November 29, 2012


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Yes, I'm back at On Lot 10 again.  No, this was not my idea, but rather my Favorite Cousin's.  Mr. and Mrs. Ho were back in town, and as my very first visit to this restaurant was at their suggestion, it seemed like a logical choice.  Knowing Mr. Ho's fondness for bouillabaisse, I asked David to prepare a special version for us.  Both Mr. Ho and I were pretty excited at the prospect of enjoying this.

The staff had no idea that I was coming, since the reservation wasn't under my name.  I sat down and enquired about the bouillabaisse, but our friendly waiter didn't know anything about it.  He disappeared to check with the kitchen.  Nope.  No word on our special order, so the kitchen had nothing.  Umm……

This hasn't happened before.  We don't usually order specific items with David, as it's usually carte blanche, but there was a particular reason for a specific order this time.  Maybe he was too busy and forgot to pass the word down to the kitchen.  But I was stuck: I wasn't able to deliver the bouillabaisse that I had promised our out-of-town guests.

November 25, 2012

Right and Rhône

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Time for another MNSC Dinner, and the gang congregated on a Sunday night in the Grill Room of the Hong Kong Country Club.  I'm usually pretty skeptical of club food, so I didn't get my hopes up about the quality of the food.  I was, however, looking forward to whatever wines Juliano was about to serve us…

Baked oyster in two style:
Champagne emulsion - with diced mushrooms.

November 24, 2012

Lisboa tour 2012: La Paloma

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With a couple of hours to kill before dinner, we decided to arrive early and relax on the outdoor terrace at Pousada de São Tiago.  The 17th century fortress turned hotel seemed an ideal location for us to wrap up our tour of Macau.

While on the terrace, I struggled for a long time to come up with the perfect drink.  It was just before dinner, but I was still full from the combination of lunch and dessert.  I'd already had 2 types of tea since lunch, so I definitely did not need any more caffeine.  Alcohol?  I had pre-ordered wine for dinner and didn't want to get buzzed now.  In the end, I think I gave my friends a chuckle as I ordered a glass of watermelon juice

When I first saw the sign for La Paloma, I was immediately struck by the typeface, which bore a striking resemblance to the one used by Paloma Picasso for her brand.  Curious…

A Kafkaesque afternoon

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We were feeling very full after our wonderful lunch, and left the Grand Lisboa on a mission.  Lemon Tea wanted to check out this dessert place on Taipa, so the group of us went on a little adventure.  I rode a Macanese bus for the first time, got off at the closest stop, and strolled down Avenida de Kwong Tung towards our destination.

I had never heard of KAFKA Sweets & Gourmandises - the shop, that is.  Then again, I'm not very up to date on my Macanese destinations.  I found it curious that the owners of this joint - pretty much in the middle-of-nowhere as far as Macau is concerned - would name it after a literary giant.  OK, so it's located on a street whose Chinese name is 布拉格街, which is the same translation as Prague (Kafka's home town), but the "Braga" in Rua da Braga refers to the Portuguese city of Braga, not Prague (which is actually "Praga" in Portuguese)…  Well, whatever…

The place was fully packed, and we had to wait outside for a little while.  I'm not in the habit of waiting in line for food, but we're on a group activity here so I kept my opinions to myself.  It looked like a stereotypical joint that perhaps gained its popularity through the combination of having pretty-looking and colorful products, a decent interior design, and some clever marketing to the right target audience.  In short, it looks like a place I'd normally steer clear of.  But hey, I've got a couple of hours to kill, and I'm in the hands of experts, so just go with the flow…

Lisboa tour 2012: The Eight

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I woke up fairly late this morning, feeling a little more refreshed.  I opted not to have breakfast this morning, as the last thing I needed was more food… Finally at around 11:30, or more than 13 hours after finishing dinner last night, I felt the first indication of hunger pangs…

I was really looking forward to lunch at The Eight.  The meal I had last year was totally awesome, and I knew we were in for a series of different dishes this time around, with an additional stomach to help spread the food around…

Two little bite-sized amuses bouches started us off:
Stir-fried diced beef - with a little bit of celery perhaps?

