November 13, 2017

GG x2

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Over the last few months, Hairy Legs and Bilbaobab and I have been talking about going to Neighborhood together - and yes, they wanted make their first visit with me... even though they have already met The Man in White T-shirt.  So during our last lunch gathering, we tried to pin down a date where we would all be free... which would be tonight - a whole two months from that lunch!  I also managed to rope in The Great One to our table - meaning that she was unable to join some others at a separate table tonight.

As usual we were not in control of ordering, as it was omakase from The Man in White T-shirt...

Hokkaido tomato carpaccio / plum salt - there was clearly more of the plum salt tonight compared to my last visit... Still a nice way to start.

November 10, 2017

Peru in the Valley

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A few weeks ago I received a message from The Specialist.  She had received news from the Hong Kong Jockey Club about their next guest chef, and wanted to know whether it was worthwhile to go.  As soon as I found out that it was Virgilio Martinez from Central, I told her that we should go together.  She rounded up the Alcoholics and booked us a table for tonight.

I am still recovering from my cold, but at least I felt fine.  I needed to be in good shape for all the wines as well as the food that would be at our table tonight...

Due to a bad traffic jam, I was almost half an hour late.  Thankfully my friends seemed fairly forgiving, and I was glad to finally have a chance to see Virgilio again after missing each other at the end of August.  It would be my third time having a taste of his cuisine, and a good opportunity to get more exposure to Peruvian ingredients and flavors as I prepare for my expedition to Peru next year.

Although the menu didn't specify the altitude or a particular Peruvian region/ecosystem, Virgilio explained that all their menus begin below sea level.

Shrimp, avocado and kiwicha - the crackers are made with sargassum, and paired with raw shrimp, mashed avocado, and kiwicha.

One is meant to spoon the contents of the bowl onto the cracker, which creates a colorful and delicious bite that is at once creamy (avocado) and crunchy (sargassum cracker and kiwicha), and the raw prawns delivered both a soft texture together with a light crunch.

November 8, 2017

Swedish durian

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It has been a looooooong time since I caught up with a certain friend over a good meal, and he's never even had occasion to meet Hello Kitty.   After multiple rounds of attempts, we finally managed to pin down tonight as a date we could all manage, and we even roped in The Great One.  As it's been a while since my last visit to Frantzén's Kitchen, we ended up choosing it out of a short list.  Thankfully the restaurant was able to accommodate us at a time slot that worked for us.

It always amazes me when I am greeted by name at the door of a restaurant, especially when I'm neither a frequent customer (although I did manage to visit 3 times within 3 months) nor anyone particularly important.  I am grateful, though, that Chef Jim Löfdahl always takes good care of me when I'm around.

The seasons have changed since my earlier visits, so we now have a number of new dishes I haven't tried.  My goal tonight was to try each and every one of them.

Noble scallop (桧扇貝) - from Oita (大分).  Dressed in lavender emulsion, some sea salt, rosemary, and almonds soaked in Sichuan peppercorns for 24 hours.  I saw this on Jim's Instagram earlier today, and was pretty excited that we'd be able to try them.  These were really, really fresh... and really sweet.  The texture was just amazingly soft - probably one of the best scallops I've ever had.  I loved the almonds, which were slightly sweet, delivered some nutty flavors, yet carried the delicate fragrance of Sichuan peppercorns without blowing my head off.  What an awesome way to start!

November 7, 2017

Monster white Burgundies with tarts

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It's no secret that a few of the chefs in town do their best to pamper me, and I feel very loved when that happens.  My friends, of course, realize that they're likely to get better food when they dine at certain restaurants with me - apparently they think there's something called the "Peter Chang menu"... Well, maybe...

Quite a few of us are fans of Chef Uwe Opocensky, and when they found out that I had been given a preview of his new restaurant Uwe, a few of them wanted to go with me.  Knowing that the restaurant was fully-booked for the next few weeks, I asked Uwe to find me the first evening available, and here we are.

Our little party had the whole place to ourselves, and of course Uwe, Luke, Ken, and the kitchen team took very good care of us.  There was never any doubt in my mind that we would leave with our bellies stuffed...

Autumn landscape - as I learned from my last visit, this "first course" consists of many, many different parts...

Fermented sourdough bread sticks - with homemade Branston pickle.  Pretty tasty.  With sweet potato leaves on the side.

