Sunday, November 29, 2015

Lady M (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

A few months ago, Lady M, one of the most celebrated patisseries in New York, took Hong Kong by storm when they opened their first local outlet at the Harbour City. After numerous attempts to line up for my take-away mille crêpes failed during their first week of opening, I followed up my effort and finally got my first taste of their signature cakes a few weeks later.

It's been already 4 months since my first visit so this return visit is really long overdue. 

I hate lining up for cakes especially in the middle of a busy shopping mall right next to a car show. This is a pretty long lineup they've got here so I figure it's going to take at least 15 minutes for my turn.

So where's my Earl Grey Mille Crêpes?

At the end, I decided to order almost exactly the same trio I had last time. These two mille crêpes (original and green tea) are probably as good as it gets when it comes to mille crêpe cakes. Sure, there are some pretenders out there but no one could beat the soft and airy texture of these mille crêpes. And it definitely tasted like there're a thousand layers in there (mille crêpes literally translates into "thousand layered crepe cake." in case you didn't already know.).

I'm taking a flyer on their Gâteau Nuage ($68) only because I overheard their counter staff talking to a customer and telling her it's an award-winning cheesecake in NYC. Personally, I am not a huge fan of cheesecake and this was an exception, an outlier from most cheesecakes in the sense that it's a lot softer and very creamy. Still I thought it'll be a little heavy if I was going to take on the whole thing all by myself.

I'll be back for my Earl Grey Mille Crêpes!

Food Rating: 7/10
Price: $$$$
Address: Shop OT 215K, 2/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 2873-2356

Fauchon Paris (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

I've been praying that one day, both Pierre Hermé and Fauchon Paris would start carrying some of their signature pastries right here in Hong Kong on top of their extensive selection of macarons. Finally, half of my prayers were answered!

In reality, I have already known about Fauchon's éclairs arriving in Hong Kong a long time ago but unfortunately, I was a bit tied up and didn't get a chance to check it out immediately. Now, on top of their colorful éclairs, I realized that some of their other pastries were also in play, including a dark chocolate mousse cake ($58) and Tahitian vanilla, wild strawberry sauce, almond paste and sponge cake ($54).

But I just wanted to get back to the basics so I ended up taking this "Paris-brestéclair ($48) instead. I know I can always trust Fauchon's éclairs. The choux dough was filled with a rich and silky smooth hazelnut praline cream and topped with roasted hazelnut chunks. Nothing short of brilliant!

Food Rating: 7/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 3233, 3/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 2657-7908

Alma Portuguese Grill (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Like most of my "normal" weekends, I found myself snoozing in bed till almost noon hour so unsurprisingly when I did manage to arrive at the podium of Harbour City this afternoon, it was already 2:20pm. My first choice for lunch was supposed to be the newly opened Alma Portuguese Grill from the Drawing Room Concepts but too bad it was a bit late and they were no longer taking customers in for lunch.  

Wait, they have got this small counter at the corner for their pastel de nata (or Portuguese custard tarts). 

$13 a piece was a little steep but it's one of the best pastel de nata I've had here in Hong Kong. The custard was a little runny and noticeably sweeter than most ones in Hong Kong while the crust was slightly more flaky and buttery. Very delicious indeed. 

That's a gorgeous view of the harbour from the window seats. I gotta come back some other time for this.

(Note: the food rating was strictly based on the pastel de nata only.)

Food Rating: 6.5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop OT310, 3/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 3188-3668

Friday, November 27, 2015

Greenhouse (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Newly opened Greenhouse is the third "episode" in Gaia Group's popular "House" series. Located on the 10th floor of the Food Forum in Time Square, it offers an exciting "East meets West" dining concept which has already made the first 2 members of the series, Glasshouse and Townhouse very successful. 

I was meeting up an old blogger friend here for dinner tonight and was pretty amazing with the setting when I arrived. What a nice oasis in the middle of the hustle bustle of Causeway Bay! 

They have a lot to offer with their food menu including 20+ starters (small bite and bigger bites), salad, pizza and main dishes. Even added some Japanese style skewers to the mix. But before we got started, I decided to take a flyer on this Greenhouse ice red bean ($48) to cool myself off first. This was a very nice refreshing start!

