Thursday, December 30, 2021

Episode 4

I can count with one hand the number of times I dined in Yung Kee over the years - to the extent I couldn't quite recognize what improvement they have made to the dining area during their latest renovation project (which only completed months ago).

Monday, December 27, 2021

Winter Treats

I do miss coming to "SBI Canteen" (a.k.a. Softbank Kitchen") every now and then, especially during the winter season when Chef Tak prepared his famous Snake Soup in this cozy, referral-only speakeasy. And in my last visit a couple months ago, we were lucky to get a dose of double whammy with the seasonal soup course plus another one serving in succession. 

Friday, December 24, 2021

On a Streak

My streak of Italian meals continued with a lovely dinner at Osteria Marzia. I walked by the restaurant, located in a quieter street corner of Wanchai, more than a few times and intrigued by the elegant facade and the streams of customers coming through night and day, but this is only my first time stepping in and tried their food. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Seafood Dinner (What Else?)

Upon confirming our staycation booking at WM in Sai Kung, we knew immediately where we should go for dinner. We had great experiences at Loaf On so we won’t hesitate to go back any time we have a chance. 

Sai Kung became more and more crowded as the night falls with visitors flocking to this neighborhood famous for its seafood restaurants, most of them lined up along the sea-side promenade. Loaf On was tucked in the block behind slightly further from the rest, but by no means less popular, thanks to the Michelin star they gained and kept for a few years already. 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Sai Kung Staycation

It’s probably not the best time to open a new hotel, but at least in Hong Kong with people thirsting for anything just to get away from home, hoteliers can count on staycation goers filling the rooms for the time being. And plenty of them, as we found out a few weeks ago when we checked in to the new WM Hotel in Sai Kung for a quick weekend getaway. 

Friday, December 17, 2021

Dolce Vita

I have been on a roll as far as having Italian food is concerned in this one week in November. After lunch at Estro on a Saturday afternoon then Sabatini on Monday evening, a few days later I was eating at Grissini of Grand Hyatt. I haven’t been back for a while and seems like they have gone through some minor renovation since then, and also a change at the helm with Chef Marcello Scognamiglio’s recent departure. 

But what’s not changed was the laid-back ambiance, and the menu drawing inspirations and classical cooking from around various Italian regions. That and their namesake grissini breadsticks, served while we were studying their menu. 

Their set lunch menu always represented excellent value, and one could choose from 2 or 3 courses with many choices and it’s reasonably priced, and that’s how we started with a few additional dishes to share. We started with a couple antipasti dishes. Yellowtail Carpaccio was one of the restaurant’s signature, with the crudo of yellowtail in thick slices, slightly cured and served with artichokes, sea asparagus and plenty of the aromatic olive oil on top. I love the fatty flavor. 

Vitello Tonnato done in traditional Piedmontese style is always my favorite, with slices of tender veal served chilled with a creamy sauce flavored with tuna. The l’uovo in camicia was the richest of the three appetizer dishes, served in a bowl with the soft-boiled egg mixed with potato espuma and melted Scamorza cheese with green kale and bread crumbs on top as garnishes. I figured that’s the most comfortable bite comes cooler winter months. 

For pasta, we went for the bowl of Scialatielli tossed with zucchini, basil and provolone cheese. At its onset it looked like the pasta dish was not laden with sauces but it sure tasted rich and complex with such simple combination of fresh ingredients. I couldn’t help but felt a sense of déjà vu when the main course of Baccala al Limone arrived. I had a similar dish a few weeks ago prepared by Chef Marcello and I enjoyed it so much that I tried to replicate the sauce in one of the dishes I prepared at home earlier. And it’s good for an encore this time, with pieces of codfish fillet, silky and slow-braised and served with an emulsified sauce prepared with fish broth and oil, and on top was more ingredients such as clams, mussels and capers. And to cap this off was the generous sprinkle of lemon zest giving the dish amazing aroma.

For dessert, Tiramisu was a given since that’s one of their most popular desserts, and this time I also tried their Brioche, served with the lovely sabayon infused with Moscato d’Asti on the side. I did prefer my desserts (especially an Italian one) sweeter but the brioche was perfectly made and served warm.  

What can I say? Life’s been treating me well lately and how appropriate there’s a perfect Italian phrase to describe this. 

