Saturday, January 30, 2016

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

It's nice to see that the Fauchon Paris boutique in Hong Kong is finally rounding into shape. After just carrying the brand's macarons for a long time, they are slowly adding more pastries to their repertoire.

Their eclairs and cakes are some of my personal favorites and I try to check them out from time to time to see what they have new for me. Currently they are offering a few pastries which are exclusively available at their Harbour City location. One of them is this Black Forest cake, which I happened to have tried a very similar version back in Seoul last year but with a different palette (vanilla, mango and pistachio). 

This is, of course not your traditional Black Forest cake but rather a "re-invented" version of it using modern French pastry making technique. The ingredients did look similar though with a chocolate sponge, raspberry jelly, Kirsh mousse, "Amarena" cherries and chocolate mousse.

The texture was good but the different flavors did not harmonize each other as well as I thought they would.

Food Rating: 5/10
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

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bien Bistro (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Bien Bistro is a fusion restaurant that I've visited on a couple of occasions in Tsuen Wan West. Still trying to get a read on what they have to offer. Is it Asian cuisine with a modern European twist or European fare with a pan-Asian take? I have yet to figure that one out.

I wasn't exactly raving about their food after my previous visit but since here I was stuck in Citywalk with rain pouring heavily outside, I thought I could give it another shot.

Lunch started off well with a small bowl of pumpkin soup that has a lot of pumpkin purée and corns in it. Sweet start~

I had a lot to choose from for my main dish but decided to go with this seafood linguini with creamy pesto sauce. A very simple dish yet they managed to do an excellent job with it. The linguini was perfectly al dente with a lovely bite and the pesto cream sauce was well executed. They got me pleasantly surprised.

Obviously, they are doing a special promotion with Yorkshire puddings and that's why there are a number of sweet and savory dishes with that theme. I had just enough time to check out their Yorkshire pudding with vanilla ice-cream. Not bad at all!

I really had to write about this one - matcha with caramel pudding "soufflé". Was curious with how a matcha latte meshes with a floating caramel pudding soufflé in the first place. This was seriously good. The matcha flavor was mild and that allowed the floating soufflé and caramel pudding to shine. Very nice job!

I still haven't figured out what their cuisine is all about but one thing I know, I will be back shortly to check out the rest of their food menu.

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 117, 1/F, Citywalk, No.1 Yeung Uk Road, Tsuen Wan, NT, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsuen Wan West
Tel: +852 2155-9022

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Momojein (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

2015 has been a very successful year for Korean fusion restaurants in Hong Kong and Momojein, a contemporary Korean restaurant by celebrity Korean chef Lim Hee Won, is the latest one to crack the lineup late last year.

Perched on the 23rd floor of QRE Plaza in Wanchai, the 90-seat Momojein offers a modern and creative take on traditional Korean dishes. 

I went with their set lunch and decided to pick this beef brisket and mashed potatoes ($108) over a number of other options that included my favorite kimchi rice but the results were slightly disappointing. While I was expecting some nicely braised beef brisket, the dish came in a pot with sliced beef brisket and a spicy broth (like a hot pot). Well, not exactly how I imagined it. Under the soup were the mashed potatoes they promised but this was just too weird.

Food Rating: 4/10
Price: $$$
Address: 23/F, QRE Plaza, 202 Queen's Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Wanchai
Tel: +852 2789-1949

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lady M IFC (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

I don't really want to admit my addiction but after dropping by Lady M at IFC a few days in roll looking for earl grey mille crepes, I know I am addicted.

They have 4 staff dedicated for packaging their cakes and clearly, they have a system working pretty well for them by lining all these pastries up like battleships on the sea.

This was the first time that I managed to wait less than 10 minutes for my Lady M take-away.

The Earl Grey mille crepes, so rich and creamy. So addictive!!!!!

Food Rating: 7/10
Price: $$$$
Address: Shop 2096A, 2/F, IFC, 1 Harbour View Street, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Hong Kong Station
Tel: +852 2865-1099

Caprice (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

This week, I am doing my annual trip to Caprice who used to be my favorite French restaurant in town before their change of guard a few years ago.

We really couldn't pick a better day to come. It has been raining cats and dogs lately but today, we finally got some semi clear skies so at the very least the Victoria Harbour view was intact.

Our amuse bouche arrived quicker than I could roll my eyes. It was a tasty pork dumpling with creamy artichoke served alongside a small salad and artichoke custard on the bottom.

Comparing to our last visit here, this particular lunch set offers a little more traditional French flavors. Well at least from an ingredient point of view it does and obviously less Mediterranean twist (coming from Chef Vulin's background of course).

