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Archive for September, 2013

Xuan Sushi, Central, Hong Kong

September 30, 2013 4 comments

I don’t know why I keep going to Japanese restaurants when I am still on a sashimi band! Thankfully you can meet more than just sashimi. Xuan Sushi can be found on Wyndham Street, Parekh House. The restaurant was a little bit too fancy for a casual catch up lunch but we have heard good things about it that we were keen to try.

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The lunch set menu was vast, sashimi, sushi, chicken teriyaki, beef you name it. My friend R couldn’t go past the sushi set and a generous serving at that (as it should be, as it price wise it was quite steep!). However, R did comment that everything was deliciously fresh and tasty. Probably one of the best sushi he has had for a while.

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I couldn’t go pas the wagyu beef and with it came sashimi – chef’s choice – tuna, king fish and some prawns which I gave to R (which he loved!).

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The Wagyu beef was thin but uber tender. I don’t usually like thin beef as it can get quite tough but this was good.

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With my wagyu came some appetizers, and drinks. I didn’t take a photo of G’s lunch as it took FOREVER to come. G ordered something that wasn’t on the set menu (you can also order from the a la carte menu). G ordered the miso cod, and it took a good 45 minutes to come. Poor G was starving and we almost cancelled the order but it arrived. In hindsight, we probably should have cancelled it at the 30 minutes mark.

Service was ok, they got a bit antsy and angry when we kept asking where the cod was. Xuan Sushi’s menu mainly focuses on raw fish, with some tempura and grilled fish.  Food was good, the sashimi I was told was excellent, so I may potentially come back once I can eat sashimi for dinner! Price wise, it was a little on the steeper side, especially for a casual lunch but I really enjoyed my beef.

GA’s rating: 7 / 10

Xuan Sushi

3/F, Parekh House,

63 Wyndham Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2537 5555

Niji Bistro, Central, Hong Kong

September 27, 2013 1 comment

Niji Bistro is one of the newer addition to the family of restaurants on 11 Stanley Street. I have wanted to try this Japanese café but trying to get a reservation for lunch has been difficult! If you don’t have a reservation I wouldn’t bother rocking up as they will tell you that they are ‘fully booked’. Niji Bistro is famous for their omurice which is an omelette made with fried rice and usually topped with ketchup.

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Niji Bistro offers diners a set lunch, start with either a salad or soup and a main which ranges from omurice, curry rice, fish and many more. I was catching up with the lovely C, we have known each other since primary school – I didn’t even know she was in Hong Kong until she changed the facebook status location from Sydney to Hong Kong! My long lost friend! The beauty of internet!

C started with the salad, it was quite simple, she wanted the dressing on the side.

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I couldn’t go past the pumpkin soup which oddly was served with croissant. I am not sure if the sweetness from the croissant really complemented the pumpkin soup. However, I did enjoy the soup, it was creamy and pumpkin-y!

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C wanted something light, she didn’t feel like omurice, so opt for the salmon which was pan fried – a little over cooked for my liking which was served with couscous and steamed vegetables.

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I wanted the omurice so badly but all of them had crab in it which I couldn’t eat as Dragon is allergic to shellfish (yes, still breastfeeding!). Instead, opt for the chicken curry with rice and oh my… yum! I think I will be eating more of this in winter, such a perfect winter dish! The chicken was tender, and the curry was definitely satisfying.

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We were too full for dessert, but diners can pay extra for dessert. Service was friendly and polite, and the food came relatively quickly which was good. Will definitely be back once I stop breastfeeding to try the crab omurice!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Niji Bistro

2/F, 11 Stanley Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 3580 0227

Ribs and Burgers, Neutral Bay

September 25, 2013 3 comments

I have yet to find a good rib place in Hong Kong. One of our friends used to make his own beef ribs which were amazing has gone to London to live, so no more ribs! So when my brother, F, suggested we go to Ribs and Burgers for lunch I couldn’t say no. Who can say no to ribs and burgers? As the name suggests, they specialise in both ribs and burgers.

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Neutral Bay is not an area I go very often, for one I hate the parking situation there but thankfully we found parking easily. There are a number of new restaurants in Neutral Bay – it has definitely been a while since my last visit that I didn’t even know about this place. There’s a large blackboard displaying the menu at the front of the order, whilst I perused the menu, the others went to find somewhere to sit. Everything on the menu sounded good, I wanted a burger AND ribs!

