Friday, January 18, 2019

Mott 32, Des Voeux Road Central, HK Central

We've been wanting to visit Mott 32 (Basement, Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road Central, tel : +852 2885 8688) for a while now. 

While I've read a number of good things about them, I was still a little apprehensive considering that they're pretty pricey and increased cost at a certain point brings only diminished returns. Even though I had been ready to fork a bit more for this experience, I didn't realize that it would cost almost as it did at Lung King Heen.

We got ourselves some aged Pu'er.

And also snagged one of the last orders of their signature Pluma Iberica char siew with yellow mountain honey. Apparently available in limited portions daily. It's nice. The meat was latticed with fat and each slice was on the verge of falling apart when we picked them up with our chopsticks. It's also pretty expensive. Considering how much they charged for each serving, the impression correspondingly diminished because I had been expecting to be blown away for that kind of price tag.

Dim sum on the whole was competently made but was also oddly muted in flavour. These king prawn har gow were decent, but they were just that. A little more salt or flavouring (say lard?) would have helped.

These black truffle siew mai with quail eggs were pretty good. Those eggs in the dumpling even had molten yolk. But if I hadn't read the menu, I wouldn't have realized that it's Iberico pork that they used. There you go.

That's the lobster har gow. With Yunnan ham according to the menu. And in spite of that it was so bland I could taste the rice flavour on the skin. Texture was good though. The capsules stuck in the dumpling were supposed to contain lobster oil. Didn't seem to help much. Rather disappointing this one.

Mott 32's pan fried turnip cakes were described to contain dried scallop, shrimp and Dong Guan sausages. It tasted as good as many cheaper ones that can easily be found elsewhere.

Got the crab roe noodles from their autumn/winter menu. Didn't turned out to be the type of noodles I had imagined. This was way too greasy with too much other flavours going on that the crab roe pretty much went out the window. I thought that this was poorly thought out not worth even half of what they had charged.

Then came the dish with a flourish.

We were recommended their signature smoked black cod because it was their #2 bestseller. Glad we took their recommendation. This was so good. The crispy skinned chunks of cod both smelt and tasted smokey - pairing up very well with the sweet and sour sauce that coated the fish.

If there were anything I could consider a new experience in taste, it would be their soy sauce ice cream. This was very good. Creamy, salty with the aroma of light soy sauce and sweetness from those cookie crumble things they served the ice cream with.

Trailing closely behind was their steam ginger ice cream which was also well done. This reminded me of a frozen ginger milk.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Yuet Lai Shun (粵來順), Dundas Street, Mong Kok

I've had this old school Cantonese restaurant (2 Dundas Street, Mong Kok, tel : +852 2788 3078) in my radar for a few years now. It has nothing to do with the fact that they're Bib Gourmand in the Michelin guide but they are. I've also stopped wondering why I keep overlooking places for obvious reasons and started feeling glad that I eventually made the visits.

We got ourselves a nice strong pot of jasmine tea in preparation of the food to come.

This was pig lung and almond milk soup. Pretty awesome. Could understand why so many people come here for this.

There're also a bunch of other ingredients that went into making this delicious soup. Like pork, chicken parts and water chestnuts.

Carbs came in the form of noodles stir fried in soy sauce and squid tentacles. Those squid tentacles didn't taste like they were stir fried. They look like they were boiled separately, added to the noodles and tossed. Pity cuz it would have been much tastier if they had that squid char aroma.

There was a plate of mixed braised parts which included goose, pork belly and some tofu. The braising broth was spiced and sweet like they should be. With that flavourful broth, no sauces were necessary for the sliced meats.

That's steamed tofu with scallops and preserved/fermented black bean....salsa? That black bean thing had a strong and awesome flavour. It also reminded me of dried mandarin peel for some reasons. Couldn't get past the stalks of kailan on the side which were superb. They were so tender, sweet and didn't have any chewy fibres.

Am definitely considering a return in the future.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Shake Shack, Pacific Place, Admiralty

I was wondering if it was worth the time against the crowd at Shake Shack at IFC for this trip under the assumption that there would be a crowd because it was Shake Shack and this was Hong Kong. But by happenstance we came across a newer outlet at Pacific Place (Shop 105A, L1 Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel : +852 2810 8928).

So we came for lunch with the works. A pair of doubles for the ShackBurger and SmokeShack along with cheese fries, the ShackMeister ale and the milk tea shake that's exclusive to Hong Kong. That ale was a light and smooth brew from Brooklyn Brewery. Tasted like their Brooklyn Lager

Burgers were nice. But these didn't have the smashed patty look with the crusty caramelized edges one would expect coming from them. It seemed that they're new and still failing to achieve consistency with their product. Which led me to wonder if the beef was the same blend that they do in NYC.

I'm a sucker for exclusives. I mean real exclusives like this one because I don't think anywhere else would go for a nai cha (奶茶) shake. I could be wrong. 

It's not bad. Not as good as the actual milk tea since this was a lot milkier but I suppose there's enough flavour in there to be recognizeable. A stronger tea flavour - perhaps one that would even introduce a bit of astringency have be awesome though.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The other vegetarian meal at Po Lin Monastery's

The last time we were here at Po Lin Monastery Vegetarian Restaurant, we had bought the tickets for the deluxe vegetarian meal. This time round, it wasn't available for some reasons so we tried the regular vegetarian meal instead.

