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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

Hurricane’s Bar and Grill, Top Ryde

This place requires no introduction at all. This is the third Hurricanes restaurant and it is probably the fanciest and biggest one thus far! It is located in the Top Ryde City Shopping Centre, outside in the new area call ‘La Strada’. I have dined at both the Bondi Beach and Darling Harbour restaurant, so when Hurricane’s opened at Top Ryde, we were all keen to try the new branch. The crowds clearly haven’t diminished; it is still as busy as ever. We had reservations at 6pm (it was the only time that they could fit us in!) and by about 7.30pm the place was packed and people queuing and waiting to get in.

The bar is bigger than that of Darling Harbour, the place looks a little fancier but the food is still as good as the other two branches.

We started with the complimentary bread, warm with crusty exterior and soft, fluffy on the inside.

Eaten with my new love of butter brand – luprak! It was delicious, I had to refrain from eating too much bread as I was looking forward to the ribs!

The moment of truth – THREE FULL RACKS of pork ribs ($36 each)!!!! There were 6 of us, so half a rack each.

It was humongous! The ribs were so juicy, and tender – they were finger licking good!

We also got a serving of Mediterranean Salad ($19.00) with kalamata olives, feta cheese, capsicum and our Mediterranean dressing. Chunks of feta cheese, the dressing was scrumptiously good!

I was stuffed, top button of jeans undone, and could not fit any desserts in! I still think it is one of the best pork ribs in Sydney! Although, Cafe Ish’s beef ribs are superbly tender, and succulent and will give Hurricane’s a run for its money. The sauce is just too addictive, I could definitely drink it by the bowl – or maybe not?

Thanks O for the lovely meal! Top Ryde is a whole lot closer for the family than either Bondi or Darlinghurst. Top Ryde Shopping Centre reopened in 2010, it’s not a place I go visit often, but with all the new eateries at ‘La Strada’, and the not-so-new opened cinemas, that’s a good enough reason for me to go back!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Hurricane’s Bar and Grill

Top Ryde Shopping Centre

Corner of Devlin Street and Blaxland Road

Ryde 2112

Ph: +61 2 9130 7101

Hurricane's Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

The feast before the wedding…

As some of you know, my brother got married over the weekend. We have had loads of visitors, mainly from Indonesia for the big event. The past few days I have eaten so much food that could probably feed a whole army, maybe more.

Day 1, we all went to hurricanes, 24 of us – just family. We all rocked up at the Hurricanes in Bondi Beach – a place I haven’t visited for such a long time ever since the Darling Harbour branch opened. As much I love going to Bondi, parking is a nightmare. However, that day, four cars all made it to Bondi safely to enjoy the feast.

We ordered about 14 racks of full pork ribs – yes, that’s right, you heard me, 14! I was going to take a photo of all the 14 plates of full rack ribs on the table, unfortunately, they all came at different times, and everyone was hungry and before I could say wait, they were all digging in!

This place really doesn’t require any introduction. It has been around for such a long time, it is a must try for those who has never been. We take all our visitors here, and they even ask to go back. Hurricanes are famous for their ribs, pork, beef or lamb. Believe it or not, I have only tried the pork ribs!

The ribs that night I thought was a little on the ‘lean’ side. It wasn’t as meaty as my last visit. However, the sauce, is still simply outstanding! I love the smoky, charcoal flavour and even though the ribs were on the ‘lean’ side, it was still tender, and succulent. I was definitely in pork ribs heaven – ooo how I have missed you pork ribs! It was absolutely satisfying!

The Mediterranean Salad is something I get occasionally, served with kalamata olives, feta cheese, capsicum and their Mediterranean dressing. It’s deliciously refreshing, the feta cheese is soft and cheesy, a great addition to the salad.

Another salad I do like is the char-grilled chicken salad, served with honey soaked walnuts and honey vinaigrette dressing. The char-grilled chicken I thought was a little on the tough and dry side. The honey soaked walnuts, however, were just to die for! Dad and I were fighting for these delicious, crunchy, chewy, walnuts – I will need to buy a jar of these!

It is still one of the best ribs I have had. If you are not a huge fan of ribs, they do have steaks, seafood, and burgers. Not a lot of options for Vegetarians though, a veggie burger and a vegetarian platter.

We didn’t have dessert at Hurricanes, my cousin, W, planted the idea of deep fried mars bars in our heads. I have not had one in such a long time that I too couldn’t get the thought out of my head!

So we went on a hunt, and saw this outside one of the seafood stores ‘world famous deep fried mars bars’. I remember when I first heard of these, I HAD to have one, so made my brother drive me. I can’t believe ‘The Mother’ has never had one before!

For those who haven’t eaten a deep fried mars bar, it is just an ordinary mars bars which is lightly battered, then deep fried and then sprinkled with sugar.