(Meal was by Invitation)

When? November 12 2021
Where? Grissini, 2nd Floor, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
Menu Highlights? Baccala al Limone
Drinks? Il Mosnel Franciacorta Brut Rose NV

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Uni Omakase

I ventured to this new-ish hotel called ALVA in Shatin the other day for a omakase dinner at Mizutani restaurant. To be honest, I haven't heard much about the restaurant nor the hotel before, probably because of its distance from my home or office, but turned out it's worth my little road trip up north after work one evening. 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Newest and Hottest

Our reservation at Estro for early November was made on the first day they opened up for lunch booking back in September. We have been wanting to check out Chef Antimo's new restaurant (and one of the hottest opening lately) since having the first taste of his cooking back in March during his brief stint at the pop-up Tatler Dining Kitchen.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Quite Some Celebration

We count ourselves lucky to get a table to eat at Wing again just 6 months after our first meal at this contemporary Chinese restaurant by Chef Vicky. With its popularity and glowing reviews, trying to score a reservation has become almost like a competitive sport and a near impossible feat. 

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Off Menu Unplugged

There are a few things I seldom said no to, one of which is when chefs invited you over for an off-menu party to their restaurants. Chef Ricardo was celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of their restaurant Mono and he and his team prepared a special menu for a few of us with new dishes that he specifically prepared just for an evening of fun and eye-opening dining experience. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

White Truffle Tasting Menu

Just at around this time every year, Facebook keep reminding me of the previous meals I had at Sabatini when the famous Alba White Truffles were in season. And I am glad that this year I got one more to add to the memory with another gorgeous dinner prepared by Chef Claudio and his team at this legendary restaurant at Royal Garden at TST East.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Champagne x Chef

I know I shouldn't have expected less when the ever elegant champagne house of Krug created an event for the launch of their new 2008 vintage, converting the space adjacent to Wanchai Pier into a whimsical theme with jaw-dropping harbor view to show forth in the background. Somehow they still managed to go beyond my imagination. 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Dealers' House

We had yet another Cantonese dinner at another clubhouse in Central last month (after this, this and this which happened earlier). Our friend T managed to organize this for our big group and sorted out the menu before-hand. We didn't know what else is in the clubhouse of "Institute of Securities Dealers" but the dining area is no different than just any typical Cantonese restaurant. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Heritage Breed Masterclass

"Eat less of the wrong meat" advocated Bennet Lee, founder of the Hong Kong-based Heritage Meat, when someone in our group asked a question about the global trend of putting less reliance on meat as our daily diet. We were at his shop in Repulse Bay as part of the masterclass/dinner organized by Slow Food Hong Kong. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Eating as a Sport

It seems peculiar the only facility "The Sports Club" has is a restaurant at their clubhouse - I guess unless they considered eating is indeed a sport activity. 

Anyhow, their restaurant, located in their clubhouse in Central and accessible only by members and their guests, is known for the repertoire of old-school Cantonese dishes. We were there early last month tagging along our friends B and J who are a member there. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Sushi Encore

My last sushi lunch was decent but nothing close to spectacular, so I want to make amend with another sushi meal, this time at a more proper sushi-ya on my day off. I didn't think much of Sushi Nakamoto in my previous visit a couple years ago but with all the positive things our friends said about the place and its food, I thought I would re-visit to find out. 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Solo Sushi Lunch

My sudden sushi cravings led me to a rare solo weekday lunch appearance in Central. I walked by Sushi Ima a few times previously so I was curious to give it a shot. 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Louder Than Words

Chef Ricardo may not be the one with many words – you hardly see him hyperactive on social media sharing every single bits of his life, nor he’s the type seen screaming and yelling at the kitchen constantly. But dishes at his restaurant Mono cannot be more expressive, uniquely reflective of his own heritage and culinary journey and his vision of a “perfect meal” for his customers who dined there.

Friday, October 29, 2021

The Full Experience

When we came to Ando for lunch with a few friends who were first time visitors to the restaurant, I asked Julien and Agustin, manager and chef, to "show them the full Ando experience". Well, they did exactly that, and putting us in the comfortable private room with a view of the kitchen certainly made this a good start too. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Across the Street

“Come eat at my secret stash spot”, suggested M, referring to the new space he acquired just across the street from his restaurant Renren Heping (人人和平小飯店) in North Point. We came to this neighborhood restaurant regularly mainly for its famous Cantonese barbecue and other home-style dishes, and also partly because its owner M is an old classmate of mine. And this time, he organized this dinner with a few of our common friends from school for an impromptu reunion of sorts with a special menu at this new shop. 

