Archive for February, 2012

Shanghai Lu Yang Cun Restaurant, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

I love Shanghainese food, especially xiao long bao’s – I can never get sick of it and can probably eat two dozen on my own in one sitting.

‘The Mother’ and I were catching up with one of our dear friends in Hong Kong and she suggested this place, Shanghai Lu Yang Cun Restaurant which can be found on the 11th floor of the World Trade Centre in Hong Kong in Causeway Bay.

The place was relatively tiny, compare to other Chinese restaurants we’ve been too so reservations is highly recommended. The menu was vast, we left all the ordering to M, but we did want a serve of xiao long bao.

We started with shallots pancakes and they were deliciously thin and crispy. The pastry was flaky and the shallots were subtle so it didn’t leave you with that after taste.

The pork and vegetables dumplings soup were seriously tasty. Plump, juicy dumplings, I wanted more than just three dumplings – I was eyeing ‘The Mother’s’ bowl to see if he had any left, but alas, he ate it all. The soup was light and refreshing and complemented the dumplings well.

The highlight of the evening would have to be the braised pork belly – OH MY GOODNESS! I have not seen or taste anything so divine. I would say this would have to be the BEST braised pork belly I have eaten this year – a big call I know but seriously, these babies were melt in your mouth tender that it just literary fell apart. I think we were all fighting for every single last piece!

Xiao long bao were also good but I found the skin a little too thick, unlike those at din tai fung. I do prefer the ones in din tai fung though.

Last but not least, tofu skins with prawns and vegetables. I have never had this dish, the tofu were delicate and soft, and the prawns and vegetables a wonderful complement – will definitely order this again next time I see it on the menu!

For dessert, ‘donuts’ with red bean and banana – perfectly round fried ‘donuts’ which was light and fluffy and inside filled with red bean and banana. I didn’t think the combo would work but it surprisingly did and was tasty.

M ordered really well, the braised pork belly was simply divine, and I loved both the tofu skins and the pork dumplings. Definitely worth coming back again next time I am in Hong Kong and need a Shanghainese fix.

Service was good, from memory the total bill came to HKD580 which is less than AUD70. Excellent food shared amongst wonderful friends – what more can you ask for?

‘The Mother’ and I are definitely looking forward to moving to Hong Kong and catching up with everyone again!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Shanghai Lu Yang Cun Restaurant

11/F, World Trade Center

280 Gloucester Road

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2881 6669

Chautari Restaurant, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

February 24, 2012 1 comment

I am no expert when it comes to Indian food, I know what I like and don’t like but wouldn’t be able to say if it’s the ‘best’ I have eaten! I was catching up with the lovely N and Z in Hong Kong. We have dined at some wonderful places in Hong Kong but thought we’d do something simpler this time round.

Chautari can be found in Hong Kong cooked food market in Sheung Wan. It is the same place where ABC Kitchen is – a favourite of ours. There were so many choices, Chinese, Thai but considering I haven’t had any Indian food in Hong Kong, thought we would give it ago.

A special set dinner for HKD 115 (AUD14) was on offer – appetizers (samosa, chicken tikka and pappadam) and a choice of main course and either naan or rice. Z and I thought this was an awesome deal and ordered the special set dinner for 3.

The appetizers, the vegetables samosa was good, not too heavy or oily or sickly.

The pappadam which was served with homemade mint sauce was crispy and deliciously yummy.

The chicken tikka – relatively large serve was tender and succulent.

For the mains, we opt for each of the curry – seafood curry, succulent fish pieces in creamy curry sauce. I think a hint of chili would be nice but it was good.

The chicken curry which I thoroughly enjoyed.

And lamb curry didn’t have that lamb-y taste was surprisingly delightful.

All eaten with fluffy roti was excellent.

Servings were definitely generous, and it was good – better than I had anticipated. Unfortunately, we didn’t finish it all and N took it home for lunch the next day. They do have a la carte, different types of curries, vegetables, satay stick (which I thought was odd) but overall it was good – didn’t feel sick or bloated, I find some Indian cuisine can make me feel extremely bloated.

If I wanted an Indian fix, I know where to go and it is quite reasonable, price wise.

