Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fine Foods (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Finally I got my hands on one of their green apple cheesecakes!

It's been over a month since Fine Foods at the Royal Garden Hotel re-opened. Following their latest refurbishment, the famed cake shop has launched a few brand new signature items and most notably, a green apple cheesecake. 

I have been there on numerous occasions at around 4-5 pm but only to find that they were already sold out. This time, I am not coming back empty-handed. 



The presentation was stunningly close to a real green apple. The crispy apple-shaped outer shell was made of white chocolate while green apple flavored cream cheese, pineapple bits and honey combs were hidden underneath.




Food Rating: 5/10
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
Website: www.rghk.com.hk


Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Peak Lookout (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

The Peak Lookout recently re-opened its doors following a month-long refurbishment. The facelift involved extensive work on a new raised terrace which would help to provide a more spacious and stylish environment for al fresco dining. 

Apart from the cosmetic makeover, the restaurant also added a "Surf n Turf" section to their reportoire. This brand new section in the menu included beef skewers as well as other grilled meat items.

We haven't been to the Peak Lookout for a while now but with all these new incentives including a re-designed terrace and enriched menu, we decided to check it out this weekend.  

This attractive restaurant at the Peak, best known for being housed under a Grade II historic architecture, is also famous for its wide selection of comfort food including fresh oyster, sushi, tandoori, curry, sandwich, burger, seafood and chargrilled meat.





Perhaps we have picked the wrong time of the year to visit as the weather was a bit windy for al fresco dining. So instead of enjoying the newly refurnished terrace, we opted for a warmer indoor table under the glass roof.

We ordered a bunch of dishes to share including the classic caesar salad with chicken tikka, spaghetti carbonara, grilled steak burger, fish and chips etc. The Spaghetti carbonara was surprisingly good. Al dente, creamy and rich in flavor. I did not expect that from a non-Italian place like the Peak Lookout. The grilled steak burger, using exclusively Australian beef, was also something to die for (a bit exaggerated perhaps!?). Very juicy beef patty served with homemade buns and fries. The only blemish was the fish and chips which tasted a bit blant at times. 





Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: $$$
Address: 121 Peak Road, The Peak, Hong Kong
Website: www.peaklookout.com.hk


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★☆☆☆

Not long ago, King Ludwig was the only viable option when it came to German cuisine in Hong Kong. Until quite recently Berliner and Brotzeit joined the competition. We had dinner at Berliner a few weeks ago and now it's time for Brotzeit to shine.

We arrived a bit early for dinner on this chilly afternoon (5:45pm!). Everybody else was still just having a beer while we were already flipping through the dinner menu. 


We started things off with a currywist which was a pork curry sausage with chili-curry sauce. We had that in Berlin a few months ago and kind of fell in love with it. But this one was really subpar. The sausage was not nearly crispy enough on the outside and the sauce could probably use a bit more curry powder (3/10).



And yes, their signature roasted pork knuckle. How could we forget about it? 

After waiting for almost 30 minutes, finally a crispy hind shank of grain fed pork knuckle arrived in front of us and it was huge. It was served with the usual sour cabbage and potato salad.

The pork knuckle was nicely roasted with the outer skin golden and crispy. But when we came to taste it, I thought the skin was a bit too chewy. The meat was fine though, fairly tender but I didn't like some of the spices being used there (tasted a bit like kebab...5/10). 




Food Rating: 4/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop G6/UG16, Tsim Sha Tsui Centre, 66 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui East
Tel: +852 2316-2666

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Giando Italian Restaurant & Bar (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Four months ago, Giando quietly replaced Vero Chocolate at the Fenwick Pier. Led by Chef-owner Gianni Caprioli (formerly of Isola), this new Italian restaurant and bar has received mixed reviews so far. As a result, we decided to take a closer look by paying a personal visit.

Giando takes somewhat of a minimalist approach when it comes to interior decoration. Simple wooden floor, white tabletop linen and white leather chairs all contributed to a wonderfully comfortable dining environment.

  
Some bloggers raged about the service level of the waiting staff here but there was no sign of poor service observed under our watchful eyes. To the contrary, we found service to be quite satisfactory. Everyone wore a nice smile on their face.

Pink Peppercorn Marinated Salmon, 4/10 
Lunch officially started with salmon marinated with pink peppercorn and served with an Italian fennel orange salad.

I liked the texture of the salmon but despite being marinated with peppercorn and herbs, it seemed to lack both the naturally rich flavor of salmon and the added touches from the seasoning.



Beef Carpaccio, 7/10
Next up was a pretty impressive beef carpaccio. 

The thinly sliced beef carpaccio came with very rich flavor with cheese, lemon juice and a balsamic dressing providing the finishing touch. That was a beautiful dish.



Strozzapreti with Italian Pork Sausage & Broccoli sauce, 2/10
I always tried to pick at least one pasta when I visited an Italian restaurant. There were all together three pasta dishes available in the lunch menu - penne in an arrabbiata sauce, spaghetti with clams in a white wine sauce and the strozzapreti, a hand-twisted pasta with Italian pork sausage in a broccoli sauce. I picked the latter and was still regretting that decision.