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Quickie Meal

Roganic is definitely my first choice when we wanted a quick, no-fuss lunch – their business lunch menu got you in and out in slightly over an hour with three solid courses. With the whole long weekend of non-stop eating (National Day weekend), that’s exactly what we wanted on a Saturday afternoon, a 
reprieve of gluttony, so to speak. 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Modern Singaporean (and It Ain't Hawker Food)

Whey was one of those new restaurants in town now with a 2 month waiting list. So our dinner booking in early October was actually made back in August, something that has become sort of a norm these days. But with its young Singaporean chef Barry Quek having quite a reputation for solid execution with his now-closed restaurant Beet, I figured it’s worth the wait. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Carte Blanche Lunch

With the local dining scene slowly getting back to normal so were our eating routine, including our meal date at Caprice of Four Seasons Hong Kong. And this time, it felt like they got the full team working on this particular Saturday afternoon when we were there, and the dining room was filled to the capacity. That is definitely a good indication that maybe we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel of this damned COVID thing. 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

New on the Block

We went on a mini eating spree on the October 1 long weekend, and to start, it’s Ami/Wood Ear at The Landmark, a new restaurant by the group which also owns Epure and Arbor, with the “unique fine bistronomie” concept as they called it. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

"Mo Duck Shue"

Some friends and I decided to take turns in hosting dinners at places each of us were (more) familiar with (including here and here), and when it came to my turn, I suggest we convene at Nikushou partly because that’s a place I am confident about and partly because most of us have not been recently so it’s good for a re-visit. So I gave its owner (and a good friend of ours) A a buzz and asked him to help arrange and all I requested was the menu has to be “unbeatable” (or “Mo Duck Shue” 無得輸 as we often say in Canto) as we often said in the previous rounds of dinners. 

Saturday, October 9, 2021

New Sichuan at Times Square

Hong Kong people seem to have bottomless appetite for Sichuan food with more and more Sichuan restaurants popping up around town. Chuan was the latest one I tried at one of the invited dinner tastings. 

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Late Dinner at Neighborhood

Let’s just say more often than not our dinners at Neighborhood ended up being eventful ones, whether that be the sheer amount of food served by Chef/Owner David or something else. And this time it’s a little bit of both when we came as a big group on one Friday evening in September. 

Friday, October 1, 2021

Clubhouse Dinner Ep 2 - Private Chiuchow Kitchen

"The Hong Kong Chinese Importers and Exporters Association" was not exactly the type of sign you expect outside a restaurant, but that's where we were eating the other night at the clubhouse of this old trade union (still in operation, by the way). There were actually a few similar places around the area, with the clubhouse restaurants serving decent food to members and guests alike, and for this, their specialty is Chiuchow cuisine. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Clubhouse Dinner Ep 1 - Classic Cantonese

HKUAA (Hong Kong University Alumni Association) Restaurant remained one of the most approachable "members-only" dining establishments that offered more-than-decent and reasonably priced food in town. We went there for dinner a few weeks ago, haven't been back for a year or so because of pandemic.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Italian Hospitality

Two weeks ago I was invited to the “unofficial” opening night of Casa Certa, the new office/warehouse/showroom of the Italian food and wine purveyor Certa. Over the years (for the common love of food and wine) I became friends with Certa’s founder Keti and got to enjoy many of the fine products they carry either in the restaurants or at home (wines, oils and vinegars, in particular), and while they may not be a household name to most, they have been supplying to some of the top Italian chefs and restaurants in town and had an online shop for occasional home cooks like myself. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Onion Crossover

The other day I took the afternoon off from work to join a few friends on a champagne “run”… to be exact, a Krug run when we went from places to places drinking and eating. It’s part of their annual (and now global) campaign by the champagne house working with a few chefs in town (as Krug Ambassadors) to each create an unique dish with a common ingredient theme, to go with their champagne, that goes without saying. This year that ingredient is Onion, and I am glad to go along with a group of friends to visit some of those chefs and checking out some of those dishes (and more).