Finnish reindeer moss - I have actually grown kinda fond of eating this... and this one came with grated horseradish.  The flower on top did taste a little like wasabi as Uwe described.

November 5, 2017

Losing at the Derby

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I had missed out on the last MNSC dinner due to the Parental Units being in town, so I was really looking forward to dinner with the boys tonight.  Unfortunately I managed to catch myself a cold a couple of days ago, so I found myself at a blind tasting with a runny nose.  Not a good place to be...

Lord Rayas chose to host tonight's dinner at the Derby Restaurant in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Happy Valley Clubhouse.  I've been here a few times in the last couple of years, but my visits have all been meals with guest chefs... so this would be a good time to see what the resident chef can do.

Smoked salmon cannelloni - pretty nice.

Deep-fried crab ball - lots of potato inside and a dab of wasabi on top.

November 2, 2017

Durians and truffles

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A friend was in town for a short trip and in need of a good meal.  After debating over a few restaurants, the choice was eventually narrowed down to - where else? - Neighborhood.

Given that we only had one day's notice, we ended up getting seated at the bar - and displacing The Man in White T-shirt from his regular seat.  No big deal, since the two of us would be able to finish dinner quickly and have an early night... or so I thought.

First things first - we needed to pick out our white truffle.  The crop is down significantly this year and I have been hearing complaints about prices going up.  I know that the pricing is reasonable here, but we were still looking at about a 50% increase from last year - if memory serves.  So the two of us settled for a small piece weighing just over 21 grams.

October 27, 2017

Writing the dissenting opinion

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A few weeks ago I received a kind invitation to a media tasting of a "collaboration" between Chef Agustin Balbi of HAKU and Chef Matsuo Hideaki (松尾英明) of Kashiwaya (柏屋).  Being a "freebie preview", it's completely understandable that this had been scheduled in the middle of the afternoon in order not to take up valuable revenue-generating seats during regular business hours.  These types of events have always been a pain in the backside for people like myself who have a regular day job, but given that this particular event was on a Friday afternoon and I was assured that "this is worth it", I somewhat begrudgingly got out of the office and crossed the harbor for this "lunner"...

October 24, 2017

Plagiarism and social media part 2: jfkhndwine/jamescavs is a FRAUD

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After finding out a couple of years ago that a person by the name of Jo Soo-Tang - a marketing professional and socialite who is currently the Chair of the Board of the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation - plagiarized my pictures and posted them as her own on Instagram, and subsequently discovering that this photo I took of the Bimmah Sinkhole in Oman has literally been stolen by hundreds of websites, I was alerted to another case of plagiarism involving my work.

Photo credit: @jfkhndwine on Instagram / James Michael Cavanaugh
Here he is.  Someone who goes by the handle of @jfkhndwine (changed from @itstheoenophile after I reported him) on Instagram.  I don't know who this person is.  I don't even know if this is actually a picture of him.  This is James Michael Cavanaugh (@jamescavs), a spoiled brat who apparently holds an American diplomatic passport.  What I do know is that he has been stealing my pictures and posting them as his own on Instagram under the aforementioned handle.  And he has stolen a lot of them.

I was alerted to this by one of my followers on Instagram, whose own picture has been stolen and used by this character.  Interesting, this person has actually blocked me on Instagram to prevent me from finding out what he has been doing, and I needed others to send me screen captures of my work on his Instagram.

This was the first picture I received.  Let's be frank... there ain't too many bottles of 1940 Latour floating around on the market, which was what caused the kind Instagram follower to take notice.  Sure enough, this is my picture of the bottle I opened for dad's birthday on September 25, 2011 at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Taipei

Eventually I logged myself out of Instagram so I could see every post he has made.  There are a total of 127 posts, and I counted 25 of them as being pictures I have taken.  That's 20% of his posts!  STOLEN FROM ME!  And doing a quick search using his Instagram handle reveals many other reported cases of pictures being stolen by him.

So what the fuck was going on?  Who is this guy?  Does he even drink wine?  Why is he going around stealing everyone's pictures?  Just so he can get lots of followers and 'likes'?!  So he can pretend he's living the good life while in reality he's sucking on Two Buck Chuck?  This is the sad state of social media, where people like him are pretending to have a life by stealing the work of others and passing the experiences off as their own.  I'm sure there are plenty of others.  What a bunch of sad fuckers!

