Thursday, June 29, 2017

L'Eclair de Génie (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

The "ever-changing" food scene of Taikoo Shing quietly welcomed L'Eclair de Génie, the famous eclair specialist from Paris a few months ago. I didn't get the chance to drop by after I visited Eiffel Bistro in the neighborhood (with my nugget around and all) so this time around, I made sure that I could lay on my hands on some of their newest creations.

I've been one of their biggest fans since they arrived in Hong Kong last year and if I'm not mistaken, this is my sixth post already!

Despite my numerous visits, I still didn't get the chance to try out all of their flavors. Like the blueberry on the right and vanilla pecan on the left, it's really my first counter with them up close and personal.

N°263 Blueberry - Blueberry cream and glazing atop with fresh blueberries. This is a must for blueberry lovers. Blueberry glaze, fresh blueberries on top and blueberry flavored cream in the middle. Pretty interesting combo but I'd like to see a bit of cheese or yoghurt in there somewhere for the "blueberry cheesecake" twist!

N°03 Vanilla Pecan Nut - Madagascar vanilla cream and topped with caramelized pecan nuts. This was sooooo good that I thought it has overtaken the N°136 Praline Chocolate as my favorite here!

I love the silky smooth Madagascar vanilla cream working well with the crunchiness of the caramelized pecan nuts.

N°144 Matcha Bambou - I actually meant to get the pistachio orange (which also happened to be in green color) but mistakenly took the matcha bambou instead. I had this on a number of occasions already. It's really not bad but the flavor was a little one-dimensional (especially after I have tasted the vanilla pecan nuts).

I didn't know they have madeleines too. Not surprisingly, it came with all these wonderful colors very much like their signature eclairs. One side of it was coated with white or milk chocolate.

These were pretty tasty. They have four different flavors now - strawberry, matcha, lemon and black sesame. I like the strawberry most and the black sesame was kind of interesting as well.

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 236-237, 2/F, Cityplaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Tai Koo, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Taikoo
Tel: +852 2881-6398

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Elephant Grounds Starstreet (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

After a quick lunch at Odelice!, we realized we still got another hour to go before our meeting. So it made perfect sense for us to swing by a coffee shop to get ourselves some caffeine. After all, we knew we needed that to stay awake in the meeting.

One of the biggest advantage of having lunch at Landale Street is its location. Sitting right in between Admiralty and Wanchai, it allowed us to conveniently check out some of Elephant Grounds' signature drinks including this tiramisu latte.

And I got more than what I bargained for. I have heard of this branch of Elephant Grounds as being a very popular spot for celebrities so I guess I shouldn't be surprised to bump into Julian Cheung Chi-Lam (張智霖), his lovely wife Anita Yuen Wing-Yi (袁詠儀) and his son here! He's long been my favorite male actor in the Hong Kong show biz. What a nice surprise!

Price: $$$
Address: G/F, Win Fung Building, 8 Wing Fung Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Admiralty
Tel: +852 2778-2700

Odelice! (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★☆☆☆

Finding a good place to eat in Wanchai is starting to wear me out. Instead of going back to the old good places that we came to enjoy all these time, we all decided to step out of our comfort zone this afternoon and explore a number of places we have never visited before and Odelice! suddenly came up.

Not to be confused as people lining up for Odelice, these folks captured in the picture were actually queuing up for a Vietnamese restaurant right next door. Maybe I should have followed their footsteps instead!

Odelice! turns out to be a self-served casual eatery offering around 10 dishes on their lunch menu.

I started things off with their garden salad which was served with a fairly thick salad dressing. Not a very pleasant first impression there. The cucumber and cherry tomatoes were fine but the lettuce was not crisp and sweet like I thought they should be.

When the menu reads "roast chicken and avocado salad...", I fully expect roast chicken and avocado to be featured prominently in the dish so I got a scare when my salad first arrived. Other than the few pieces of thin-sliced chicken fillet and avocado, it was virtually the same salad I had for starter. What was that all about!?

