Monday, November 30, 2015

Fish & Meat, Wyndham St, Central


Fish & Meat (32 Wyndham St, Central, tel : +852 2565 6788) operates on a concept that has been flourishing over the globe of recent years on the basis of fresh and seasonal produce, sustainable catches and probably some of that farm to table approach that trendy restaurants or their wannabes are doing. There is focus on the awareness of the ingredients that are being used. There’s inherently nothing wrong with being that. It simply means that I don’t really know how else to describe them. 

bread

marinated sustainable blue fin tuna / compressed watermelon / soy sauce / basil vinaigrette / quail egg

This watermelon and blue fin tuna was appetisingly delicious. Until I hit the bits of cilantro and I started eating more slowly, enjoying it less as I had to scrap off the bits of the herb before I carefully popped them into my mouth. Otherwise, this was refreshing.

whole fresh Burrata / grilled peaches / basil vinaigrette / heirloom tomatoes

I thought this would be good, but there were a couple of things that did not agree with me. The heirloom tomatoes were a little dry. And those peaches that they had used weren't juicy or sweet. In fact they were sour. Does that make sense?  No, I thought it absolutely didn't. I would have expected something like white peaches which were juicier and possibly much sweeter. Why bother to grill a sour peach that was still sour after that?

For a restaurant that focuses on the quality of ingredients, some work on the choice of ingredient is still needed.

sustainable Canadian sea urchin toast / salmon roe / cauliflower cream / cress

Damn. This. Was. Bloody. Good.


So good that I've decided to put up another picture of it. Haha! What the ingredient list on the menu did not to mention was the lardo and the infusion of cumin(?) in the cauliflower cream. And then ikura. I haven't been impressed like this in a while. This was not just the regular party in your mouth. There was more elegance to the amalgamation of flavours. The toppings felt well thought out. I'd eat this again if I come back.

By the way, this would be on record - the most expensive toast I've ever eaten in my life. Bar none.

soft duck egg raviolo / ricotta cream / burnt sage butter / pecorino cheese

I had thought that the duck egg raviolo would be nice-r. Sure it was rich as it had been intended, but somewhere along the flavour train, salt was too little. Will not bother with this again.


But here I still reserve, a gratuitous molten yolk spillage. 

O’Connor Farm grass-fed 100% natural beef tartare / pickled jalapeño / duck yolk / Parmesan

The beef tartare from Fish & Meat was a beast of their own making. A frankenstein if you're a purist, or boldly flavoured and textured if you're more open and experimental. For one, this wasn't just hand chopped beef. It was probably hand cubed and that made a whole lot of difference in texture. It was also loud. A lot more sour and heat from the pickled jalapeño. And too little Parmesan to matter. Admittedly, this is also my first time having beef tartare with rockets. 

It's different, but I will never order this again. I liked the French-y one from La Cabane much much better.

homemade Sicilian lemonade / blueberry jam / thyme

I don't generally do much cocktails (exceptions disclaimed here) or mocktails, but for some reasons, I felt like one today. This was a passable lemonade. That's all. The blueberry jam honestly didn't do shit and the thyme couldn't get through as much as I tried to crush it into the drink. I need to learn to avoid this things as nice as they tend to sound.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cafe&Meal MUJI, Hopewell Centre, Wan Chai


We stopped by (G/F, Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen's Road Central, Wan Chai, tel : +852 3971 3280) for something light. A tomato & bonito broth which was a perfect light meal for a break from all the recent good eating and a hibiscus & white peach mousse cake. The latter had a piece of real peach inside while the mousse was peachy, milky and lightweight.

A bowl of macaroni lunch from Wai Kee Noodle Cafe


Honestly, I didn't even know how to order this so I had to use a picture from the internet to do it. The quantity of livers that they gave today was more than I had been expecting. Say, did anyone realise that the broth is noticeably less salty for the macaroni compared to the noodles?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A slice of pizza from Paisano's


I had seen Paisano's several times over the past few years and well, I simply got curious of their large sliced New York styled pizzas. We stopped by the shop at Mongkok (43 Dundas Street) for a quick snack and here's their bacon cheeseburger pizza slice. With bits of bacon, ground beef and cheddar cheese. The portions of those ground beef was pathetic.

