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Archive for February, 2013

Donka, Central, Hong Kong

Donka can be found on the 11th floor of 11 Stanley Street. I am not even sure what the name of the building is but I have definitely tried most of the restaurants there. Donka is a fusion restaurant – Japanese and Chinese to be exact. I’m not usually a fan of fusion, too much going on in the dishes and I’m always left a little underwhelmed. A colleague of mine wanted to give it ago so we went.

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The restaurant is tiny, but then again the entire restaurant in the building is small, no more than 40 diners.  The layout is quite simple and diners have the option of 8 different type of set menu which also includes drink.

I couldn’t go past the rice with Thai green curry and honey grilled pork chops. The honey grilled pork chops were deliciously tender with the right amount of sweetness. The Thai green curry was a little spicy which gave it a nice kick.

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J couldn’t go past Chinese homemade pork belly with rice. I almost ordered this too and it looked fantastic!! I couldn’t help but steal a piece and it had the right amount of fat and meat ratio.

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C had the tomato soup inaniwa udon with fried egg and meat (fried fish) and he was highly disappointed. The soup was tasteless and the fried fish was tiny compared to the rest of ours.

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Service efficient, however I thought it was a bit odd that our food did not arrive at the same time. From memory mine came last so I was watching them eat for a while. I was pleasantly surprised with my dish but I don’t think C did. Oddly I have not returned since, however, I have been to the other restaurants in that building.

GA’s ratings: 6 / 10

Donka

11/F, 11 Stanley St

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2811 5611

No Signboard Restaurant, Causeway bay, Hong Kong

I first heard of No Signboard Restaurant was when I was in Singapore which started as a hawker stall. Everyone who has been to Singapore has either eaten at No Signboard or has heard of it. They are famous for their white pepper crab and my other favourite the salted egg yolk crab. I was shopping in Causeway Bay with the family one day and stumbled across this restaurant. They suggested we go check it out as we haven’t been to Singapore and they wanted to eat crabs.

No Signboard Hong Kong can be found on Patterson Street in Causeway Bay. It has a very minimalistic look, plastic chairs, white walls and the menu is very simplified to include only the top 30 or so signature dish. I left all the ordering to my parents but requested that we get the sweet and sour pork!

To be honest, I find eating crab very annoying – little satisfaction for a lot of effort! Hands get dirty and for what? A little chunk of meat? I don’t enjoy eating crab outside the comfort of my own home and with Dragon… well it’s just too much of an effort!

We started with the thousand year old egg – not everyone’s cup of tea but I love these! Creamy and delicious.

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They ordered the Chili Singaporean crab – it looked quite decent but my parents thought that the one in Singapore was infinitely better. This lacked something, it wasn’t bad but they’ve definitely had better. I didn’t have any as I am still not eating shellfish due to breastfeeding and what I mentioned above.

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You can’t have crab without these fried man tau (bread) – they glistened with oil (there goes my diet!) but seriously good. They are crunchy on the outside and deliciously soft and fluffy on the inside. You scrape the crab sauce with these delicious man tau, or like me, dip them in condense milk! YUM!!!!

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The mushroom stuffed with minced pork and vegetables was good but nothing special I thought.

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I don’t know why I always order sweet and sour pork but I am on the hunt for the BEST sweet and sour pork in Hong Kong. These weren’t too bad, the pork was tender and the batter thin. My aunt and I were fighting for every single last piece!

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The mix hot pot was good but again nothing special. I do like tofu but this was a little on the salty side for me.

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We also ordered a serve of vegetables which wasn’t too bad.

Service was a tad slow at times. Even though there were only 4 or 5 tables it was relatively slow. It wasn’t cheap either, I think the one in Singapore is slightly cheaper. Would I go back? Probably not but will definitely go to the one in Singapore when I am there next.

GA’s rating: 5.5 / 10.

No Signboard Restaurant

66-72 Paterson Street,

Causeway Bay

Ph: +852 2398 9959

CNY at Biota Dining, Bowral

February 22, 2013 1 comment

Guest post from my favourite Uncle – how he spent Chinese New Year with his family!