My message to this guy?  FUCK YOU AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON!

So I'm filing a formal complaint to Instagram, and I'm not gonna stop until his account is deactivated, and we find out who this person is and make sure he can never steal another picture from someone else again.  Please help me in that effort.

(Update: I reported the violation to Instagram and the 25 pics were removed within the hour.  And the fucker has changed his handle.  I wish Instagram would just de-activate this account for good!

Here are the rest of the pictures that he stole, along with links to the blog posts where the pictures were originally posted:

October 23, 2017

Snake and reptile season starts

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The Hungry Tourist is back in town, and I made a booking at my favorite private dining space a couple of months ago.  As we have now passed Mid-Autumn Festival and the weather has actually cooled down in the last couple of weeks, I checked with the chef about the availability of our favorite snake soup.  When a positive response came back, I did a little "happy dance" on the inside...  This was the start of game season, then!

Bamboo piths stuffed with bird's nest (官燕釀竹笙) - I've only had this dish once before and really enjoyed it, as the superior broth - thickened with corn starch - left its beautiful fragrance in my mouth.  I did think, though, that the flavors of the bamboo piths were slightly pungent and unpleasant.

October 20, 2017

A happy introduction

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As unbelievable as it sounds, I still have a number of friends who have never been to Neighborhood.  So once again, a couple of us regulars were tasked with initiating a couple of newbies.  We were surprised to find The Man in White T-shirt in the house, but happy that we could spend a little time with him on a busy evening.

Needless to say, we didn't do any ordering and just waited for the kitchen to start sending us our food...

200 day aged rump / Hokkaido melon - the beef from Rangers Valley was marinated in classic Chiuchow masterstock (滷水), and rubbed with black truffles.  The chunks of Hokkaido Yubari melon (夕張メロン) were very sweet.

October 17, 2017

Meet the Fockers: VIP birthday

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This would be the first time that dad is spending his birthday in Hong Kong, and I have the rare pleasure of taking him out to a nice restaurant.  While a number of restaurants in town could have done a good job for the occasion, in the end I decided to go back to Caprice and let Hairy Legs and team take care of us.

As usual, mom would not be able to take in a whole set menu, so I asked for the à la carte menu and explained each dish to mom, gauging her interest for each dish while trying to make sure that mom gets in the new experiences that would bring her so much joy.  In the end we decided to order 3 appetizers for her, while Hairy Legs put a menu together for us after I requested that he not send us too much food...

Victor offered us a little bubbly to help kick start the evening...

1995 Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires - warmed up a little in glass and showed a nice, toasty nose, and also citrusy.  Ripe on the palate and slightly bitter on the finish.

Then, a few nibbles...

Egg sabayon with mushroom and sabayon

October 16, 2017

Meet the Fockers: Cantonese fine dining family meal

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It's been too long since the Parental Units' last stay in Hong Kong, and I have many, many places I would love to take them to.  A nice Cantonese dinner is a given, and I decided to use this occasion to return to Lung King Heen (龍景軒) and visit my sommelier friend Bernard Chan.  In spite of my past misgivings about the cuisine here, I remain hopeful that one day I will finish a meal here and tell myself that, YES, this was truly a 3-star experience.

Needing to balance out the dietary restrictions of two moms who are sensitive to MSG, spice, and excessive salt with my own needs, I tried the best I could to walk a fine line while ordering.  They had literally just switched to a new menu today, so a couple of the dishes would be seasonal.

But before I had a chance to warm my seat, Bernard came over to offer me a little pour of bubbly that they are currently serving by the glass. I know he really like this one, and I'm very thankful that he saved me a little before they ran out of stock...

2008 R. Pouillon Chemin du Bois, dégorgée en 3ème trimestre 2016 - a lovely blanc de noirs with a nose that seemed fairy mature, nice and interesting and full of character.  Good acidity at the beginning, but palate was very short when it warmed up in the glass.

Tonight's amuse bouche was a cuttlefish ball with crispy almonds (杏香墨魚丸).  The deep-fried ball - surprisingly with pieces of cartilage inside - was covered in crispy, toasted slices of almonds and served on a hollowed cucumber ring.  Pretty tasty.