I will take part of the blame for misinterpreting the menu but whoever put this together should also know better (roast chicken could literally mean a half chicken roasted in the oven???). This is just very misleading and perhaps writing it as "green salad with roast chicken and avocado" would be much much more fitting. Coz after all, the green salad made up for at least 70-80% of the dish.

For a place that prides itself as a modern French kitchen, I certainly expect a little more French flavors in the lunch menu so this was pretty disappointing. Their dinner menu was supposed to be better and more "Frenchie" with stuff like duck leg confit but I guess I will never find out how good that is.

PS. To cut them some slack, my colleague's spaghetti with smoked salmon did look alright. (But too bad I'm rating this experience strictly from what I've put into my mouth!)

Food Rating: 3/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 9, 2 Landale Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Wanchai
Tel: +852 2520-2311

Monday, June 19, 2017

Seorae 喜來稀肉 (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

The three musketeers have been itching to meet up for dinner since early May but were unable to come up with a date that worked for all parties. Thankfully, June has been much kinder to the three of us and finally, we managed to fix a date to come out and blow water.

Surprise, surprise, we ended up not going for Chinese food which we normally do for our gathering. Instead, we decided it was time for us to do some Korean barbecue.

All it took were 2 minutes for us to decide what to order at Seorae (喜來稀肉), one of our go-to Korean barbecue houses in the city. While we waited for our meat to arrive, it's time to get the grill ready.

Grilled beef Seorae-style ($130) - It came in its usual flower shape. This was seriously good with very nice texture and tenderness.

Just a bit of Korean barbecue sauce and some garlic chip on top before wrapping it around with a piece of lettuce. Delish~

Seorae special pork skirtmeat ($150) - Another house specialty that I really love a lot last time around. This was still pretty tender and flavorful but a little more chewy tonight. Perhaps my teeth have lost a bit of strength (無牙力).

Beef tongue marinated with Seorae soy sauce ($140) - I never go to a barbecue house without trying their beef tongue. This was pretty tasty. The balance of fat and meat was spot on.

Bibimbap in stone pot ($78) - Some "mixed rice" with mixed vegetables and beef brisket to go with all the barbecued meat.

It's normally impossible to find a table at any of the Seorae Korean grills in town unless you have an advance booking but this branch on Tang Lung Street seems to be an exception as there was a fair share of empty tables around (but it's a Monday!).

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 3, G/F & 1/F Golden Dragon Building, 41-51 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Causeway Bay
Tel: +852 2618-5331

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Wolfgang's Steakhouse (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

2017 has been a pretty slow year for restaurant openings so far but things are about to look up with a number of interesting names slated to open in the next few weeks. Leading that list is Wolfgang's Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener, an import from New York City that specializes in dry aged steaks and quality seafood.

I was looking for a place for my Father's Day celebration so this is just a very convenient choice for me. With 14 locations worldwide including Japan, Korea and Singapore (opening soon), Wolfgang's Steakhouse has earned their reputation as one of the top-tier American steakhouses and I'm looking forward to a great time here celebrating my first Father's Day with my little nugget.

Caesar salad ($125) - Before our steak arrived, some salad to keep our cholesterol level down. This is what a textbook Caesar should look like with freshly chopped lettuce which is nice and crisp. The crispy crouton was perfectly crunchy and the shaved parmesan was the ultimate icing on the cake.

Wolfgang's crab cake ($158) - Could this be two in a roll? You bet it was. The crispy crust of the crab cake really provided a pleasing contrast to the delectable lumps of crab meat in the middle. Unlike some places where they put mashed potato into the mix to minimize their cost, this is just fresh crab meat all the way. Very very nice.

USDA Prime Rib-eye steak ($880) - Finally, today's main event - our 700g rib-eye steak which has been dry-aged for an approximately 28 days like the rest of the steak here.

This came with a very flavorful crust. The texture was just perfect. It was tender, juicy and the flavors were developed very nicely after the dry-aging. I thought it was a little pricey but without question, very tasty and addictive.

I got the chance to check out their "old-fashioned" steak sauce too. This tasted a little like typical barbecue sauce but more on the sweet side. Not my cup of tea. Having my steak with its own jus is just fine with me.