How was it? This still had the dried oregano and canned/jarred tomato sauce flavour that I grew up eating which I don't quite like these days. And in spite of that orange cheesy look, the slightly predominant flavour was still that tomato sauce. But otherwise it's a solid thin crusted pie that was definitely quite edible. I wouldn't mind if I could get them for home delivery once in a while. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Ichiban Mega Don from Yoshinoya


Believe it or not, I had been wanting to check out Yoshinoya in Hong Kong from the last time I was at Yuen Long and noticed a particular outlet there with a mountain of steaming beef in a cauldron destined for their gyudon. We managed come by one in Mongkok for a breakfast this time around even though we were actually kinda disappointed that the outlets here didn't feature that huge pot. But we did land ourselves a large bowl instead in the form of their Ichiban Mega Don. 

This has got to be the best Yoshinoya experience we've ever had by virtue of their beef bowl. The portions of the savoury sliced beef were generous and the meat wasn't dried out from all the cooking. I sure hope this is a permanent item on their menu.

La Cabane Wine Bistro, Hollywood Road, Central


I had read about this French hole-in-the-wall-ish bistro (62 Hollywood Road, Central, tel : +852 2776 6070) before and the name had registered because I had found them interesting. But it's been pretty much out of mind until we stumbled past their entrance while wandering around Central deciding on dinner. It was between Ho Lee Fook or this and since I'm writing this, it doesn't take Sherlock to figure out who won.


While waiting for the food and people/vehicle watching, a lightweight floral French beer with a funny looking cat to pass the time. If you have had Kronenbourg Blanc, this bottle tasted pretty much like it.


We had a beef tartare with polenta fries. The tartare was deliciously spiced, nicely hand chopped and disappeared into our bellies in short order. There was just a good amount of different flavours going on from the spices and capers and sauces. While we were no experts on beef tartare, we knew this was good.


Next up was braised rabbit leg with nettle risotto. There was a pungent cheese that they had used for the rice and man it was good. I actually liked the risotto more than the rabbit leg which pretty much tasted like chicken if you didn't already know.


And because we saw boudin noir (blood sausage) burgers on the board, we had to have it.


Savoury and unctuous with a pâté-like flavour sausage sliced and fried before being tucked into toasted mini sesame seed buns.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Kam's Roast Goose (甘牌燒鵝), Hennessy Road, Wan Chai

that's right......I sure as hell didn't sketch this

There's a story to be read on Kam's Roast Goose (G/F, Po Wah Commercial Center, 226 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel : +852 5408 7740) as the owners are the third generation of the family that started/owns the famous (and overrated if I might add) Yung Kee. But that's a tale to be dispensed by Google. We were here because we had heard about them and wanted to try another brand of roast goose that was reputed to be good.


Even though the name of the shop says roasted goose, Kam's whips up the standard variety of Cantonese roasts. The geese are of course what they are known for. At least for tourist like myself. To avoid waxing lyrical, these were good. It definitely holds up as good roast goose as far as I could tell and if there was to be a little criticism, I thought that the ones at Yat Lok had a slightly more flavoursome skin.


That's a bowl of light flavourful broth with geese blood curds and fresh garlic chives. The textures of those blood curds were pleasantly springy.


Their char siew looked good hanging so we ordered a portion. This stuff was also pretty good. In fact, if I had to make a comparison with the other one Michelin starred roast goose shop, this one was ahead by a significant mile. But to be fair, the style of the barbequed pork here was bolstered by the honey glaze and noticeable caramelization while the other one was more of they savoury type with less burnt ends.


And some creamy sliced goose livers to enrichen our already enriched cholesterol levels. I rather liked this.


After the above, we realised that we forgot about the roast pork so all the dishes above were supplemented with roast pork rice. This was also quite enjoyable, but I thought that they were sliced a bit too thickly. Not complaining.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Matsutake mushroom and pork dumplings from Nom Nom Dumpling




We were brought to this dumpling shop (G/F, 30 Boundary Street, Prince Edward, tel : +852 3105 9968) that claimed to be the first to make dumplings with matsutake mushrooms as their stuffings. Well, it's minced pork and bits of matsutake mushrooms to be precise and those dumplings turned out to be rather tasty. Each order of those dumplings came with a light mushroomy broth. It didn't take a lot of those mushrooms in the dumplings for the flavours to show and honestly, I liked them enough that I wouldn't mind coming back again just for those.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

SEPA Bacaro Veneziano, Caine Road, Central


Nice place (61 Caine Road, Central, tel : +852 2521 9800). Not to be a snob about the joint but while I could appreciate the effort in the decor, the restaurant ultimately felt like a theme park since every inch of the look was designed while in a real bacaro, every inch of their look was etched in as part of the authenticity of its existence. Let’s not go down that road. This is Hong Kong, not Venice.