October 14, 2017

Meet the Fockers: long dim sum lunch

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The Parental Units are here for a few days, and we decided to have lunch with Hello Kitty's extended family. Trying to find a venue for Saturday lunch on a Friday afternoon is no easy task, and I probably called around 7 or 8 Cantonese restaurants from Tsim Sha Tsui to Hung Hom before getting ourselves a table at Hoi King Heen (海景軒) at the InterContinental Grand Staford Hong Kong.  It has been a long, long time since my one and only meal there, so I was looking forward to trying out some of Chef Leung's creations.

But when I was browsing through the menu after our arrival, I noticed that a few signature dishes - including braised winter melon balls stuffed with black olives mustard (欖菜玉珠) - needed to be ordered a day in advance.  I did ask the staff with to check with the kitchen, but the answer was still no... they simply didn't have enough ingredients on hand.  Oh well...

Vegetarian steamed rice flour rolls (羅漢上素腸粉) -  this was alright, and worked well for the old fogeys who had dietary restrictions.

Pan-fried fish head with garlic and soya sauce (家鄉生煎魚咀) - I ordered this for dad and didn't expect many others to want to eat this.  How wrong I was!  Not bad, actually... and I think dad was pretty happy sucking out the goodies.

Shrimp dumplings with fungus (羊肚耳香茜餃) - pretty tasty with Chinese celery, morels, and crunchy wood ear.

Shrimp dumplings 'har gau" (海景蝦餃皇) - in comparison, this seemed unremarkable... and I could taste the MSG.

Baked barbecued pork buns (香焗叉燒餐包) - very, very good.  The Parental Units have been away from Hong Kong for about a decade, and this was the first time for them to taste char siu bao (叉燒包) done with a "Mexican bun (墨西哥包)".

Glutinous rice dumplings filled with peanuts and chicken (狀元茶粿) - didn't really taste much peanuts, just minced meat and crunchy pickled radish.

Pan-fried rice flour rolls with X.O sauce and bean sprouts (X.O醬銀芽煎腸粉) - this was alright.

Pork dumplings with matsutake (松茸菌燒賣) - the siu mai (燒賣) wasn't much to write home about, and I definitely had lowered my expectations regarding the limp slice of matsutake (松茸) on top.

Wok-fried assorted mushroom with lotus root and lily bulb (蓮藕百合炒菇菌) - this was always gonna be a hit with mom, and it turns out there were other fans, too.  Together with the crunchy lily bulb, carrots, lotus roots, and sugar snaps were maitake (舞茸), oyster mushrooms, and straw mushrooms - all in a ginger sauce.

Crispy chicken with black truffle and black fungus (黑松露脆皮雞) - this, too, was a surprise.  The slices of black truffle were OK, and I expected them to lose their fragrance after cooking.  But the chicken was really, really good.  The skin was crispy as advertised, the meat was tender and moist, and I didn't find it too salty the way I find Lung King Heen (龍景軒)'s chicken.  Even Hello Kitty - who normally stays away from tasteless chickens - thought this was good.  The crunchy wood ear at the bottom was nice, too.

Fried rice with egg whiter and conpoy (瑤柱蛋白炒飯) - nicely done at high heat. 

Sweetened peanut and wheat cream (花生麥米粥) - I'd never had this dessert before, so I decided to order up a bowl and try it out.  The soup base was pretty clear and not too sweet, with peanuts which were a lot more crunchy than I had expected - they weren't mushy at all.  The glutinous rice grains had been boiled until they were falling apart, while the millet groats (麥米) also provided a crunchy texture.  Overall, though, this isn't something I'm a fan of.

This was a long and relaxing lunch, and a pretty good start to our own version of Meet the Fockers.

October 13, 2017

Pizza fight

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So... the last few weeks have seen a few "battles" from The Great Pizza Bake Off  - where a few chefs and food writers pair up and pitch their special pizza recipes against each other.  The actually cooking is then done by the team at Mercato, and diners "vote" for them by ordering the one which appeals to them the most.

And now it was Da Jam's turn as he goes up against Chef Butterfingers Satoru Mukogawa, who was filmed dropping half his pizza while presenting it at the restaurant on Monday.  I wasn't able to join the publicity festivities on Monday, so I decided to rope in Fergie and try it out for lunch today.

