October 30, 2014

Another mediocre 'celebrity chef' restaurant

Pin It

Like my fellow blogger Gary, I will preface this post by saying out loud (for the hundredth time) that I've never been a fan of Dining Concepts' restaurants.  I've been to a handful of their numerous outlets over the years, and so far I have had the overwhelming urge to go back to... just about none of them.  It's not that they serve bad food, but mediocrity runs through their veins, and there's no pull factor for return visits.

Then came a string of so-called 'celebrity chef' outlets - which started years ago with Olive - probably the lone outlet of the group I have fond memories of.  Then it was Michael White's Brainless Al Molo followed by Mario Batali's widely-panned Lupa and the now-defunct Carnevino.  The latest gweilo big name to plant his flag in these territories is Gordon Ramsay, who opened the doors to Bread Street Kitchen a few weeks ago.  All of these guys inexplicably chose Dining Concepts as their partner.  Why?  Well, I'm told that when posed with the question, Mario Batali said something along the lines of "Because my good friend Michael White told me to."   Orz x10...

Anyway, I can't even begin to count the number of times I've been asked about my experiences with the two new "celebrity chef restaurants" which opened up recently (the other one being Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Italian), and my standard response has been that I have little or no desire to pay either a visit.   I wasn't about to pay out of my own pocket to go there, and since the restaurants themselves would never have invited me (and I probably would have turned down those invitations anyway), I was pretty much destined to not dine at either...

...until I was asked to join a review of Bread Street Kitchen.  Being slightly higher-end than the other - and with slightly better feedback from the community - I decided to join a small roundtable for lunch.

The organizer was unable to book by phone, so some of us arrived early and got seated in the bar area.  We wanted to sit at a high table for four instead of at the big communal table that seats about ten, but the request was turned down.  Later on another group of four came in, and while they were initially seated at the other end of our communal table, they were soon relocated to the table which we had requested to sit at.  So... did we not look respectable enough?!  Anyway, we ordered up a storm to share...

First came our starters:

Seared scallops with carrot puree, treacle bacon, celery cress - the scallops were mi-cuit and pretty decent.  Adding a little bit of bacon with molasses made it a little more interesting than usual.

October 28, 2014

Three little birds

Pin It

So here I am.  Again.  At what I nowadays refer to as My Favorite Restaurant.  Yes, boys and girls... I'm back at On Lot 10 for another dinner.  Afu was coming into town for a few days, and demanded that I take him here.  I took the opportunity to introduce him to the Great One and invited her along.  I was also originally supposed to dine with Mr. Ho tonight at a venue I haven't tried before, and since it's always better to have one more mouth at the table - and he originally wanted to come to On Lot 10, anyway - I roped him in so that we could be a table of four.  Now we have the bare minimum number of mouths to feed properly...

As usual I only pre-ordered two ingredients with David and left the rest up to him.  Upon hearing the series of dishes he had in store for us after my arrival, I tried in vain to convince him to cut down on the amount of food - knowing the beef at the end will deliver the knock-out punch.  Initially he agreed to send us fewer starters, but in the end I think he didn't listen to me at all, which was just typical...

Salted cod, truffle potato / "taoyoran" egg / espelette pepper - pretty interesting, and I'm always a big fan of salted cod.  The potatoes were surprisingly a little acidic, but I loved the black truffle and piment d'espelette used to flavor the dish.  Needless to say the Japanese egg was superb.

October 25, 2014

Reptile night

Pin It

A few weeks ago I received an email from a group of friends, trying to fix a date for our next gathering.  After a round of discussions, it was decided that we would go for some Chinese food.  I suggested we try the private entertainment facility next to my office - IF I could manage to book it.

When I called the number for reservations, the lady at the other end of the line asked me whether I had ever been there - as they are not open to "public".  When I told her that I had been there at the invitation of the organizer of my first dinner - and specifically mentioned the date - it was apparent to me that she checked the booking history to verify my claims.  After she was satisfied that I was kosher, only then was I allowed to make a booking.

A few days ago, I received a copy of the menu from the chef.  I was happy to the point of giddiness.  Listed among the other items was the snake soup that I had been longing to try - especially given the pedigree of the chef.  There was also the mountain turtle which I didn't get to have at the last two dinners, plus a host of other stuff.  When My Favorite Cousin saw the menu, her response was simply: "reptile night is it?"

Barbecued Iberico pork (黑毛豬叉燒) - once again dinner started with a plate of this.  Some people complained that the char siu wasn't fatty enough, although they admitted that even the lean meat was tender and not tough.  In the end there wasn't very much left on the plate, so I guess people did enjoy the caramelized and charred edges...

Starry day in Kwun Tong

Pin It

The original plan for today was to putz around at home until after lunch, then make my way to the island side for a kiddie birthday party followed by dinner.  As a result of an invitation to Kwun Tong, I decided to make it a real excursion and ended up making 3 stops around this area that's normally off my map...

I dragged my ass out of bed to catch the early show of McDull: Me and My Mum (麥兜 我和我媽媽).  I've always loved McMug (麥嘜) and McDull (麥兜) ever since I was introduced to them over a decade ago - yes, I love juvenile, "low B (低B)" humor - but I've kinda missed out on the movies that came after the first two.  So I went to Kwun Tong to watch this early show before it disappeared off the screens.

October 20, 2014

Truffled boar

Pin It

Last week Harlan G posted a picture on Facebook, reminding people that as the weather gets cooler, it might be a good idea to keep warm with a bowl of his wild boar ragout pasta.  Well, it's been a while since my last bowl, so I quickly called up Gold by Harlan Goldstein and got myself a reservation.  I also grabbed a couple of the Alcoholics along, since they are my usual partners in crime when it comes to this joint.

While the ladies seemed hungry and dug into some focaccia and their crab cake, I sat silently while they indulged... preferring to save my stomach space exclusively for the dish that I had come for.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map