Friday, June 27, 2014

Kam's Roast Goose (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

After the dust has settled on the Yung Kee saga, family of the late Kam Kwan-sing has taken some time to ponder on their future plans and this week, they have finally come out of the hiatus with their two new restaurants in town.

The "Kam" family has a long history with gourmet food in the city and I was excited to try their signature roasted goose first hand.

When I arrived at Kam's Roast Goose, the place was already packed with fans waiting patiently for the famed goose.

Apart from their signature roasted goose, the small restaurant also has other patented dishes such as the famous preserved eggs and pickled ginger with runny yolk on the menu.

But our server delivered the bad news to us right when we were about to place our order. There was no roasted goose! All sold-out during lunch he said. So I had to settle for the goose marinated with house special soy sauce.

The "Prince" noodle (direct translation from the menu) served with char siu was also a fairly good choice.

The Kam family's roasted goose has been part of Hong Kong's gourmet traditions for decades. Too bad I wasn't able to taste it here first hand. I will definitely come back some other time! 

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$
Address: G/F, Po Wah Commercial Center, 226 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Wanchai
Tel: +852 2520-1110

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Steik World Meats (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Steik World Meats has been around since the opening of the K11 Shopping Mall and was listed as a Michelin recommended restaurant for 3 straight years. Ironically, this was only my first time here and the only reason we picked it tonight was largely due to how close it was to where my friend and I live! 

As usual, I would do a little research before I eat at any new restaurant. Turns out Steik World Meats is a member of the Epicurean group, the same group behind longtime local favorites Jimmy's Kitchen, The Peak Lookout and iL Posto 97. Steik World Meats is positioned as an upscale steakhouse so expect premium cuts of beef sourced from around the world among other popular steakhouse dishes such as lobster bisque, crab cakes, beef tartare, pan seared scallops etc. 

This was the main dining room at around 7pm when I arrived. Almost completely vacant but it was full less than an hour later.

I wasn't in the mood for a lot of meat tonight so decided to start things off with a lobster bisque with garlic rouille, Gruyère and croutons. It was so rich and flavorful.

Even more successful was our next starter, a pan-seared foie gras with sticky date pudding and preserved cherry jus. Both slabs of foie gras were perfectly seared with a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Seared Japanese Hokkaido scallops were served with aromatic green curry crust and a small Nam Jim salad. This was the most disappointing dish of the night. The green curry crust was the culprit here overshadowing the naturally sweet and rich taste of the scallops.

We decided to just order one main course to share and it's not beef. Instead it's grilled marinated Spanish iberico pork loin with a smoked eggplant salad. 

Our server recommended our pork loin to be served medium (pink) but we were always concerned with undercooked pork so we ended up having it well done.

The Spanish iberico pork was quite flavorful. The texture was slightly dry although still fairly tender and it would probably be better if we elected to have it at medium.

Steik World Meats was a relatively pleasant surprise for us. I thought with the exception of the scallops, all of our dishes were of good quality and we certainly won't hesitate to come back another time.

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 14 Level 3, K11, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui / Tsim Sha Tsui East
Tel: +852 2530-0011

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mott 32 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★★

As I have said two weeks ago right after that slightly disappointing dinner at Mott 32, I planned to come back for dim sum some other time to give them a chance to re-deem themselves. I have the gut feeling that they will do good this time with their signature dim sum.

At noon time, the dining room was almost completely empty. That's a rarity.

I finally got to check out this semi-private dining area. The designer used the train cabin as its design concept and executed brilliantly.


This is another dining section close to the bar area with a totally different theme.

Again I elected to start the meal with their signature crispy sugar coated BBQ spanish Teruel pork bun ($60). Have I quietly fallen in love with these buns?

I admit I love that crispy texture. It's kind of a love-at-first-sight thing. But I wish the BBQ pork sauce could be a little warmer (6.5/10).


Didn't expect the wild mushroom and water chestnut dumplings ($65) would be this good (7/10).

But the best dim sum of the day had to be these big Kurobuta pork dumplings (siu mai) with soft quail egg and black truffle ($60). They were absolutely mouthwatering!

I was pleasantly surprised with the way the Kurobuta pork, black truffle and quail egg all worked together (8/10).

And nice to see that the yolk was still runny.

