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Archive for March, 2010

Catching up with Mr P @ the Press Room

A dear friend of ours, P, comes to visit Hong Kong quite frequently… (he was the one that came up with the name of this website) and it is always a delight to catch up with him! He once lived in Hong Kong with his wife a while back and is now happily settled in Sydney. He tells great stories, is unbelievably funny and is always a joy to be with. His wife, C, is a dear friend and unfortunately she couldn’t make it on this trip. They have an adorable son and I get extremely clucky whenever I see him!!!

We thought we’d go to the Press Room to catch up. I haven’t been here for dinner before so was really looking forward to it!

Hubby and I were quite pekish and thought we would share an entrée. We shared the escargots de brouguignon (garlic, almonds, parsley). The escargots were absolutely flavoursome – it wasn’t too garlic (so it didn’t give you that horrid garlic smell!) and was tasty. I could probably have eaten half a dozen on my own!

The boys all had the steak – hanger steak frites (red wine, shallot confit). Hubby asked for his steak medium rare and indeed it was medium rare. It was so tender, juicy and succulent – you really didn’t need the sauce as the steak was flavoursome. The frites were crunchy, and the whole meal was truly and utterly delicious!

I had the roast pork belly with pomme puree, apple sauce and cider jus. Apparently I had the last one and I was SO SO GLAD that I got to try dish. The roast pork belly was simply incredibly. The pork was tender and juicy, the crackling skin was crunchy and the apple sauce was the perfect complement to the pork. It was an amazing dish – I truly enjoyed this!

For dessert, we all got the crème brule with pistachio biscuit. It came in a huge dish!!!! We didn’t think we would finish this but it was a shallow dish, so it was perfect! The crème brule was creamy and sweet but not sickly. The pistachio biscuit was a great complement. It was a perfect dessert to end the meal.

It’s always great catching up with Mr P – can’t wait to catch up with him and the family in May!

Ps: Sorry the photo is DARK!!! *sigh*

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

The Press Room

108 Hollywood Road

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2525 3444

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Lunch @ Lan Fong Yuen

The ‘troops’ try and catch up for lunch at least once a week. One week, one member of the ‘troops’ was craving something ‘dirty’ for lunch as she was over the fancy pancy of lunch dining and suggested we come here! I have wanted to try this place for a while now; I have tried their cold ‘pantyhose tea’ and was curious about the food! They serve your typical Hong Kong breakfast – western toast or what they call it here ‘french toast’ and pork bun. However, we didn’t come here for breakfast but for lunch.

This place is small, noisy and can be extremely busy during lunch time. However, the turnover is unbelievably fast and because of its popularity, they have a policy that all members must be present before you can even be seated. There’s no saving tables policy here!

We were seated within 2 mins and within 1 mins the waiter were asking what we wanted already – talk about fast! Their signature dish is braised ramen noodles with pan-fried chicken breast and scallion oil. I didn’t feel like chicken and opted for the braised ramen noodles with pan fried pork chop and scallion oil. J ordered their signature dish, D ordered the noodles with beef and curry and both G and I ordered the braised ramen noodles with pan fried pork chop and scallion oil. We all ordered the hot ‘pantyhose tea’ for drinks, except for G who got the cold lemon ice tea.

Shortly after, we all received our meals. The noodles are instant ramen and I am not usually a fan of instant ramen, however, the noodles were cooked to perfection. It was soft and not soggy or watery. The pan-fried pork chop was unbelievably tender, juicy and full of flavour. The sliced cabbage and scallion oil really gave it a nice touch and made the whole dish extremely flavoursome. It seriously went down well!

J had the pan-fried chicken breast. I didn’t try any of the chicken but he did say that the chicken was succulent and was absolutely tasty!

D had the beef curry with noodles. He wasn’t too impressed when we both dug into his meal and stole the beef. The beef was tender and peppery. I could definitely have eaten this also.

For those who don’t know, the pantyhose tea is a beverage originating from Hong Kong – it consists of black tea sweetened with evaporated milk. I absolutely love this tea, however, too much of it can seriously give you a sugar rush!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to drink all my tea as I got a ‘little’ bit too excited about receiving an extra blackberry battery (I know I know – little thing amuses me!) that I spilt all of my tea on D!!!! (Below is the photo of the aftermath!) SO SORRY D!!! Nothing ‘boring’ ever happens when the troops get together that’s for sure!

Back to the restaurant – my meal was incredibly satisfying! Who would have thought such simple and humble food can be so fulfilling? It was unbelievably cheap! The service was good, friendly and quick! You can be in and out of this restaurant within 20 mins! Come early if you want to get a table and make sure all parties are present before you can be seated.

