago. Most of the time I do have a good idea what kind of wines I would like to get, but I did find this wine subscription model interesting as a supplement to my usual collection. There are always those odd bottles – either from an obscure region or made using a rarer grape varietal or both – that one often overlooked, or there’s time you wanna be more adventurous. That’s when these bottles sent from companies like Toasst would come in handy as they focused on some unusual choices. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

First Star of 2021

It just so happened Arbor was the first starred restaurant we visited in 2021 – a few weeks ago we went online to check the earliest availability for a table at the restaurant and January 2 it was, fell conveniently in the first weekend of the year. And of course with the dining restriction still in place the booking for 4 people became 2 adjacent tables separated by a partition – they already did the best they could to make us feel like sitting together. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Early Dinner in a Chalet

Call this either a late lunch or early dinner, we made a booking to eat at Chesa at 3pm just as we checked out from our room at The Peninsula. The ambience of the cozy dining area, hidden in one side of the floor just above the lobby and resembled a Swiss chalet completed with dark wooden furniture, dim lighting and traditional wall décor, has always been my favorite part and it did feel like we were transposed to another part of the world once stepped in. Barring the rowdy family who sat right next to us with the parents treating the restaurant like their own (dysfunctional) home with lots of screaming and running around, it was actually quite nice. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

In-Room Michelin

We were not going to let the dine-in restriction deprive us the enjoyment of a proper dinner while staycationing at The Pen, so we went for the room service from Spring Moon downstairs. With our suite that came with a separate dining area and a long dining table, we found that almost as good as a proper sit-down meal but in the comfort of the posh, private space. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Staycation at The Pen

With no travel plan in sight in foreseeable future, we thought we would wrap up 2020 with another weekend “away” at The Peninsula known for its timeless grandeur. And there's no better time to stay-cation at this legendary property than in December, for they arguably have one of the best festive decorations in town during the Christmas season. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Long Lunch on Boxing Day

At our last outing to Ando a few months ago I did tell myself we needed to go back soon when dinner service was resumed (we went on the first week the government banned all dine-in after 6pm) Turned out 5 months on we were back to square one in terms of dinner lockdown, but at least we did make it back to Chef Agustin’s restaurant for another meal on the Boxing Day. Call this part of our holiday celebrations with friends. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Morning Hotel Dim-Sum

When lunch became the "new dinner" and the most important meal of the day, I guess breakfast is now the "new lunch". One Harbour Road at Grand Hyatt is one of those restaurants now with an extended opening hour from early morning on, so we dropped by one weekend for a leisurely breakfast.

Friday, January 1, 2021

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That

We decided to host an ad hoc pre-Christmas dinner at our place with just a couple of days to prepare in advance, so we thought it’s a better idea to do a combination of takeaway dishes plus a few simple ones done at home so we have enough food on the table to feed six of us with much less hassle.