November 23, 2012

Lisboa tour 2012: Guincho a Galera

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A mere 3 hours after lunch ended, the bunch of us gathered again and headed to the Hotel Lisboa across the street.  The venue for dinner was Guincho a Galera, the Portuguese restaurant occupying the former home of Robuchon a Galera.  This is the international outpost of Fortaleza do Guincho, a restaurant outside Lisbon with a Michelin star.

I wasn't the least bit hungry, and sat at the dinner table with a blank and defeated look for about the first hour while the rest of the gang discussed what to order.  I had just about managed to get rid of enough alcohol from my system as we were being served our complimentary wines…  In short, I was a party-pooper most of the evening...

2010 Bacalhôa Chardonnay Cova da Ursa - big nose of toasty oak, mineral, lemon, ripe, a little sweet with a hint of vanilla.  Not bad at all.

Lisboa tour 2012: Robuchon au Dôme

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It was a year and a half ago that I made a trip to Macau with KC, at the invitation of Hotel Lisboa.  Well, here we are again, together with Lemon Tea, for another 4 meals over 2 days…

Upon our arrival we were greeted by the PR, and escorted up to the top of the Grand Lisboa for our lunch at Robuchon au Dôme.  I haven't been here since Robuchon moved from its old location, so this was the first time for me to check out the interior and the view…

With our experience last year and knowing what's to come over the next 2 days, we decided to take it easy and did not pick the heaviest menu.  To be honest there is no need to do so, as all the stuff that gets wheeled around on carts are enough to fill you up…  Just like last time, we ended up sharing different dishes as much as possible.

November 20, 2012

Pass the Crestor, please...

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At a casual lunch with a couple of friends last week, one of my friends offered to introduce me to a bon viveur who will be passing through town.  I was of course tasked with the restaurant selection, although I was told that Caprice would be off-limits.  This was just as well, since it was doubtful I could get a table there on such short notice anyway…

So of course I turned to one of the two chefs in town in front of whom I have no shame, and asked David for a table at On Lot 10.  It seems to be my go-to restaurant these days, not the least because David has always been very accommodating to these last-minute "emergencies"…

We wanted to keep things light for my friend, so I asked David to come up with something "healthy" and let him know that this was for health reasons.  I remember specifically requesting for things that are low in fat and cholesterol.  I was really curious about what would end up on our table.

November 19, 2012

Nectar of the Tsars

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I was fortunate enough to have been invited to a dinner tonight featuring wines I had been curious about for years.  Around 10 years ago, one of the London brokers I actively dealt with sent around a list of wines from Massandra, and touted it as the "wine of the tsars".  Well, yes and no.  Initially Prince Lev Sergeyevich Golitsyn set up his own winery in Crimea, and later on he became the winemaker at Tsar Nicholas II's winery nearby at Massandra.  It wasn't until years after the revolution that the wineries - now under state control - were consolidated into the Massandra of today.

I regret not buying from the London broker 10 years ago, when the wine list was full of old gems and prices were cheap.  These days the same broker's list is largely depleted, and I have to get them from auction houses like Bonham's, who hosted the dinner and is featuring a small parcel of the wines in their upcoming auction.  Well, better late than never I guess...

The dinner tonight was held at West Villa (西苑), a decent restaurant with a reputation for delivering value for money.  I haven't been here for a long, long time, so it was good to come check out the food…

November 16, 2012

The tight Chairman

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It has been two years since I last visited The Chairman (大班樓), or so I was told by Foursquare as I checked in via my phone.  During that time the place has gotten themselves a little macaron, and I imagine it is now even harder to secure a table.  I therefore count myself lucky to be joining a VVIP of the restaurant - yes, I actually saw it written in the reservation book next to my friend's name - for dinner.

The space has never been very big for a restaurant this popular, but now they are really packing us in.  The nine of us squeezed in at a table that normally should seat six or no more than seven.  There was barely enough space for the wine glasses - up to three at the peak - so I had to slide my phone under the edge of the plate, and the camera got stuck between my back and the back of the chair.

The menu was preset as usual, and there would be a long line of dishes to come…

November 11, 2012


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Today was just like yesterday.  Except it was worse.  I woke up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep because of the alcohol in my system.  After spending some time putting together the post about Friday, I went back to bed to get a few more hours of sleep.  I felt tired and beat the entire day, and once again faced the same decision I had yesterday:  should I show up at dinner?