There is no secret that I am a big fan of Biota Dining. When Chinese New Year crept up on us last weekend, Shrek suggested we escape the madness of Sydney and have lunch with the family down at Biota. It takes very little to convince me to drive down to the highlands.

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We pretty much ordered everything on their lounge menu (double orders of some of the dishes like the wagyu burger) eforxcept  the olives and the salad. We even had a second order of the pork belly, the school prawns and the croquettes because we liked it so much. We thought we’d still have space for dessert after, but alas. Next time, I say! Just means we’d need to come back.

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If you want some place to go to that is out of Sydney – head down to the Southern Highlands – it’s only an hour’s drive (driving to the speed limit) from the Sydney Airport (so longer, if you’re coming from across the bridge). There are lots to do there for a day trip – if you’re a cricket fan, you can check out the Don Bradman museum. Other fun things for a day trip or an overnight stay: Fitzroy Falls, Robertson Cheese Factory (they serve AllPress Coffee ice cream there), Illawara Fly Tree Top Walk and a couple of boutique wineries. Spring time is a good time to visit as well! There’s a mini floriade just off the main street of Bowral (called ‘Bong Bong Street’). And Milton Park is always pretty in Spring.

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Side note: Lots of good produce comes from the highlands. We also want to visit Highland Organics next time we’re there. Boo, our free range baby really likes the dairy there. And don’t worry, they’re available for pick up from the weekend markets at Eveleigh and Marrickville. So you don’t need to hike all the way down there. Those on twitter: follow Ester. She’d sort you out with the goodies.

Back to Biota: Chef James Viles and team have done a great job: Acquiring their 2nd Chefs hat last year! Congrats, Chef! Always progressive, there are markets on the last Sunday of each month too where local producers bring their goodies and have them for sale on the grounds of Biota. Check it all out here. Lots of parking (yeah, you Sydney siders are always worried about that). Spacious, friendly and child friendly. For the lovey doveys who want to hold hands and stare into each other eyes: the fine dining side of Biota rocks. Don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself.

And here are the goodies that we had to farewell the year of the Dragon.

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Crispy morcilla – soft hen egg $12

Cheese and egg croquette $9

Season’s oysters – jerez vinegar $18

Shoestring fries with pine salt  $9

Fried school prawns with spiced salt $16

Seasoned baby squid with shallots $14

Bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and ricotta $12

Dry pork belly with native spices $16

Biota wagyu slides $14

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Biota Dining

Kangaloon Rd

Bowral, NSW 2576

Ph: +61 2 4862 2005

Biota Dining on Urbanspoon

Bo Innovation, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

I went to Bo Innovation about 2.5 years ago for lunch with a dear friend MG. We enjoyed the meal and at the time didn’t think I would go back again. It was one of those places that I’ve been, enjoyed it but not sure if I’d go back again. Until recently and I have to say, I am glad that I did. We came for dinner and opt for the smallest tasting menu and even then, there were about 8 courses plus more.

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We started with some ‘egg waffles’ – one of my favourite snacks in Hong Kong. There were two choices, one with Iberico ham and the other just plain. I couldn’t really taste of Iberico ham, I thought it would have a stronger flavour but it was tasty regardless.

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As most of you may now, I am still breastfeeding yes, 10 months on and still going. There are still certain food I can’t eat as Dragon is slightly (or not so slightly) allergic to them. Raw food is one of them, and shellfish. So unfortunately I wasn’t able to eat any of the raw food and everything had to be cooked – seriously feel like I am pregnant again! Ha!

My companions had the Oyster – spring onion, lime, ginger snow, ‘xiaoshing’ seaweed jelly to start and they all said that it was ‘delicious’ and ‘magnificent’.

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I on the other hand started with the Dead Garden – enoki, morel, avocado and green onion. It resembles a ‘plant’, the enoki being the roots. I had this on my first visit, the ‘dirt and plants’ were extremely smooth and creamy.

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Saba – sesame, ponzu cloud, ginger, parfum de Hong Kong. Saba being a type of Mackerel fish. This was served raw, so instead of fish, I got tofu. It’s no substitution as I am sure the saba was excellent, and especially with ponzu! I love the ponzu sauce and dry ice and flavouring on top.

