Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Remodeled Takumi

Recently I had the opportunity to try Chef Daisuke Mori’s cooking at his restaurant Takumi in Wanchai, which went through some slight renovations to keep the venue afresh. The restaurant, with counter-only seating tucked away on the ground floor of an apartment building, joined a handful of other places around town serving a genre of French cuisine with Japanese influence (or the other way round, depends on how you see it)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Slow Food Awakening

Up a flight of stairs of a random industrial building in Kwun Tong is a small café/restaurant called "8104 Box of Life", and every Monday evening, Kong Yeah, a small advocacy group that supports local farming and food products, puts words into actions by hosting dinners at this place with an ever-changing menu using produce freshly harvested from local farms and other locally made artisan products.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Teppanyaki Omakase

Sans the Japanese dessert stall at the street corner, I have never set foot on Haven Street, a little cul-de-sac at the tip of Causeway Bay. Once filled with filthy car repair shops and garages, it has slowly transformed into a corner lined with hip cafes, bars, small restaurants and at the end of the street, a Japanese restaurant called Kyoku specializing in sushi and teppanyaki. And that's where I was a couple of weeks ago trying out their new omakase menu in front of the teppanyaki counter.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

On My Day Off: Izakaya Dinner

A long story why I ended up on this side of harbor after spending a good afternoon browsing through exhibits at the Art Basel on the other side (alright, for me it’s more about the champagne at the VIP lounge than the art pieces, I admit), but anyway, since we were around this neighborhood (TST, that is), I thought it's a good idea to check out this new Japanese izakaya nearby that I always meant to try. Goshaku sat on the sixth floor of a commercial building on Knutsford Terrace and behind the restaurant was the same team which operates Keyaki near LKF and a handful of other Japanese casual diners around town.

Monday, April 17, 2017

On My Day Off: Pasta Bar Lunch

I heard great things about Pici, the new pasta bar at Wanchai's St. Francis' Yard, but I also heard it's next to impossible to get a table at this no-reservation restaurant opened by the same team behind Pirata (and TokyoLima, which I went recently also). So with my day off I decided to try my luck by going there early before they opened for lunch service at noon.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

On My Day Off: Early Bird Breakfast

After my original plan didn’t pan out as expected (for the better), I found myself having an extra day off in the middle of the week. I decided to make best use of it to do things that I wouldn’t be able to do normally when I had to work. I woke up, thinking what that might be, and the first thing that came to mind was this little dai pai dong in Central called Yue Hing (裕興大排檔). Multiple friends have sworn by the place serves the best sandwich in town (some even said the world), but the catch of this casual restaurant is first, they only opened on weekday mornings, and second, you just had to be really patient to wait for their food as it may take up to an hour to arrive.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

C'est Magnifique

With an invitation for Dom Perignon stating the event starting at 6:30pm with pre-dinner drinks, I ain't going to miss any minute of it and arrived right on the dot. And as a bonus of arriving early, in addition to a few extra glasses of the current 2006 vintage being poured for me, I got to enjoy a bit of the sunset off the terrace of On Dining on a particularly clear day, along with plates after plates of Joselito ham and 24-month aged Comte cheese being passed around. That certainly made what was an awfully-long work day less painful.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Uncharted Territory

Understandably I was a bit surprised when I heard several high-end restaurants are opening up at the tip of Kowloon Bay all by the same owner. One of those restaurants is Le Pan, headed by the Singaporean chef Edward Voon specializing in contemporary French/progressive cuisine, which I had a chance to visit recently at the invitation of their PR team.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Forgotten Recipes

It’s pure coincidence that I ended up with another outstanding Cantonese meal within the same week after our dinner at the Seventh Son just a couple of days ago. I was delighted to tag along with a small group of media people for the tasting of the special menu at Ming Court at Cordis Hong Kong. For the next couple of months, Chef Mango Tsang introduced a series called "The Forgotten Recipe", with "new" dishes based on classic Cantonese recipes and offered them in addition to the regular a la carte menu.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

"Family" Dinner at Seventh Son

The last Sunday of March was a wrap with a trip to Seventh Son Restaurant in the evening. Well, I forgot how and when the conversation for the dinner started but anyway, we sorted out the date that we were all available and someone made a booking.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Lovely Catch-up at La Paloma

La Paloma in Sai Ying Pun is what I would categorize as a "no-brainer" restaurant - you know, one of those neighborhood hangouts that one wouldn't mind going every day with a menu you are so familiar that you memorized everything on it - whether you call this a pub, a diner, a chiringuito, an osteria, a chachaanteng or whatever depending on where you are from.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Restaurant Week at TokyoLima