It was a great meal with great friends – one that I am sure they won’t let me forget – especially with the tea spilling incident. I know I know, you can’t take me anywhere!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

蘭芳園 (Lan Fong Yuen)
2 Gage Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2544 3895

Shanghai Lane

I found this little eatery one day as I was looking for lunch… starving! Their set lunches aren’t too bad, one main meal and a drink for 30HKd. However, when a friend asked to meet up, I thought we would go here for dinner. It’s quite a small and cozy place – 20 people maximum. Décor is new with pictures of mountains and Chinese paintings. Service is quite good and they serve traditional and homey cooking, things that your mum would cook.

We ordered hot and sour noodles, wu-shi ribs, deep fried pork chop and wonton soup. The wonton soup came out first and the wontons were absolutely juicy and tasty. The soup I thought was a bit salty for my liking, but I added a bit of chilli to my soup and it tasted better. You can never go wrong with wontons… it’s a shame the soup was just a little salty.

Hot and sour soup was next – it was probably too hot for hot and sour soup… however this was good – it has the right amount of both spicy and sour. The noodles were soft and not gooey or stringey… and the mushroom were also soft – it would be a perfect meal for a cold wintery day.

Wu-hsi ribs – I have had this for lunch before and it was divine, however, I was a little disappointed with some of the ribs, it was a bit dry for my liking and not as moist as I have hoped it would be. I say ‘some’ cause some were actually moist.

The deep fried pork chop was tasty… the coating was crispy and the pork was moist and tasty. It was crunchy and delicious.. it definitely made up for the Wu-hsi ribs.

It was a good meal with friends, catching up and laughing and reminiscing about the past.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Shanghai Lane

Shop A, 68-81 Electric Road

Tin Hau, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2510 0393

Dim Sum @ Jasmine Place

Dim Sum is always best eaten with a group of people – more choices and options and you get to eat more – which is a BONUS for me! I was seriously craving for Dim Sum so thought I would gather the ‘troops’. J suggested the place and he did ALL the ordering and you simply CAN’T go wrong when he orders!!!!

Started off with these BBQ Pork buns – and these little buns were an absolute delight! The bbq pork was warm, bun slightly sweet – it was a great start to what’s to come!

Turnip pastry – slightly crispy on the side and soft on the inside. I didn’t think I would enjoy this but boy was I wrong!

Next came the BBQ Pork puff – like the bbq pork buns these were absolutely wonderful. I couldn’t eat more than one though – think I would get a little sick!

Harkao (prawn dumplings) – a must when having dim sum – were fantastic. The pastry was thin and cooked to perfection. It wasn’t glucky or over cooked. The prawns fresh and was tasty.

Deep fried beef brisket was unbelievably fantastic! The beef was tender and moist and the batter was thin – this would have to be one of the highlights.

You always have to order vegetables – it makes the whole meal more ‘healthy’. J ordered the mix vegetables with mushroom and it was extremely flavoursome.

This had to be my favourite dish – a plate of cha siu … OH MY GAWD!!! It was so tender and succulent, it was just magnificent. We sat there eating discussing how fantastic the pork was (typical food lovers!) and how we could each eat a whole plate full!!!!

Last but not least the siu may – we were getting rather full by this stage!!! This was good but was seriously getting full…

I thought that was it… but…. ONE MORE! I didn’t get to try this as by this stage – I was literary FULL! Not quite sure what this was but as good as it looked, I simply couldn’t fit another thing in!

Good grief – we did order quite a lot! We were all utterly stuffed!! Lunch with the ‘troops’ is always fun and enjoyable! We also have great conversations and are always the loudest table (from laughter!). Thanks J for doing all the ordering and picking the restaurant. It was indeed fantastic! I had serious food coma that afternoon and could not concentrate! However, I was delectably happy!

GA’s Ratings: 8 / 10

Jasmine Place

Jardine House

1 Connaught Place

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2524 5098

Eel Lunch Sets

I went through a phase where I was craving unagi and my aim was to find the best in Hong Kong. The best unagi I have eaten was of course in Japan. On our last trip there, which was probably 3 – 4 years ago, my last meal was in Tokyo and I had unagi with rice and it was absolutely divine… still to this day I remember the texture and the taste of the unagi… it was simply magnificent. Will have to go back there again… if I remember where it is!

Anyhow… Hubby is not a huge fan of unagi, so when I am having a quick lunch on my own, or with friends, I would have the unagi set lunch. I haven’t tried many, only at four different places – Ootoya (CWB), Ajisen Ramen (Central), Iori (CWB) and Sushi Kuu (Central).