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Foie gras ‘mui choy’ – I really enjoyed this dish. My foei gras was cooked thoroughly, I noticed other diners were medium rare served with preserved mustard green ice cream – it was delicious!

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Cod – saffron miso, sauternes, seaweed. The cod was beautifully cooked, so good that I wanted more and the saffron miso a wonderful complement.

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Molecular ‘xiao long bao’ – I have had this before and this is Bo Innovation’s signature dish. The juicesof the soupy dumpling, injected into some sort of molecular membrane paper. Some of my dining companions didn’t enjoy this, they preferred the actual xiao long bao which I can understand.

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Scallop – shanghainese ‘jolo’, woba, pea shoot. I didn’t have this but I was told that the scallop was beautifully cooked.

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Instead I had the black truffle ‘cheung fun’ which I absolutely loved! The Cheung fan was magnificently smooth and delicate and the black truffle had quite a strong flavour.

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Tomato – ‘pat chun’ vinegar, Chinese fermented olives ‘lam kok’. This was a favourite amongst the diners. Tomatoes cooked three ways (from left to right) – pat chun or Chinese black vinegar poached cherry tomato which has the sweetest juice when pop in the mouth, tomato fritter cooked with ‘lam kok’ or Chinese olive which was delicious and lastly tomato marshmallow.

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Everyone wanted the supplement – black truffle ‘chian dan chee’ – which is a traditional Cantonese favourite at Cha Chan Ting. Egg, spam ham and generous portion of truffle on toast – what’s not to like? This was possibly one of my favourites dish that evening. If only I can eat this every day for breakfast!

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Majority of the diners had the suckling pig – Sichuan vanilla, apple and peas. Oh my.. the suckling pig was incredibly tender it just melted in your mouth and the apple and peas a wonderful complement.

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A couple of people had the carabinero red prawn – ‘har mi’, ‘lo mein’, chili. TWO gigantic red prawns and a pasta which was cooked el dente.

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We couldn’t go past the wagyu beef – it was melt in your mouth tender! Two tiny pieces for the six of us was definitely not enough! I could have easily eaten two servings on my own!

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Now dessert, green tea ice cream, ‘shu jing fang’ caramel, lychee rose popsicle. YUM! It was just too beautiful to eat. I loved the green tea ice cream and not to mention the lychee rose popsicle – DELISH!

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The petit fours were ‘petit dim sum’ – variety of sweet treats made to look like traditional dim sum. It was definitely clever and indeed tasty.

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I was actually quite surprised at how much I enjoyed the meal the second time round at Bo Innovation. For me, the highlights would have to be the black truffle ‘chian dan chee’, as well as the tomatoes cooked three ways and not to mention the suckling pig and as well as the wagyu beef. Service was excellent, but I wouldn’t exactly say that it is a very ‘molecular’ restaurant. There were some strong molecular dishes but some there were less so. Regardless it was enjoyable.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Bo Innovation

Shop 13, 2/F J Residence, 60 Johnston Road

Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2850 8371

Categories: Sydney

Royal Legend, Tin Hau, Hong Kong

I’m not quite sure why I don’t go dim sum very often in Hong Kong – it IS the place for it! I can count the number of times I have been on one hand, including Royal Legend. My cousin was in town, she now lives in the US, San Fran to be precise and thought we should catch up! I think the last time we caught up was about 4 years ago, when ‘The Mother’ and I were in New York and she happened to be there at the same time.

We left all the ordering to my aunt, and she did not disappoint. Unfortunately with Hong Kong, due to the lack of space, there are no trolleys – there are a few places that still have it but only a few. We started with our favourite, suckling pig – the skin was absolutely beautiful, the crackle was crunchy and delicious. This tiny serving was not enough for five pork lovers!

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I know a lot of people don’t like chicken feet, but I am a HUGE fan!

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How can you say no to fluffy, warm bbq pork buns?

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Beef balls are definitely my favourite and a must order.

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Bite size deep fried tofu was definitely a favourite of mine.

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I don’t know the name of this, but these were absolutely delicious that we had to order two servings of it. The exterior is cheung fan but can’t remember what’s inside! whoops!