The batter was beautifully light, crispy and sealed the chocolate so none of it oozed out. That first bitte is truly magical – a lovely mix of savoury and sweet. The mars bar doesn’t melt but the inside, the caramel melts and it’s deliciously chewy like a marshmallow. It is sickly sweet, I felt like my arteries were about to burst and cholesterol sky rocket but it was good! Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish a whole deep fried mars bar on my own. ‘The Mother’ loved it, and managed to finish one!

Day 2: the night before my baby bro’s big day, we had a feast at my parents (in Indonesian it’s called ‘syukuran’) and believe me when I say it was a feast! Check out the photo below.

Meet pigsy, poor pig – mum didn’t make this, we bought it from our local Chinese bbq place in Eastwood. There is an old wife’s tale that if you eat the pig’s tail you will find a partner to marry. Apparently, at my ‘syukuran’ F ate the pig’s tail and three years later, he got married! We made my sister-in-law’s brother eat it, as they want him to get married.

Back to piggy – the suckling pig was incredible! Delicious, thin and crispy skin with a slitter of fat. The meat itself was tender and succulent, I couldn’t help but get a generous serving of this on my plate, it was THAT good! But then again, I am a sucker for pork! Here is what happened to piggy after it was cut and chopped! It was scrumptiously good. Please note the below is NOT what I had on my plate! I am not that greedy!

Lemper ayam – glutinous chicken was as good as those from Indonesia. My mother’s friend made these, and they were superb. The rice was gooey, and the chicken boiled, sweet and a little on the salty nice. The flavours of sweet and salty was just perfect.

Perkedel – potato croquette, which consist of potatoes, spam, and deep fried. This is one of my weakness, I love perkedel, especially when they are warm. Unfortunately mum didn’t make these, her perkedel tastes SO much better! I will make them one day so I can post recipe up.

Nasi kuning an Indonesian rice dish, in a cone called tumpeng and is eaten during special events. The rice had a nice coconut and turmeric flavouring. It was tasty, especially eaten with perkedel – talk about carb overload!

The fried noodles – for long life and prosperity – were delicious. The noodles were tender and the chicken, prawns, beef were a great complement.

Traditional Indonesian soup – sop merah. It is basically a tomato-based soup with any meat you want, in this case, we used sausages, spam, chicken and corned beef plus potatoes, celery, carrots, onions and garlic. I like my sop merah a little on the sour side, however, not many people do, so this was a little on the sweet side. The soup burst with flavours, especially the combination of all the meat. I grew up with this soup when I was a child, so absolutely love it! Again, a must make one day, especially in winter.

Sambal goreng kentang – spicy potato crisps. A very spicy side-dish or snack made from potatoes, mixed with onion, garlic, beef and prawns. Can also be made with chicken liver but this one is beef and prawns. It was delectably spicy, enough that it didn’t burn your mouth.

My favourite, mum’s beef rendang. Fantastic as always – tender, succulent, juicy beef with a kick of spiciness.

Bakso goreng – deep fried pork balls, which were purchased from Pinanggsia Noodle Restaurant in Kingsford was a hit! It was gone within minutes. They were crispy, meaty, and frigging awesome! I really could have eaten three on my own. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of this, it was a HIT!

Last but not least, chicken wings marinated in honey and soy sauce. The chicken wings were succulent and too easy to eat and to stop at just one.

It really isn’t an Indonesian wedding or get together without the famous tehbotol, jasmine tea. This is one of my favourite drinks, it’s SOOOO refreshing! I do prefer to drink it out of a bottle though, the box is just not the same.

Of course there were wine and beers, we ate and drank the night away. I can’t believe that it was three years ago that I had my own syukuran, and now it’s my baby bros!! I love family gatherings, and weddings – so much food and love by all!

Hurricanes Bar and Grill

GA’s rating: 7.5 / 10

130 Roscoe Street

Bondi, 2026

Ph: +61 2 9130 7101

Hurricane's Grill on Urbanspoon

Super dry ribs at Blue Smoke Bar-B-Que

This place was suggested by a friend, V – actually it was the first time we met but we have spoken quite a fair bit via twitter, email and msn. She organized a get together with the girls, R, J (ok J is not a girl! But he is like one of the girls… sorry J!) and I at this new Blue smoke Bar-B-Que. I didn’t know much about this place, except that they have ribs – I was a little skeptical about eating ribs in Hong Kong – I have not found a great place and was dying for some good ribs. Sadly to say, those cravings were not satisfied and Hurricanes in Sydney is still the best place for ribs! (read review here).