What makes a good unagi? Good unagi combines a rich flavour with an appetizing texture, crisp on the outside but tender on the inside. I have heard that it’s the cooking process is what makes the eel both crisp and tender: firstly, the eels are grilled over hot charcoals, then steamed to remove excess fat, then seasoned with a sweetish sauce and grilled a second time.

In no particular order;

Ootoya (CWB)

Ootoya is located in the Shama building opposite Times Squares. Their speciality is actually donburi (rice topped with meat or fish), classic katsu (deep-fried pork or chicken) and noodles. I was also told that their Bluefin tuna with rice was one of their specialities! Unfortunately, I wasn’t craving for tuna / salmon like I always do.. I was craving for Unagi.

I ordered the Unagi Donburi set – which was grilled eel, marinated in soy sauce, rice, soup and salad. The sauce on the unagi was a little pale, however, it was satisfying rich. The salad, which was a small bowl of okra, cabbage, carrots and radish, was a great compliment to the eel. The soup was not your typical miso soup – I was told it was ‘homemade and no it’s not miso soup’. Overall, it was a pretty good meal!

The waitstaff was very tentative with my tea. I sat there for a while whilst reading my book and were not asked to leave. Mind you – it was rather late in the afternoon and was not peak lunch time hour. I thought if I sat for a bit I would crave for some dessert, alas no. I think I will definitely have to take hubby back so I can try more food.

Definitely worth giving it ago and the lunch sets will not break your wallet.

GA’s ratings: 7/10

Ootoya Restaurant

3/F, 8 Russell St,
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Ajisen Ramen (Central)

Chain of Japanese restaurant which can be found pretty much everywhere in Hong Kong. Their specialty is ramen, but again, I wasn’t craving ramen – it was a hot day and the last thing I wanted to eat was ramen! So ordered the unagi with rice and agedashi tofu (which is called fried tofu here!)

Three medium size unagi was placed in front of me, the eel was tender and moist. It was grilled and cooked to perfection.

The agedashi tofu was slightly battered then fried – the tofu was unbelievably soft – a little bit tasteless. There wasn’t enough sauce for the tofu, however, the unagi was perfect.

GA’s Ratings: 6.5 / 10

Ajisen Ramen

Basement Peter Bldg

59 – 60 Queen’s Road

Central, Hong Kong

Ph:+852 2521 4987

Iroha (CWB)

This place was recommended by a friend (@jasonbonvivant) and it didn’t disappoint. Came here after the lunch rush hour so didn’t really have to make a booking! Got the unagi set lunch – the unagi was absolutely flavoursome!

The set lunch came with salad, pickles and miso soup. The miso soup was quite ordinary I thought, but the unagi was definitely a winner! It was crispy and tender on the inside. My only gripe would be that it was a small eel! Would have been better if it was bigger!

Waitstaff was tentative. It was reasonably priced and fantastic for its value.

GA’s rating: 7.5 / 10

Iroha

2/F, 50 Jardine’s Bazaar

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2882 9877

Sushi Kuu (Central)

I would have to say that my favourite unagi lunch set would have to be from Sushi Kuu. Served in a bowl (as big as my head!), comes with a small bowl of udon and miso soup. The udon was soft and flavoursome, and the miso soup – tasty!

The unagi was served on a bed of rice and egg. The rice was flavoured with the same sauce as the unagi and the egg was moist and full of flavour. The eel was deliciously rich but not sickly, the egg and the rice was a great compliment.

Definitely my favourite and definitely satisfied the unagi cravings!

The most expensive out of the four, but it was worth every single penny!

GA’s rating: 8 / 10

Sushi Kuu

1/F, Wellington Place

2 – 8 Wellington Street

Central, Hong Kong

PH: +852 2971 0180

Categories: Hong Kong, Japanese Tags: ,

Lamma Island

One of the things that Hubby and I have decided to do whist in Hong Kong are hikes, leisurely walks is my definition of a ‘hike’. I am not a serious hiker, but don’t mind the odd walk now and then. Hubby thought it would be a good idea that we start with the easiest and most famous one… Lamma Island. It is apparently an ‘easy’ walk from Yung Shue Wan in the northwest, south to the village of Sok Kwu Wan on the central east coast.

We caught a ferry from Hong Kong to Yung Shue Wan, and that’s where our walk started. Trust me to run into one of my ex clients with his family there. You truly do run into people randomly in Hong Kong!