Our first starter, duck foie gras terrine, was an old French dish with a lovely contemporary twist. Apart from the duck foie gras, there's a layer of free-range chicken, duck consommé jelly and Brittany artichokes each. A touch of black truffle in the middle provided a contrasting flavor to the mix. This was actually pretty good and clearly quite pleasing to our palate.

Less successful was our second starter, sautéed Petits Gris snails, which were seated on top of a bed of truffled potato mousse and sliced potatoes with organic leaves, wild mushrooms and black truffle. This was beautifully presented without a question but unfortunately didn't taste as well as it looked.

A tad better were our main dishes starting with this Hokkaido scallop sausage, spinach and black truffle.

If my memory serves me correct, I am probably having Hokkaido scallop sausage for the very first time. Each piece of sausage was handmade with fish mousse, Hokkaido scallops and topped with young spinach and black truffles. This was served with a lukewarm butter cream sauce. Very rich and buttery.

Less innovative but equally delicious was the roasted Bresse chicken legs, served with crayfish and mushroom in a flaky butter puff ring.

Every one of my friends has been raving about Caprice's new pastry chef Nicolas Lambert since his arrival late last year so I was eager to meet his new lineup of desserts personally. This Gianduja chocolate eclair with hazelnut praline, Gianduja and orange cream was a wonderful start. Love the confit orange (and apricot?) on top providing the eclair with a lovely kick of acidity.

I've always enjoyed deconstructed version of tiramisu and they did an admirable job with this one using mascarpone cream and coffee ice-cream. Nothing that blew me away but I noticed this was rarely done in Caprice in the past, desserts that were unconventional and modern.

A standard petite fours wrapped things up before we settled the bill.

It was a slightly better showing than last time but still not quite there comparing to the glory days when Vincent Thierry was still around in my opinion.

Food Rating: 6.5/10
Price: $$$$
Address: 6/F, 8 Finance Street, Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Hong Kong Station
Tel: +852 3196-8860
S. Pellegrino Asia's 50 Best Restaurants: 42nd (2015)


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Chips Republic Café (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

I was catching a little break after lunch at Cafe Deco Pizzeria. But with flavors from my Korean BBQ beef pizza still lingering in my mouth, I decided to go get a palate cleanser somewhere in the shopping mall to put out the fire. What should I get!? The mint milkshake from Triple O seemed like the perfect choice but I wanted to see what Chips Republic Café has to offer so here I am! 

PB chocolate banana milkshake ($46) handmade right in front of us. They took a little while to get ready but that was well worth the wait. Rich and creamy, only if they could put in a bit more peanut butter, I will be a real happy camper!

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 2132, 2/F, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Kowloon Station
Tel: +852 2581-1887

Saturday, January 23, 2016

HeSheEat (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

Ever since Occupy Central took place last year, I've pretty much cut down all my trips to Mongkok to save myself a bit of headache so this visit to HeSheEat is something that's long overdue.

This branch of HeSheEat has always been my "preferred" one over their CWB outpost for various reasons and this afternoon, I also gotta check out their dining room upstairs as well since the ground floor (which is pretty tiny) was absolutely packed.

Things have changed a lot since my last visit especially in the food department. Gone was the old dessert menu full of goodies like my favorite deconstructed tiramisu with coffee gelee and in comes an array of savory dishes including different risotto and spaghetti. I thought they were only doing these in Causeway Bay!

Since my sweet tooth was well taken care of in recent weeks, I wasn't desperate for a dessert at all. Instead, I switched my attention to their Oreo milkshake with chunks of oreo cookies. This was very frosty but not nearly thick enough for my standard.

Food Rating: 4.5/10
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

Friday, January 22, 2016

AnOther Place by David Myers (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

I've been looking forward to this place ever since it's been named 8 of the most anticipated new openings in Autumn 2015 by Hong Kong Tatler Dining back in September. They took a little while to sort things out but finally were ready for their soft opening in early January. 

To be brutally honest, I didn't know a lot about Chef Myers so I went onto the mighty internet for answers before this dinner. Turns out that he's an American celebrity chef and a one-time "Best New Chefs" by Food & Wine Magazine, who honed his craft working under Charlie Trotter and Daniel Boulud. He went on to open a few restaurants on his own, mostly in Los Angeles and has recently been involved with a few projects in Asia, including Adrift at Marina Bay Sands Singapore.

After a 10-minute walk from Fortress Hill MTR towards the harbour, I found myself in an unfamiliar territory between Fortress Hill and Tin Hau, an area more known for its industrial buildings than fine dining venues. Just when I thought I was lost and started launching my Google map, I spotted this big "C" signage on the wall. Yes, Block C of Seaview Estate, that's where AnOther Place by David Myers is "hidden".

