Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Unfinished Mission


Coming back from a weekend trip from Thailand only recently doesn’t mean we couldn’t have more Thai food. A few weekends ago we went to check out the weekend brunch at Mak Mak and felt we have uncovered the best hidden gem in this part of town. Took both of us a while to find the restaurant, located at a corner of the luxurious Landmark shopping mall in Central. The fa├žade looks just like a glorified Pret A Manger takeout stall, with ready-to-eat lunch boxes and drinks in the refrigerator shelf and a long open bar, but through the tucked-away entrance on the side, we were led to the dining area at the back.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Nothing More Than Ordinary

We thought we should give Celebrity Cuisine a try after seeing their 10th Anniversary menu offered at a special price with a few of their signature dishes. Despite the Michelin stars (they only dropped from two-star to one last year), somehow the restaurant was never on my list as somewhere I was too eager to check out, perhaps due to my (mis)conception that the place is more about expensive ingredients than solid cooking and execution. Anyway, we were about to find out over the dinner here one night a few weeks back.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Champagne Food Crawl

We had an interesting evening a few weeks ago following the Krug team to a few restaurants trying out new dishes specifically designed to pair with their champagne. Every year they ran a campaign with participating restaurants and chefs creating special Krug pairing menus using a theme ingredient. Last year it was eggs, and this year, it came to the time of mushrooms.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Impromptu Date Night

I felt Hong Kong has been cursed with a long streak of terrible weather lately (either unbearable heat or non-stop rain and thunderstorm), but when the sky briefly cleared up this week, we managed to enjoy the breath-taking view from our table at The French Window one weeknight for an impromptu date of sort, courtesy of the restaurant PR who invited us over for a tasting of their new menu by their new chef Simon Kealy.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Ever Elusive Khao Soi

The Khao Soi has always been the elusive item at Samsen, even for many who came to this popular Thai noodles joint at Stone Nullah Lane in Wanchai regularly. This northern Thai-style chicken noodles never appeared on its menu and only showed up occasionally and unannounced as an off-menu special whanever Chef Adam felt like and they were in limited supply on first come first served basis. But a few friends who tried that before swore by this is the best bowl of Thai noodles in all of Hong Kong.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sichuan Omakase

Many of us were fans of Chef Kaitak Chan's innovative take on Sichuan dishes combining traditional and modern techniques, so with the pending (temporary) closure of his restaurant Yun Yan at its current Causeway Bay location, we decided to go one last time to say goodbye. And to make it more interesting, this time we asked Chef Chan to prepare a special menu for us, Sichuan omakase style.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

French Omakase

We had an epic dinner at Neighborhood a few weeks ago. I forgot what we were talking about over another dinner when the name of the restaurant came up, so we picked a date and I called to make the booking. We were just planning to pick whatever available on the seasonal menu on the night, but then Chef David messaged me that morning offered to sort the dishes out for us. “Just a bit of everything I think people should try” he said; “Sure, as long as we have enough chocolate palette cakes and caneles to share among us at the end” was my response. So just like that, a random dinner became a French-style Omakase meal of sort.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Refined Thai

We squeezed in one more proper sit-down meal in Bangkok before heading off to the airport for the late afternoon flight home on Monday. Before Gaggan stealing the spotlight, it's Nahm at COMO Metropolitan Bangkok that was voted Asia's Best, with its Australian chef David Thompson being considered the pioneer of bringing Thai cuisine to the fine-dining radar first with his restaurant in London (now closed and replaced by Ametsa which we adored) then this Bangkok branch (opened in 2010, one time winner of Asia's Best restaurant in 2014)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Marquee Meal

By all accounts dining at Gaggan is the marquee event of our Bangkok weekend trip – to the extent the rest of our itinerary was planned around it. Barring a few Michelin stars (which was widely tipped to be forthcoming when the first Michelin Guide Bangkok releases later this year), Chef Gaggan Anand's namesake restaurant has all the accolades that other restauranteurs can only dream of - Asia's Best for 3 years in a row (2015-2017 and counting), number 7 on this year's World's Best Restaurant list, and being featured in the famous Chef's Table series by Netflix, just to name a few. So we were super excited to score a table at Gaggan with rather short notice and came to the restaurant with very high expectation.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Essentially Thai

There's a long list of restaurants we would like to check out in Bangkok but with such a short stay this time we could only pick and choose a few. But I did specifically want to drop by bo.lan, one restaurant I kept hearing good things about from my foodie friends (well, most of them, though one called it boring). And we had a glimpse of the cooking of Dylan and Bo, the couple who owns the restaurant, at a pop-up dinner in Hong Kong last year already and loved what we have tried. So I emailed the restaurant well in advance to make sure we had a table for the only time-slot we were available - that is Sunday afternoon for lunch.

Friday, August 11, 2017

German Dinner in Bangkok

"Huh?" was the most typical response we got when we told (most of) our friends that we were going to have German food while in Bangkok. It may sound like a strange choice but as the restaurant was highly ranked in the Asia's Top 50 Restaurant list (making its debut at Number 13 this year), we wanted to give it a shot.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bangkok Bits and Pieces

I felt like I hardly know Bangkok anymore after a hiatus of more than 6 years since our last visit. The unbearable city traffic and inefficient airport immigration has been the major turn-off for me for coming back more often, but with a few "new" restaurants now gaining worldwide fame we thought we should pop by for a quick long weekend to check some of them out. Gaggan is obviously top of our list, being named Asia's Best 3 years in a row and clock is clicking for its eventual closure in 3 years' time, but there are a few others we would like to try too.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Riesling Tasting

There's this subtle sense of seriousness in the air when I walked into the private room right behind Whisk at The Mira hotel in TST. The long table inside the room was filled with (literally) hundreds of glasses, each well labelled and filled with a dozen of different wines, and people were already swirling, sipping, spitting, tilting their heads in deep thoughts, rigorously making tasting notes on the paper in front of them, ranking each of the bottle.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Chef Masa's Masterpieces

In my opinion there are only a handful of high-end sushi-ya in Hong Kong that's comparable to the decent ones one may come across in Tokyo. And earlier I was lucky enough to be dining in one of them and had an amazing sushi omakase right at our doorstep.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Temple Food

Every time when I visited my friend Mina's kitchen studio Sook in Chaiwan, I couldn't help but exclaiming how much I love this space inside an industrial building, so spacious, tastefully decorated and practical - exactly how I wanted my own kitchen to be. Of course, adding to that Mina was an excellent cook and always enthusiastic to share the skills or inspirations by hosting pop-up dinners with specific themes or kitchen workshops with friends over.