Of course the two of us would order both pizzas and decide for ourselves which one tasted better.  We know both of the creators behind the pies, so there should be no favoritism here...

Bacon jam pizza : bacon jam, farm egg, wild mushrooms - BUT OF COURSE it has jam on it!!!  This recipe is from a guy named DA JAM, after all...

October 10, 2017

Assholes for neighbors

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A friend is back home for a few days and misses Cantonese food dearly.  I have, unfortunately, been stuffing my face a little too much lately... so I wasn't able to spend more time with her.  But I did promise to take her to Tasting Court (天一閣) for some nice Cantonese, so we grabbed a few accomplices and got ourselves a table, tailoring the menu a little.

Deep-fried pork fat stuffed with prawn (金錢蝦餅) - the chiffonade of kaffir lime leaves gave off a lovely fragrance to go with the prawns wrapped inside deep-fried caul fat.  I also liked the pickled cucumbers.

October 7, 2017

Occupy Amber: Prima Donna In Da Haus

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It's Hello Kitty's birthday, and once again I asked her to choose the restaurant for her birthday dinner.  Having gotten word that Amber has put together their "Amber Classics Menu" in advance of their renovation, she decided that we should go and check it out.  After all, it's been a while since we were last able to taste Chef Richard Ekkebus' signature Hokkaido sea urchin - thanks to it being taken off the menu last May.

We arrived a little late, but were greeted warmly by the staff.  Once seated we were shown the menus, and John brought the wine list so I could choose something before our red wine was ready.  Imagine my surprise, then, when Hello Kitty informed me that she fancied the seasonal degustation menu instead.  So... I've come all this way back here and we won't even have the one dish that I miss so dearly...

We started with a glass of Alfred Gratien Brut, whose nose very caramelized, quite mineral.  Very full on the palate, with very high acidity and a grippy finish.  Definitely showing the meunier side.

October 5, 2017

A sticky holiday

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It has been waaay too long since we met up with Birdiegolf, so when we found ourselves with not one but two days off during the week, it seemed like the right time to have a meal together.  Hidden (秀殿) was suggested as the venue, as our friends have not yet had the pleasure of dining there.

Once seated, I immediately inquired about the curry rice that The Man in White T-shirt was photographed with recently.  I was saddened to be told that it was not available.  I would have to settle for something else, then...

Fruit tomato (フルーツトマト) - these were more ripe than the Amera (アメーラトマト) we had on our last visit.

Fried cheese bites (一口チーズフライ) - it still amazes me how much we enjoy these deep-fried pieces of Camembert... And yes, we ordered a second serving.  Again.

October 3, 2017

The flowery Chairman

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We promised to take Mikacina for a Cantonese meal while she's in town (she's already had another Cantonese meal before tonight), and we decided to take her to The Chairman (大班樓).  Neither The Great One nor I have been there in a while, so this was a good opportunity for a refresher.  Since The Great One made the arrangements through Danny, we knew we would be well taken care of.

We started with some cold-brewed Oolong (烏龍) tea, which had amazing floral notes as if they came with osmanthus (桂花) - the way some tea merchants like to combine them.  Just as Danny said, this was almost a little sweet on the palate.

Pickled mid-summer ginger root (大班樓子薑)

Sweet vinegar pickled tomatoes (醃漬蕃茄)

September 30, 2017

Who moved my cheese?!

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Mikacina's back in town again, and this time around she made a couple of requests far in advance.  First and foremost on her list was Neighborhood.  She had long heard about it from The Great One and myself, and when DaRC also told her about it while we were in Seoul, it was clear that she needed to see for herself why it is that we're all big fan of The Man in White T-shirt.

So... about 6 hours after Hello Kitty and I started drinking - seemingly without a break in between - and after hosting the gang at our new place for a few hours, we showed up en masse at arguably my favorite restaurant in town.  The people from the first seating had cleared out by now, and we were ready for some real food!  Although I wasn't feeling particularly hungry after nibbling on snacks for the previous 6 hours...

Per SOP we gave carte blanche to The Man in White T-shirt, and fully expected to be stuffed halfway through dinner...

First order of business was picking out a white truffle from Langhe.  The Man in White T-shirt had, in fact, put aside a particularly fragrant and large one for us.  As it was placed atop the scale, we could see it weighed more than 108 grams.  That's a pretty decent size for the eight of us.  And the fragrance was pretty amazing, considering that it's so early in the season.