To my surprise, the sauce was way too salty and dominant wasting a fairly decent bowl of pasta. Perhaps I should have opted for the spaghetti with clams in white wine sauce instead.



Mixed Seafood Soupstew in Tomato Wine Broth, 5/10
I called this the Italian version of bouillabaisse. The seafood soupstew was based on a mild tomato and wine broth added with seafood including calamari, clams, shrimps, mussels, and fresh market fish. This was way better than the strozzapreti.



Panna cotta, 5/10
There was no sign of any lemon flavor in the panna cotta (though indicated as lemon flavored panna cotta in the menu) but it was nevertheless deliciously creamy. As usual, it was served with mixed berries. Some crunchy caramel on top helped to add a contrasting texture to the mix.



Giando’s Homemade Tiramisu, 8/10
Soft in texture and perfectly balanced in flavor. Divine.





Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$
Address: 1/F, The Fleet Arcade, Fenwick Pier Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Wanchai / Admiralty
Website: www.giandorestaurant.com

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mix Restaurant and Bar (Bangkok, THAILAND) ★★★★☆

If you are staying at the Grande Centre Point Hotel at Terminal 21 and happen to be looking for a nice Thai restaurant, then look no further than one located right at your doorstep - Mix Restaurant and Bar.



Honestly I am not particularly impressed with the way they decorated the dining room. A little too many colors.



As always, we started things off with a Thai milk tea.



We had way too much meat in the last few days so this salad, we thought, could help our diet a little bit but as it turned out, there were more spicy pork leg than garden green (5/10)!

 

One of the house specialties here is the hot spicy soup with Blue river prawn. I thought it tasted exactly like a Tom Yum Goong (5/10).



Stir fried minced pork, salty egg and jelly vermicelli was next (4/10).



One of the best dishes here was this stir fried crab meat with curry sauce. Absolutely mouthwatering (8/10).



Not to waste any of that delicious curry sauce, we decided to order a little fried rice.




Food Rating: 6/10
Price: ฿
Address: 5/F Terminal 21 Shopping Mall, Bangkok, Thailand

Closest BTS Station: Asok
Tel: +66 (0) 2254 0799
Website: www.mixrestaurantandbar.com


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Greyhound Café (Bangkok, THAILAND) ★★★★☆

Greyhound Café is a trendy restaurant chain serving authentic Thai cuisine with a modern twist. Created by hip fashion brand Greyhound, the café started small (some said back in 1997) but has gradually expanded not only in Bangkok but now to Hong Kong in recent years.

The Emporium branch is one of my personal favorite because of its proximity to where I like to go for spa and massage.



This is a place I visit whenever I come to Bangkok and it's not only because of its cuisine but it has more to do with its design and ambiance.



I am a huge fan of Thai milk tea and Greyhound's milk tea granite is as solid as it gets.



The portion was a little small but this spaghetti with prawns and crab roe in a prawn cream sauce had me craving for more.



My friend who I didn't know is a vegetarian, had this spaghetti with mushroom and cherry tomatoes and he thought it was not bad.



The food here was not as great as what it used to be but hey I am not here solely for food anyways. 

PS. If you are here for the first time, check out their famous chicken wings. You won't be disappointed. 


Food Rating: 5/10
Price: ฿฿
Address: Emporium, 2nd floor, Sukhumvit Soi 24, Bangkok, Thailand
Closest BTS Station: Phrom Phong
Tel: + 66 (0) 2664 8663
Website: www.greyhoundcafe.co.th


La Scala (Bangkok, THAILAND) ★★★★☆

The Sukothai Bangkok, one of the luxurious 5-star hotels in the heart of the vibrant Bangkok city, has always been one of my personal favourites. The hotel possesses a number of high-caliber restaurants including La Scala which serves classic Italian dishes in a contemporary style.

Placed at the corridor leading up to La Scala's entrance were autographed pictures of some of the best in the culinary business including Brazilian chef Alex Atala (D.O.M., San Paulo), Pascal Barbot (L'Astrance, Paris), Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana, Modena), Koji Shimomura (Édition Koji Shimomura, Tokyo) etc. Can we expect the same top-notch quality from this famed Italian restaurant?

The dining room is spacious and decorated predominantly in wood. There is a small outdoor patio overlooking the swimming pool. Despite of the wonderful weather on this day, we elected to sit inside and enjoyed a little bit more privacy. 

  

A few dishes worth noting here included their tortelli which was a stuffed pasta like ravioli. The tortelli was filled with wild rocket and violet artichokes and served with burrata cheese and an artichoke velouté.  

The artichoke velouté provided an intense depth of flavour for the tortelli. That was a very good dish coming from a talented kitchen (6/10).


We asked our server to recommend a pizza for sharing and she suggested the Stiacciatina with zero hesitation.

