May 31, 2022

Le French GourMay: a near-perfect three-star

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Thanks to the ban on dinner service, it has been more than 5 months since I last visited Sato-san at Ta Vie 旅 - one of my favorite restaurants in Hong Kong. I've been looking at their post on the new dishes, and as the date for my visit got closer, I found myself drooling a little bit more. Those dishes looked really, really good. In fact, the presentation looked downright stunning.

We still have their house-made butter...

...and their house-made ricotta.

Both of those condiments are meant to go with the signature nukazuke (糠漬け) bread. After 7 years I am still in love with this bread. Just so unique.

May 30, 2022

Two years on

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It's been 2 years since our beloved asshole left us, and for the third year in a row, we are having dinner at Nikushou. Compared to previous years, though, our dinner tonight turned out a little more fancy - and the conversation a little more jovial.

The restaurant has been suffering from a lack of cow cow chopstick rests, as many have been damaged over the years while others have been stolen by customers. I noticed that my cow cow was not only missing the nose ring but actually was missing both legs down one side of its body...

May 26, 2022

Second chances, pinot edition

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Thanks to the dinner ban as well as the Film Buff's travel plans, it has taken us more than 4 months to gather together for some wine. I haven't been back to Andō for quite some time, and figured I could get everyone there for a refresher. I was surprised to have encountered some resistance from the group, but in the end I'm glad that they decided to trust my judgement. I was also glad that stringent government restrictions had been lifted by now, so that the 6 of us could be seated together in the private room next to the kitchen.

I didn't say anything to Goldfinger about the group expecting a "Peter menu", but some of my friends tonight was certainly looking for something above and beyond what they themselves had experienced while dining here.

We started with a caviar tasting, featuring 3 different brands: Kaviari, Nomad, and Petrossian. Each was served in a different fashion. And OF COURSE Goldfinger made sure I had gold foil on each serving, and only for me. I AM special, after all...

May 24, 2022

Six months on

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It has been much, much too long since this foursome popped open a few bottles, mainly thanks to the 4½-month ban on dinner service. It was 6 months ago that we opened up a few nice bottles to wash down some white truffles, and this time around we decided to hit Xinrongji (新榮記), a place I like very much. The Baller definitely has a better relationship with the restaurant than I do - since they don't know me from a hole in the wall - so I let him make the arrangements.

Although we had booked more than 3 weeks' in advance, the restaurant had already run out of their daily quota for roast Peking duck for tonight. I never understood why roast Peking duck is so popular in Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong that don't specialize in Pekinese cuisine, but I guess I really don't know much about Chinese food. As I said to my friend earlier... I'll live.

Bayberries (楊梅) - I love that we always start with some seasonal fruit, and tonight these bayberries were really, really nice.

We also had these almond cookies (杏仁餅), which are always really, really good here. Soft and crumbly, and certainly very tasty.

May 20, 2022

Dinner under the stars, doggie edition

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We've been meaning to arrange a doggie playdate for our CC Dogcow, but unfortunate it didn't happen last year... so we tried again when Winnie the Chew could join us and bring their little fur baby along. Once again we chose Mian (紅棉) as the location, as it's pretty nice to sit under that pink-and-white shower tree in the courtyard.

As one of us hasn't really tried the menu here, Sankala and I ordered some of the usual suspects to give the first-timer a taste.

Jade lettuce ∙ wasabi (日本鮮山葵玉玲瓏) - always nice to start with something refreshing with clean flavors, especially on an evening like this.

May 19, 2022

Spicy peanuts

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No dinner out means the Peanut Gang could not catch up at all in 2022. In fact, I haven't seen these guys together for about 11 months. After multiple rounds of delays - and the relaxing of social distancing measures - we finally sat down around the same table at Deng G (鄧記) tonight.

The service staff couldn't find our booking, but we managed to grab a table regardless. Knowing that one of us was going to be very late, the rest of the gang began ordering up small dishes in multiple rounds while waiting for big bro to arrive.

Mouth watering chicken (鄧記口水雞)

May 15, 2022

Sunday night sticks

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This was the second of two bookings I made more than 5 months ago, when it took me 88 calls to get through to Hidden (秀殿) to get a coveted booking. It has, like the other booking, been postponed due to government restrictions on dining. But at least by now, the government has relaxed social distancing measures and we are now able to enjoy dinner service out. We decided to invite Mr and Mrs Cane to join us, as it's been some time since we last saw them. And once again we were joined by their son, whose company we enjoy very much.

The great thing about this place is that everyone can order up whatever they want, without being forced to have items that other people ordered. And one can control the amount of intake to one's liking.

Miso cucumber (もろきゅう) - nice to start off with something so refreshing, before we get into all that deep-fried sinfulness.

May 13, 2022

Rare Italian import

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NC Chung and I hadn't seen each other in a while, and he suggested that we catch up over lunch. I'm ever so glad that he's been able to enjoy dining out a little more over the last couple of years, and the caliber of restaurants we go to nowadays is definitely much higher than when I first got to know him. This time he chose to book us into Testina. I have, of course, long heard about this import from Italy... and have been looking forward to tasting the specialty ingredient - trippa.

I relished the opportunity to order à la carte, as I wanted to try only those dishes I fancied - unlike this meal with the Kitchen Nazi. With an easygoing dining companion, I could order all those things that a picky eater would pooh-pooh... and I love coming to these "nose-to-tail" restaurants!

I also love that they serve Nordaq filtered water, which reduces the carbon footprint of the restaurant.

Chicken liver parfait, saba and panettone - in retrospect, this was a dish I shouldn't have ordered. I love any kind of liver mousse but it's not something I absolutely needed to have here. I loved spreading it on toasted panettone but, inevitably, there was more parfait than bread... so I ended up grabbing a slice of sourdough to finish the job. This helped fill me up a little quicker than I had wanted.

May 6, 2022

Dinner under the stars, pink and white shower edition

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A friend is back in town for the first time since the pandemic started, so Sankala arranged to catch up with her over dinner. Since she very much wanted to meet our CC dogcow, Mian (紅棉) seemed like a good place for this meal. It's one of the few places we know where the food is decent while being pet-friendly.

As it turned out, the weather tonight was perfect for relaxing outdoors for a few hours. We enjoyed a cool breeze the whole time, and the giant pink and white shower tree (節果決明樹) in the courtyard of the Murray Hotel - classified as an Old and Valuation Tree by the government - was in full bloom. Throughout the course of the evening, a few petals or leaves would fall from the tree and land around us.

May 1, 2022

The bay in the drifting mountain

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For a long time now, we've been hearing Mrs Birdiegolf rave about the seafood in Lau Fau Shan (流浮山), but it seemed a long way to go just for a casual meal. Then she introduced her go-to restaurant to RAW Yeah, who also became a fan of Hoi Wan Restaurant (海灣餐廳). During our dinner last week, Sankala and I complained that we had never been to this purveyor of fine seafood, so RAW Yeah kindly agreed to arrange a meal for us.

The place really is far from where we live. Even on a rainy Sunday night with no traffic it took us about 45 minutes to get there. After walking down the narrow Main Street lined with restaurants and shops selling local goodies, we eventually would up at our destination. After we were seated, RAW Yeah and a few others went to pick out the seafood.

Blanched greasyback shrimp (白灼海麻蝦) - these were mostly small the very tender, just the way they should be.


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