August 15, 2019

Impromptu crab and beef

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Tonight we had our first team spinning event, which also happened to be the first time I've tried out this form of exercise.  While most people went their separate ways after the class, I decided to spend some time with my new colleague who was in town on his own.

Based on a few guidelines from my colleague, I ended up asking RAW Meat Bro for help.  He was busy attending some fancy schmancy dinner, but he was kind enough to make last-minute arrangements for me at Nikushou.

We weren't very hungry after the intense workout, so we went à la carte and just picked out a few things.  Quality over quantity.

Summer bamboo shoots in mentaiko sauce - on the house.  Nice and refreshing way to start our meal.

August 12, 2019

One night from Bangkok

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This wasn't a dinner I was gonna miss.  I had practically been shouting at the top of my lungs from the table during my dinner at Chef's Table at lebua.  My old friend Vincent Thierry was delivering what I felt to be an experience worthy of the coveted 3 macarons, and I wanted all my friends to know.  I was so, so, so happy for him.

So when Maxime told me that Vincent was coming to do a 4-hands collaboration at Écriture, I wasted no time in saying 'Yes', and got myself a table for the one-day event.  I also roped in DaRC and RoRo to join us.

It amazes me how some service staff just have the ability to piss people off.  I was getting messages from Hello Kitty even before I arrived at the restaurant, telling me how they were being served by a condescending Caucasian waitstaff.  The ladies were, not surprisingly, thirsty on a hot summer night.  Knowing that DaRC and I would take care of the wine selection, they wanted to order something by the glass.  Apparently the menu only showed Champagne by the glass, and while the ladies discussed whether they wanted the fruity cocktails (read: girlie drinks) mentioned by the waitstaff, said waitstaff proceeded to suggest that the ladies could take some non-alcoholic cocktails.  Bad mistake.

Then said waitstaff did something even worse.  He was condescending when introducing the selection of Champagnes.  The ladies felt insulted, as said waitstaff spoke in a manner where he assumed that the ladies knew nothing about Champagne.  What he ended up doing was pissing off two people who drink pretty good wines on a regular basis.  And he brought back Hello Kitty's memories of the last time a French white man was being condescending to her.

I arrived to find both ladies seething, so I tried to calm things down a little.  After DaRC arrived, we were finally ready to start our meal.

The usual tater tots came to kick off dinner.

The little buckwheat cracker carried a cube of cauliflower mousse covered in nori (海苔) powder.  Topped with confit (?) of baby sardines (ちりめんじゃこ).

August 7, 2019


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I have been a fan of the rieslings from Weingut Maximin Grünhaus for more than a decade, and I've drunk more riesling from them than any other winery in Germany, so when their local importer Fine Wine Experience arranged a dinner with the 6th generation winemaker Maximin von Schubert, I didn't hesitate to sign up for the event at Kin's Kitchen (留家廚房).

It was good to have Maximin here, as he told us about the history of the winery, the different vineyard plots, and of course many finer details regarding the wines and the vintages.

2016 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Kabinett Auktion - a bit of honey, flint, polyurethane.  Actually a bit sweeter than I expected, but still has a good balance of acidity mid-palate.  Quite a long finish.

August 5, 2019

Long time no goose

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It's been a long time since I was last at Yat Lok Roast Goose (一樂燒鵝), and on this day when a large part of Hong Kong could not get to work due to the general strike, I finally could get in without waiting in line...

No surprise that the shop wasn't allocating any goose legs at the time, and even less surprised when the staff tried to upsell by suggesting that people take the lower quarter (下庄)...

Roast goose chest with rice noodle (鵝胸瀨) - OK lah... Always good to drink the MSG-laden soup, which gets augmented by goose fat.

Blanched choy sum (菜心全走) 

August 3, 2019

Macau quickie: the filling Moon

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With just three hours between our long lunch and dinner, I needed to walk around a little to kill time.  Thankfully there is an art exhibit entitled "Garden of Earthy Delights" at the Wynn Resorts, so we crossed the road and headed to Wynn Palace Cotai.

There had been plenty of posts by "influencers/KOLs" on Instagram of the pieces here, and most of them have been focused on just one piece - Refik Anadol's "Melting Memories".  Of course, lots of people - yours truly included - were here trying to capture the mesmerizing transformations in pictures and on video.  There were only plenty of IG hoes who inserted themselves into the pictures pretending to be cultured.

While Refik Andol's pieces were undoubtedly interesting, for me the more striking work was actually Edoardo Tresoldi's "Sacral".