The company of course was excellent, it’s always lovely to catch up with both N and Z.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Chautari Restaurant

Shop CF6, The Food Market

1 Queen’s Road, Queen Street

Sheung Wan Cooked Food Market

Ph: +852 26004 4408

Ming Kee, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

February 22, 2012 1 comment

Sheung Wan Municipal Service Building is formerly known as the old Central Market, South Block, wet market downstairs and ‘food court’ at the top. I was catching up with my old high school friend, and she suggested we eat here. I can always count on M for all the delicious local food.

It was quite late by the time we got there; M had to finish a few things at work and I managed to squeeze in a nap prior to dinner. Ming Kee can be found on the 2nd floor of the Cooked Food Centre. There are so many stalls to choose from and I am sure every single one of them is good. M knew exactly where she wanted to go, one of her ‘locals’ she claims.

I left all the ordering to M and as always, she did extremely well. We started with pork ribs in sweet and sour sauce, similar to that of sweet and sour sauce, only difference is that there were no pineapples. The pork ribs had a crunchy exterior and deliciously tender, and I have always enjoyed sweet and sour pork so this was a win win dish for me.

I have never had the next dish before, I don’t exactly know what it is called in Chinese, but its fried pork and beef with cuttlefish and oh my, they were fantastic! It was so hard to stop at just one, it was tender, with a bit of crunch and believe me when I say it’s absolutely delicious.

Fish fillets with celery and bamboo shoots were also pretty good. The fish was surprisingly fresh, as you would expect as it’s a wet market downstairs and I would assume they would have gotten their fish there.

Lastly, vegetables, for M, a meal is never complete without vegetables.

It’s a very casual place, very ghetto, service very minimal and it can get extremely rowdy when busy. I am not sure what the total of the bill came too as M sneakily paid the bill without my knowledge! So thank you Miss M!

I do look forward to eating more at these places with you!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Ming Kee (明記飯店 )

Cooked Food Centre, CF8, 2/F

Sheung Wan Municipal Services Building

Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 215 699 63

Boston Restaurant, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Nothing more I like about Hong Kong than food and catching up with friends and family (and of course shopping!). I’m back again in Hong Kong, for a week only this time, and although it will be a busy week at work, I was excited to go as I get to eat and catch up with some friends and family.

Miss Mochacholatarita asked if I have ever had ‘HK style steak’. What’s that I asked and after a few messages back and forth, we decided to go to Boston Restaurant, which can be found in Wan Chai opposite to The Pawn.

Boston Restaurant has been around for over 40 years, it was probably one of the first Western dining spots. The place was packed for a Saturday night. Oddly, I was expecting it would be full of Westerners (not sure why I thought that!) but not one in sight.

They are known for their sizzling steak, if beef is not your thing, then you can get sizzling garoupa, or chicken or a combo of things, like garoupa and beef, beef and prawns or pork and steak and many more combination.

As we were waiting for a few people to arrive, we started with these spicy chicken wings – you can never go wrong with chicken wings and they were finger licking good! The fries were a little dry but this was about the chicken wings!

As sizzling beef is their specialty, I opt for the New Zealand Ribeye Steak (HKD105, AUD 13) which was a set and came with soup, bread and coffee or tea.

The soup, Hong Kong style Minestrone soup – it was nothing special but a nice starter, it has been quite cold in Hong Kong, so it was nice to drink something warm.

The bread was no baguette but it was still nice. Slathered in lots of butter of course!

The Ribeye steak, was slightly thinner than expected but deliciously tender and juicy which came with black pepper sauce for AUD13 is a REAL BARGAIN! Served with chips, which was soggy by the time I got to it but didn’t mind and some vegetables. It was a pretty large serving and it was delicious.

Miss Rita had the flambé steak – New Zealand Ribeye steak also, with pepper sauce (HKD139, AUD17) . The steak was placed at the table and voila… flambé – the meat was on fire! It was quite a show, and almost every single table ordered this flambé steak.

The steak was definitely thicker and tastier, it had that crispy exterior and was deliciously succulent.

J had the king prawn and tenderloin (HKD107, AUD14) – which was a smaller serving, one small steak and 2 king prawns.

We sat, we laughed, and enjoyed the flames and show. So what did I think about the Hong Kong Style Steak? DELICIOUS! It’s no wagyu but it was definitely tasty and if I need a craving of Hong Kong style steak, no doubt I will be back.

Was good to catch up with you all, can’t wait to do it again on a more regular basis!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Boston Restaurant

3 Luard Road

Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 252 776 46

Petaling Street, Haymarket

I first noticed Petaling Street whilst I was in Melbourne last Christmas. We didn’t try but it did look good and when I heard they have opened in Sydney I couldn’t wait to try. There are so many Malaysian restaurant opening the last couple of months, we are really spoilt for choice but are they all good is the question?

