Saturday, November 29, 2014

Dalloyau (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

With Christmas just around the corner, different cake shops are already showcasing what they've got for the festival holidays. Dalloyau, one of Paris's oldest pastry brands, is wasting no time to promote their scrumptious festive desserts.



Apart from festive desserts, Dalloyau La Boutique at Harbour City also has a corner dedicated to Christmas gifts ranging from chocolates to fruit jams.




Just when we were still checking out the Christmas gifts for our friends and family, a staff approached us and offered a slice of their handmade chocolate. This flavor is their Fondant D'Orange, combining a chocolate almond paste with a tangerine and fresh orange jam. Very nice indeed.



When it comes to pastries, they have their Religieuse dressed up as a snowman. That is really cute but this "Christmas Log" looks rather impressive as well. There are two flavors to choose from - (White) vanilla & chestnut and (Black) chocolate & orange.



We went for the white version of Christmas Log - Mont Blanc and what a treat it was.



A crispy pistachio biscuit base with a silky smooth vanilla mousse, chestnut purée and pistachio meringue provided an irresistible combination of contrasting flavors and textures for us.



I couldn't forget about one of their all-time classic - Dalloyau. Crushed caramelized hazelnut, tons of them, hugging around layers of almond meringue and praline cream creating a symphony of rich buttery and nutty flavor. 




Still my go-to pâtisserie in TST.


Food Rating: 7.5/10
Price: $$$$$
Address: Shop 403, 4/F, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 3185-8330
Website: www.dalloyau.fr/nos-boutiques/chine/tsim-sha-tsui


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Baby Mon Cher (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

For the past year or two, whenever we thought about egg roll, most often than not we would start thinking about Hiroshi's delicious matcha roll. However, that quickly changed starting in 2013 when Osaka based Baby Mon Cher launched its first shop at the Causeway Bay Sogo.

Baby Mon Cher's famous Dojima Roll features their own special recipe of chantilly cream which uses fresh milk from the Hokkaido region exclusively. Now that explains the silk smooth texture.



The Happy Pouch is a "tear drop" shaped pastry made with a sweet crepe wrapping around ingredients such as butter, fresh cream and cheese. The buttery taste of the crepe along with the cream and cheese was so appealing!





Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$
Address: B2F, Sogo Department Store, 555 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Causeway Bay
Tel: +852 2833-2409


0.5° Japanese Contemporary Cuisine & Bar (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

We found ourselves falling in love with the Tai Hang neighbourhood in recent years. This really has nothing to do with its rich history which dated back more than 100 years ago when it was still a fisherman's village but more to do with the number of trendy cafés and restaurants available in the area.

We walked past 0.5°Japanese Contemporary Cuisine & Bar quite a few times in the past and were always curious of the type of cuisine available here. Finally, we got the chance to check it out first hand.



There's a stylish sushi bar in the heart of 0.5° with two sushi chefs working diligently behind the scene when we arrived.



This contemporary Japanese restaurant sports an industrial chic design that is so common these days.



We had a close look into the food menu and wow everything is priced in Japanese Yens! After checking with our server, it turned to be just a nice "gimmick" that they were throwing around. 

The food is in fact in Hong Kong dollars and when reading it, simply take out the last digit to "convert it into HK$".



I had their supreme sushi set which I heard was the most popular dish here these days.



The Hokkaido scallop sushi, so sweet and flavorful.


 
The ebi sushi had superb texture and super sweet flavor.



Yaki toro (Seared toro) sushi - Lightly seared to perfection, melt in your mouth good.



The spicy tuna roll - I thought just average.



Sea urchin - one of my personal favorites. Very sweet but not as flavorful as most uni we've had elsewhere.



I thought I was going to stop there but since someone already ordered this, I had to give it a go - Buri (寒鰤) done three-ways.



I did my homework online on the term buri and it seemed to be related to yellowtail, hamachi and amberjack. They are probably from the same family.

This looked like hamachi all the way and the server explained that it's the back side of the buri. Very rich and flavorful.