The Restaurant Week promotion often gave us the chance to check out any new or up and coming restaurants that we somehow missed out, and this year we decided to visit TokyoLima, the new-ish restaurant specializing in Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine opened only a couple months ago. The restaurant, branded itself as an izakaya, has the feel of an exclusive speakeasy, tucked away on the ground floor inside a non-descript commercial building on Lyndhurst Terrace.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

New age with the new Rech

We made our way to the other side of the harbor to have dinner at the new Rech by Alain Ducasse in Tsimshatsui on a Friday evening. The restaurant took over the space formerly occupied by Spoon, another dining outlet under the Alain Ducasse "empire", on the ground floor of Intercontinental Hong Kong. Well, I did bemoan the closure of Spoon for a little while – after all the place always has a special place in my heart as being the subject of my first blog post (wait, is that 10 years ago already?) – but I am also hopeful of this new concept of a casual, Parisian style seafood restaurant taking its place, suitably located by the harbor front with the most gorgeous view. Sometimes change is for the good.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Omi Beef Lunch

Shiga Prefecture is famous for its Omi beef (近江牛). This premium breed, named after the ancient name of Shiga, is known as the top 3 wagyu breeds in Japan along with Matsusaka beef from Mie and Kobe beef from Hyogo. So of course we wouldn't want to miss the opportunity of getting a taste of the beef while spending our time in Shiga as part of our weekend getaway.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Onsen by the Lake

Early spring may not be the best season to visit Lake Biwa region (it's much more popular during summer time), but we wanted a quick getaway to somewhere nearby after spending 2 nights in Kyoto. So we hopped onto the train and spend a night at a lakeside onsen resort in Ogoto-onsen in Shiga Prefecture, on the west side of the Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Her Choice, and then Mine

One of my regrets for the trip being too short was not able to spend more time checking out the buzzing café scene in Kyoto this time. Nonetheless we did have the opportunity to check out two that were high on each of our must-visit list.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Reunion Dinner at The Chairman

It was a long overdue reunion for the H gang so we managed a quick dinner meet-up at The Chairman one Tuesday evening. The place just slipped out of our mind for a while for whatever reasons so I am curious how their food fare since our last visit.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Taste of Hong Kong"

We were at the Central Harborfront to check out Taste of Hong Kong 2017 on their first evening of opening. To be honest I wasn't 100% convinced of the whole concept of this food event, now in its second year, bringing about a bunch of high-end restaurants in a food truck park-like setting, then calling this collectively "Taste of Hong Kong". But then when I was offered a pair of free tickets by the kind marketing team of Sheraton Hong Kong, I thought it's worth dropping by to see for myself. Plus this gave me some incentive to get out of office early and the weather was perfect for making the casual stroll to the space next to the Observation Wheel where tents and booths were set up for the 4-day event.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sunday Brunch Alfresco

The unintentional series of Sunday brunches continues, this time at Seasons in Causeway Bay's Lee Garden. With such mild and pleasant weather now that winter is (almost) officially over, we couldn't have picked a better day to sit outside at the terrace of the restaurant in the midst of a busy shopping district and chill. I have been to this place a couple of times in recent months and enjoyed many of Chef Olivier's dishes here, and this latest promotion obviously struck a chord with many local customers, as it was packed on the day of our visit.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Cooking at Our Temporary Home

One of the main reasons of renting a house rather than staying in a hotel was to have the opportunity to spend more time eating in rather than dining out all the time during our quick weekend getaway in Kyoto. I am always fascinated at the variety and quality of food ingredients found in the area, so I thought it will be interesting to actually cook with whatever I came across in the market at the time of our visit.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Plum Blossom

Mid-February is way too early for the annual cherry blossom festivities but we arrived at Kyoto right on time for the prime plum blossom season. These days, plum blossom might not get as much attention as the cherry blossom, which came later in mid-spring, but to me that means it’s less crowded but just as beautiful when the red or white plum flowers lined the street or park.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Shokudo in a Temple

We dropped by D&Department Kyoto on Saturday afternoon to do some shopping and have lunch there. D&Department Project is an fascinating concept being a social advocate for re-cycling, preserving traditional industries and designs and promoting local culture and food through shops, publications and exhibitions under the theme of “Long Life Design”… think of it as a combination of Monocle and Slow Food and pretty much resonate everything I have a fond interest in. So to me visiting their shops around the country is like a pilgrimage of sorts.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: First Time in a Sento

We were "forewarned" that the house we rented did not come with a bath tub but only a shower room. It's not a problem for us at all as the shower facility turned out to be absolutely spacious and comfortable. But we still managed to get a good soak in the hot tub after a long day’s walk while in Kyoto - in an old-fashioned neighborhood sento (銭湯) just 5 minutes away on foot.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Gion Matayoshi

I made only one restaurant reservation this time in Kyoto - partly because the trip was rather short and partly because by the time we started planning only a couple of weeks before the trip, many places we wanted to go were fully-booked. But at the end we loved our experience dining at this small kappou restaurant at Gion on our first evening in town.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Chinatown Style Dinner