We wanted something with a little more flavors to kick things off and it couldn't get any better with these grilled portobello mushrooms from the robtata grill. I am a sucker for portobello mushrooms and this one nicely complemented with kimchi cheese ($42) was exactly what the doctor ordered. 

The kimchi flavored cheese was so addictive!

Next, we had the wagyu beef burger with black truffle mayo and homemade pickles ($148) and it was another tasty dish. I particularly enjoyed the black truffle mayo going extremely well with the natural flavors of the wagyu beef. Very nice.

Less successful was the next dish, fried dirty duck with potato salad and sambal sauce ($298). The duck was actually very meaty but I thought the meat was a little bit too dry for my liking.

Who could turn away from desserts especially when there were so many wonderful options available!

Our dessert was a lovely deep fried brioche with ice-cream and mixed berries. Like the one I had at AMMO a while ago, this tasted a little like a French toast but a lot more spongy and that wrapped up a very enjoyable dinner for the two of us.

What I like about Greenhouse, is the incredible number of gourmet dishes featured in this menu. It makes sharing of food a lot easier for large group gatherings. After all, this is what the "House" concept is all about - sharing food and happy times with family and friends! well, they are definitely on the right track. 

Food Rating: 5/10 
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 1004, 10/F, Food Forum, Times Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Causeway Bay
Tel: +852 2383-4022

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Petit Deli (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Petit Deli is an inspiring little Italian deli across the street from the K11 shopping arcade. For the past few months, I've read a lot of good things about it from some of the online reviews but as usual, I was taking it with a grain of salt. But I was getting a little curious. So as soon as a number of my close friends started endorsing this place, I decided to drop by for a quick one before meeting my hair stylist this evening.

This is an area in desperate need of a cozy Italian deli like this. 

Many restaurants have already switched to electronic menus the last couple of years but I was a little surprised that such a small deli like this one also followed the trend considering the investment cost. That's a very good move though. All the Italian dishes were looking good on that color screen.

I didn't have a lot of time to spend on this dinner so skipping appetizer and going straight to my pasta sounded like a brilliant idea. This homemade fettuccine with tiger prawn, mixed peppers, cherry tomatoes, garlic and cheese was pretty decent actually. The whole thing was tossed in a light tomato sauce which was perhaps a little too light for my liking. Still I thought it was a fairly pleasant dish.

It was an honest effort from a young kitchen that will only get better with time. I was especially impressed with the service from the young team of waiting staff, who was very attentive from the moment I stepped through those doors.

Food Rating: 4.5/10
Price: $$$
Address: G/F, 2 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: East Tsim Sha Tsui / Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 2739-0728

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Fat Pig by Tom Aikens (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

As a fan of Tom Aikens's modern British cuisine, I have been staying on top of all the news regarding the famed chef's second project in Hong Kong, The Fat Pig, ever since he twitted about it a few months ago. After keeping a close eye on its preliminary opening date via the social network, I finally got confirmation that it's ready for its soft opening early this week. 

As expected, this is going to be a "nose-to-tail" concept featuring a pork centric food menu that will do Chef Fergus Henderson (founder of St John Restaurant in London) proud.

While none of the porky dishes (think pig's head cake, deep fried pig's tail etc.) did surprise me at all, what caught me a little off guard was the Asian (or Chinese) inspiration in some of these items such as their barbecued pork buns ($10), which were freshly made right at this counter. 

This is seriously good! I thought even better than those from a lot of the Chinese restaurants.

Deep fried pig's ears, green caper sauce ($55) - This tasted a lot like calamari fritti. Very crispy with pretty good bite. The green caper sauce provided some nice acidity to the mix. 

Pig's head cake with watercress salsa verde ($68) - Never imagine that I would be taking a bite out of the pig's head but hey, this looked more like a piece of crab cake to me.

It tasted nothing like pig's head (not that I know how pig's head tastes in the first place)! But this is quite tasty. The watercress salsa did a good job neutralizing the richness of the fillings.

But from this point on, everything was disappointingly trending downward.

Pot-roasted pork belly, garlic, dried longan fruit ($68) - They have a few versions of pork's belly here. First up was this pot-roasted pork belly on top of steamed rice, some shredded cabbage and longan fruit. I like the Asian twist there but unfortunately, the execution was not really up to par. 