September 29, 2017

Format change

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The last time that I caught up with both Winnie the Chew and Zhongmeister together was more than a year ago, and a request for made for a Japanese dinner.  I had originally wanted to book one of the new places on the Dark Side, but alas, not having the help of a High Person meant we were relegated to the restaurant's waiting list.  So I decided to make a long-overdue return to Tenku RyuGin (天空龍吟) and check out what Chef Seki Hidemichi (関秀道) is serving these days.

I was surprised to find that the menu has now changed to 12 courses, and wondered about the format change.  They had also taken their classic hot/cold dessert off the menu, so it looks like quite a few changes have been made since I was last here a year ago.


Uni, namanori seaweed and shiromiso paste with superiore Chinese broth jelly (海胆  生海苔と白みそのピュレ  上湯の煮凝り) - I love that when the weather is warm, the menu here always starts off with something on ice.  Always so refreshing.

September 26, 2017

A private preview

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It's no secret that I'm a fan of Uwe Opocensky's, and I'm lucky to have him as a friend.  When he made the decision to leave the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, my friends and I were fortunate enough to be in the Krug Room for his last service.  After prepping for his pet project for the last year, his eponymous restaurant Uwe is finally ready to open its doors to the public.  And tonight, The Great One and I had the privilege of getting a sneak preview.

As is usual for our meet-ups, I brought the wines and Uwe chose the restaurant.  Given that the restaurant begins service tomorrow, I had expected to be dining here tonight.  But Uwe tried to be a little tricky to confuse me... He knows very well that I avoid brand new restaurants like the plague, so he told me that we'd be meeting at the new place for a drink before we "go around the corner for some food."  I didn't know what else was around the corner besides Trattoria Queen Hollywood, but whatever.  I wouldn't have any issues with wherever Uwe takes me.

The front door opened just as I reached for it, and I immediately saw three guys dressed in the same uniform of white dress shirts, black jeans, and white canvas sneakers.  In addition to Uwe, the other two other familiar faces belonged to Ken and Luke - both formerly of the Mandarin Oriental.  I was ever so happy to know that diners would be in good hands with these two.

And wouldn't you know it, Nena's 99 Luftballons was playing as I walked in... as if I didn't know the guy running this place was German...  And throughout the evening, the playlist included mostly tunes from the 80s and the 70s... with maybe a few 90s' hits thrown in.  As Uwe said : "our generation".

Courtesy of Uwe
Courtesy of Uwe
Uwe asked whether I would like to start with some Krug.  Would I?  Mais, bien sûr! The Krug Grande Cuvée, 159éme édition, ID 313052 was mature and beautiful, with toasty nose and lovely sweetness.

September 21, 2017

A very tasty stuffing

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I'm dining with the Locusts for a second night in a row, and tonight we chose to go to Tasting Court (天一閣) since, to my great surprise, they turned down an opportunity to visit my favorite private dining facility on account that they would be served too much food...

This was the first time I tried booking myself a table, and without a special menu being organized, Mr. Locust chose the most premium of the three options offered.

Steamed abalone with dried peel (陳皮蒸鮑魚仔) - this was pretty good, and the chiffonade of aged mandarin peel delivered the familiar fragrance.

September 20, 2017

Seafood and sake

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The Locusts are swinging through town again, and like the devoted (but long-suffering) friend that I am, I arranged for a couple of meals so they could try out some of my favorite restaurants in town.  As I had enough sufficient notice this time around, I managed to get my act together and book ourselves seats at the Godenya (ごでんや) counter.

I noticed for the last couple of months that the restaurant has been posting on social media about their seat openings, so I was guessing that business seemed to have fallen off a little here... which isn't surprising given how fickle diners are in this town.  What it means for me, though, is that I would be able to come with much shorter notice - always a plus.

But we actually started with a bottle of wine in my office just before dinner.  Out of all the refreshments I offered, Mrs. Locust preferred wine.  The 2009 Doisy-Daëne Sec showed classic green apple on the nose, ripe with a little honey.

We moved to the hole-in-the-wall for dinner.  Once again I seated myself at the end of the counter - and in front of the water bath for sake.  I would be watching Goshima-san adjust the temperatures of the sake throughout the evening.