Secondly, we had the buri tartare with spring onion and a special soy.



Now, we moved onto the belly, the most flavorful part of the fish and it was stunning. Very rich in fat content with superbly rich taste and the texture was extremely firm.




Food Rating: 6.5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop B, G/F, 12-13 Shepherd Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Causeway Bay
Tel: +852 2504-2777


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Spring Moon 嘉麟樓 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

Spring Moon (嘉麟樓) had developed a knack for surprising us with expertly crafted creations from time to time. This time around, their dim sum chef Henry Fong Lee Hing decides to breathe some fresh air into the classic Shanghainese dish xiao long bao by adding an Italian twist to the mix. 

This refined xiao long bao features fresh red shrimps from Sicily giving this timeless classic a totally different look.



Perched on the first floor of the legendary Peninsula Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, Spring Moon not only has the best char siu (barbecued pork) and mooncake, they also possess a long list of signature dim sums such as steamed crystal shrimp dumplings with spider crab legs, crispy buns with minced Wagyu beef, onions and black pepper and siu mai with scallops and wild mushrooms just to name a few.



Steamed pork dumpling with Sicilian red shrimps ($88), 7/10
But the story of the day has to be the steamed pork dumpling with Sicilian red shrimps which was being carefully prepared at the special counter near the entrance area.


 

The combination of minced pork and Sicilian red shrimps gave the xiao long bao a very unique texture and taste. Even the broth had a strong red shrimp flavor. Very nice.



Baked barbecued pork puff pastry ($57), 8.5/10
Crispy on the outside, warm and moist inside; that's the way we always liked our baked BBQ pork puff pastry to be but it's easier to be said than done. This was so mouthwatering.



Golden mashed taro with diced abalone, chicken & black mushrooms ($63), 8/10
Under this flaky crust was a layer of mashed taro with diced abalone, chicken and black mushrooms all wrapped around in the middle. This was another masterpiece.  



Steamed scallops and pea sprouts dumplings ($63), 6.5/10
Onto our dumplings now, we first got a taste of their steamed scallops and pea sprouts dumplings. 

The ultra-thin skin was very nice to go with the diced scallops and pea sprouts. My only complaint was that the portion between scallops and pea sprouts seemed to be a little tilted towards the sprouts.



Steamed crab meat and pumpkin dumplings ($63), 5/10

The steamed pumpkin and crab meat were a lovely combination but unlike the previous dumpling, the skin here was a little too sticky for my liking.



Fried vermicelli with crab meat and egg ($270), 7/10

Between noodles and fried rice, we opted for one of their signature dishes - fried vermicelli with crab meat and egg and it was a good one. The fried vermicelli provided quite an interesting bite along with the dried scallops, fresh crab meat and sprouts.


 

Steamed red date cake flavored with coconut ($54), 8/10
Another house specialty. Very strong red date flavor complemented by the sweetness of coconut without being overly sweet.




Dining at the Peninsula Hotel is always an experience unparalleled anywhere. It's definitely worth the splurge.


Food Rating: 7.5/10
Price: $$$$
Address: 1/F, The Peninsula Hong Kong, 19-21 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 2696-6760
Website: http://hongkong.peninsula.com/en/fine-dining/spring-moon-chinese-restaurant


Saturday, November 22, 2014

HeSheEat (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

It's been a while since I last visited Mongkok and I must say I've been more than impressed with some of the exciting new developments here. Take Hak Po Street and Pak Po Street (literally meaning "Black Cloth" Street and "White Cloth" Street) for example, they have been totally revitalized with a wave of new restaurants and cafés that helps to inject life into a neighborhood that used to be considered old and boring.

In the middle of the renaissance is HeSheEat, a trendy dessert café that became the talk of the town when they first opened in 2013. Based on my scouting report, their chef has worked at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon for nearly 2 years so my expectation is certainly riding high.



In order to avoid the crowd, we decided to visit a little before 7pm when everyone is still having dinner.



