November 25, 2020

A strong lunch game

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It's a rare occurrence when one of my friendly neighborhood broker wants to take me to lunch, but as it is getting close to year end, I guess it seemed like a good opportunity to do this kind of thing.  I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that the venue would be Écriture, as it's a restaurant I've always been happy to visit.

I walked past the open kitchen and waved to Maxime, who was surprised to see me.  He remarked that it has been so long since I was here and he no longer remembered when my last visit was.  I, of course, remember very well.  It was exactly a week before we said goodbye to Kuma.

I've only been here for lunch once, and that was when I took a full menu.  So I was a little surprised that the "short" lunch consisted of 5 courses.  That's a lot of food for people who are on the clock.  The restaurant has changed to their game menu, so I decided to choose all the game dishes whenever I could.

If has been much, much too long since I last held this knife with my hand...

Japanese steamed bun, hay panna cotta, lemon gel, quail egg, black truffle - very creamy indeed.

Crispy dough with buckwheat, cauliflower bavarois, nori seaweed, crispy white bait

Crispy potato curl, coriander hummus, edible flowers 

November 24, 2020

Peanuts for everyone

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The Peanut Gang needed one more gathering before the end of this shit year, and this time we finally made it to our original scheduled venue for our last dinner together.  Ren Ren Heping Restaurant (人人和平小飯店) is, surprisingly, within walking distance of my apartment.  Somehow I never got around to visiting this neighborhood restaurant after 10 months of living in the area.  

Since we came with two VIPs - one of whom actually had a VIP discount card for the restaurant - I knew we were in good hands.  They know exactly what to order.

Award-winning honey char siu (本地蜂蜜叉燒) - wow, this was pretty damn good!  The exterior was relatively dry and not at all like many of the caramelized, honey-glazed versions around, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that the center would be tough and dry.  But the middle was surprisingly tender, although it was by no means succulent.  The candied mung beans on the side were nice.

November 21, 2020

Dog day afternoon

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We're in Sai Kung today to visit a shelter for rescue dogs, and for one reason or another didn't have time to grab lunch at a more reasonable hour.  I was starving by the time we were free to eat around 4 p.m., and I was determined to make up for it by getting a decent meal.  Since we're in an area famous for their seafood, I figured we should make our way to Loaf On (六福菜館). We were the only table in the restaurant, and the staff had to turn the lights back on for us. As we were only two, we couldn't order a lot of dishes.

Baked abalone with chili and garlic (椒鹽焗鮑魚) - difficult to come here and not order this.  These were pretty decent in size. although not as thick as the ones we had last time.  Still very tasty.

November 19, 2020

Memories of Spain

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Following the footsteps of his bromance twin, Goldfinger has also decided to open up a new restaurant with the same restaurant group as financial backers.  I am, as usual, in no hurry to check out Andō.  Plenty of others who are itching to go can report back, and I'd just sit back and see if it's the same ol' shit from HAKU, or if it's going in a different direction.

Well, it's been about 4 months, so I guess it was time to go see Goldfinger.  I rounded up Mr. and Mrs. Birdiegolf as we were overdue for a meal together, and chalked it down as part of the month-long birthday celebrations.

We decided to take the 8-course menu because, well, we came to try out some dishes.  

Beef tartare with Kristal caviar - the Argentinian Angus was aged for 21 days and seasoned with orange, lime, and lemon zest.  Topped with crispy shallots, Kaviari Kristal caviar, and perilla flowers.  Good combination of textures, and the flavors were lighter than expected.

November 18, 2020

Thai food for lunch

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I'm taking a rare day off work in the middle of the week, and of course I ended up working most of the day anyway.  I did, however, allow myself a leisurely lunch with Hello Kitty - which is something we haven't enjoyed together much during the work week.  I asked her where she wanted to go, and wouldn't you just know it... she picked some place that was literally across the street from my office!

Aaharn (อาหาร) has been open for a while now, but somehow we never got around to checking it out.  It's not my usual practice to hit places when they're new, and somehow none of my friends ever talked about this place much.  That's kinda strange, especially considering the chef behind it... and the fact that it has a Michelin star.  We came for a late lunch, and got a table on the balcony overlooking the Tai Kwun courtyard.

We each took the 3-course set lunch for our first taste.