Both F and Dad couldn’t go past the original – primal cut beef mince patty, grilled, basted and served on a freshly baked sesame seed bun with iceberg lettuce, tomato, Spanish onion, dill pickles and ‘our pink and bbq sauce’ ($10). Both F and dad added bacon and cheese, F, the Swiss cheese ($12), whilst Dad, the America cheese ($12). The burger was pretty tasty, I love the soft patty and the bacon was definitely a great addition!

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The ribs menu is short and sweet, unlike the burger menu. We ordered two types of ribs (yes, we were hungry!) The beef ribs ($22) were generous in size. It’s no hurricanes but the beef ribs were tender that the meat falls off the bone and seriously flavoursome. The thick cut chips were a wonderful complement.

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We also ordered the pork riblets ($19), which was smaller but was just as good. The sauce was finger licking tasty that I gave up eating ribs with a knife and fork – best eaten with hands I say.

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We ordered a side of chicken wings ($9) – crispy chicken wings tossed in ‘our bbq sauce’ which was also delicious. Dragon could not stop eating them – without the sauce of course! She had a bit of the burger, and was definitely a fan.

Service minimal, you order at the counter, and they will bring the food to your table. The burgers and ribs were great, like I said, no Hurricanes but still not bad. We wanted to try something different, and this was good. Will definitely be back to try their gourmet burgers!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Ribs and Burgers

19-25 Grosvenor St Shop 3

Neutral Bay, 2089

Ph: +61 2 9904 5774

Ribs & Burgers on Urbanspoon

Orto Vino Ristorante, Central, Hong Kong

Orto Vino can be found on 11 Stanley Street. I may have mentioned previously that I am going through the restaurants one by one. I have eaten at all the Japanese restaurants – there are only 3 there, the Taiwanese place and the Vegetarian place. Orto Vino is a newish addition, I can’t remember what was there previously. The restaurant is quite spacious and offers diners a two-course set lunch for around HKD158 + 10%.

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We started with focaccia and some balsamic reduction and black truffle oil.

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Entree consists of daily soup or salad. We both opt for the latter which was a caesar salad. The salad was light and simple – nothing special I thought.

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J couldn’t go past the spinach and ricotta cheese ravioli in butter and sage sauce. It sounded good and who can say no to sage sauce but thought it lacked flavour. Thought the ravioli was a little tough – not cooked through enough.

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I opt for the pork fillet with ham, potatoes and vegetables. The pork was ultra thin, and a little on the tough side. The ham really made it salty – I have definitely have had better pork fillet that’s for sure!

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Diners can pay an extra HKD35 for dessert, however, I was quite full. Overall, it was OK, would I be back? Probably not very soon. The other dishes on the menu sounded good but there are definitely better options of restaurant on 11 Stanley Street.

GA’s ratings: 6 / 10

Orto Vino Ristorante

3F, 11 Stanley Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2327 4884

Ester, Chippendale, Sydney

A visit to Sydney is not a visit if I don’t catch up with one of my bridesmaid M! I have known this girl for a very long time and is one of my dearest friends! M suggested we go to Ester, which is a new-ish restaurant in Chippendale, backed by the guys behind Vini, Berta and 121BC. It’s run by Mat Lindsay and the sous chef is Nick Wong who is ex-Bodega.

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The restaurant is a lot smaller than I thought, however, I thought it looked very similar to its sisters restaurant. I quite like the relax atmosphere and the vibe. The menu is quite vast, diners can choose from the snacks, small plates and woodfire section and everything sounded delicious. We weren’t sure what we wanted so opt for the set menus which are available for $62 or $89 per person. The $62 has about 7 courses – my goodness. M and I don’t usually go for set menus but we were determined that evening. The courses are chosen by the chef, however, we could choose it ourselves. Considering I had a nut allergy and couldn’t eat any seafood, we picked our own.

Whilst perusing the menu, we were served with some tasty crispy chickpeas which were lightly garnished with salt and rosemary – oh my… tasty! M started with some oysters ($3.5each) and she said they were good!

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The la tur cheese was delicious, it’s a dense, creamy blend of pasteurized cow, goat and sheep milk. It was soft and goey and runny, and the mandarin and fennel really gave it a nice touch.

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We both couldn’t resist the blood sausage ($6) and it was delish! The sauce was just incredible.

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Now onto the small plates. Started with the polenta, corn and sage ($18) were deliciously creamy and sweet. It was hard not to lick the plate!

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The pig tail, oyster and daikon ($20) – all sorts of wonderfulness on a plate!

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We really enjoyed the tender duck which was served with pear and enoki ($19) – very light, very nice! The pear really complemented the duck well.