The Stiacciatina was a warm thin-crusted pizza bread with mascarpone cheese, parma ham, rocket leaves and sliced tomatoes. Imagine sandwich with pizza crusts. The parma ham was very crispy to go along with the cheese, rocket leaves and tomatoes. What an excellent recommendation it was (7/10)!  


La Scala offers high-quality authentic Italian cuisine in an architecture inspired by the Thailand's ancient Sukothai culture. To us, this was more than just an culinary experience. It was a great cultural exploration as well.



Food Rating: 7/10
Price: ฿฿฿
Address: 13/3 South Sathorn Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Closest Metro Station: Lumphini
Tel: +66 (0) 2344 8888
Website: www.sukhothai.com/Dining/La-Scala/



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Friday, January 4, 2013

The Firehouse (Bangkok, THAILAND) ★★★★☆

After consecutive days of curry and tom yum goong, my friend and I decided to take a detour tonight and head to one of the finest burger joints in Bangkok.

Awarded "Best New Burger" in 2011, The Firehouse believes the best burgers are ones that are custom made by hand using the freshest ingredients. One of their secret weapons are their tasty beef patties, made from chemical and hormone-free French-Thai beef. 



From our first glance, the restaurant looked more like a fireman museum than an award-winning burger joint. Different fireman hats, equipment as well as photos of fireman were put on display everywhere.



What would a burger meal be without a milkshake, you ask!? That's right. Let's start with a vanilla milkshake with premium vanilla ice cream, split vanilla beans and fresh milk.



Next up was Firehouse's signature "Premium Burger" with 180 grams of fresh ground Pon Yang Kham organic Thai-French beef, crisp lettuce, tomato, grilled red onion and mayo.



But the highlight of the night belonged to these three lovely mini-burgers. It came with four different dips including BBQ sauce, crispy bacon bits, guacamole and peanut butter. 

Juicy, tender and mouthwatering!




Food Rating: 6.5/10
Price: ฿฿฿
Address: 3/26 Sukhumvit 11 (Chaiyot) Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok, Thailand
Closest Metro Station: Nana
Tel: + 66 (0) 2651 3643
Website: www.firehousethailand.com/en/home/


Nahm (Bangkok, THAILAND) ★★★☆☆

Australia-born chef, David Thompson went back to Thailand, the country where he discovered his culinary inspiration with his first-ever restaurant in Bangkok - Nahm. Nahm Bangkok situated at the Metropolitan Hotel, was a much lighter version of his Michelin-starred Nahm at The Halkin in London. Lighter as in the sense that it's much more easy-going and casual, while still preserving the authenticity.

In 2012, Nahm Bangkok was rated by S. Pellegrino as the World's 50th Best Restaurant, the first Bangkok restaurant to ever break into the top 50. That certainly added some extra incentive to our much anticipated visit to this restaurant. Is it a rising star in the making or just a one-year wonder? We are about to find out.

On our way to the restaurant, we had a chat with our taxi driver and he told us, "If you want the best Thai food in Bangkok, try Celadon at the Sukothai Hotel. Nahm is no comparison.". Perhaps our taxi driver knew something that we didn't...




Over the years, Thompson has never hidden his passion for Thai street food and he does not shy away from bringing these wonderful street food to Nahm. Out of the 2-page lunch menu, one single page (actually 5 items only) was dedicated to some of Thailand's best street food and today's theme was rice noodle. On the second half of the menu, there were other selections for starters (4), soup (2), main (5) and dessert (2). Not what you call a comprehensive lunch menu but nevertheless adequent.

Lunch began with an interesting amuse bouche - a chicken and pork ball on top of a slice of pineapple. The sauce was made quite sticky while tasting both sweet and spicy (5/10).



We ordered one of the rice noodles just to get a read on Thompson's interpretion of this popular street dish. Unfortuately we could not hide our disappointment. The noodle was a bit cold and the chicken and wild ginger sauce was underwhelming (4/10). 




There were all kinds of curry in the main course and what better else to start with a green curry with tiger prawns, apple eggplant and thai basil. The tiger prawns were good. The curry was okay but not finger-licking good (5.5/10).



Next up was a grilled duck breast with red curry and sour tomatoes. I liked the thickness of this curry but the grilled duck breast was a bit too chewy (4.5/10).



Perhaps I was too hyped up about this lunch at Nahm that I got a bit carried away thinking that this would be my best meal in Bangkok ever. My perception was wrong.

Despite my lack of knowledge in Thai food, I do trust my taste buds on this one. This was not an impressive showing I was hoping for. Places like spice Market, Sweet Curry etc. offered so much more exciting selections.

And one more thing, the management team here should do a better job training up their waiting staff. They gave me an impression that they did not know their menu all too well. Perhaps we should have taken our taxi driver's advice - Celadon?

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: ฿฿฿
Address: Metropolitan by COMO, 27 South Sathorn Road, Bangkok, Thailand
Closest Metro Station: Lumphini
Tel: +66 (0) 2625 3388
Website: www.comohotels.com/metropolitanbangkok/dining/nahm
S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 50th (2012)
S. Pellegrino Asia's 50 Best Restaurants: 3rd (2013)



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