I liked this soup better than the ones we were served the last time. The flavour was oddly very similar to sweet potatoes with a hint of dried mandarin peel and there were some hairy gourd in it. Along with a side of reflection from the fluorescent lights from the ceiling.

Their tofu with preserved olive and green peas was delicious. The flavour from the tofu itself was outstanding. My favourite dish from this meal.

There was stir fried capsicums, celery and more bean curd things. Not too shabby.

My second favourite item was their deep fried spring rolls. I had some reservations initially because they were deep fried and I'm not exactly a big fan of deep fried spring rolls. After having them, I came to the conclusion that they were well stuffed and the fried batter was pretty tasty. Well worth the grease that went into them.

Some obligatory leafy stir fried vegetables with mushrooms were part of the menu as well. Never been much of a fan for these Chinese mushrooms.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Big Bang Don (爆丼屋), Soy Street, Mongkok

This shop that specializes in donburi was a surprising find in the heart of Mongkok (G/F 50 Soy Street, tel : +852 2332 2918). Surprising only for us since it was packed to the brim with locals.

We had some gyutan from the grilled skewers section of the menu. The liberally salted tongue was cut pretty thick and was a little chewy from the thickness. They was still pretty delicious though.

We got sucked by a bowl with 3 types of uni. The sea urchin was torched briefly after the bowl was assembled. This was actually pretty good.

The other kickass don they had featured botan ebi, crab legs, some funky looking turquoise roe and lobster tomalley. Sounded awesome? It was. The sweetness from the crab legs and botan ebi paired with even more intense crustacean sweetness from the creamy tomalley over vinegared rice - need I say more?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Honbo - the burger joint on elevated ground behind a tree in Wan Chai

I seldom use Google Maps in Hong Kong but I did for Honbo (G/F New Sun House, 6-7 Sun Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong, tel : +852 2567 8970). That and that I had to exercise a little instinctual navigation in spite of the app. After we found it, we realized that it wasn't so hidden. It's just on elevated grounds behind a tree.

Words like homegrown, grassroots and perhaps indirectly - a touch of locavore-ism is being hinted at for their food which showcases what can be done from local farmers and brewers. Vegetables that are harvested from Yuen Long, milk buns that are supposedly baked 15 minutes away and maybe that USDA beef doesn't quite count here.   

That's that Honbo burger, 2 X 2oz smashed looking beef patties with more surface ratio for the flavour from char and crust. There's onions which I thought was nicely done with a sharpness cutting through the meat and cheese along with house brined bread and butter pickles. We asked for less sauce and less sauce was actually perfect. Buns held up well.

Cheese burger featured 1 X 4oz patty. There's lettuce and as far as I can tell, those and the single patty was the major difference with this and the Honbo. An ounce or two more of that beef would be nice-r but I think I can live with their balance. Flavours weren't unnecessarily complicated and I thought these guys did a good job with being straight forward.

I even liked their crisp shoestring fries.

Found a nice local brew by Coco Espresso and Carbon Brews. It's a stout as far as I'm concerned with hints of coffee - a chocolate-y bitter aroma with the malt which I enjoyed. Been a while since I've had beer from a can and thought well of it.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Cafe Seasons (四季常餐), Wellington Street, HK Central

This cafe (Shop C, G/F Sunwise Mansion, 112-114 Wellington Street, Central, tel : +852 3594 6612) was relatively new but they've gotten their marketing game on with social media. That was how we found out about them.

Their menu doesn't have very much. We were here at breakfast for their bun with corned beef, scrambled eggs and cheese. That sandwich was much lighter and easier to inhale than appearances belied. It had the prerequisite fat and salt along with energy providing carbs that made breakfasts and yes, I'd come back just for this again.

There's regular toast with scrambled eggs and luncheon meat as well. Those were also as delicious as they looked.

Note to self, there's no 茶走 here. Only regular milk tea.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Mei Garden (味苑 ), Lockhart Road, Wan Chai

I noticed this restaurant (128 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel : +852 2880 0112) last year and made a note to come back. So here we were. After a bit of searching online, we found out that Mei Garden is a homegrown brand that isn't run by any conglomerate. This outlet and the original from Tsuen Wan were all there is of them.

This dish was described as honey baked spare ribs with preserved olives. I liked them. Whatever preserves they had used reminded me of preserved plums or lemons. That and the caramelized sweetness from the honey pretty much made these ribs. 

We had claypot lettuce. What we didn't see coming was that the lettuce was cooked with dried prawns. Not those little dried shrimps that's commonly in use but meaty strips of dried large prawns. The flavour from those along with garlic and whatever else they put in made it a very umami vegetable dish which was great with steamed rice. 

Those above were deep fried beef briskets with crispy batter. Pretty tasty with the sweet sauce that was provided but I thought they could have done better with slightly thicker slices for texture.

The sweet and sour prawns with peaches were a letdown. For some reasons I was thinking that the prawns would not be battered. There was too much soggy batter and on top of that, their rendition of the sauce was mundane. We had to scrape all those gooey batter off to get to the prawns which we subsequently dipped in the broth from the claypot lettuce.

Those canned peaches were nice though. Haha!

With all the flavour going on, steamed white rice was a no brainer.

Some strong jasmine tea helped with the make believe that we had washed away some of the grease from the food. 

Complementary dessert from the restaurant when we got the bill.