Pineapple with popcorn chicken and chilli paste - the chicken/chili paste was pretty sweet, but did pack a reasonable amount of heat.

November 17, 2020

Hare on fire

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It's game season, and that means bunnies are on the menu at Caprice.  I've been seeing Hairy Legs' bunny dishes showing up on friends' social media, and finally it was my turn to taste them.  I knew that the ladies aren't big fans of these heavy dishes, so I figured we should make it into a boys' night.

I was looking forward to the three dishes featuring hare, but as I was bringing a bottle of sake, I asked Hairy Legs to put together a dish or two which would work with sake.  I would come to regret that, a little...

First, the usual suspects:

Button mushroom and foie gras gelée tart

Balik salmon with Kristal caviar

Pita with curry chicken mousse

November 14, 2020

Very fine indeed

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It's been a couple of months since the Film Buff and I sat at the same table, so we made plans to try out a new place while polishing off a couple of bottles.  We eventually settled on Le Bec Fin, which is a place both of us have wanted to check out for a while.  

Amuse bouche was a chanwanmushi (茶碗蒸し) with white truffle.  Very nice and comforting to warm up the stomach, but a little too big as an 'amuse bouche', to be honest.  A little interesting that the texture was not consistent throughout.

November 12, 2020

White truffle with VIP

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My Favorite Birdbrain Cousin wanted to get her white truffle fix, so Hello Kitty promptly pinged Little Rabbit to figure out when 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana might have a table during the very busy white truffle season.  Since I don't really have much of a relationship with the chefs or the group, it was much easier to let a VIP handle this.

We left things up to the chefs, although Hello Kitty did, surprisingly, request a specific dish that wasn't on the menu at the moment.  I was just glad that I didn't have to make any decisions today.

Chanterelles with mushroom foam and white truffle - always nice to start with this amuse bouche and get ourselves in the mood for what's coming.

November 10, 2020

Getting creative with hairy crab

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This Arrogant Prick has never been popular with PRs, so I very seldom receive invitations to tastings.  But a couple of weeks ago, I received an email which seemed to have strayed into my inbox by accident.  Someone I don't know wanted to invite me to taste the seasonal menu at Sushiyoshi (寿し芳).  Are they out of their minds?  Do they know who I am?  As it turns out, one of the bosses does know who I am and is well aware of my reputation.  I took a quick look at the kind of stuff that this Osaka import turns out, and decided that I was intrigued enough to give it a try.

The restaurant apparently is serving a seasonal menu featuring Shanghainese hairy crab (大閘蟹).  This was certainly interesting, and I really wanted to see if chef Sugawara Ryohei (菅原良平) could deliver the flavors in sushi form.

There are 20 courses on the menu, which is a little daunting because that's a lot of food.  Twenty pieces of nigiri from Sukiyabashi Jiro (すきやばし  次郎) is pretty filling, and here some of the courses would be bigger than a standard nigiri.  I was in for an interesting evening.

We started with some Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée, which went down pretty easily.

Akagai sashimi with seaweed, passion fruit foam - I'm normally not a great fan of the ark shell (赤貝) due to its strong iodine flavors, but tonight the fruity and acidity flavors in the vinegar and passion fruit foam helped to neutralize the iodine.  Kudos to the chef!  The cucumber and the chrysanthemum from Yamagata Prefecture (山形県) were nice, but it was the iwa mozuku (岩もずく) from Okinawa that was the most interesting.  The "normal" mozuku is usually limp, but this was pretty crunchy.  A pretty good start to the meal.

November 1, 2020

Another deep-fried birthday

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I received a happy invitation to lunch today.  We are here to celebrate The Man in White T-shirt's birthday, and Dada has asked Suzuki-san at Hidden (秀殿) to put together a special menu for us.  It's one of our favorite places in Hong Kong, and I was pretty happy to be back here again.

I was thirsty so I started with a girlie drink.  Unlike the ladies who kicked off with a highball, I was trying to pace myself so I could focus on the wines.

Yamanokotobuki Furufuru (山の寿  フルフル) - this is an umeshu (梅酒) made with two types of mango - Alphonso and Irwin - as well as passion fruit.  I loooove mango, so it was a no-brainer.  Interesting that there was a hint of bitterness here.

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