Yung Shue Wan is the most populated area on Lamma Island. We started our walk from Yung Shue Wan and it was good to get out of the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong to something a little more laid back and relaxing. It was definitely good to see some sort of beach – it doesn’t compare to the one back home of course, but it was nice to see greens and mountains.

1/3rd in to our walk we had a snack – I had curry fish balls and Hubby ordered Tofu Hua. Tofu Hua, warm tofu covered with ginger,  the vendor usually carries a pole across his or her shoulders with two large baskets attached. One of the baskets contain steaming soft tofu and the other contains the bowls and fixings. I love eating tofu but for some strange reason, Tofu Hua really doesn’t do it for me. Not sure if its because of the ginger but seriously not a fan of the taste. I personally think its not the best Tofu Hua I have tasted, but then again I am not a connoisseur! Although, Hubby did say that the best he had ever tasted was in Jakarta – and I remember having a taste of that, and it was indeed better than the one here.

Our walk from Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan took a good 1 – 1.5hours. I do remember being hungry on this walk and hence was a ‘little’ grouchy! We got to Sok Kwu Wan and found the busiest restaurant there – Rainbow Seafood Restaurant. As I am not exactly fussy with food, I got Hubby to order whatever he wanted – he came back with 2 yabbies each and steamed fish! (how did I know he was going to order steam fish?)

The yabbies were cooked with salt and pepper and deep fried. However, I found that the yabbies were not meaty enough, too small, however, it was definitely tasty. The salt and pepper with fried onions / chilli and fried noodles blended well together and were absolutely tasty. The yabbies were fresh, as you would expect and it was tender. It was definitely cooked to perfection.

Like the yabbies, the steamed barra was also cooked to perfection. Fish steamed and ‘drenched’ in olive oil and soy sauce with ginger and shallot. You can never go wrong with this dish, unless the fish was over cooked– but the fish was perfect and definitely fresh.

It was an end to a great walk. A fantastic meal at Rainbow Seafood Restaurant. What’s even better, if you dine at this restaurant, you get a free ticket to go back to either Central or Wanchai. Delighted and full, I closed my eyes and the next thing I knew.. it was Central!

Coffee Assembly and Tai Cheong Bakery

I had the most relaxing Saturday afternoon with my high school friend, M. She took me to a regular hangout place of hers, where she sometimes helps to make coffee. That place can be found on Elgin Street in Soho, hidden – I wouldn’t have found this place if M didn’t take me.

It’s a small place but extremely cozy and homey – you can feel the hominess as soon as you walk in! I really do quite like the layout – a couple of sofas in the middle in the room, and a couple of tables on the side.

The owner, L, is extremely friendly and welcoming. I was in there for a couple of hours, reading and chatting.

They serve mainly coffee here but they do have some food. I saw a few people eating scramble eggs with toast, French toast (which looked absolutely fantastic!) and other light meals.

I was still a little stuffed from my lunch but was DYING for a coffee – so I got M to make me one. I got what she called a cross between a latte and a cappuccino. My ‘coffee’ wasn’t as milky as a latte and wasn’t as frothy as a cappuccino – it was her own ‘creation’.  She knew I was a little ‘down’ that day so she had a smiley face on my coffee which was totally and utterly sweet! The coffee was absolutely fantastic! It was really smooth! I could have seriously drank another cup but had to refrain.

On my way to Coffee Assembly, I bought some egg tarts from Tai Cheong Bakery. A friend of mine, G, bought me some and I had to go back to buy some more! The egg tarts at Tai Cheong is quite famous – there’s usually a long line of people waiting to buy some. Thankfully, there were no queues that moment I was there.

The best way to eat an egg tart is with a coffee! So I made sure I bought enough for M and L (and of course some for Hubby) and we sat there drinking coffee whilst eating our egg tarts. The egg tart is the best I have eaten in Hong Kong. It’s smooth, creamy and rich – not sickly rich but delightfully rich!

It was a perfect way to spend an afternoon relaxing, laughing and catching up with my high school friend, M.

It’s a shame Coffee Assembly is not open in the morning, I would seriously love to start the day with M’s coffee – a shame that she has to be at work and can’t make me any coffee either! It would be a perfect way to start the day – coffee and egg tart – I can seriously see the kgs piling on! But I would be deliciously happy.

GA’s Rating Coffee Assembly: 9 / 10

Coffee Assembly

Cockloft, No 6 Elgin Street

Soho, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2858 8153

Tai Cheong Bakery: 8.5 / 10

Tai Cheong Bakery

G/F, 35 Lyndhurst Terrace

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2544 3475