Monday, September 20, 2021

Rational Choice

It could be because I have been missing traveling too much, but the décor at Radical Chic up on the top floors of ICC reminded me of the legendary Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia in Milan that we went some years ago, with the “scarily bright”, aesthetic white wall with eccentric mix of artwork hanging around and the spacious, minimalist dining area. I had that feeling the moment I stepped into the restaurant after riding up the elevator to Level 101 of the building, and turned out the style of cooking was similar too, with Chef Andrea Tarini taking on traditional Italian cooking with a contemporary touch. 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Cha Cha Cha

In Hong Kong's standard where restaurants were short-lived and culinary scene keep changing by the minute, it's not far-fetched to call Chachawan an "institution", having been around for quite a few years and being one of the first trendy, finer Southeast Asian restaurants in town . This cozy eatery on Hollywood Road has attracted quite a following with its focus on Isaan cuisine from the northern part of the country known for its spicy, rich flavor. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Cuisine from the East

We came to learn more about Chef Samaira's food for the first time at a pop-up event last year, and since then, have seen this home chef turned professional bloomed with a few more popular cooking events under her belt. Recently I was invited to try her food again, at her latest gig at Tatler Dining Kitchen, where she presented a refined East Indian menu with champagne pairing by Perrier-Jouet. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Bistro on West Side

"Why bother scrambling for a table at Batard when Bistro du Vin is just as good?" said a friend of mine on IG recently. Sour grapes as that might sound with a table at Batard now being the most sought-after in town (good luck trying!), but it's true that Bistro du Vin under the same group was not bad an alternative when all you want is a casual get-together for food and wine in a neighborhood bistro. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Rare Weekday Lunch in Town

I took advantage of my rare weekday appearance on the island side of town to eat at One Harbour Road at the Grand Hyatt. It wasn't that long ago since my last visit but they recently went through some renovation and re-opened with some slight changes in decor and table setting. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Just Don't Use the G Word

I won't necessarily call this "glamping" per se as I didn't see the glam part, but rather a sleepover in a simple caravan parked on a lawn, when a group of friends spent a night near Kam Tin at a "campsite" called Park Nature a couple of months ago during the July 1 long weekend. 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Spoiled by Chef

We felt we are always spoiled by Chef Agustin and his team at Ando whenever we dined there, with the only problem being getting a table at this busy restaurant is becoming increasingly challenging. Well, we managed to get a lunch booking a few weeks ago - just the two of us on a Saturday for no particular occasion. We opted for the shorter of the two set menus available for lunch service (bearing in mind we had an early dinner planned) but at the end, we had a few additional dishes on top of that and we were properly stuffed.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Downstairs Then Upstairs

Margo turned out to be much cozier than I thought as I walked in through the trendy, grand-looking entrance on Ice House Street, especially when the few of us snuggled around one of the few small tables in the dining room. There were actually 2 difference F&B venues under the same roof, Margo which was branded as an "intimate brasserie-style European restaurant", and Kyle & Bain, with the name being a reference to the history of its address Ice House Street, a Martini-centric bar tugged on the mezzanine level upstairs, both of which we were invited to check out. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Ryota-san's Special Menu

It's a no-brainer when our friend C asked us whether we would like to get together at Ryota Kappou Modern, a restaurant that he frequented, let alone he offered to arrange everything, booking out the private room and sorting out the menu with chef-owner Ryota Kanesawa prior to our meal in early August. 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Longest Spell

This is perhaps one of the longest spells between our visits to Caprice for as far as we could remember, with the last one came right after Chinese New Year almost 6 months ago. Not that we haven’t tried, but it’s almost impossible to book unless you plan way ahead. Anyway, we were glad that they managed to squeeze us a table for a “quick and simple" lunch on weekend afternoon in July. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Unagi Part 2: Uza x Tatler Dining Kitchen

I have enjoyed quite a few pop-up dinners at the lovely Tatler Dining Kitchen lately, and I got to say the latest installment was the one I anticipated the most with our friend A taking over for a 2-week engagement with his new dining concept Uza and a tasting menu combining Unagi (freshwater eel) and Izakaya (Japanese pub) cuisines (hence the name)

Monday, August 16, 2021

Unagi Part 1: Sumiya on Gough

Mid-summer is customarily the time to eat Unagi, or freshwater eel, thanks to the tradition of “Doyo no Ushi no Hi” day which falls in late July this year, so the other day we made a quick stop at Sumiya on Gough Street to enjoy a bowl of Unagi-don at this restaurant specialized in this classic Japanese dish. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

The New "In" Place

ODDS seems to be a rather odd name for a Japanese restaurant, but turned out that's the only thing that seems out of place about this new venue in Central, opened only a few weeks ago. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Dinner with Some Help

We got Chef Jayson’s help to arrange for us the room that can fit 12 of us in his restaurant Man Ho – otherwise it would have been almost impossible with the ever-growing popularity of the place especially ever since their first Michelin star gained this year. He also helped us with the menu – with my only requests being their signature char siu and also one other dish that I wanted an encore. All up to him for the rest.