On top of the 3-4 tables next to the ground-floor kitchen, there is also a quieter dining area up these stairs on the first floor.



HeSheEat is a one of the few local dessert cafés that prepares desserts like waffles, soufflés, mille feuille etc. right on the spot and the quality is superb.



They're currently doing a cross-over with Levis jeans this month featuring this green tea fondant cake with pistachio crumbs and tofu ice-cream. Let's have this one.



But first a kettle of chestnut milkshake to quench my thirst. That felt so good (though it could have been a little more milky)!



Our tiramisu was the first of the two desserts to arrive. Underneath that cute presentation were thin layers of sponge and mascarpone. I love the fact that they have added some coffee jelly and vanilla cream into this symphony of contrasting flavors and textures.


 

I am the first to admit that I am no fan of chocolate fondant cakes. Way too intense and rich for me. But this one was a pleasant surprise for us chocolate fondant haters!

A lovely green tea flavored fondant cake served with pistachio crumbs and Japanese style tofu ice-cream on the side. 



Just when I cut through the fondant cake, the green tea lava flooded out. That tasted so good, a definite must-try for sure!




Food Rating: 7/10
Price: $$
Address: Shop 4, G/F, Ngai Hing Mansion, 22 Pak Po Street Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Mong Kok
Tel: +852 5517-3056


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Arcane (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

The brand new 18 On Lan Street is slated to open some time this winter as one of the hottest openings in Central (along with the new California Tower of course). At least that's what I've heard but from what I've seen here today, it's not nearly ready for its grand opening.



The only thing that looks operational right now seems to be the lobby.



We took the elevator up to the third floor looking for Chef Shane Osborn's latest venture - Arcane. They have a nice set of bar tables at the entrance in case anyone wants a glass of wine before meal.



Perth-born Shane Osborn is one of the most respected Australian chefs in the world. Earlier in his career, he made a name for himself as the first Australian chef to ever lead his kitchen to achieve or maintain 2 Michelin stars. After working extensively in Europe (mainly UK), he came to Asia in 2012 to join Alan Yau’s St Betty as their head chef and Arcane is his first solo effort in Hong Kong since he left St Betty in mid 2014.



Chef Osborn was seen directing his team of four in the open kitchen behind the counter when we stepped into the dining area. 

We like what we've seen so far from the menu with a nice array of modern European dishes. The 2-course lunch set is currently priced at $270 while adding a dessert will set you back another $80. Not bad for a restaurant of this caliber in the heart of Central. And the good news kept coming - for a limited time during the soft opening, everything is 50% off the original price! 



We went with the 3-course set and our first starter was a soft poached Taiyouran egg with bacon fondue, shaved broccoli and toasted almonds. The rich and savory flavors from all the different ingredients were very tempting (6/10).



I liked the second starter slightly better - an open raviolo of iceberg lettuce and spanner crab simmered in a langoustine sauce. The wonderfully intense langoustine bisque provided us with quite a treat (6.5/10).



Interestingly enough, this was not your typical ravioli. The ravioli was really "wide open" with the lettuce and crab meat hiding just underneath. 


 

Steamed pink snapper with salsa verde and quinoa was next. Red snapper is quite a popular choice in modern European cuisine but pink snapper.....it's been a while since I last had pink snapper. I thought the texture was very nice but it was a little fishy (5/10).



The breast of label rouge chicken was a much better choice as main course. The chicken breast was tender and full of flavor and it was nicely complemented by a salad of spinach, bacon, tomato and pine nuts (6.5/10).




I have a bit of mixed feelings on our desserts. The passion fruit mousse with chocolate sorbet and walnuts was decent but unspectacular (4.5/10).



Our second dessert was a slice of comté cheese served with pear and celery. What it lacks in presentation, it makes up for in taste. The rich flavors delicately linger on our palates but yet not too overpowering (6.5/10).

(Although I must say, I have never been totally convinced with cheese being served with celery.)




Food Rating: 6/10
Price: $$$$
Address: 3/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Central
Tel: +852 2728-0178
Website: http://arcane.hk/