There are two levels to Petaling Street, street level, which are kitchen and some seated areas, and downstairs, bigger and more seating area. I was catching up T and suggested this place. Petaling Street can be found on George Street, near China Town, opposite Pasteur. I think from memory, it used to be a Vietnamese Restaurant, but I can’t remember the name of it.

We started with the roti which was served with curry ($10.80). It was definitely disappointing, definitely NOT their speciality. I thought maybe it was pre-packaged, it wasn’t fluffy or crispy or even tasty. Mamak’s roti is infinitely better and Jackie M, definitely better!

Nasi lemak ($8.00) – traditional hawker type coconut flavoured rice served with sambal, peanut, cucumber, egg and ikan ibis. It was good but I think Jackie M’s is still definitely better.

T couldn’t go past the mamak mee goreng ($10.50), large serving of Malaysian hawker spicy egg noodles with prawn, chicken, bean curd and bean shoots. I thought this was ordinary, the sauce was too thick and sickly and albeit spicy was not the best mee goreng I have tasted. I thought the indo mie goreng was DEFINITELY better!

They had a very limited Malaysian dessert menu. They did have a menu for other desserts though – by other I mean more Western. We had waffles which were served with green tea and black sesame ice cream and I have to say… it was good! Could potentially be the highlight of the evening for me!

I have heard that the laksa and CKT is very good here, so would definitely have to try it out. What we ordered wasn’t the best I thought, the roti at $10.80 was definitely expensive and ordinary. The nasi lemak was good but I have definitely had better.

My favourite Malaysian restaurant would still have to be Jackie M! However, in saying that, I am keen to try their Asam Laksa though.

GA’s ratings: 5.5 / 10

Petaling Street

760 George Street

Haymarket 2000

Ph: +61 2 9280 1006

Petaling Street: Malaysian Hawker Food on Urbanspoon

Kitchen by Mike, Rosebery

Uncle sent me a link last week, saying ‘we should go here!’ He found a tweet from Pat Nourse, who mentioned a new opening on the weekend just down the road from where he lived. A warehouse-y café / dining place and found the video which he sent to me.

Unfortunately Uncle didn’t wait for me, his excuse was that he got up at 5am because Boo (his adorable son) was up and they were hungry by 8am, so they headed to Kitchen by Mike. Here’s what he had to say about the place “so bright and early on a Sunday morning, the 3 of us roll down the main road and find ourselves at 85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery! These days, the places we eat at are always with the consideration of whether it will accommodate Boo’s bug. Thankfully, the clever people at this place have thought that through – they had a ramp! Perfect. We later find a more direct entry point on the side! Joy!

First impressions on entry! My word! So spacious, great light, so airy. So pretty! Lala wanders straight to the area where small goods are for sale. At 8am, we had the choice of seats. Like Goldilocks searching for the best bed, we were somewhat spoilt with choice. I wanted good light and a view of the pass.

Fast forward to the food. The concept is simple. Specials are written on the ‘board’. And the day’s offering is presented on a concrete pass. Very cool. You tell the person what you want and food is prepared and brought out.

So, the humans with teeth (sorry, Boo) order the day’s brekkie special: sourdough pancakes with lemon curd

a bacon butt (Iggy’s bread roll with bacon),

house baked bread with butter and jam

and of course coffee. Soy lovers: at Mike’s place, they serve Bonsoy. Oh yeah!

I received an SMS from Uncle, apologising that he couldn’t wait and after looking at his photos on Istragram, I knew I had to check it out. So that same day at lunch, I dragged ‘The Mother’ to Roseberry for a drive and some yummy food.

First reaction was exactly the same as Uncle’s. It was SOOOOOOO spacious and so bright and I loved the warehouse feel, ‘Very New York’ says ‘The Mother’.

There were no menu insight, on the long counter, food was placed before us. The lady at the counter said, you pick whatever you want and then pay at the register. ‘The Mother’ said ‘oh it’s like subway’ – you really can’t take him anyway! Embarrassed, I walked away and found a chair whilst I admire the open space.

Different types of salads are available at $3.50 a scoop and it’s a ‘decent’ scoop, and choice of sandwiches, pizza and they had a lamb roast of the day. Menu changes daily, it’s whatever the chef feels like cooking and everything, I mean EVERYTHING is FRESH!