I joined Hello Kitty on her shopping tour to kill more time, but we got tired of walking in circles around the corridors with our luggage... so we arrived at Sichuan Moon (川江月) about 20 minutes before the appointed time and parked our bags at the table.

Macau quickie: another 3-hour lunch

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I woke up early this morning, even though I was sleeping in a large and comfortable bed in a hotel.  Surprisingly my stomach growled at this early hour.  Loudly.  This was puzzling given the dinner we had last night.  But perhaps because we didn't have any carbs, the meal wasn't as filling as I expected.

It was past 10 a.m. when we headed to Sei Kee Cafe (世紀咖啡快餐) in Nam Van (南灣).  Ever since my friend KC recommended it, Hello Kitty and I have wanted to come and try the signature sandwich.  But since this place only opens at 10 a.m. on a Saturday and closes on Sundays, and we always have big meals whenever we come, it's just never been in the cards.  Until today.  Today I needed this sandwich, come hell or high water.

So the two of us took one order of egg and luncheon meat on toast (午餐肉厚蛋多士).  After all, we were less than 2 hours away from starting lunch.

August 2, 2019

Macau quickie: 50- and 60-year-olds

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Mr. Christmas is making a trip around southern Guangdong Province, which included a stop in Macau.  Being the nice guy that I am, I decided to meet up with him this weekend and share a couple of meals together.  I was very surprised to find that he had never dined at The 8 (8餐廳) in the Grand Lisboa, so I made arrangements for us to be here tonight.  As always, the kind people at the Grand Lisboa were very accommodating and put us in one of the private rooms.

I left the ordering up to Mr. Christmas, since the main reason for this dinner was to let him have a taste of the cuisine here.  As usual, we started with a duo of nibbles:

Abalone with water bamboo celtuce stem - the waitstaff introduced it wrong...

Turnip with shrimp mousse, mushrooms, and mushroom paste

July 31, 2019

No. 7 typhoon at No. 7 son

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DaRC had rounded up a bunch of us for a dinner at our favorite private kitchen tonight, but Typhoon Wipha decided to come pay us a visit.  As most of Hong Kong began shutting down this afternoon, we were advised that our dinner venue would have to be changed.  Thanks to last-minute efforts by RAW Meat Bro, we managed to get ourselves a table at Seventh Son (家全七福) - which surprisingly remained open.

I wasn't surprised to find the restaurant less than half full tonight.  Given the lack of transportation options, most of Hong Kong was probably trying to stay home and hunker down.  I guess we were just too die hard...

I had to take a work call as soon as I arrived at the restaurant, so I almost missed the first course...

Deep-fried chicken kidney mixed with egg custard (雞子戈渣) - pretty much as always... fluffy and delicious.

Barbecued whole suckling pig (大紅片皮乳豬全體) - RAW Bro ordered it cut into thin strips, instead of separating the crackling from the rest of the piglet.

July 27, 2019

A shelter in concrete jungle

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Time to catch up again with the Film Buff after our last dinner a few months ago.  Since then they've had a little addition to their family, so we were very happy to see them out and about.  We thought we would check out a new restaurant which neither of us have been to, and as it happens, Arbor was kinda near the top of my hit list.  While I've heard a lot about Chef Eric Raty's cuisine, their restrictive corkage policy has served as a deterrent for me.

It's been a few years since I last saw Timothy, and I was glad to see him running the place.  He offered to have the chef put the menu together for us, and how is one to say 'no'?  Hello Kitty and I mentioned our dislike of beetroot, while Mrs Film Buff had a few birdies on her list of no-no's.  I wondered what the kitchen would do for us.

Mentaiko butter and laver butter - actually both tasted pretty good.


New potato - the first part the dish came as tuna tartare with wasabi and chives on rice cracker.  I also tasted some citrus zest.

July 25, 2019

Leave the gun, take the cannoli

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Ninja and I haven't caught up in person in a while, so while she's back in town for a stopover between her travels, we figured we should have a meal together.  I asked my friend which types of cuisine she wanted to avoid, and eventually we settled on Locanda dell'Angelo for our dinner.  I know that Chef Angelo Agliano had taken up command of Tosca at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, but I figured we would still get a decent meal here.

Our amuse bouche was Parmesan flan with pesto and jamón ibérico.

July 23, 2019

Floored at dinner

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I had promised to take Fat Donkey out to celebrate his fourth finish in the Cape Epic, but we just hadn't gotten around to it.  We finally decided we should grab a casual dinner tonight, but where to go on such short notice??  Well, fortunately the bar counter at Neighborhood is usually available, so I decided to meet my friend there.  As they weren't completely full tonight, we ended up getting seated at a proper table instead of snuggling up to The Man in White T-shirt.

