October 18, 2014

Holy mother of fish head

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A friend is entertaining a group of Taiwanese foodies, and my services were once again called upon to ensure that a good time was had by all.  Would it surprise anyone that my go-to restaurant for such an occasion turned out to be On Lot 10?  I think not...  We chose not to book out the entire section upstairs, and as it turned out there was another party of equal size sharing the space.  I was initially a little apprehensive, knowing how loud a group of 12 can get after a little alcohol.  Guess what?  The youngsters at the next table weren't exactly quiet, either...

After a little wine tasting at a friendly wine merchant in Central, the gang casually strolled over to the restaurant, almost a full hour before we were expected.  The kitchen probably had to scramble a little to come up with some food while we started sipping on bubbly...  As usual I discussed the menu with David but made only one request for the beef.  Everything else was carte blanche per SOP...

David decided to hit us with a series of heavy main courses, so we got off a little easy on the starters... like this simple salad with just frisée, radish, endive and herbs.  A little green (OK, this wasn't that green...) never hurt nobody.

Whole steamed Breton artichoke, anchoaïde - and more green!  Before On Lot 10, I had also never had eaten artichokes whole, either... so it was natural for the guests to be surprised at the sight of these large spheres.  So nice with the tart anchoaïde.

Food blogger scum

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So... almost exactly a year after my last rant about food blogger(s), here I am writing another rant piece.  And this time I'm naming names.  Last year I made vague references to a certain person I called scumbag 人渣 because I find his behavior reprehensible.  You would have thought he'd learned his lesson, but no, apparently Daniel Ho - who is the "super-duper mega popular 超級宇宙無敵人氣 blogger" behind siuyeahdragon 為食龍少爺 - has done it again.  So now the gloves come off, and FLAME mode is ON!! (apologies for using this near-obsolete internet speak... it's what we used when I first got on the internet before the so-called World Wide Web even existed...)

October 15, 2014

Sweeping the Neighborhood

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Tonight was a real exciting evening for us, as we were paying our first visit to a brand-new restaurant during its very short soft-opening period.  It's no secret that David Lai from On Lot 10 is my favorite chef in town, and we've become friends over the last few years.  So when his long-awaited new project was finally ready to receive customers, we waited no time in getting ourselves a table.

Much like the other restaurant I visited last week during their soft-opening period, Neighborhood also charges only 50% of normal food prices during its very short soft-opening.  It's a practice we whole-heartedly agree with, and we can only hope that it's adopted by more restos in town in the future.

The Worm Supplier had scoped out the menu, and it was already decided that we would "sweep the menu (掃餐牌)" - the local expression of ordering every single item on a menu (or a page of the menu).  Given that there were at least 6 of us and only about 20 dishes on the entire menu, this wasn't really a challenge.  And we called ahead to let the restaurant know that we would be ordering every single dish, so that we wouldn't be faced with the unpleasant surprise of having them run out of something.  Unfortunately, there was still one item on the menu which wasn't available...

So here goes...

Rocket salad / fresh cheese - pretty simple... just arugula, slices of goat cheese and olives with a sprinkle of finely chopped chives.

Charcuterie - prosciutto, salami and lardo di colonnata.  The lardo was a little more salty than I expected, and also flavored with rosemary and paprika (?)  I was the last to dig in, and when I expressed my dismay that there was no more lardo left for me, two of my generous friends offered up part of their lardo to me.  And the phrase "and I don't give lardo to just anyone" was uttered in the process.  My eyes instantly became a little moist...

October 11, 2014

(not so) Happy sushi

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For the last few years, I found myself eating less and less sushi in Hong Kong.  Unlike many of my friends, I rarely develop a craving for it.  Since I can find good sushi in Taipei that is just as good or better - and at a significant discount to the prices in Hong Kong - I've kinda been getting my sushi fix there instead.

As a result, I no longer know where to get good sushi in Hong Kong.  Realizing that there's a gaping hole in the dining experiences documented here, I decided it was time for me to check out a few places in town.  A friend suggested that we do lunch at Kishoku (楽) - one of the places often mentioned when it comes to sushi, and a winner of the Top 10 Restaurant Award from WOM guide in the category of Japanese (Sushi).

I didn't want to have a real heavy lunch, so I opted for the deluxe sushi platter (寿司盛り合わせ).  I also specified - as usual - that I didn't want any cut of tuna.

The bowl of appetizer contained chopped mixed seafood - different cuts of fish and shellfish - in a sesame and horseradish sauce.  Not bad, but I was a little surprised by the kick from the horseradish.

The salad was about as expected.

October 8, 2014

Classic Continental offerings

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Almost a month had passed since my first review meal for the South China Morning Post's First Served column, so it was time for me to pick out a new victim to skewer venue to try.  The hot new opening of the moment seemed to be The Continental, which took over the space previously occupied by Domani.  Swire not only brought in famed Rowley Leigh of Le Café Anglais as chef consultant, they also brought in the design team behind the Wolseley.  And Da Jam from WOM even punched out an interview with Chef Leigh last week... So definitely worthy of attention, then...

...except... the restaurant was due to be officially open on the 13th, and my column was due in the morning on the 13th.  I called the restaurant to make a reservation, only to be told that they are in their "soft opening" period and everything was "by invitation only".  Having turned down an invitation to join a group of fellow winos for a preview last week, an invitation was something I was clearly lacking.

What was one to do? It was suggested that I simply try to walk in.  Well, I suppose that could work, but I'd need a backup just in case I was refused entry.  So I made a booking somewhere else, trekked over to Pacific Place and hoped for the best.

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