AnOther Place is a members' club, lounge and fine dining restaurant all under the same roof. As soon as I was seated, I immediately started checking out one of their 2 dining rooms, which was pretty small but well appointed and cozy. In fact it felt like I was visiting someone's house.

They were supposed to have a pretty nice view of the harbour from the bar table but unfortunately with all the scaffolding, the only thing I could see was a giant net and a bridge full of traffic.

They obviously wanted to make things simple for us. There were no a la carte menu available at the moment, just two prix fixe menus with 4-course ($680) and 6-course ($880) options. I was feeling a little hungry tonight so I decided to go with the longer set. 

Kicking things off was a small amuse bouche with some finely chopped mushroom sautéed and placed inside a little cherry tomato. A bit of white cream made also with mushroom and truffle was served on the side. OK but nothing mind blowing there.

The first course of the night was konbu cured halibut with nori jam and puffed wild rice. I thought the texture of the cured halibut was pretty nice but the whole thing was a bit under-seasoned. 

Next up was roasted Brittany diver scallops with lovage infused clam chowder. This was probably the first time I had squid ink with my clam chowder and the result was pretty stunning. Love the creamy chowder with the sweetness of fresh clams and some potato purée. Easily the best dish of the night.

Onto our third course and it's our fish course, confit of Norwegian salmon served with truffled potato gnocchi, crispy oxtail, buttered leeks and a red wine beef jus.

It was pretty happy with the presentation of the salmon confit which was nicely garnished with some greenery and olive oil "pearls" on top. On the side were green pea purée, crispy oxtail and truffled potato gnocchi. A well designed dish but the ingredients didn't really come together as well as I thought.

The highly anticipated Kagoshima wagyu strip loin also failed to impress me despite being a house specialty dish. The wagyu strip loin was done 2 different ways with 3 pieces seared and 2 others braised using the beef jus. Disappointingly, the seared pieces were well under-seasoned with the flavors from the sea salt totally missing in action.

Right before our dessert arrived, we were offered an Asian pear sorbet, prosecco granite and pomegranate gelée. This was very refreshing.

Finally, the last course was ready to be served and it's a pair of chocolate beignets served alongside a scoop of malt ice-cream and berries. I thought this tasted seriously good like a chocolate molten lava cake in the shape of a water chestnut. The chocolate lava oozed out on the first bite and it was perfectly matched with the sweetness of the malt ice-cream.

Petite fours were 3 tiny nibbles that were a little discouraging.

Considering all the hype, I was pretty disappointed with the results. Perhaps, I was expecting something along the line of Twenty six by Liberty or VEA Restaurant & Lounge where an innovative brand of European fare would be served up but boy was I wrong. This was definitely not worth the price tag.  

Another thing I found annoying was the fact that the servers repeatedly tried to explain all these French dining terms throughout the meal. What is amuse bouche? What is petite fours? And the explanation would often go something like this....."In France, they like to serve all these small nibbles to get your appetite started and....blah blah blah.", like a little history lesson. Well, if we could find our way to this French dining restaurant in a Fortress Hill industrial building, we are probably not a beginner in French dining. So let's just cut the introduction and go straight to the ingredients please!

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$$
Address: 5/F Block C, Seaview Estate, 2-8 Watson Road, Fortress Hill, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Fortress Hill
Tel: +852 2979-0064

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Triple O's (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

I have been keeping close tabs on the soft opening of Plat du Jour at Pacific Place for a while now. And earlier this week, word from the social media has it that the popular French bistro by Swire Group has just opened its door so I decided to check it out over lunch. As it turns out, the place was indeed open but their hostess rudely explained to me that they've taken enough customers for the day already (despite the fact that it's still half empty). I guess there are other nicer ways to ask me to buzz off and she could have chosen to take a more diplomatic stance. 

Anyways, I was walking around Pacific Place looking for another place to have a quick bite. After checking out a number of options that also happened to be full (which is no surprise at this hour), I was running out of ideas until suddenly remembering my favorite burger joint in the basement of the mall - Triple O's! This is one burger joint I know I can always count on because it's from good old Canada (although their beef patty was actually made with Australian beef, not Canadian.)!

No brainer for me, I'm going for their mushroom burger with fresh sautéed mushrooms and Triple “O” sauce. Didn't order the extra bacon like I always do.

For a limited time only, they are offering this mint milkshake for a little extra. I decided to take a chance on it over their blueberry shake and the result was simply amazing! Very refreshing like I've just chewed ten packs of chewing gums!

Very impressed with their mint milkshake. Perhaps I should consider adding it to my 10 best milkshakes in the city.

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Unit 009, Level LG1, Great Food Hall, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Admiralty
Tel: +852 2581-1887