August 1, 2020

Franco-German-Swiss lunch

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It has been a long, long time since my friend Uwe took over at the Island Shangri-La, but for one reason or another I never found occasion to pay him a visit at Petrus.  I had been dining out a lot less this year due to the pandemic, so scheduling visits to chef friends just became a lot challenging.  He's been pretty patient during this time, and I'm sure he's got his hands full this year.

A week ago I finally pinged my friend and asked to come for lunch today, and was really looking forward to my visit.  Two days later the Hong Kong government announced a ban on all dine-in services in restaurants as the situation worsened in the city.  On the second day after the ban was implemented, the government reversed course as a result of massive backlash, and we were once again allowed to sit down to eat breakfast and lunch.  I reconfirmed with Uwe that the restaurant was back open, and finally entered through the doors of the restaurant today.

The restaurant was pretty busy, considering government rules mandate that they not exceed 50% of capacity, and all the tables are spaced apart - as they would normally, anyway - and only two diners are allowed per table.

Uwe came to ask how hungry we were.  I originally asked for a "medium-sized" lunch, but knowing his penchant for trying to kill me with an abundance of food, I quickly backtracked...

Our amuse bouche was a gougère filled with cheese.

July 25, 2020

Goo Goo ga ga

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I had been seeing Hansik Goo pop up in social media posts from friends over the last couple of months, but I haven't paid much attention to new restaurants as we've been eating at home more this year.  I did hear some time ago that Chef Mingoo Kang was opening an outpost in Hong Kong, but again, I hadn't paid particular attention.  So it wasn't until Mingoo messaged me out of the blue about coming to Hong Kong that I kinda put two and two together...

Now that Mingoo is out after his 14-day mandatory quarantine, I figured I'd better go check out what he's serving up while he's still in town.  Thankfully they were able to accommodate us for a late lunch on short notice!

As we had to stick to the same choice of menu for the both of us, Hello Kitty had to sacrifice her diet while we took the 7-course menu.

Bugak: assorted seasonal Korean chips - fish skin, tofu, laver, perilla leaves, and pepper.  We were asked to save the pepper till last because it had been flavored with Korean soy sauce.  The others, however, were surprising mild in flavor.

July 18, 2020

Supporting chef friends: 2-star takeout

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The Covid-19 pandemic has been with us for more than 6 months, and after a lull of more than a month, Hong Kong is now experiencing a "third wave" where daily new cases have spiked up to unprecedented levels.  This prompted the government to impose stringent measure on social distancing, and for the first time in history, restaurants are forbidden to serve dine-in guests starting at 6pm.  DINNER IS CANCELLED.

Faced with a drastic loss of revenue - which is especially devastating for fine dining restaurants which primarily (or solely) rely on dinner service - restaurants around town immediately launched takeout or delivery menus.  Some of them had been doing this for a while, but the one that caught my eye was from Ta Vie 旅 - one of my favorite restaurants in town.

I was, apparently, the first to ask Sato-san about their takeout menu, and placed an order two days ago for pickup tonight.  I managed to rope in Mr. and Mrs. Birdiegolf as our partners in crime, and they would be responsible for the starters for tonight's dinner.

We started with some bread and butter...

Challans duck leg confit with sautéed potatoes - well, the truth is that this was cold by the time I got to it after the starters.  It was still delicious, but I probably should have asked to have it heated up in the oven.  When Mr. Birdiegolf got around to the other leg, I insisted that he stick it in the oven.  I'm sure it tasted much, much better when the duck fat warmed up and liquefied somewhat.

July 12, 2020

Bar food on Sunday

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It's been a while since I caught up with Dada and The Man in White T-shirt.  We had planned to visit a local restaurant for some special stuff, but unfortunately the chef seemed to be busy these few weeks.  So Mr. White T-shirt booked us a table at the Lobster Bar in the Island Shangri-La.  I haven't been back here in more than 6 years, and I didn't even sit for dinner on that visit.  But I know there's a new chef around.

It would seem that Mr. White T-shirt had already made arrangements, and there was no need for us to order anything.  So we just waited for the kitchen to send us the goodies...

But first, a few words about the bread.  I hadn't expected it to be so delicious, but both the "white bread" and the sourdough were superb.  The crust was crunchy and fragrant, and I would have kept eating more slices if only they didn't take up any precious stomach space!

Crab on toast - the crab and mayo came with avocado, garnished with plenty of dill, and served on top of toasted brioche with beef drippings...  no wonder it tasted so sinfully good!

July 11, 2020

10-nen buri

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Another weekend where we felt that we should eat out a little more, but hadn't gotten our act together to book something with advanced notice.  Thinking that none of the usual suspects would have availability, I decided to call up Ishiyama (石山) to try our luck.  Thankfully they could still fit us in despite the social distancing measures that went into effect today.

For a few months ago 10 years ago, this was my "alternate" izakaya when I wanted something different.  However, I have pretty much forgotten about this place until late last year when I met the owners at a dinner.  I'm glad I dug it out of the back of my mind once again.

Hello Kitty was pretty happy to munch on these babylonia simmered in soy sauce.

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