The above is their Tartare di Rapa Rossa; beetroot and tuna tartare with Jerusalem artichoke puree. A signature item of theirs apparently. I think the beetroot might have been the skin of the red balls which are stuffed with tuna. Not bad. Looked fancy and effort intensive to make. Not exactly the kind of stuff one would find in a regular bacaro.


Followed by beef carpaccio with sliced celery root and white truffle dust on crackers. Yes, I think dust would be an appropriate description. Not bad too and could have been improved with just a little bit of salt.


Sea urchin bruschetta with lardo. I'm not sure if there was anything else but these were the main ingredients. It was a very nice amalgamation of flavours. This was the tastiest cicchetti we had tonight. If we ever came back, this would be the one thing that I would order again.


The restaurant recommended that we try the baccalà that was on the board for a version that was how they would have done in Venice. It was even served in little triangles of deep fried polenta. The fish wasn't as smooth nor tasty as some the ones we've had, but I suppose we couldn't complain.


We had seen a picture of this pasta somewhere on the internet and we were quite determined to try it. It's a sea urchin pasta with coconut. And it tastes pretty much as it looked. For some reasons, I was expected it to be a little sweet, but it was a savoury pasta. Not bad, but we weren't exactly blown away.


This was a small focaccia with prosciutto di Parma and burrata. The bread was flavoured with olive oil and salt.  


And then a bomba stuffed with ricotta and mortadella ham. The bomba was the round air filled bread. Looks a little like a poori. I think the menu mentioned black truffle, but they seem to be using the white truffle dust for all of their items with truffle now that they're in season. I guess all the leftover crumbs must go somewhere.


Sepa is what it tries to be. A place for small bites and drinks, just like the real ones in Venice. A spot to chill, so to speak, after work and maybe throw back a few. While the variety of the food was limited and the portions are Asian sized, I can understand or at least accept these coming from the perspective of a business coping with Mid Levels rental in Central. To match the Venetians at their game in this part of the world might have been painfully or prohibitively expensive, so this would probably be the next best.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A braised egg in sweet herbal tea dessert


We were brought to this Cantonese dessert shop, Yuen Kee Dessert (源記甜品專家) by a friend who had learnt of its existence through a food writer in Hong Kong. Apparently, they have been around for a very long time. There was one particular dessert from the shop (G/F, 32 Centre Street, tel : +852 2548 8687) which I was told was a traditional item that wasn't so common these days. It was a sweetened herbal tea served with an egg that looked like it had been braising for a long time in the said herbal tea. I never asked if this was beneficial for anything in particular, but I ordered one just for the experience. The flavours of the braising liquid was steeped all the way right into the yolk of the egg. Interesting. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ma Sa Restaurant (孖沙茶餐廳), Hillier Street, Sheung Wan


This old school cha chaan teng (G/F, 23 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan, tel : +852 2545 9026) serves a plethora of local comfort food. It's actually quite simple to understand what can be ordered once one figures out what they have for ingredients of the day since they're flexible with requests. Any of the starches on menu can likely be paired with any of their meats even if it's not stated.

On more than one occasion, we had walked by without realising this shop existed. The food here is relatively inexpensive, generously portioned and gut sticking.


An auntie from the shop recommended (in a strangely, almost conspiratorial manner) their fried rice with chicken and salted fish. This wasn't too bad, we could taste the salted fish on some parts of the rice rather than salted fish on just the salted fish like what many places do. While it wasn't major on flavours and didn't have very much ingredients, it was unexplainably addictive.


The rice plate that they are known for comes with a meat of choice along with trio of eggs where one could specify the doneness which are then finished with splashes of dark soy sauce. This was the char siew with sunny side up. I believe you get this with pork chops, luncheon meat or even sausages. This was awesome.


The other item that was unexpectedly good was a stir fried hor fun with char siew. What worked for me was the sparing use of the starchy sauce and the smoky aroma from the stir fried rice noodles. A Chinese stir fry that would probably be done very poorly back home. Notice the grains of meat peeking their cracks on the char siew. These tender slices are just waiting to fall apart in the mouth.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Starring Yat Lok




So, these guys have been awarded their Michelin Star last year. I wonder how many more people will flock the shop now that they're under "starlight" and it would be interesting if the quality would sustain to maintain their luminance; a Michelin Star is after all a retrospective award.