It was just the two of us, so there was no point getting one of the larger dishes.  Which was just as well, as it's been a while since I last had the opportunity to just come for a casual meal.  The Man in White T-shirt did make a few suggestions, and it usually pays to listen.

Sardines / Jerez vinegar - YASSSSS!!! The last time I came, the boss served us sardines that I described as "melt-in-your-mouth".  Since then he's change the cut from squares to long, thin strips reminiscent of Cantabrian anchovies.

July 21, 2019

The hairy Chairman

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It's been a while since I last got a chance to enjoy the company of Hairy Legs and Bilbaobab, so today we arranged to lunch at one of Hairy Legs' favorite restaurants - The Chairman (大班樓).  I asked my dining companions for their favorite dishes, and I was grateful that Danny very kindly obliged us.

Pickled mid-summer ginger root (大班樓子薑) - always good to start with these...

Razor clam steamed with aged lemon and garlic (廿年鹹檸檬金銀蒜蒸蟶子) - this was the one dish unanimously requested by everyone.  In fact, Hairy Legs requested for "more than one, at least two or three"...  Of course, what's not to love about this dish?!  First of all, the razor clams were HUGE, as always.  The diced spring onions, minced garlic, and glass vermicelli were all delicious but pretty standard.  What made the dish, of course, was the addition of diced preserved lemons which have been aged for more than 20 years.  The fragrance was simply amazing... as was the combination of acidity and salt.

July 20, 2019

Sake, wine, and ro ro

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Mr and Mrs Birdiegolf took a trip to Okinawa and ended up having a rare experience - a terrible meal in Japan.  Their dinner at yakiniku (焼肉) joint was so bad that Hello Kitty suggested that we hit Nikushou when they came back to Hong Kong.  The Birdiegolfs happily took up the suggestion, and Hello Kitty promptly reached out to her new best friend for the arrangements.

We left everything up to RAW Meat Bro, who was kind enough to save us a few special cuts of meat for our tasting menu.

Our amuse bouche were steamed Taiwanese bamboo shoots with mentaiko (明太子) sauce.  Not bad with the sauce, and the sansho leaves (木の芽) were a nice touch.

Cold steamed abalone with watershield (蒸しアワビとジュンサイ) - the South African abalone was decent and came with a nice balance of chewiness and tenderness.  The taro stem (芋茎) was crunchy and airy as expected, and the watershield (蓴菜) provided that slippery playfulness.  Myoga (茗荷) chiffonade added some crunch and fragrance.  Also got a nice hint of yuzu (柚子).

Pike conger eel and freshwater crab tempura (鱧の紫蘇巻き  沢蟹の天ぷら) - this was a little surprise.  The pike conger (鱧) was rolled up with perilla leaves and stuffed with plum sauce before getting the tempura treatment.  Shishito peppers (獅子唐辛子) were pretty nice, and I wasn't expecting to see Japanese river crab (沢蟹) being served as a tempura... with crab roe coming out.

July 11, 2019

Refreshing summer

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The King's back in town for a few days, and he was kind enough to spare an evening so we could meet up over dinner.  Even better, he offered to bring his younger daughter along as I hadn't seen her since... well, when she was a toddler.  Now she's in college!

I gave them a list of suggestions across cuisines and neighborhoods, and eventually my friends settled on Caprice.  The King had moved back to Taipei by the time Four Seasons Hong Kong opened, so I guess it made sense for him to come and try it.

Hairy Legs asked me whether he should be serving us his signatures or some new and seasonal dishes, and I suggested that he should do a mixture of both.

First came the nibbles:

Tomato concassé

Smoky balik salmon with Kristal caviar - with cauliflower mousse and dill on top, sandwiched between two thin layers of crispy pastry. Definitely nice and smoky, with good accents coming from the Kaviari Kristal.

Pita with curry chicken mousse

July 8, 2019

A long and excruciating dinner

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It has, once again, been way too long since my last visit to Bo Innovation.  I've been thinking about going to the "new" location ever since they moved, but somehow the place just doesn't come up enough in conversation with friends.

A few months ago Mama Bear pinged me and asked for her.  Bear and his BFF have been working on a cookbook with recipes from Vancouver area chefs, and the idea was to raise money for a local food charity.  They were looking for someone to write the foreword to the book, and Mama Bear asked me whether I had any contacts with Alvin Leung.  As a matter of fact, I did have a way to connect with Alvin, and The Manchurian very kindly helped put Alvin and Tigger together.  It wasn't long before Alvin very kindly lent his support to the project.