R, J and I got there a little early and we were famished, well I certainly was! Both R and J, stopped by Mark and Spencer to get a pre-dinner snack – DONUTS! I was saving room for what I thought was going to be a delicious, mouth watering meal of tender and juicy ribs! Little did I know how disappointed I was going to be!

We arrived at the venue, and you can see an open kitchen where the traditional ‘slow and low’ smokehouse cuisine is made. The menu is extensive ranging from Australian lamb ribs, Memphis-style ribs to whole suckling pigs. In addition to that, they have turkeys, smoked chicken, fish and burgers. There are also a range of side dishes including coleslaw, corn bread, mac ‘n’ cheese, chicken wings, fries and many more. If you are a vegetarian, I would not recommend this place as the choices are very limited.

Whilst we were waiting for V, we ordered the fries with cheese and bacon. Within minutes, and I mean no more than 2 mins, the fries with cheese and bacon arrived. We were all a little surprised – was this pre-made? I was again a little skeptical, however, to my surprise, the fries were hot and crunchy! The cheese and bacon were a great compliment, it was absolutely sinful and artery clogging but delicious!

Once V arrived, we proceeded in ordering our meal and various side dishes! The chicken wings came first, it wasn’t deep fried but barbequed and had a smokey flavour. It was rather ordinary I thought, nothing special.

Then came the creamy mash potatoes. Again this was ordinary, it’s not hard to make creamy mash potatoes. I think it would have been better if it had truffle oil infused, alas, no.

Corn bread – now this was dry and tasteless. Even the butter could not save the corn bread.

Crispy mac ‘n’ Cheese – V is in search for the best mac ‘n’ cheese in Hong Kong. This was not what I expected. The mac ‘n’ cheese turned out to be these croquettes like filled with macaroni and cheese and then baked. I thought it was dry and really unappetizing. It was such a disappointment!

Finally the ribs – the signature dish – full rack bar-b-que USA baby pork ribs.  According to the menu, they use Hickory wood derived coal to smoke, slow cook and roast the meet all at once for hours until tender. Um… tender? It was quite the opposite actually. J, being the gentleman that he is, thought he would cut the ribs into pieces so that we could eat it. To cut the ribs was a process in itself! We all looked at J thinking maybe he didn’t have enough energy, maybe he wasn’t strong enough, maybe the knife wasn’t sharp enough. However, he wasn’t cutting a log or a tree, it was RIBS! ‘Tender’ ribs they claimed… far from it. When J finally cut the rib into pieces, I had ago at it, it was TOUGH! The pork meat itself was not tender, it was dry, chewy and jerky like. There were more bones than meat! It wasn’t what I expected and it definitely wasn’t great! It was such a disappointment.

R indicated to the waiter how hard the ribs were, and his response was ‘it’s supposed to be dry’ – does dry mean chewy and jerky like? I was a little unimpressed with the response and the ribs itself.

The Australian Lamb ribs were also hard to cut. However, surprisingly it was slightly more tender than the pork ribs. I am not a huge fan of lamb, so only had 1 rib and that wasn’t great.

We were so disappointed with the meal that we didn’t even bother to order dessert. I did like the décor, the wooden ceilings, the open kitchen, the concrete floor and rusted metal sheets and that’s about it!

Considering how we all have a sweet tooth, we wanted something sweet. Not from the restaurant though, so we thought we would give Simplicity Crepe ago. This little, cozy place can be found on Wyndham Street, overlooking Lan Kwai Fong.

Simplicity crepe serves both savory and sweet crepes. I wasn’t in the mood for anything savory, although the char siu crepe sounded interesting! I ordered one of the simple crepes, dark chocolate crepe with ice cream. The crepe was thin and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate sauce – it was sinful but absolutely delicious!

R ordered the ultimate heaven, which consisted of raspberry, berry compote, cookies, ice cream, and chocolate sauce. R truly didn’t enjoy this. She said it was absolutely horrible – the combinations of it all were just awful and unsatisfying. She did say that the ice cream was nice!

J ordered the heaven crepe, which was a lot better than the ‘ultimate heaven’ – it was a lot simpler. I didn’t have any of this as I was struggling to finish my crepe. He thoroughly enjoyed this, so I guess ‘ultimate’ is not always better.

Simplicity crepes open till midnight on most nights, and till 4 am on both Friday and Saturday night.  Alternatively, if you want crepes for breakfast, then this is also the place to go, they open at 8.30 am weekdays, 10.30am on Saturday and 11.00 am on Sunday.

It was good to have finally met V, and always good to catch up with both J and R. Even though dinner was terrible, the company made it all bearable!

GA’s ratings Blue Smoke Bar-B-Que: 2.5 / 10

3/F, Grand Progress Building,

15-16 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2816 9018

GA’s ratings Simplicity Crepe: 6.5 / 10

41 Wyndham Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2576 9886