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The woodfired section of the menu is the larger dishes on the menu. We started with the chicken, lemon, garlic ($26). The chicken was so tender that it just fell apart and melted in your mouth.

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The lamb, yoghurt and coriander ($32) was surprisingly tasty and tender but it was a little too lamb-y for my liking. M really liked it though.

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For dessert, we had the ice cream – salted caramel, fennel and chocolate. I have to say that my least favourite was fennel – it was just too weird for me. However, the salted caramel and chocolate were both really lovely. The chocolate was probably the winner for me, the salted caramel was a little too sweet.

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We were both stuffed to the brim! Everything was delicious, my favourites would have to be the pork sausage, the polenta and the duck – seriously incredible! Would definitely be back to try their other dishes – especially the seafood ones.

Service was polite and friend, will definitely be back!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Ester Restaurant

52 Meagher Street

Chippendale, 2008

Ph: +61 2 8068 8279

Ester Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

Veggie SF, Central, Hong Kong

September 16, 2013 1 comment

It’s not every day that I go to a Vegetarian restaurant, in fact, I don’t think I know many in Hong Kong! I am sure there are plenty, but I just don’t know where they are. I was having my monthly catch up with J, and she suggested we go here. Neither of us has been but has heard good reviews. Veggie SF can be found on Stanley Street in Stanley, and as soon as you walk in you are transported to the 1950’s in America – they have all sorts of posters, nick knacks in the restaurant. It really brightens up the place and i s rather cute.

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Veggie SF was opened by Paul and Bess Choi, and diners can find all types of cuisine on the menu. They have food inspired by Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and many more. We started with soup – pumpkin soup. I love a good pumpkin soup but this was a little tasteless for my liking and too watery.

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I couldn’t go past the burger, the grilled Portobello and sweet pineapple burger with potato pumpkin wedges, mixed salad with mysterious organic dressing. It was a relatively large burger, it was definitely bigger than my mouth – I didn’t know where to start. The burger was tasty, and who can resist, pumpkin wedges?

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J had the Oakland breeze, Vietnamese style rice noodle (room temp) with herbs, fried tofu and skewers. I didn’t have any of this but J thought it was pretty decent and tasty.

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I was pleasantly surprised and was quite full after my burger. I wouldn’t mind trying the other burgers, it seems like almost everyone dining there had a burger – the beetroot lentil pate looked good! Service was friendly and polite, be sure to make a reservation as the place was packed and they were sending people out if you didn’t have a reservation.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Veggie SF

10/F, 11 Stanley Street,

Central, Hong Kong,

Ph: +852 3902 3902

West Juliett, Marrickville, Sydney

September 13, 2013 7 comments

Nothing makes me happier than brunch with friends at an awesome cafe. I have wanted to try West Juliett for a while now, so I suggested this place to the gorgeous Suzchef and her beautiful baby A – oh how our lives have changed? Gone are the days where we leisurely go out and eat on our own, now we have a baby in tow. How time has changed! However, it is a good change, and I got to see what life would be like in Sydney with one of my dearest friends as a MUM! OH boy – it was definitely enjoyable and very VERY appealing!

West Juliett can be found in Marrickville, on the 30 Llewellyn Street, you can’t miss it, it’s a relatively large cafe and there are people outside waiting to get a table. The cafe was relatively packed when we rocked up on Friday at 1130am

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Everything on the menu sounded wonderful. Started with a kids drink – blueberry smoothie which was served in a very cute cup! Dragon loved this, I am pretty sure she drank the whole thing again, so I had to order another – the normal size!

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I couldn’t go past the poached eggs, avocado, feta, parsley, cress, lemon, dukkah on toast. Everything I wanted on a plate and oh my – it was delicious. Gooey egg, and who doesn’t like avocado and feta? Dragon ate the bread again, she loved it and wouldn’t let me take it away.

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S had the haloumi egg roll, aioli, wilted greens, chill marmalade and she demolished this! Very good she said.

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S bought the pink salt chocolate chip cookie – unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of this, but believe me when I say that it is absolutely fantastic! Apparently they only make 30 or so a day, and they were deliciously gooey and soft – just the way I like it.

As always, it was lovely catching up with S and A – how I have missed them both! Looking forward to catching up with them in Hong Kong later this year.

Service was polite, food was yummy, and I can’t wait to go back and try their other breakfast items.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

West Juliett

30 Llewellyn St

Marrickville, 2204

Sydney

West Juliett on Urbanspoon