A couple of weeks later, Alvin held a talk for the launch of his book My Hong Kong.  I figured it was only right to show my support by buying a couple of copies and getting them signed - so I could give a copy to Bear.  It's an interesting book and clearly a labor of love - which Alvin said has been in the works for some 8 years.

The Manchurian pinged me last week and invited me to dinner tonight.  Apparently Bo Innovation is launching a new menu, and as I had turned down quite a few invitations from him, I figured I would try to make it tonight.

The 6 of us were placed in the Aberdeen Room, which is right next to the open kitchen.  It's too bad that the lighting here was so poor, because it definitely had an impact on all of my pictures tonight...

The new, concise I ❤️Hong Kong menu was already in front of us, and featured the outline of the top of Lion Rock (獅子山) running down one side.  It's pretty clear from everything around us that Alvin is really trying to showcase his version of the Hong Kong story.

Smell my granny - you gotta admit that this is a pretty strange name for a dish... and I cracked a poor joke about what might be coming our way.  As it turned out, this wasn't a dish to be eaten, but just the wet naps with which we were to prepare our hands and fingers for what comes next.

So this was to introduce - to young people and those who are not from Hong Kong - the Florida Water (花露水) so often used by our grandmothers' generation.  In this case it came from Two Girls (雙妹嚜) - a brand established in Hong Kong at the end of the 19th Century.  And yes, I did see Florida Water in my grandma's bedroom when I was growing up...

June 28, 2019

Private Burgundy

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We have a visitor in town from Bangkok, and DaRC arranged for a gathering at Softbank Kitchen.  It's been a few months since my last visit, and this was a good chance to taste some fantastic, old school Canto dishes again.

Barbecued kurobuta pork (黑毛豬叉燒) - always delicious.  Not the stereotypical honey-glazed version, but with soy sauce.

Just look at the fat... of the pork belly.  There's always a good amount of charring, especially with the end cuts.  I was so hungry I just couldn't stop myself from grabbing an extra slice... and another... and another.

June 22, 2019

Villa dining

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Another year, another birthday spent with the Parental Units.  My search for decent restaurants offering both à la carte dining (i.e. not forcing diners to go through a multi-course dégustation) and decent wine service continues.  This time, I remembered a place which used to be on my hit-list all those years ago... which I still haven't been to.  After checking with a couple of friends - including the Prince of Napa - I called and booked us a table.

Villa 32 (三二行館) has been around for a while.  It's always been known as a luxurious hot springs resort, but it also had a reputation as a place to entertain guests with fine wine.  The Prince of Napa vouched for their wine service, so I was eager to give them a try.  The added bonus is that it's reasonably close to the Parental Units.

After walking through the beautiful and tranquil surroundings, we were seated in the restaurant at the basement level with a view of the deck outside.  We were presented with two tasting menus - one of which features seasonal white asparagus.  It didn't look interesting enough to be taken in its entirety, and as the "regular" tasting menu includes a few options from the white asparagus menu, I figured that was the way to go.

Inside the egg shell was actually not egg, but a seafood mousse with trout roe.

We've also got some crab meat with the mousse.

June 19, 2019

A casual star in Central

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The Compatriot is back in town for a few days, and we finally managed to meet up for a meal.  Now that he's spending most of his time in Rosbifland, he needs his fix of good Asian and Cantonese food whenever he's back.  Since there were only two of us and we wanted something "casual", I figured we could just go to Man Wah (文華廳) at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong since it's nearby.

I've never tasted Chef Wong Wing Keung's (黃永強) cuisine, as I haven't been to Man Wah for a while.  I also never visited Yee Tung Heen (怡東軒) while Chef Wong was running the kitchen.  But he has a lot of fans within the local foodie circle, so I've kinda been wanting to check out the food for myself.

We were offered two amuses bouches: some sautéed string beans (四季豆) and sugar-coated cashews.

Shrimp and lemongrass spring roll (香茅鮮蝦春卷) - OK lah.

June 15, 2019

Triple birthday dinner

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I sound like a broken record.  I don't visit my favorite restaurants enough, and the problem seems to get worse each year... as I go on eating tours outside Hong Kong and would have to go through a period where I take it easy after coming back.  One of the places I have been missing is Ta Vie 旅, and there is every reason to come here at least once or twice every season.  DaRC is also a big fan, and we decided to do a birthday celebration there.  Knowing that the Zhongmeister is also a fan - and as he was born just a few weeks before me - I roped him in for this dinner, too.

Right off the bat, we were presented with the homemade ricotta drizzled with olive oil.

