Monday, July 23, 2012

Eleven Madison Park (New York, USA) ★★★★★

The restaurant named after where the building is located. Eleven Madison Park has a simple interior design with lots of natural light, it does not has the view of the Madison Park through it is right opposite to it.

We were asked to sit at the waiting area when we arrived at 12pm, while the restaurant staffs were having a morning brief. Everyone seems energetic and enthusiasm to their job.

The lunch menu includes 4 courses of your choice. The menu is designed to be a special menu which only provides one single word for each dish, without detail of ingredients and way of cooking.

I had an adventurous lunch at Eleven Madison Park. The food in the menu was not only surprised me but also the amuse rouche, sorbets in between courses and petite four which were served. The restaurant is well deserved of being ranked as the world's 10th and 3-Star Michelin restaurant.


Lunch menu

Foie Gras (9/10)

Snapper (5/10)

Lobster (8/10)

Lamb (9/10)

Malt (8/10)

Rhubarb (8/10)

The Grand Chef - Daniel Humm (10/10)

S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 10th (2012)
Food rating: 9/10
Price: $$$
Address: 11 Madison Avenue, New York

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Le Bernardin (New York, USA) ★★★★☆

Dining at 10pm on Saturday is not easy for a foreigner in New York. All the shops close before 8pm where leaving me with no choice of having a jetlag nap in the evening before heading to this world’s 19th and 3-Star Michelin restaurant.

Le Bernardin is easy to find which located at the ground floor of a commercial building.  The restaurant was full house when we arrived at 10pm. Our table was at the very end of the restaurant which offers us the view of all activities happen. The setting is warm and cozy but tables are close to each other and full of servers.

They offer a set dinner of 4 courses and can choose from categories include ‘Almost Raw’,‘Barely Touched’ and ‘Lightly Cooked’. 

It was an interesting and fulfilling dinner. I was amazed that there were customers coming for dinner at midnight when we left.

Dining room

Hamachi from ‘Almost Raw’ (5/10)

Geoduck-Caviar from ‘Almost Raw’ (8/10)

Surf and Turf from ‘Barely Touched’ (7/10)

Lobster from ‘Barely Touched’ (7/10)

Cranberry-Maple Vacherin (5/10)

Chocolate-Popcorn (8/10)

Food rating: 7/10
Price: $$$$
Address: 155 West 51st Street, New York, USA
S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants: 19th (2012)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sun Tung Lok 新同樂 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

I woke up this morning craving for some dim sum and somehow all the images floating through my head seemed to be linked with stuff from Sun Tung Lok (新同樂) so I guess that's where I would be heading then.

Without an advanced booking, it's often a little difficult to get a table at Sun Tung Lok especially in the weekends but fortunately, by the time we arrived here, it was already 2:30pm (see photo below with the clean-up sign was already out there at this hour) and the crowd had thinned out considerably after the peak hours.

Baked abalone puffs (特色鮑魚酥) - These puffs have been in my head since we started hovering over and they were indeed very nice as always. Under the soft pastry were diced abalone, minced pork and mushrooms. Very moist and flavorful, the way I liked them and no question one of my favorites here (8/10).

Roast suckling pig stuffed with minced shrimp (百花脆皮乳豬件) - another house specialty here and I haven't had these for ages. Still tasted great with the crispy suckling pig skin and delicious minced shrimp. Two pieces for me were definitely not nearly enough (9/10)!

Baked sea conch shells (格蘭焗釀嚮螺) - my first time having this dish and I thought it was not bad. Baked with the ever-popular "Portuguese sauce", the diced sea conch, ham and mushroom combined into quite a lovely dish (6/10).

Braised prime rib of beef with house gravy (燒汁乾逼牛肋骨) - very succulent with just the perfect texture and flavors. The melting fat was drop-dead-gorgeous (8.5/10).


Sautéed king prawn with vermicelli and homemade sauce in casserole (奇香將軍海中蝦煲) - served on a plate without the classic clay pot, it was another enjoyable dish. The vermicelli had lots of flavors which was nice but a little surprised that the sautéed king prawn was not nearly as flavorful (6.5/10).

Rice with diced fresh abalone and chicken wrapped in lotus leaf (鮑魚雞粒荷葉飯) - Slightly disappointing with a general lack of flavors (4.5/10).

We had ordered a lot of food so the head waiter decided to throw in a petite four for us free, first with a pumpkin soup with sago.

That was later followed by 3 pieces of Chinese pastries (同樂三式美點) highlighted by the split pea pudding with coconut milk (椰汁馬豆糕) in the middle. 

I am still not sure about the three stars but Sun Tung Lok showed me once again that they are most certainly one of the best place for dim sum in town hands down.

