September 22, 2012

A fishy and smoky evening

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My week of Japanese feasts continued tonight, as I went for my fifth Japanese dinner in six nights.  I'd read about Mihanhonke (三燔本家) in the papers a few months ago, with the article highlighting the fresh local catch that the restaurant brings in daily.  My interest was piqued, and I dragged a couple of friends along to try out the place.

I chose to sit at the robatayaki (炉端焼) counter, and it was very clear that they weren't gonna be doing good business tonight - less than 1/3 of the seats were set up.  The sukiyaki (すき焼き) area next to us had no diners tonight.  I guess that meant we'd have a little more freedom and receive better service…

Since I had my heart set up the fresh catch, I decided it wouldn't make sense for me to order the set menu.  Besides, I'm used to ordering à la carte when I have robatayaki, anyway.  We took a look at the 5 different types of fish displayed on ice, as the captain tried to explain their names to us.  Trouble is, my friends didn't think that the captain really knew his stuff… and they also felt some of the fish really wasn't all that fresh when they looked at the eyes.  To top it all off, I had some doubts about the grilling skills of the staff… as I saw some of the fish being plated after having had large chunks broken off.  I was beginning to have doubts about dinner… since I came specifically for the fish!

We stayed in the robatayaki area and ordered fish.  The result?

September 21, 2012

A bubbly evening

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After rescheduling a couple of times, I've gotten together with a small group of friends for another wine dinner.  The last time we got together, we decided to do an evening with Champagne.  This isn't something I do often, so was I looking forward to sipping bubbly.  Kitcho (吉兆) was chosen to provide lighter fare to accompany the wines.

Babylonia (貝)

September 8, 2012

The debut performance

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Tonight marked a momentous occasion in the history of MNSC.  For the first time in more than 10 years,  we were inducting a new member to our little group.  As a few of us were spending most of our time away from Hong Kong, it was thought we needed new blood.  The topic was discussed at our last dinner and our new inductee was nominated and handily won over other candidates.  We wasted little time in getting him to host his very first dinner.

Megan's Kitchen (美味廚) was chosen as the venue - a location most of us know well, as we are friendly with the owner.  We were very much looking forward to some great food, and an evening of nothing but wines from Henri Jayer…

Appetizer Trio:
Deep-fried Bombay duck (椒鹽九肚魚) - the fillets are bigger than the strips I normally see, and not as melt-in-your mouth.  Delicious nonetheless.

Char siu OD

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I was craving for char siu last week and got into discussion on Twitter, and proposed to the group that we meet up for lunch today.  A few people put their hands up, and a reservation was made at Fu Sing Shark Fin Seafood Restaurant (富聲魚翅海鮮酒家).  It's a local favorite when it comes to dim sum, and their char siu has always been near the top of my list.

I arrived late and was surprised that the gang hadn't ordered anything to satisfy their cravings.  Once I sat down, I was immediately told by the Princess that I was not allowed to eat.  I was only allowed to eat whatever she gave me permission to eat.  Now that the ground rules have been set, I kept quiet and waited for her command…  At first, she told me that the only thing I could eat was the complimentary soy-marinated gluten (烤麩)

September 7, 2012

The bling-bling dragon

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I finally had the opportunity to take the Tiggers out to dinner tonight, and it didn't take me long to settle on the venue.  Tin Lung Heen (天龍軒) has been an itch I wanted to scratch a box I wanted to check off for some time, because it had generated so much buzz since the time of its opening.  Of course its location within the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong - on the 102th floor of ICC - gives diners a spectacular view.  I've heard mostly negative reviews regarding the food, and have held off trying it for myself until I felt the timing was right.  Finally, the Rubberman decided to give it a macaron in the current edition of his dining guide, just months after opening.

Tigger and I pulled up at the hotel entrance and stepped out of Mrs. Tigger's brand-spanking-new Mercedez AMG C63 Black Series.  As we attempted to walked through the glass doors, Tigger was stopped and questioned by hotel staff as to where we were going.  Not having made the reservation himself, he didn't know the name of the restaurant and I had to come to his rescue.  So… are we now not allowed into the hotel unless we have a clear purpose or a reason to be here?  I don't remember this being the case when I last visited the hotel.  The only hotel I remember visiting that has a stricter door policy is the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.

Once seated at our table by the window, the night time view was certainly pretty - despite the fact that we were looking directly at Stonecutter's Island and the military barracks.  The Tsing Ma Bridge is in the distance and we were watching planes take-off and land at the airport.  My view of the restaurant interior showcased a collection of wine bottles along the wall, interspersed with decorative elements designed to reflect as much light as possible.  Despite the relative soft level of ambient lighting and the use of dark wood elements, the environment was in fact very bling.  Perhaps there is some element of truth in another friend's remark from earlier in the day - that the hotel was designed to cater to visitors from the Strong Country.

September 5, 2012

Slaughtering fat sheep in Kowloon

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I'm back in Hong Kong again on business, and spent a full day being locked up in a conference room going through meeting after meeting.  At the end of the long day, my friendly neighborhood investment bankers took me out to dinner.  I was asked to suggest the venue, and chose Kowloon Tang (九龍廳) since we were already in the area and I'm a big fan of sister restaurant Island Tang (港島廳).

The manager came over and proffered a "suggested menu".  First item I noticed was the steamed Napoleon wrasse (清蒸蘇眉).  Besides being in the "Avoid" category on the World Wildlife Fund's seafood list, there really wasn't a good reason for us to have such an expensive fish.  I immediately downgraded this item.  The manager also suggested double-boiled soup with fish maw, black mushroom and heart of green (花膠北菇燉菜膽).  Dishes involving fish maw veer towards the expensive side, and again I downgraded to something a little more reasonably priced.

At this point I am starting to feel like a fat sheep again… Yes, we look like a bunch of bankers in suits entertaining a guest from the Strong Country, but hey… even investment bankers' entertainment budgets are under a little pressure during these hard times, and there's no need to shove all the expensive stuff down our throats!  I hate it when restaurant staff come with dollar signs in their eyes…


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