Roast pork belly, wholegrain mustard mash, sage and apple glaze ($88) - More successful was this version of the pork belly, roasted with sage and apple cider (I could be wrong but there seemed to be a bit of alcohol in there.). Slightly crispy outside and tender inside. Didn't like the wholegrain mustard mash though, so it's a mixed bag with this one.

Steamed pork shoulder, cabbage ($75) - Didn't expect it to be soupy like this. The pork shoulder was a little bit chewy. Definitely not my favorite dish of the night.

Cumberland pork sausage, mash and onion gravy ($63) - What would a British dinner be without some homemade sausage right? Despite its not-so-appealing presentation, I thought the sausage was real soft and tender. 

Again more mash!? 

Choy sum salad with bean sprouts and peanuts ($40) - It's almost impossible to find a dish on the menu that does not have pork in it, perhaps except this salad with choy sum, bean sprouts and peanuts. Another Chinese inspired dish and a very good one to offset the oiliness of all the previous porky dishes.

I was joking with our young waitress and asked if they have "pork oil pudding" (豬油糕) for dessert. She laughed and said no but they've got other traditional Chinese stuff like black sesame soup (芝麻糊) and coconut tapioca (椰汁西米露). I thought she was just joking too but evidently not. 

But why would I want Chinese desserts at a modern British restaurant anyways? So, I went with this combination - lemon, yuzu cheesecake ($58) on the left and spiced brulee shortbread ($38) on the right. After trying these sweet treats first hand, my recommendation is to simply skip dessert for good. It's not worth wasting space in your stomach. Trust me on this one!

Yes, they've got the chops. Come and check this place out for yourself.

Though I wasn't expecting a fine dining restaurant here, I reckon it's going to be something like The Salted Pig. But they threw us a curveball with this trendy bar concept that serves tapas-style porky dishes (Yes, everything was small.). So folks, realign your expectations!

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 1105, 11/F Times Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Causeway Bay
Tel: +852 2577-3444

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Stacks Ice Cream (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Ever since my visit to Elephant Grounds' pop-up at The Upper House last week, I've been craving for some more ice-cream sandwich and I was relieved that I finally got the chance to stop my craving at Stacks this afternoon. Local actor Alan Wan (溫家偉) reportedly invested a seven-figure sum on the opening of Stacks Ice-Cream and following months of preparation, it was finally ready for prime time about 4 months ago.

This homemade ice cream sandwich shop has been an instant hit since its opening.

You can choose between 6 different flavors of homemade ice-cream ($38-$48) as well as 4 types of cookies. If you're feeling a little more adventurous, they're also offering these mini pineapple buns to go with your scoop of ice-cream.

I am a sucker for Thai milk tea so when I saw their new "Thai milk tea" flavor, I decided to jump all over it. There're a number of toppings (additional $2) available including sprinkles, marshmallows, caramel, oreo and chocolate chips and I ended up taking the marshmallows. The texture of the marshmallows was a nice complement to the Thai milk tea ice-cream and cookies. Excellent choice~

This is slightly better than my ice-cream sandwich at the Elephant Grounds' pop-up but that was mainly due to the lack of choices there (only 1 flavor available there).

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 11, Paradise Square, 3 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Yau Ma Tei 
Tel: +852 3549-8038


Mammy Pancake 媽咪雞蛋仔 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

After my lunch buffet at The Place at Langham Hotel Mongkok, I thought I would stay stuffed the rest of the way this afternoon until dinner time but evidently that was not the case. 

Just happened to run into this new outpost of Mammy Pancake (媽咪雞蛋仔) in Yau Ma Tei and suddenly, I was craving for some tasty eggettes. Speaking of Mammy Pancake, they're really being very opportunistic here. After being named in the 2016 Michelin Guide as one of the 23 recommended street food places in Hong Kong, they are quickly expanding their territories which has seen their number of stores more than doubled over a relatively short span. 

They are one of the many "feel good" stories in Hong Kong right now and of course, I got into the act by laying my hands on these sweet potato eggettes ($22). Crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy. The purplish stuff inside tasted a lot like sweet potato purée. This stuff is very addictive.

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: $$
Address: Shop G23, G/F, Young City Zone, 1 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Yau Ma Tei