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These black sesame desserts were excellent, mochi style but not quite.

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And last but not least, I love these custard oozy buns!

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Everyone has their favourite dim sum dish and must order dish. For me, dim sum is not complete if we don’t have har gaw (prawn dumplings), siu may (beef and prawn dumplings) and lots of other steamed dumplings that I like. Chicken feet are another must order for me, so is the beef balls and tripe. Even though it was a good meal, I didn’t feel ‘satisfied’ as I didn’t order my ‘staples’!

I am going again sometimes soon so will definitely order the dim sum mentioned above. Otherwise, it will be unsatisfying yet again!

What are your must orders at dim sum?

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Royal Legend

1/F, Golden Court, 22-52 Electric Road

Tin Hau, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2578 9983

Chez Patrick Deli, Stanley, Hong Kong

February 15, 2013 1 comment

Chez Patrick Deli first opened in 2006 in Central. They opened their first Chez Patrick Deli in Star Street Wanchai to offer diners a more casual place and offer them the choice to take home a slice of ‘Chez Patrick experience’. Now there are 3 Chez Patrick Deli in Hong Kong, including Stanley. The weather in Hong Kong has been pretty good, I love the winter in Hong Kong, beautiful blue sky and the sun is shining. We have been to Stanley a couple of times now, mainly in the winter and ‘The Mother’ suggested we eat at Chez Patrick as he wanted something Western.

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We were surprised that we managed to get a table straight away. We started with some fresh baguette, cut into small pieces, the bread was fresh and pretty decent. It’s been a while since either of us had fresh bread!

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‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the “Charcuterie” plate – a selection of cold cuts (HKD120) – prosciutto, salami, pepperoni and different types of terrine. He truly enjoyed it – I think he misses his cold cut meats from Australia, especially good pepperoni and salami!

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I couldn’t go past the salmon in sorrel cream sauce (HKD140) – I was a little disappointed that it was such a small serving! The salmon was a little cooked for my liking, as I do like it medium rare. The sorrel cream sauce was a wonderful complement.

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Overall I thought the service was ok, I have heard that the service has been bad, but we had no issues. Food was good, and we managed to buy a couple of things from the deli to take home – some cold cuts for ‘The Mother’, cheese for me and of course some bread!

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It was a good day out and about, I really do like Stanley. I think Dragon would enjoy it more when she is older and can walk / run. We strolled through the markets, bought a couple of things. A very satisfying and fulfilling day.

GA’s ratings: 6.5 / 10

Chez Patrick Deli

Shop 5-6, G/F, Stanley Plaza, Cape Road

Stanley, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 683 5115

Senshuraku Japanese, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

There’s really no shortage of Japanese restaurant in Hong Kong. It’s just a matter of finding the ‘right’ one and the tasty one! Shenshuraku can be found in Causeway Bay in The Goldmark building – where The Mon is. I still do like that Japanese restaurant and contemplated going there but thought we should try something different.

Lunch sets / menus are usually much cheaper than that of dinner. Mum has been craving Japanese food – sushi mainly so opt for the sushi set, which also comes with miso soup. She really enjoyed the sushi – I didn’t have any as I didn’t want to deprive her from it.

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I opt for the miso cod – the cod was beautifully grilled and the fish was tender. You can never go wrong with grilled cod!

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With it, came dumplings – pork and vegetables, similar to the Chinese version but not quite.

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A little appetizer, rice wrapped with salmon and topped with roe – one of my all-time favourite sushi.

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Dad on the other hand couldn’t go past the sashimi set – fresh sashimi, I was envious – I too wanted some!

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Also ordered a serve of eel as both Dad and I LOVE eel! It was a smaller serving than I had anticipated, but it was still quite tasty.

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Service good, the place was quite busy at 2.30pm – yes a very late lunch! Food wasn’t too bad, if I had to choose between Shenshuraku and The Mon, I would definitely choose The Mon! I love the fluffy egg at ‘The Mon’!

GA’s ratings: 6.5 / 10

Senshuraku Japanese

6/F, The Goldmark,

502 Hennessy Road

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2271 4321