May 3, 2021

First Man: Wah!

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Ninja's back in town and finally out of quarantine, so we arranged to meet up over a Cantonese meal.  I have been curious about Man Wah (文華廳) after their much-ballyhooed renovation, and since none of us had visited the restaurant in its new incarnation, I figured we could go scratch that itch.

I normally don't pay too much attention to the decor of the restaurant, but I must agree with Ninja that the new ambience is very laowai (老外)... i.e. what a Caucasian would imagine Chinese decor should be.  Locals would take one look at the blue and think of 死人藍, but hey... when it comes to interior design, I know iron bar meh?

I informed our server upfront that I had zero interest in any of the tasting menus put together by the restaurant, as these are rarely interesting to me while dining at Cantonese restaurants.  As we were getting together for our visitor, it was only right that she pick out a few dishes that she wanted to try.  I had never really properly tried the cuisine of Chef Wong Wing-Keung (黃永強), although he seems quite beloved by the local foodie community.

I was pretty hungry, so these candied walnuts came in pretty handy.

Deep-fried matsutake mushroom pudding (松茸戈渣) - we started with a dish that's been all over social media.  I love these old school deep-fried custards, and wouldn't dream of passing up the chance to taste them.

April 30, 2021

Three Burg night

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We've caught up with the Fergies a few times this year, but haven't dined out with them too much.  After discussing a few options, we ended up choosing Roganic for dinner tonight.  I've had two pretty good meals here before, so I felt pretty good about coming back.

Both my previous visits saw us take the short testing menu, and I felt pretty comfortable about the amount of food we got.  I was ready to do the same again, seeing that this was a cheat meal while I'm on my diet.  But Fergie had other ideas... so the long tasting menu was what we got.

Citrus cured salmon and seaweed tartlet - the nori (海苔) shell carried citrus cured salmon roe along with some yuzu (柚子) gel.  Pretty tasty.

April 29, 2021

Disappointing Bastard

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For all the buzz around Bâtard ever since it opened, I was never eager to go check it out for myself.  The dishes which helped the restaurant become popular were, primarily, dishes first created by others or seemingly popular and available elsewhere.  The cold angel hair with caviar starting showing up in Singapore more than a decade ago thanks to Gunther Hubrechsen, and over the last few years more than a handful of fancy restaurants in town served up roast chicken - sometimes with rice as accompaniment.  Every time a friend asked me whether I had been to the restaurant, I always replied that I didn't see anything that would draw me there - in terms of food.

Of course, the restaurant is operated by the people behind The Fine Wine Experience, who wanted a venue to enable them to sell more wine.  The real attraction here, at least for someone like me, was the pricing on the wine list.  The wines were priced just about the same level as the retail shop, which was just like the way I used to buy a bottle at Vinum and have them serve it to me at Les Amis in Singapore.  For people who, myself included, insist on BYO because they don't want to pay ridiculous markup on wines at restaurants, this was music to our ears.

So I finally got around to booking a table, which entailed a wait of just about 2 months.  Meanwhile, Belo and I spent some time browsing through the wine list to pick out a few bottles.  Unfortunately for my friend, I am too cheap and ended up removing the more pricy bottles she had chosen...

Beef tartare Cannelloni - the crispy tubes were stuffed with minced beef "from Northeast France" seasoned with olive oil.

April 23, 2021

Big Seven night

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Chocolate Ball has been helping me with some sake purchases over the last few months, and it may be a while before I get to see DaRC over a meal again, so I figured we should take this opportunity to open something nice together.  One thing led to another and, before we knew it, this impromptu dinner morphed into an occasion to taste a couple of premium sakes.

Once again we relied on RAW Yeah to rescue us, and to be honest, we're always happy with the food at Nikushou.  I have noticed, though, that we seem to be getting less and less beef at this so-called yakiniku joint...

Chilled Japanese snow crab, vinegar jelly - tons of meat from Japanese horsehair crab (毛蟹) coming from Hokkaido, including whole sections of crab let. Acidity from the jelly always helps to balance out the savory flavors of the ocean.

April 22, 2021

More than meets the eye

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Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, it's been a long, long time since we organized a social event for the team.  In fact, only half of us are currently in Hong Kong... and we look forward to the day when borders reopen and we can, once again, travel without quarantine.  However, we figured it was time to have a night out and just do some bonding away from our desks, and so a team dinner was planned.

With the pandemic still with us and not everyone fully-vaccinated, a private room was preferred.  It also made sense that we chose somewhere close to the office.  I figured China Tang (唐人館) would be a venue which fit our requirements, and thankfully Chef Menex Cheung (張嘉裕) was able to help us secure a room.  I left the menu up to him, hoping there would be some surprises. After all, the chef has a repertoire that includes flavors from Sichuan, which is rather unusual for what people see as a Cantonese restaurant.

First came the appetizers (唐 ∙ 拼), which were served in individual bamboo steamers with dry ice underneath, releasing a light scent of chrysanthemums and roses.  Everything came in bite-size portions, on a rather thick and fluffy bed of hydroponic greens.

Fresh abalone, Chinese rice wine (酒糟凍鮮鮑魚) - nice and crunchy texture. A little smoky, which was a nice surprise.


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