But just like last night, it would have been bad form to cancel.  A bunch of us were invited to a barbecue, and in attendance would be chefs from some of Hong Kong's best-known restaurants.  Knowing our host, he would have gone all out to feature the best ingredients - and in large quantities, no doubt.  It's best not to decline such generous hospitality.  So once again, I dragged my progressively heavier (especially in the last week) ass across the harbor…

The spread on the table was already pretty impressive when I stepped in through the door, and since a few others hadn't arrived yet, it was only gonna get more amazing… and I was right.  Together with the food that some of the guests brought along to this potluck, there was probably enough food to feed us three times over, maybe four!  There were entire dishes that did not get cooked, and of those ingredients that were cooked, there were a number of them that I didn't manage to touch, as I exercised restraint and kept my intake in check.

November 10, 2012

Alcoholics + alcoholic Italian wines = toast

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History has shown time and again that an evening out with the Alcoholics inevitably ends badly for me.   The bottle count at any of the gatherings with them will typically run above 1¼ bottles per person, which is above my tolerance level.  Not once have I woken up after one of these evenings without a hangover, and on occasion when the surroundings permit, I have fallen asleep during these dinners.  To sum it up: toast.

A couple of hours before dinner started tonight, I was in a mini-depression.  I had been dining out for 5 straight nights, and had consumed wine or alcohol on 4 of those nights.  Thursday and Friday had been particularly long evenings, and I woke up today feeling tired and with a slight hangover.  By this afternoon, my energy had not been recharged back to its normal level.  I really did not look forward to yet another evening out with lots of wine.  I had reached total palate fatigue, which is something that only happens once in a blue moon.

It would be bad form for me to cancel at the last minute, so I reluctantly dragged my ass out of the apartment, crossed the harbor to the Island side for the second time today, and joined the Alcoholics at Domani Ristorante.  This was an Italian wine dinner organized by Bordeaux Index, and while it was a BYO event, a number of bottles had been contributed by several Italian wineries.  I arrived to find bottles already on our table, and as we reached a full complement of 7, the bottle count got to 11.  Ohhhh boy…

November 9, 2012

Zigzaging across Victoria Harbor

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This was always gonna be a busy evening, but it actually went on for much longer than I expected… and I also got a little more drunk than I expected, even though my mind was crystal clear the whole evening.  Let me try to remember the details…

I started the evening at Hong Kong Wine Vault, attending a tasting of wines from Domaine Clarence Dillon.  Jean-Philippe Delmas was in attendance, showcasing wines from both Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion.

November 8, 2012

85 on 101

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A dear friend of mine was kind enough to invite me to dinner tonight.  A group of us were gathering to open a few bottles with Neal Martin, the man behind the Wine Journal on  It's always interesting to meet people who have so much experience with different wines, and not surprisingly many of us try to offer up some choice wines from our cellars during these encounters.  I sometimes wonder if these critics ever just want to have a simple meal with a simple bottle of wine?

The venue of the gathering was RyuGin (天空 龍吟) on the 101th floor of the International Commerce Centre.  I was pretty excited about this evening, both because of the wines we would be drinking and also because this would be my first visit to the restaurant.  I had a wonderful experience at the honten in Tokyo on my last trip, although reviews on this place from my contacts had been rather mixed.  Now I would be able to find out for myself.

We took a menu featuring fall ingredients, made even more luxurious with the addition of white truffles from Alba…

November 7, 2012

Just say roe

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In this age where we get live feeds from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like, it's not unusual to get a flood of images coming from friends who have just dined at a particular restaurant together.  Not long ago I kept seeing pictures of certain dishes come across my various social media accounts, and decided that they looked good enough for me to try.  A quick call to Mrs. Tigger and we had ourselves a table at Man Wah (文華廳) in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

The restaurant is running a joint promotion with Shing Lung Hong (成隆行), a long-time distributor of hairy crabs (大閘蟹) in Hong Kong.  A number of dishes have been created to highlight the seasonal crabs and their delicious roe.  I was naturally drawn in by the beautiful pictures taken by my friends.