Mott 32's barbecue prime Iberico pork with yellow mountain honey ($298) is one of the house specialty and I could see why it's so popular. If you like tender, juicy and melt-in-your-mouth "char siu" (BBQ pork), then you would definitely love this dish (7.5/10).

I think this was one of the best barbecue pork I had recently, perhaps second only to Tin Lung Heen's signature barbecue pork at Ritz Carlton Hong Kong.

This is another encore for us - the fried glutinous Rice with preserved sausage and dried shrimp. It was so yummy (7/10).

One dish I could do without was our dessert - sweetened bean curd cream in mango soup ($80). I don't see how the sweetened "tofu" could work with the mango soup at all. This was just weird (3/10).

With dessert being the only blemish, Mott 32 redeemed itself from a dismal showing 2 weeks ago and made a strong statement on why it has been one of the most exciting new restaurants in 2014.

My personal view: the lunch menu is better than what they had to offer at dinner.  

Food Rating: 7.5/10
Price: $$$$
Address: Standard Chartered Building, 4-4a Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Central
Tel: +852 2885-8688

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Le Gouter Bernardaud (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★☆☆☆

Le Goûter Bernardaud has long been a great place for coffee and high tea since its opening in 2004 but surprisingly this is my first time to take on their French pastries. 

First time in 10 years!?

We picked two of them to share as usual and first up for us was this bright-colored peach champagne, a mousse cake made with ripe blushing peaches and topped by a layer of champagne jelly.

Despite that lovely combination of colors, I thought the taste was very one-dimensional and the technique was surprisingly poor - how could the base be about 1-2cm longer than the layers of mousse and jelly? 

The Caracas turned out to be a lot better. The combination of milk creme brulee, pear and vanilla tiramisu mousse on top of an almond biscuit base was attractive enough to at least warrant a passing grade.


Le Goûter Bernardaud is a great tea salon but if we rate it as a patisserie, it still has a lot of work to do.

Food Rating: 4/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 2028-2029, Podium Level 2, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Central / Hong Kong Station
Tel: +852 2295-3955

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NOM (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

NOM is a newly opened Italian restaurant on Elgin Street serving up classic Italian dishes with a contemporary twist. While the name (short for "Not only meat-balls") indicates that it's more than just a meatball place, it is definitely one of the highlights in the menu that also includes pasta, meat and homemade pizza.

Head chef Fabrizio Napolitano, formerly of Goccia Ristorante e Bar offered his thoughts on what it would be like to dine at NOM - it would be like having dinner at a friend's house. That homey feeling, who in the world won't love that?

The rustic decor in the dining room gives us a very down-to-earth feeling.

And if you have a group of ten or more, this long table in the middle of the dining area would be perfect for you!

There are 8 type of meatballs in the menu ranging from beef, lamb, chicken, slow-cooked suckling pig (yes, you read that right), octopus, king crab and seafood. They even have a vegetarian one with artichoke, beans and cheese.

I am not much of a meat lover so the king crab "meatball" sounded like a more intriguing choice for me. Three pieces of croquette-like
king crab "meatballs" were served with zucchini fries and coffee mayo.

While I liked these deep fried king crab balls, they really didn't have that "melt-in-your-mouth" texture one would expect from a croquette (4/10). 

A beautifully presented Hokkaido scallops was next and it was arguably the best dish of the night. The Hokkaido scallops were pan-seared to near perfection. The pancetta, cauliflower, and black ink provided nice complements to the dish but the chestnut purée and mango didn't seem to mesh well with the rest of the ingredients (5.5/10).

We were already down to our last dish and it was a disappointing effort. I thought the black ink tagliatelle was slightly overcooked and the highly anticipated sea urchin flavor (and squid-ink flavor) was totally missing from action. Instead it was the tomato purée on the bottom providing all the seasoning (3/10).

Food Rating: 4/10
Price: $$$
Address: 1-5 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Central / Hong Kong Station
Tel: +852 2540-7988

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

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

It was a sizzling night in the summer and the "3 musketeers" decided to sneak out for a quick dinner. And what better way to spend our night than a restaurant without air conditioning? Well, we would do anything for good food!

Our pick tonight was Shelter Italian Bar & Restaurant, an Italian restaurant specializing in casual Italian fare at Hysan Place. I was excited and really looking forward to some of the classic Italian dishes from Executive Chef Simonetta Garelli. In case you're curious, prior to joining Shelter, Chef Garelli was the chef de cuisine of Giovanni’s at the Sheraton Shanghai Hongqiao Hotel and the executive sous chef of Bene Restaurant at the Sheraton Macao Hotel.

