Monday, October 2, 2017

Fine Foods (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

When it comes to consistent, high quality cakes in Hong Kong, few can compare to Fine Foods, the iconic pastry shop in Royal Garden Hotel, which was why we found ourselves here hunting for my little nugget's birthday cake this afternoon.

Rose and raspberry cake ($380) - The rose flavored vanilla mousse was silky smooth and it meshed well with the raspberry filling in the middle. A tad sweeter than I expected but very nice.

With the mid autumn festival fast approaching, I thought we better get ourselves some moon cakes as part of our celebration. While the thought of getting some traditional moon cakes did come across my mind, but at the end, these mooncake pastries were just too cute for me to resist.

Black sesame mooncake pastry ($60) - Black sesame plays the role of lotus seed paste here with two "vanilla chocolate" (I think) egg yolks stuffed in the middle. The texture reminded me a little of the always-popular "snow skin mooncake" (冰皮月餅) but the flavors were a little more subtle. Not bad.

Yuzu mooncake pastry ($60) - Less successful was the yuzu version of this mooncake pastry. Call me a purist but I always thought moon cakes are supposed to be sweet so this "acidic" one featuring yuzu didn't get muchlove from me. 

Food Rating: 6/10
Price: $$$$
Address: Lobby Level, The Royal Garden, 69 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui East
Tel: +852 2733-2045

Van Gogh Senses (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Van Gogh Senses, a Van Gogh themed restaurant, café and concept store in Heritage 1881, has been on my radar since late August when they first opened doors.

I finally got the chance to check it out today after having lunch next door at One Peking Road.

The café turns itself into a tea salon during the afternoon but too bad, it's already full when we arrived.

The only option we had was take-out. There are a few wooden tables just outside the café in the open area so at least, we can enjoy these Van Gogh themed cakes right at the door step of the restaurant.

Incorporating Van Gogh’s iconic paintings into crafted cakes sounds like a pretty interesting idea. But how well does this art-inspired pastry thing really work out? I'm curious in finding out myself.

Petite Midnight Passion ($58) - This comes with a fair amount of acidity from the blueberry and passion fruit. Unfortunately, there isn't enough sweetness to back it up. Not bad but a little one dimensional.

Petite Caramel Sunflowers ($58) - There's a nice mix of caramel and cream in there, along with a caramelized cookie crust.

But like the Petite Midnight Passion we had earlier, it lacks the contrasting textures and flavors.

Earl Grey Almond ($58) - The earl grey flavor was nicely complemented by the citrusy kick from bergamot and I really enjoy the crunchy almond dacquoise on the bottom for the lovely bite. The best of the three without a question.

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$$
Address: Shop 208, 1881 Heritage, 2A Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 2622-2887

Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine 御寶軒 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Good news just keep coming for the Imperial Treasure dining group. After their fine dining restaurant quietly captured 2 Michelin stars in the inaugural Shanghai guide late last year, Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine, one of their 20+ restaurants in Singapore, netted the group's first Michelin star in the city this June.

With their success in Shanghai and Singapore, there were already whispers in Hong Kong on whether their two restaurants have a chance for a star this year. I'm no expert of Chinese cuisine (or any cuisine for that matter) so I will leave it to the real experts. All I care about is how to make my tummy happy.

It's always hard to find a restaurant with empty seats in Tsim Sha Tsui during the "Golden Week" holidays but to my pleasant surprise, I was able to get myself a table at Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine (御寶軒) without much of an advance booking (I did call to make a reservation when I was on my way to TST).

Even more surprising are the relatively reasonable prices on the dim sum menu. Everything goes from mid $30's to $60, which is more than fair for a restaurant with a harbour view.

Steamed shrimp dumpling (筍尖鮮蝦餃) ($45) - As usual, starting things off were har gow and siu mai, the heart and soul of our yum cha culture. This was pretty nice. Very thin wrapper holding the shrimp meat firmly inside.

Steamed pork dumpling "siew mai" (香菇燒賣皇) ($42) - Pretty nice too, especially with the fragrance from the "fragrant" mushroom.

Steamed crispy rice roll with shrimp (金網脆皮蝦腸) ($60) - This tasted a little like steamed rice flour rolls with deep-fried crullers (炸兩) and the big shrimps in the middle made it even more tasty.

Steamed diced mushroom dumpling (什菌如意餃) ($38) - The kitchen looks solid with their dumplings. This was again very delicate with well seasoned vegetables and mushrooms in the middle of the action.

Baked BBQ pork pastry (蜜汁叉燒酥) ($42) - The pastry was pretty flaky and the filling of diced BBQ pork and sauce was spot on. Much better than the one we had at Man Ho last week.

Baked pineapple bun with barbecued pork (菠蘿叉燒包) ($42) - Very crispy on the outside while soft and pillowy in the middle. Pretty delicious.

Steamed beef tripe marinated with "Chu Hou" sauce (柱侯金錢肚) ($42) - Always a crowd pleaser.

Steamed egg yolk cake (蛋黃千層糕) ($38) - Not the best presentation but it was spongy with rich egg yolk flavors.

Pan fried rice roll with dried shrimp chili sauce (蝦米醬煎腸粉) ($50) - The rice rolls were nice and dry and love the spicy kick from the dried shrimp chili sauce. Surprisingly not as spicy as I thought.

Wok-fried hor fun with prawns in Penang style (檳城炒河粉) ($168) - Now that everyone was on the bandwagon for more spicy food, this was a dish that we could not possibly resist.

The wok-fried rice noodles reminded me a lot of the Malaysian char kway teow (炒貴刁). The wok-hei was very nice, which was the real key here. Also love the way the noodles worked with the supporting cast of prawns (really big and bouncy), preserved Chinese sausage, egg and bean sprouts. And the portion was just impressive to say the least!

Fried rice with chicken in tomato sauce and prawn in cream sauce (駌鴦燴炒飯) ($168) - Somehow they messed up my order of their signature honey glazed barbecued pork but it was getting late so I was going to settle for almost anything as a replacement.

I haven't had this "tai chi" fried rice for a long time. It certainly brought back a lot of memories from my childhood days as we often had this at our family gatherings. I thought like the previous dish, the portion was really generous and the contrasting flavors (tomato and chicken vs cream sauce and prawns) were quite appealing to the palates.

Despite having a lot of food, the total damage did not burn a hole in my pocket. Enough reasons for me to consider a second visit.

Food Rating: 6/10
Price: $$$
Address: 10/F, 1 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 2613-9800