Of course, we can't forget the homemade butter...

Nukazuke bread - can't tell you how much I love this bread, made with nukazuke (糠漬け).

June 14, 2019

Swedes serving swede

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Hello Kitty asked where she could take me for my birthday, so I started to think about restaurants I'm fond of but haven't visited in a while - and there were quite a lot of them.  Eventually I settled on Frantzén's Kitchen - a curious choice, perhaps, as their hearty dishes are probably more suited for cooler weather.  But I figured I needed to show Chef Jim Löfdahl and his team some love.

They've introduced a tasting menu since my last meal here, so we figured we could try that out.  We did ask for some modifications and extras to try out more dishes.

Bone marrow: caviar, chestnut and thyme - on top of the creamy and slightly grainy chestnut purée was a small quenelle of farmed Chinese schrenkii dauricus caviar which was less salted than usual.

Below the surface we had diced chunks of bone marrow, crunchy chestnuts, aspic, cubes of fermented mushrooms.  I definitely tasted the acidity from the aspic but the dish was a little salty.

June 13, 2019

Abalone feast

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My friend KC has been organizing dinner gatherings for years, but I haven't had many chances to join him.  Over the years I've only been able to jin him on a handful of occasions - the last one being the roast pig feast up in the boonies which turned out to be really special.  When I found out he was putting together a dinner at Dynasty (滿福樓) featuring South African abalone, I put my hand up immediately.

I was running late because of work, but thankfully arrived just as they were about to serve the appetizers.

Baked diced chicken puff with abalone (鮑魚雞粒酥) - with diced mushrooms inside.  Ok lah...

Barbecued pork (蜜汁烤叉燒) - love the fatty bits connecting the different lumps.  The texture was rather more dry and firm, and reminded me of cooked honey-glazed ham commonly found in America.  Very tasty.

June 8, 2019

Delicious Italian classics

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It's been quite a few years since I gave up my Quintessentially membership, and with it access to some 'members only' clubs.  My Favorite Cousin wanted to get together for dinner, and suggested that we go hit Cipriani Hong Kong.   There are a few classic dishes they do really well, and I was really looking forward to tasting them again.

By the time Hello Kitty and I arrived, My Favorite Cousin had already gone through about half a bowl of these deep-fried zucchini.  So greasy. So delicious.

Baked white tagliolini with ham - SO, SO, HAPPY!!!!!  I have been missing this for years, and I finally got to have it again.  It's nothing complicated... just some tagliolini baked under a layer of cheese dotted with tiny bits of ham.  But is there anything better than cheese that has been baked until golden brown and crispy?

Calves liver alla veneziana - I felt like changing it up a little, so I got the sautéed calves liver with caramelized onions.  Absolutely delicious, and served with two different polenta.

Sabayon cake - even though I used to have the vanilla cream cake here all the time, this was actually my first love.  Really, really happy.

Of course we needed some alcohol to wash down all the food, so I brought along a bottle and also ordered something from the list.

2017 Guado al Tasso Vermentino - mineral, flinty, a little pungent, and pretty oaky.

2003 BOND Matriarch - decanted 30 minutes prior to serving.  Nice sweet fruit, sweet on the palate, some metallic iron rust, smoky, plenty of oak, and minty.  Drinking very well.

A very, very happy evening with simple but good food, and decent wines. Of course, it's always good to catch up with My Favorite Cousin and have a few laughs at her expense...

June 6, 2019

Home court advantage

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A couple of weeks ago Ricardo Chaneton pinged me and told me about an upcoming guest chef/four hands event he was putting together at Petrus.  Owing to my busy travel schedule this year, it's been quite a while since I last visited him at his restaurant... so I figured I should probably sign up for this.

I remember seeing Stéphanie Le Quellec as one of the chefs whose restaurant was promoted to two macarons early this year.  Therefore it came as a surprise to find out that mere weeks after, the chef and hotel Prince de Galles parted ways and La Scène closed down.

Given that we were just coming back from Kyoto, I asked Ricardo to save me a table tonight - the last evening of the event.  He very kindly offered me seats at the special dinner featuring only the visiting chef's dishes - paired with 10 vintages of Cheval Blanc.  Alas, it was too rich for my blood... so we chose to take the 4-hands menu stead.

We were offered a glass on Champagne on the house:

Vouette et Sorbée Blanc d'Argile, dégorgée le 20 Octobre 2016 - good acidity on the palate.

We started with some canapés de réception...

Macaron with smoked eel and lime, by Ricardo Chaneton - topped with a bauhinia flower.


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