Japan figs (いちじくの前菜) - the sweet Japanese fig was placed in the freezer for one hour to deliver a texture that wasn't quite frozen and icy.  Nice and refreshing way to start on this warm night.  Topped with dill, tarragon, and edible flowers.

September 19, 2017

Krug x Mushroom, part deux

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After our first "walking tour" last month, the powers that be once again invited me to join "part 2" of the Krug x Mushroom tour.  This time we would be going to three different restaurants.

We started our evening in the cellar behind the kitchen at Caprice.  The Four Seasons Hong Kong took this event pretty seriously, as both the F and B Manager and the PR were in attendance, in addition to Hairy Legs and others from the restaurant.  We seemed to have a smaller crew tonight, and that was just fine for this Arrogant Prick.

September 18, 2017

Chinese for Monday

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A friend is in town after a couple of years' absence and requested Asian food for dinner.  As she was bound to be exhausted from traveling, I figured we should be accommodating and do dinner on the Dark Side.  I seemed to remember that there is a Chinese restaurant at the Hyatt Regency, but have never found occasion to dine there...  So The Great One kindly booked us a table at The Chinese Restaurant (凱悅軒).

I had read about a particular set menu where we could enjoy a discount by using a certain credit card, and was interested in taking that offer.  It was interesting because - as long as the entire table took this set - each person could make his/her own personal choices for appetizer, soup, main course, rice/noodle, and dessert.  Only the veggie dish needs to be shared.  But the others didn't seem to be enthusiastic about this option, so we ended up ordering à la carte.

When the dishes started arriving, I was a little upset at first - because I thought they were being served "out of order" in terms of how a proper Chinese meal should be.  This was because I wasn't responsible for ordering and didn't know what other dishes were coming.  I later realized that all of tonight's dishes had indeed been served in the proper order.

Smoked chicken, jasmine tea (茉莉花茶燻雞) - not bad.  The chicken was tender, and the flavors were well-balanced - the smokiness was detectable without being too overpowering.  I did wish, though, that the soy sauce flavors could have been a wee bit deeper.

Long-awaited catch-up

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It has been quite a few months since Hairy Legs settled into his new role at Caprice, and we've been meaning to catch up for a while.  After months of waiting, Bilbaobab was finally back in town, and we agreed to meet up for lunch today.  I suggested we check out Arcane, as I have fond memories of my dinner there from some time ago and it's a place the others haven't been to before.

By the time I arrived, it was clear from Stefano's demeanor that Hairy Legs had been recognized, as we were offered complimentary Champagne.  Not wanting to go back to the office while red in the face, I politely declined.  I also declined to have Chef Shane Osborn create a special menu of signature dishes for us, as I'm dining out four consecutive nights this week and really didn't need the extra calories.  So set lunch for me it was.

Spinach and Parmesan tortellini with onion consommé and bellota ham - this was very nicely done.  The textures of the wrappers were pleasing, and the flavors of the fillings worked very well with the strong flavors of the consommé and jamón.  In fact, the consommé seemed to have been seasoned with something akin to Chinese five spice (五香)... and delivered a lovely and comforting familiarity.

September 11, 2017

Why I don't go to brand new restaurants

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Last week Chaxiubao pinged me, asking if I wanted to join him for dinner at Terroir Parisien - Yannick Alleno's first foray into Hong Kong.  I knew that the restaurant is brand new, and as most of my friends know, I have a habit of not going to brand new restaurants.  I was hesitant, as the chance of stepping on landmines is high.  I was then told that a few of our other friends are coming along.  I relented and agreed to go along, against my better judgement.

The address indicated that it is on the Mezzanine Floor of the Prince's Building, so I figured they had taken over the space previous occupied by can.teen.  But when I rode up the escalators from the front entrance of the building, I found that there was no access to the space.  The old entrance had been boarded up.  So I went around the floor.  No other entrance.  Nothing remotely that tells you there's a restaurant around.

I wasn't the only one.  I saw others looking lost, and I bet they, too, were looking for the restaurant.  I decided to go up to the Second Floor, as I remembered that the space used to have two entrances - one accessible from the walkway between Prince's Building and Alexandra House.  Sure enough, the restaurant's only entrance is from that side, and is best accessed by coming in from another building.  That's just plain stupid.

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