I was late to dinner due to a misunderstanding, and arrived to a half a plate of Cantonese roast meats.  The char siu (叉燒) was actually very good, with just the right amount of marbling inside.  I should have checked with the restaurant to see if this was pork shoulder (脢頭肉)…  The crackling of the roast suckling pig (烤乳豬) was pretty good, too.

November 6, 2012

Rive Droite x Dark Side

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Hong Kong Wine Vault hosted a tasting of wines from Château La Conseillante and Clos Fourtet tonight.  I met Jean-Michel Laporte for the second time 2 years ago at an earlier tasting organized by Wine Vault, and do like their wines.  I am less familiar with Clos Fourtet, so the combination of the two châteaux made this an interesting event for me.

I arrived fairly late due to an earlier meeting, and fortunately it didn't take me too much time to cross over to the Dark Side and get to the industrial warehouse.  My late arrival, though, meant that I had to rush through the tasting and not spend too much time socializing.  In fact, I didn't spend any time speaking with the gentlemen responsible for making the wines…

I am not Big Spender

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I woke up this morning to a link posted on my Facebook timeline.  The link, of course, was to the "Big Spender" column published in the Hong Kong edition of Apple Daily (蘋果日報).  I had been interviewed a couple of weeks ago by the paper about my life as a foodie/blogger, and have been dreading the publication of this interview.

I was mostly worried about how I would come off to the general public, who don't know me and don't read my blog.  I have been described by various people as "arrogant" as well as a host of other terms, and while I usually shrugged those comments off as long as they were private, things were different this time.  People do read this paper, and this is a rather public scrutiny.  And the last thing I wanted was to show up in a column called "Big Spender" and make people think I am one.

I was asked permission to have the interview article written in first person form, since the bulk of the text consisted of answers to a few questions.  I reluctantly agreed to the request, knowing that anything written by the reporter would appear as if the words came straight from my mouth.  Well, I guess the end result isn't as bad as I feared, although there were still a couple of points I did not and would not have made.

November 5, 2012

Miles away from La Boqueria

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A few of us had missed out on a particular dinner 2 weeks ago, and were fortunate to have been re-invited to dine at Boqueria by the responsible PR person.  This is apparently related the New York chain, which was supposedly inspired by the best tapas bars of Barcelona, such as Pinotxo.  I've always loved tapas and pintxos when they're done well, and so even though I don't normally attend these PR meals, I happily joined the event since I pretty much knew everyone else attending.

I was running late as a client had invited me for drinks across the harbor, and I dashed back while glowing red from a few shots of Lagavulin 16.  I was seeing via Twitter that most others were going to be late, too, when I received the earth-shattering news that Your Highness had actually arrived on time (or at least before the rest of us)!  Anyone who knows Your Highness will know that, that NEVER happens…  As the Chinese will say, 太陽從西邊出來了!

Anyway, I managed to find my way to our table, greeted everyone around me and waited for the food to arrive… I accepted a glass of white sangria, but wasn't in the mood for more alcohol just yet.

November 3, 2012

Another Fook Lam Moon birthday

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It's another birthday celebration at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門), and one where our host splurged for a classic dish that the restaurant is known for - and something that I haven't had in quite a long time.

Deep-fried frogs' legs (椒鹽田雞腿) - it seems we can never get enough of this dish.  In fact we knew the "large" size wasn't enough and immediately ordered another "medium" plate.

Roast suckling pig (大紅片皮乳豬) - de rigueur when one dines here.  Does one ever get tired of this piggy?  Apparently not this crowd.  But who can blame us when the skin is wafer-thin and so crispy?!

November 2, 2012

Yummy food that don't work with red wine

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A few weeks after an impressive showing at the Masseto tasting I hosted, the MNSC boys gathered again at Megan's Kitchen (美味廚).  It's a full house again tonight, as our host Gayliao is back from his globetrotting that caused him to miss out on the Massetos.  One of the benefits of hosting at this location is the casual environment… evidenced by our host showing up to dinner in his flip-flops!  That has got to be a first in MNSC's 11-year history…

The menu tonight was exactly the same as what we had on our last visit, when Curry Jayer hosted his debut.  So once again we were fed lots of really delicious food, but - being deep-fried, sprinkled with garlic and chili, or simply being shellfish like crabs and prawns - they weren't exactly wine-friendly…


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