I didn't get to try their other signature dishes like their Wolfgang's salad and grilled green asparagus (I did nail down their signature crab cake). I guess I'll have to find another excuse to come back for those in the near future.

Food Rating: 6.5/10
Price: $$$$
Address: 1/F Printing House, 6 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Central
Tel: +852 3990-1646

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Big Bay Café (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

I do roughly one buffet every year so every time I try to make it count. Picking the right spot and timing is equally important. After receiving a ping from Agent-I about this new seafood buffet at the recently opened Kerry Hotel, it was just the matter of finding an occasion or excuse to check it out and finally I got one with Father's Day coming up.

Located on the third floor of Kerry Hotel, Big Bay Ca is the buffet restaurant I was talking about. Before we got things started, we took the opportunity to first check out the 545-room Kerry Hotel which is part of the Shangrila family that was first launched in Shanghai and Beijing back in 2011. While the place looked gigantic at first glance, I thought it was less glamorous than the original Shangrila brand. Instead, it was more like re-defined luxury through a more casual and relaxed interpretation. 

There's an incredible view of the harbour from the terrace but too bad on a rainy day, it's all a blur from here.

There are all together 7 stations at Big Bay Café. Positioned near the entrance area is the sushi and cold food counter where we find all the Japanese sushi, sashimi as well as cold cuts and salad.

I had 2 rounds of tuna and salmon sashimi today. The first round was actually pretty good with the sashimi coming in real thick slices but the second round was a bit disappointing (see photo below). They seemed to have run out of tuna (see the carpaccio next to the salmon!).

Right next to sushi and salad bar is a station dedicated to Korean bibimbaps. Here they let diners choose their own ingredients and cook them in the traditional stone bowls right in front of their eyes.

Next up were two less interesting stations...first, there is the dim sum and noodle bar. I thought the dim sum was reasonably good although choices were a little limited (choice of ha gow, siu mai, BBQ pork buns and a vegetable dumpling).

and then there's this station reserved for traditional clay pot rice (煲仔飯).

I had this one with Chinese cured meat and taro which I thought was okay. Could have been better if there's a bit more rice crispies.

The grill station was the one that has been attracting everyone's attention.

Apart from the spiny lobster and skewers which they've showcased here, they're also serving sucking pig, sirloin, roasted ham steak, grilled tiger prawns etc. etc. so this is constantly drawing a big big crowd.

I personally found both the suckling pig and grilled tiger prawn to be amazing. The satay and pork belly skewers were decent but I won't go for a second round. Of course, after having all those grilled meat and seafood, we needed some veggies to feel fresh and healthy again and that's when I started looking to the vegetable counter next to the grill. Forget about the new potato and zucchini, the green asparagus were so fresh and juicy that I never seemed to be able to get my hands off them all afternoon.

Oh and of course, the grilled spiny lobster. Always a crowd favorite. I had about half an dozen of those on my own.

The dessert counters are always a crowd pleaser at any buffet and Big Bay Cafe has arguably one of the best in the business, thanks to a pretty competent pastry chef.

We don't normally find this quality at any buffet. The opera cake, passion fruit eclair and mango mousse were all very impressive.

But the white chocolate cake with yuzu compote definitely stood out as THE best pastry out there. 

They have 2 kinds of ice-cream offered at different counters. First, there's this unspecified brand served next to where we found all their cakes.

Then hidden right at the entrance next to the Iberian ham was the Mövenpick ice-cream. Just the two flavors, chocolate chip and salted caramel though. Quality (Mövenpick) versus quantity (unspecified brand), you make the call.

One station I didn't waste my time on was the stir-fried station. This is where you find the stir-fried noodles with beef, stir-fried chicken fillet along with some Japanese deep-fried stuff like chicken soft-bone, fish fillet etc.

With everything being so damn expensive these days, I thought this Saturday brunch represented pretty decent value for money at $388 per head (Dinner at $598). And the fact that they allow us to go from noon all the way to 3PM make it an even more attractive option among weekend brunches in town.

Happy Father's Day, everyone!!!

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$$
Address: 3/F Kerry Hotel, 38 Hung Luen Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Whampoa
Tel: +852 2252-5246

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