Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Pastry (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

For those of us who are frequent visitors to Elements Shopping Mall, the arrival of The Pantry just couldn't come at a better time. We're talking about a place with tons of dining options (Italian, French, Japanese, American and Chinese) but there was no place for some heartwarming fusion food. So here comes The Pantry for the rescue.

The Pastry is highly touted for their East-meets-west food menu (or West-meets-east, I never seem to figure this one out). Some of the crowd favorites include their curry chicken risotto, buttermilk chicken waffle among other funky dishes. 

Garlic and lemongrass chicken wings ($75) - Who doesn't like chicken wings, raise your hand. There's a lot of lemongrass flavor in there. Also some soy and garlic. Not bad.

Soft shell crab salad ($138) - We always like to sandwich a salad in between all those greasy stuff so this one landed in the perfect spot. On top of the bed of garden green were mango, cherry tomato, radish and a pretty subtle yuzu dressing. Oh, I almost forgot about the deep-fried soft-shell crab. Another decent offering.

Jumbo tiger prawn meen ($188) - Finally, something I would consider as fusion. This is a very Asian-style egg noodle with braised pork ribs, grilled tiger prawn and soft boiled egg.

Interesting pairing with a fairly intense lobster consommé. It drew mixed reviews from the three of us.

Pancetta carbonara ($148) - My little one wanted some pasta so I got this pancetta carbonara specially for him. I was expecting some fusion twist along the way but it turned out to be a textbox carbonara with pancetta, parmesan and mushrooms. That was pretty tasty.

Tiramisu on pancakes ($135) - I almost forgot the fact that The Pastry's shot to stardom was largely related to their waffles and pancakes. Thankfully, I recovered just in the nick of time to order this tiramisu on pancake before we go.

The fluffy ricotta pancake topped with tiramisu sauce and pine nuts, came with mixed berries, banana and expresso syrup on the side. I thought it was almost as good as the one we had at Pan de pain pancake and sweets at K11 a while back. So glad we ordered it.

The bill came to a little over $800 for the three of us which I thought was a little high for what we were having (mostly comfort food) but at this day and age of inflation (specially at Elements), I guess it's a fair price to pay.

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 2133, 2/F, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Kowloon Station
Tel: +852 2348-8219

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Caprice (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

The swapping of chef de cuisine at Caprice and The Tasting Room has officially completed last month with chef Fabrice Vulin, formerly of Caprice, taking over the reign at The Tasting Room in Macau while chef Guillaume Galliot going the other way. This is something that is extremely rare and unusual in the fine dining business but as someone who is less curious about what has happened behind the scene, all I care about is how it would translate to the new menus on both sides.

Amid much anticipation, chef Galliot finally launched his new menu in mid June, his first since arriving at Caprice (And good to know that the prices remain unchanged).

Like most foodies in Hong Kong, I was really looking forward to this but before we got into the thick of things, a small amuse bouche helped to set the tone. The foie gras crème brûlée came with some crushed hazelnut on top. Not bad.

Lunch officially started with a seafood tartare that was served with lobster jelly and flying fish roe. When I got the first glimpse of this, I couldn't help but think of another similar dish - the lovely starter of lobster jelly, creamy avocado and prawns that I grew to like so much at Seasons by Olivier E.

Funny how this is also reminiscent of our traditional Chinese steamed meat pie (蒸肉餅). Sitting on top were diced lobster and crystal prawn mixed with little cucumber cubes while topped with dabs of flying fish roes and avocado cream. This whole thing was placed on top of a thin layer of lobster jelly which was surprisingly light and mild in flavor. Pretty good start but it could have been even better if they made the jelly a little stronger.

Second course was an exuberant pairing of poached lobster, green pea fricassé and oyster emulsion.

This was very delicious. I never like lobster with heavy seasoning so this was just perfect. The oyster emulsion was obviously the catalyst here providing a nice finishing touch to the elegant dish.

My meat course was Racan pigeon served with shallot purée, popcorn, stuffed confit legs and jus.

The pigeon was really nicely done while the shallot and popcorn provided different textures to the mix.

Ever since the arrival of pastry chef Nicholas Lambert, desserts have become a very memorable part of our meals at Caprice. While chef Lambert's signature Fraisier Gariguette was not on the menu today, there were 3 pretty exciting options for us to choose from.

The first was a combination of almond sablé, cherry cream, roasted cherry and Kirsch chantilly which I thought was pretty refreshing. Never hurt to have a bit of wine there to spice things up too.

But I was even more impressed with the second dessert, crispy hazelnut, chocolate biscuit, Macae cream and hazelnut praline.

My love affair with hazelnut praline goes way back and this was a good-looking dessert that used hazelnut praline brilliantly along with chocolate and Macae cream. A very nice exclamation point to this wonderful meal.

Mignardises were the usual suspects of profiteroles (coffee flavor?), macaron (raspberry) and dark chocolate.

Despite just hitting the ground running, chef Galliot showed us a glimpse of what we could expect from his kitchen which is a very elegant interpretation of modern French cuisine. I will definitely come back in a few months to check on their progress once again.

Food Rating: 7/10
Price: $$$$
Address: 6/F, 8 Finance Street, Four Seasons Hotel, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Hong Kong Station
Tel: +852 3196-8860

Monday, June 19, 2017

Seorae 喜來稀肉 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

The three musketeers have been itching to meet up for dinner since early May but were unable to come up with a date that worked for all parties. Thankfully, June has been much kinder to the three of us and finally, we managed to fix a date to come out and blow water.

Surprise, surprise, we ended up not going for Chinese food which we normally do for our gathering. Instead, we decided it was time for us to do some Korean barbecue.

All it took were 2 minutes for us to decide what to order at Seorae (喜來稀肉), one of our go-to Korean barbecue houses in the city. While we waited for our meat to arrive, it's time to get the grill ready.

Grilled beef Seorae-style ($130) - It came in its usual flower shape. This was seriously good with very nice texture and tenderness.

Just a bit of Korean barbecue sauce and some garlic chip on top before wrapping it around with a piece of lettuce. Delish~

Seorae special pork skirtmeat ($150) - Another house specialty that I really love a lot last time around. This was still pretty tender and flavorful but a little more chewy tonight. Perhaps my teeth have lost a bit of strength (無牙力).

Beef tongue marinated with Seorae soy sauce ($140) - I never go to a barbecue house without trying their beef tongue. This was pretty tasty. The balance of fat and meat was spot on.

Bibimbap in stone pot ($78) - Some "mixed rice" with mixed vegetables and beef brisket to go with all the barbecued meat.

It's normally impossible to find a table at any of the Seorae Korean grills in town unless you have an advance booking but this branch on Tang Lung Street seems to be an exception as there was a fair share of empty tables around (but it's a Monday!).

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 3, G/F & 1/F Golden Dragon Building, 41-51 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Causeway Bay
Tel: +852 2618-5331