Not in a thousand years would I have guessed dragon-i actually has a full dinner menu. With proper tableware set up and all for a traditional Chinese meal (in addition to other bar food and Japanese-style dishes). While during late night this place up on Wyndham, which for years have been the mecca of Hong Kong nightlife and the ultimate seen-and-be-seen venue, could get real lively, at dinner hour it was actually quiet and cozy – you can almost hear the pin dropped on the floor. That I didn't know before until I came over to eat recently. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Rustic Alsatian Duet

I was at Brasserie on the Eighth at The Conrad last Friday for a pop-up dinner featuring the chef couple Cyril Bonnard and Marie Wucher from Hotel Le Parc in Alsace. With most French restaurants at the hotels around town mostly of the fine-dining style, Brasserie on the Eighth stood out to be something different, in a more casual, brasserie/bistro style but with the same level of seriousness about cooking and serving authentic French cuisine.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: Tempura at the Counter

We tried our luck in getting a couple of seats at the counter of Tempura Yoshikawa for lunch without a booking and glad we were seated right away when we arrived after the morning visit to Nijo Castle a couple of blocks away. The kitchen primarily serves the guests of their 8-room ryokan, but it also serves lunch at a cozy 11-seat counter inside a wooden house next door.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Feb-ulous Kyoto: A Short Getaway

We didn't confirm our Kyoto vacation until 2 weeks before the departure date so we were a bit tight in putting all the travel arrangements in order. Luckily with such a short trip and having no particular plan in mind it's not that big of a problem. After having the flight confirmed (flying with Peach this time, as we always do since I love their flight schedules between HKG and KIX), we then tried to sort out the accommodation part, and at the end went for something different this time by taking the option of short-term house rental instead of hotel.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Chiuchow Dimsum Lunch

Not until I arrived at the door of Chiu Tang, the new Chiuchow restaurant in Central, for a Saturday lunch tasting did I realize Island Tang has shut for good and Chiu Tang actually took up its place. From my distant memory I think Island Tang was quite decent, so the closure was a surprise to me, but then I have heard good things about the original Chiu Tang branch in Wanchai and I was curious how this new branch will fare with a more central location.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Meatless Night

Admittedly, I normally would not fancy much of a vegetarian special menu, but I do like Chef Peggy’s cooking and her innovative take on meatless dishes, and enjoyed quite a few relaxing afternoons at her Grassroot Pantry restaurant on Hollywood Road. So I thought I would give it a shot when she collaborated with Chef Nate of Rhoda for an one-night only crossover event at the restaurant.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Caviar Lunch

I kicked off the relaxing long weekend in a terrific fashion, lunching at The Lounge of Four Seasons Hong Kong before jetting off in the evening. They were running a special menu featuring Kaluga caviar til late February and I was there for a sneak preview.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Well-deserved Recognition

The week already went off to a good start when I attended the celebration dinner reception at Otto e Mezzo Bombana on Monday evening, when Chef Bombana shared the joy with us for winning the “Lifetime Achievement Award” given by the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants team this year.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Another Weekend Feast

Another Sunday, another Sunday brunch, this time at Mercedes Me in Central. We have been here before a few times in the evening before and loved the relaxed atmosphere and well-planned dishes, so I expected the same for their weekend brunch.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Neighborhood Italian

Being in the mood for something quick and casual, I thought we should pay a return visit to the newish trattoria in our neighborhood last Monday. Ciak at Cityplaza is the sister restaurant of the one (with the same name) at Central's Landmark, which has a Michelin star under its belt, taking over the space which used to be the McDonald’s about 6 months ago inside this popular shopping mall in the area.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

More Sunday Brunch

Seems like we have been going around checking out various Sunday brunch offerings in town lately (though it wasn’t our intention per se), but last weekend we did it again, this time at Potato Head in Sai Ying Pun. I have been back a few times already since they opened in the middle of last year, either for the proper sit-down meals at the trendy Kaum restaurant or just for a quick coffee and pastry at the café corner near the entrance.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Turning a new page

What was usually a relatively quiet day at Caprice during the Chinese New Year weekend has turned into a near full-house this year. We knew because we have been doing the same thing for the past few years, coming to the restaurant for start our new year with a sumptuous lunch. That has become our little holiday tradition of sorts.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The V Word

With a prior engagement conveniently landed on February 14 this year, it was great that we managed to have a Friday date night recently for a preview of the Valentine’s Day Menu at Dining at Murasaki, a new contemporary Japanese restaurant in Causeway Bay.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