Food Rating: 8/10
Price: $$$$
Address: Shop D, 4/F, Miramar Shopping Centre, 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 2152-1417

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Liberty Private Works (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★★

Liberty Private Works first opened its door in June 2009 following a new wave of private kitchens in Hong Kong and it has never looked back. Situated in the quiet side of the busy Central district, this 16-seater restaurant is now one of the hardest table to book in town.

The restaurant serves an eight to ten course surprise menu on a nightly basis. Its kitchen is in charge by Vicky Cheng, who formerly worked for various high-end eateries in the world including Daniel of New York City.

Known for his innovative flair, Chef Vicky likes to put his fusion twist on his modern French cooking. I particularly enjoyed his match-and-mix of seasonal ingredients making each dish a unique culinary journey of its own.

The open kitchen is in a theatrical setting with Chef Vicky seen working diligently with his team at center stage.

Amuse, 6/10
Our amuse bouche was a melon themed dish that was simply an amazing display of visual arts. Small pieces of blue crab meat, goat cheese, Japanese radish and melon cubes all scattered around a small plate creating a rather stunning visual display of color and pattern.

Two different sauces, olive oil and Thai chilli yogurt, helped to tie everything together nicely.

Tuna, Sea urchin, espelette, rice, 9/10
Next came their signature dish, a tuna tartare tower topped with fresh sea urchin and caviar. This was an extremely well-balanced dish that was wonderfully complemented with cucumber, Japanese radish, crispy rice, a little bit of espelette and a special wasabi soy sauce.

To get the best out of this dish, we were supposed to start with biting the juices out of a chilled grape on the left. Then moved onto the tuna tartare, sea urchin and caviar in the middle and finally finished with the longan on the right.

This was nothing short of superb.

Scallop, Iberico ham, dashi, egg white, 4/10
Our second starter was a scallop prepared in two ways. In the middle was a scallop pan seared with honey while on the upper right corner, we had a scallop tartare that was wrapped around by cabbages like a sushi.

Iberian ham jelly and braised Chinese radish rounded out this relatively average dish.  

Market fish, chanterelle, peas, vanilla, 7.5/10
Our fish course was a pan seared amadei fish served on a bed of pea puree. 

The skin of the amadei fish was perfectly seared to a lovely golden color providing a crispy texture that combined well with the fish, peas and chanterelle mushrooms.

Egg, truffle, parmesan, caviar, 9/10
Following our fish course was another signature dish of LPW, ravioli with egg yolk, truffle, parmesan and caviar ready to be served.

Our server told us to first break the egg yolk and then stir it well with the sauce in order to give it more volume. We followed exactly what was told and it was heaven!

At first, the taste of the parmesan cream, egg yolk and caviar combining together was a little too rich and intense but as my palates started to adjust, I thought it worked extremely well with the ravioli giving it another exciting dimension.

Duck, pancetta, morel, edamame, 6/10
Moving onto our meat courses, first up was a duck done two different ways. 

The first part of the dish included a well executed piece of roasted duck served with pancetta and morel mushrooms while the latter came in the form of a spring roll stuffed with duck meat. It was an above-above dish but not exceptional.

Pork, cauliflower, rhubarb, macadamia nut, 6.5/10
Perhaps a little more successful was our second meat course, a roasted pork belly with cauliflower and surprising addition of rhubarb and macadamia nut.

I liked the fact that they have added rhubarb to balance out the rich flavor of the pork belly and the crushed macadamia nut did well to add contrasting textures to the mix. 

Pineapple, coconut, olive oil, black pepper, 8.5/10
Dessert again provided yet another highlight for our dinner. As the picture indicated here, we had the front row seats to the preparation of this dessert. 

A lot of ingredients have been squeezed into this creation including piña colada foam, candied pineapple, coconut mousse, coconut bits, a mochi and an olive-oil flavored ice-cream. I particularly enjoyed the coconut mousse wrapped with a thin slice of roasted pineapple. It was soft and sweet like a marshmallow. 

That was light and super refreshing.

Hazelnut, chili, earl grey, white chocolate, 7/10
Our final dish of the night was a Hazelnut, chili, earl grey, white chocolate that included an
Earl Grey Ice Cream on top of a bed of dark chocolate powder as well as a spongy pudding. Chilli seeds and hazelnut provided something different in terms of flavor and texture. 

What a perfect way to end this wonderful degustation menu!

It was a stunning display of skills and creativity by Chef Vicky and his team from start to finish. Why this restaurant has not garnered at least one Michelin star is beyond me.

Food Rating: 8/10
Price: $$$
Address: 26/F Stanley 11, 11 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Central
Tel: +852 5186-3282

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