August 29, 2014

High end dim sum next door

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I had another occasion to lunch for work today, and chose to take our client to Sun Tung Lok Chinese Cuisine (新同樂魚翅酒家) since it's nearby.  It's been a while since I've had dim sum from Sun Tung Lok, and I thought the quality was certainly good enough for a client lunch.

Steamed rice flour rolls with shredded turnip, enoki and Yunnan ham (金包銀絲腸粉) - I've always liked this dish, and yeah it was pretty satisfying.  Love the crunch inside.

Baked abalone puff (特色鮑魚酥) - somehow not as good as I remembered.  The slices of abalone inside were a little too chewy today.

August 27, 2014

Afternoon delight

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I first saw announcements about a Pierre Hermé Infiniment Citron Aternoon Tea a few weeks ago, and thought it looked pretty interesting - especially since I'm a big fan of the Fat One.  But somehow it didn't register in my mind that there would be tons of people in town who would want to have afternoon tea like this, so I didn't rush to book a table immediately.

By the time I thought about doing something about it, both of the remaining weekends had been totally booked out.  Not wanting to miss the chance to taste some yummy goodies, I booked a table for a weekday afternoon, then roped in a couple of ladies of leisure who worked in the building to join me.

I dunno what it is, but I've been having some trouble with finding reservations at 5-star hotels lately.  I myself had no trouble getting seated at Cafe 103 at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong for this tea session.  However, one of the ladies had a little trouble joining me.  First the receptionist informed her that there was no reservation under my name.  When she insisted on having the special afternoon tea, she was told that all the tables were fully booked (which was probably true).  She was then led downstairs to a private room at another restaurant - where apparently she was responsible for kicking out the chef in the middle of an internal meeting.

Curiously enough, somewhere along the line the staff asked whether she was meant to join me and my "wife".

When my friend finally managed to join me a few minutes later, she told me what had happened to her and we all had a good laugh.  I had never been here before and certainly had never met any of the staff.  How the staff thought he knew me well enough - despite not being able to find my reservation - to know that I have a wife that I didn't know I have... is completely beyond me.

Anyway.  We were kinda left to our own devices for a while, but we finally managed to flag down someone to place our beverage order.  I was a little surprised to find that our waiter didn't know the name of the special tea that was recommended to accompany the nibbles...

First came the savory bits:


August 22, 2014

Japanese collage

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A friend was kind enough to invite me for dinner tonight, and was even kind enough to choose a restaurant with "light" fare to accommodate the fact that I had a big lunch today.  Japanese was the order of the day, and they decided on Shin Shu (信州) in K-Town.  This is a couple of doors down from Bistronomique (which, incidentally, my friend David is no longer involved with), and happens to be run by the same people.

I recalled reading the review from Susan in the paper, and remembering that she liked the food.  So I felt pretty safe about trying out this new place.  Yes, the decor was pretty bare.  In fact it looks like your average neighborhood Japanese joint, not some place that serves up premium ingredients.  But hey, as long as the food is good, I ain't gonna complain much...

Susan had mentioned that the omakase was satisfying at a reasonable price, so naturally we followed suit.  We need rearrange the serving order a little bit in order to match the alcohol we brought.

Edamame (枝豆) - pretty standard for many Japanese restaurants to serve this first...

Onsen egg with sea urchin and salmon roe (温泉卵、雲丹、イクラ) - pretty nice, but the surprise was the little sansho leaf (木の芽) which gave the whole thing the slightest of kicks and made it much more interesting.

Sometimes, less is more

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A couple of good friends were interested in checking out the seasonal summer tasting menu at Pierre, and invited me to join them for lunch today.  As it's been quite a while since my last visit, I figured it was time to go back and check it out.

Things didn't exactly get off to a good start when I arrived.  I asked the receptionist for my friends' reservation, pronouncing both their last names as well as spelling them out.  Nope. No such reservation.  I was asked if I was in the right restaurant - as if I were the blubbering idiot - but of course I was.  I tried to check for the reservation again, and this time a lightbulb went off in someone's head.  "Oh, zed-h-..."  Ah yes, as a speaker of American English, I always pronounce the letter "zee", but I guess that was news to the receptionist...

My friends arrived and we fell into conversation while looking at the menu.  I had already checked out the menus online before coming, and since I'm feeling a little poor lately, paying more than HKD 1,000 for the 4-course tasting menu lunch seemed a little too rich for my blood.  The "express lunch" - which is a silly misnomer because you can never get out of this place in a hurry - seemed a lot more palatable at about HKD 600 for 3 courses.  So that's what I decided to have... if only someone would come and take our order.  Despite having been the first to arrive, the staff seemed to think we were in no hurry to eat, and only came to take our order after both neighboring tables were taken care of - some 15 to 20 minutes after we were presented with our menus.

An array of amuses bouches were brought to our table, but our server left without any explanation of them.  When I asked the server to describe them, the explanation came but sounded a little vague.  Another member of the waitstaff seemed to explain it much better to the next table, so we pulled him over and asked him to describe these one more time...

Parmesan crumble (domes) and turmeric flavored crispy sandwich with Brillat-Savarin filling (flat ones) - the crumble was fine but the Brillat-Savarin was awesome.  Our other server had described the crisps as being flavored with egg yolk sauce (蛋黃醬)...

August 18, 2014

The usual canteen stuff

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It's been a while since our last birthday gathering, so the troops were rounded up for another dinner.  It came as absolutely no surprise that no one wanted to pick the restaurant, and the inevitable result was that we once again found ourselves back at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門).  It would seem that this gang just doesn't wanna eat anywhere else...

One of us was running late because of work, so we tried to wait for him while sipping on some wine.  But I had a pretty small lunch, and already had a beer before I showed up at dinner, so I was starving pretty badly and practically on the verge of passing out.  And as we know, they ain't go no bread at Chinese restaurants... so I finally decided to order something to tide us over.

Barbecued pork (蜜汁叉燒) - you can't go wrong by starting dinner with this, and there was plenty of delicious, melt-in-your-mouth fat in the pieces that I picked up.

How I love to squeeze the fat out with pressure from my teeth...  This put a smile on my face.

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