High-end Celebration

Ozone may not be the first venue people had in mind when they talk about dining outlets at Ritz Carlton Hong Kong; after all with two Michelin-starred restaurants (Tosca and Tin Lung Heen) and the ever-changing and glamorous afternoon tea at the lounge all under the same roof, it's easy for people to think of Ozone as more a spot for drinking rather than eating. But I have to say, for the few occasions I came here to eat I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of dishes and the overall dining experience. Kudos to Chef Rafael’s team inside the Ozone kitchen.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Le Grand Petit-Dejeuner

While being a perfect day to stay outdoors to enjoy the gorgeous sunny day on a Sunday afternoon, I opted to spend time on top of Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong to check out the new Sunday brunch menu at Pierre with a group of food-loving friends. It’s been years since I last ate at this Michelin-starred restaurant (and never during the day before) and with their new Sunday brunch offering only introduced in mid-January, I was curious to try what’s on offer and see how the place now stacks up against other restaurants of similar calibre.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Neighborhood Korean

I spent one Friday afternoon checking out yet another new restaurant in my office neighborhood with a friend/former colleague E who works right nearby. With The News Room quietly gone from the street corner near Quarry Bay’s Taikoo Place, in its place came Bib n Hops, the second outpost of this casual, street food style Korean restaurant concept backed by Chef Alvin Leung.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Festive Recipe Re-interpreted

Loh Bak Goh 蘿蔔糕, or as CYY calls it, “Robert Go”, is one of those festive dishes we eat during Chinese New Year. Made with shredded white radish (or turnip or daikon) plus a number of other ingredients in a rice flour-based batter and steamed in a deep dish, the dish symbolizes growth (with the word “goh” 糕 sounds like high, or 高 in Chinese). It's often called "Turnip Cake" in English or as Singaporean would say, "Carrot Cake" - but regardless of names, they are all referring to the same thing.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Neighborhood Shanghainese

Thought we would use the occasion of an early Chinese new year family reunion dinner to check out a new restaurant right in our hood. Jardin de Jade (蘇浙匯)at Cityplaza is the second branch of this nationwide chain of Shanghainese restaurant in Hong Kong, in addition to other one in Wanchai which got a Michelin star a few years back and has been keeping that rating since.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Mercato's Sunday Brunch

After a rather hectic Saturday running around, we got to spend our Sunday afternoon at a much leisurely pace, at Mercato by Jean Georges to check out their new weekend brunch menu. We loved the food here at our last outing to this restaurant right in the center of Lan Kwai Fong, so there’s every reason to believe this is going to be another great meal and a great afternoon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Guest Chef at Nicholini's

I walked into a full house at Nicholini’s at The Conrad Hong Kong on a Monday evening, joining a group of food lovers for a special “four-hands” tasting dinner featuring guest chef Massimo Spigaroli (of Antica Corte Pallavicina restaurant) from the Emilia-Romagna region and Nicholini’s own chef Luca de Berardinis, of course. Our evening began at the lounge just outside the restaurant, where booths were set up for some pre-dinner snacks with canapes and wines passed around. Naturally, my attention turned into both booths manned by the chefs of the evening, Chef Massimo behind the charcuterie counter, and Chef Luca tending the cheese table featuring collection from their own Wine and Cheese Library.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Neighborhood Gang

I delightfully joined the gang of foodie friends for dinner at Neighborhood just last week. Our friend R and P hauled back some Black Market Beef from Australia’s Rangers Valley ranch and of course, I was more than happy to be on the receiving end when they decided to share the joy with us at one of our favorite restaurants in town.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ringing In the New Year

We rang in the new year of 2017 with several delicious meals in the first week, one of which was at this private kitchen venue far far away in the countryside village of Kam Tin on a Saturday evening. My friend A spotted this place, called Choy Choy’s Kitchen, being named one of the best private kitchens in town, so he started to organize a dinner to check the place out with the group of us and worked out the logistics details with chef-owner Grace Choy beforehand.

Friday, January 6, 2017

In Between Meals

I am not exaggerating when I said we have been eating non-stop whilst in Macau for a quick 36 hours. As soon as we got off the ferry and checked in to our hotel, we quickly met up with our friend E (of @e_for_eat) who’s settling in with her job in Macau for a morning mini food crawl.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Better late than never

The other night my friend D organized a small dinner gathering at Yee Tung Heen at The Excelsior in Causeway Bay. I didn't know why I have never been to the restaurant before after all these years of its existence, but I was eager to check it out after hearing all the great things about Chef Wong's cooking and seeing all the delicious food pictures constantly posted on D's Facebook wall as she's the regular here.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Okinawa x Yardbird

For two evenings in mid-December, pork, instead of chicken, became the major theme of Yardbird as they were running a special menu inspired by Okinawa cuisine. I left office on the dot to be at the restaurant, trying to beat the crowd and joined the group for an early drink/dinner at this ever-popular izakaya/yakitori joint in Sheung Wan.