I couldn’t resist the pork belly sandwich with mango chutney. Fresh bread, delicious tender pork and the mango chutney really gave it a nice touch! I asked ‘the mother’ if he wanted a bite, his reply ‘I wouldn’t get in the way of you and pork belly’ – if that’s not true love I don’t know what is! So I sat there, happily eating my pork belly sandwich!

‘The Mother’ wasn’t overly too hungry, so he ordered some salad – a scoop of the couscous with squash salad and rocket, pear and walnut salad. The ingredients were incredibly fresh, and it was tasty.

I couldn’t go past dessert, plum tart, the pastry was light, crunchy which gave it a nice crunch and the plum sour and sweet at the same time! It was definitely one of the nicest tarts I have had.

The pizzas looked fantastic too but I was way too full and couldn’t fit anything else. Definitely an excuse to come back and try their other dishes.

The man behind Kitchen by Mike is Mike McEnarney, formerly head chef at Rockpool and more recently, Mike’s Table, a pop-up dinner. The head chef at Kitchen by Mike is Jeffrey De Rome, who is also ex-Rockpool.

George who is manager and previously worked at Neil Perry’s restaurant had a chat with Uncle. He explains that it’s all about the freshness and trying to minimize the impact of landfills. Bottles are recycled, straws are made of paper. There’s also a full time horticulturalist – whose task is to ensure seedlings grown on an internal vertical garden are transplanted outdoors when ready! He was also told of bees that will live onsite to help with cultivating the citrus produce.

Koskela is also on the same premises, like Uncle and Lala, ‘The Mother’ and I had a stroll around, and loved all the home furnishing, hand crafts and books! Definitely worth checking out.

The kitchen is open for breakfast and lunch 7 days a week. There are plans to open for dinner every couple of nights each month in keeping with Mike’s pop-up dinners.

Definitely worth a visit, I really do like the open space, the ambiance, the food and of course the passion and the concept. Not to mention the location! Very spacious and ‘The Mother’ who isn’t usually too fussed about food is coming back here again on the weekend with his mates!

Like Uncle, I really couldn’t wait to check out this place – it’s definitely been a while since we were both excited about something! Food wise that is!

PS: photos unmarked is of course by my favourite Uncle! Thanks Uncle!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Kitchen by Mike

85 Dunning Avenue

Rosebery 2018

Ph: +61 2 9045 0910

Twitter: Kitchenbymike

Kitchen By Mike on Urbanspoon

121 BC, Surry Hills

I have wanted to try 121 BC for a while now, the sister restaurant of both Vini and Berta which is discreetly tucked away in Surry Hills, a few steps away from Vini. 121 BC can be found on Gladstone Street, tiny bar, glass door marked with Cantina and Enoteca.

I was catching up with S, we rocked at 6.30pm and still had a 20 minute wait. The place was TINY (and uber dark!), a long narrow table which can sit about 25 people. The menu changes daily and it is a small menu, probably a dozen or so choices. The wine lists are in Italian, with white wines on the left, and reds on the right – it was a little confusing but thankfully the staff were well informed and knew exactly what S wanted.

We started with Arancini Balls ($3 each), which was served on a rustic wooden platter. The arancini balls were tiny but it was delicious, creamy risotto coated in a light batter which was golden and crunchy!

The pork ribs ($11) were deliciously tender, succulent and incredibly tasty. S was a little sceptical as she thought it might have been too fatty but it was delish. It was probably one of my favourites dish that evening.

The buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomato ($9) was not what I expected. Large dollops of buffalo mozzarella with surrounded by different types of cherry tomatoes, they were refreshing light and delicious.

Hanger steak, capsicum chili ($12) was also another hit. It was served quite rare, but I did ask for it to be cooked a little longer. It was still incredibly succulent and the capsicum chili a wonderful complement.

We ordered dessert, tiramisu, four cute little fingers which was dipped in coffee and then slathered with mascarpone and flavoured with liquor and cocoa. It was different but good.

The place can get a little loud and rowdy when it’s busy. It’s definitely a cool wine bar although food very limited but what we ordered we really enjoyed.

121 BC does not take reservations so come early if you don’t want to wait long. Definitely a great addition to the Vini, Berta family!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

121 BC

50 Holt Street (enter via Gladstone Street)

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 9699 1582

121 BC on Urbanspoon