The restaurant is situated in the atrium of the building and it gets a little hot around this kind of year.

Porcini mushroom soup ($98) - what a way to start this dinner. Very rich flavor coming from the porcini mushroom. A very solid start (6.5/10).

Deep fried calamari, spicy tomato mayonnaise, lemon wedge ($148) - a reasonably good dish although the portion could have been a little more generous considering the price tag (4.5/10).

Pan seared Hokkaido scallop, chick peas, bacon bits and salsa verde ($188) - I had the pan seared scallops and this was a classic way to cook them with chick peas and salsa verde. The executive chef has obviously got strong roots to classic Italian cooking and she got a pretty nice dish here (6.5/10). 

Classic layered pasta with Bolognese sauce and parmesan ($178) - layered pasta with Bolognese and parmesan. Lovely combo and very good results (6/10).

Spaghetti carbonara, pork cheek, organic egg ($168) - I personally went with the carbonara. Very good bite especially with the addition of pork cheek (6.5/10).

"Aqcuerello" wild mushrooms risotto ($178) - the risotto was nice but the sauce was slightly flavorful and could have been a little more creamy (5/10).

Traditional tiramisu - A small tiramisu before we split the bill.

It was good seeing my buddies again and we shared some laughter over some good hearty Italian food. Although by the time we finished everything, we all needed a shower (with all the sweating) and it was all good.

Food Rating: 6/10
Price: $$$
Address: 718-719 (Open Terrace), 7/F Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Causeway Bay
Tel: +852 2778-8398
Website: Link

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mott 32 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

Mott 32 is currently the hottest new restaurant in Hong Kong. No one would argue with that. Located in the basement level of the Standard Chartered Building in Central, Maximal Concepts dips into Chinese cuisine for the first time after the successful launch of Fish & Meat and Mott 32 has quickly become the place to see and be seen.

The interior was designed by one of the hottest names in the industry in award-winning Joyce Wang who was in charge of revamping AMMO and Hay Market. And yes this was very elegant especially under these dim lights.

Our first starter - cucumber and garlic ($55) in a watery chilli sauce wasn't as elegant as the decor though. This reminded me of a miserable dinner at Momofuku Daishō. Wasn't a very good dish we had here. A very poor start which was a little unexpected (3/10).

It was a little late for dim sum but agent-i insisted that we should try these signature crispy sugar coated BBQ Spanish Teruel pork buns ($60) and we were glad we did. Very lovely texture from the buns and the Spanish pork meat sauce provided quite a treat for us (6.5/10).


Why would we want sweet and sour pork ($180) here? Because we were craving for some! I was suspecting that they were using Iberico pork here but didn't check with our server on that. Anyways, this was pretty good. Love the flavors from the aged black vinegar and the dragon fruit balancing out the acidity nicely (6/10).

Pan fried South Australian scallops and minced prawns ($320) - for the price they were charging, we were expecting a lot more from this pan fried scallop and minced prawn. Very bland and couldn't really taste the flavors from the scallops and prawns. A very disappointing dish (3.5/10).

Wok fried kale, dried shrimp, minced pork and shrimp paste ($140) - very decent but nothing to write home about (5/10).

Here came the best dish out of the night - fried glutinous rice with preserved sausage and dried shrimp ($180). The portion was pretty good. Love the fact that there's not too much oil in it and it's full of preserved sausage, mushrooms and dried shrimp. The texture was perfect too. Yum (8/10).

Just got room for one dessert and we ended up having something less traditional Chinese - green tea coated chocolate mousse ($60). This was very neat. The green tea coating was very thin and it felt as if I was having a cookie with a soft chocolate filling (7/10).

While we were pulling out, we walked right past this counter where the chefs were preparing their Peking ducks. They were looking pretty juicy so it's fair to say, I will definitely try to lay my hands on one of them next time I visit.

I thought the food was reasonably good although there were two dishes that didn't work out for us. A glass of red wine and the bill added up to $1200 for two and we didn't even have seafood or abalone. That's pretty steep.

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$$
Address: Standard Chartered Building, 4-4a Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Central
Tel: +852 2885-8688