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Bread Street Kitchen, Central, Hong Kong

My goodness, it certainly has been a long time since my last post, almost a month!!! Things has definitely been busy in the GA household. We just got back from an 8 day trip to Danang, Vietnam, now if you haven’t been, it is an excellent place to relax, unwind, and spend time with the family – more to come!

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Now Bread Street Kitchen part of the Dining Concepts group, is the not so new restaurant by Gordan Ramsay. It’s been opened for a while now, and I was fortunate enough to go one day for lunch – reservations has been hard as it is always fully booked! They have managed to replicate the original London decor almost exactly to Hong Kong – a blend of vintage and modern feel and offers diners an upmarket British gastropub fare.

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Everything on the menu sounded wonderful, I wanted to try everything but it was the burger that definitely caught my eye. We started with some warm bread, fresh out of the oven – yum!

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Now the burger – Bread Street Kitchen short rib burger, monterey jack cheese, spicy sriracha mayo (HKD188) – oh my my! Served with wedges, I knew I was going to hit food coma and a very very slow afternoon at work! Even before I began to attack the burger, sauce was already dripping – I knew this was going to be a messy one and indeed it was. It was fantastic though, the pattie was soft and cooked the way I like it, the bread was soft and slightly toasted, and the spicy sriracha mayo was a wonderful compliment! It was absolutely delicious that I devoured all of it without asking my dining companion if she wanted some!

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My friend, R, opt for Dingley Dell pork chop (10z) (HKD228) and it was indeed a generous serving. It came with a few garnishes and sauce of your choice – peppercorn, red wine marrow or béarnaise sauce.. hmhmmhhm red wine marrow! The pork was incredibly tender that it just melted in your mouth. You can’t get pork chop wrong but this was impressive and R demolished it!

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Unfortunately, we were pressed for time, the service wasn’t slow, it was actually quite good (staff were friendly) but we were both running late to lunch, and I had to attend a meeting (which I almost fell asleep!) so didn’t have time for desserts, which is a shame. All the desserts sounded great, and I look forward to going back again. There’s definitely a next time!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Bread Street Kitchen

Mezzanine Level, LKF Hotel,

33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2230 1800

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North Island, New Zealand Part II

So Part I was all about Lake Taupo, and Napier. Now the second part is about driving back from Napier to Auckland and stopping at Rotatua, spending a few days in Auckland and a few days in Bays of Island.

After Napier, we drove all the way to Auckland, it was about a 6 hour drive but we did stop in Roturua – we had originally going to stay overnight here but ‘The Mother’ decided against it and went straight to Napier. We sent to Polynesian Spa which I loved, however, Dragon, not so much! The water was WAY too hot for her and she said that it smelt like ‘poo poo’ LOL. We even got a private pool (only 30 mins) and we stayed at the Lake Spa for a bit. I would definitely have loved a massage, but ‘The Mother’ was eager to stop by a park (I can’t for the life remember the name) before Auckland. There were SO MUCH SPACE and GRASS!!!! LOVE!

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Where we stayed: a 4 bedroom house (found on air bnb by ‘The Mother’s aunt) which was nice and spacious. Only problem was the walls were so thin, we could hear a pin drop!

What we did: nothing much, we had a wedding at Abbeville Estate – it was a beautiful place for a wedding and Dragon again wore her favourite and BEST outfit for the day!

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What we ate – for breakfast we ate at home, and obviously a wonderful meal for the wedding and dim sum (yum cha) for the day after wedding. I did have a pretty good meal with one of my oldest and dearest friend in Auckland – Blue Breeze inn which serves a delicious Modern Chinese food.

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Chef Che Barrington is the chef behind Blue Breeze Inn and in 2011, he opened MooChowChow, Auckland’s first modern Thai restaurant. There were so many options on the menu. We started with the steamed bun of roasted pork belly and pickled cucumber (NZD10 each) – that crackle, it was sublime and the bun itself was soft and pillowy which was excellent.

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We also couldn’t go past the steamed bun of five-spiced tofu, kimchi, and coriander (NZD9 each) – I have to say, this was pretty good. I may have preferred this over the pork belly one and that says a lot!

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The bang bang chili chicken with black vinegar, sesame-chilli dressing (NZD18) was ‘bang bang’. The chili really gave it a nice kick! It was a little spicy for Dragon unfortunately but she definitely enjoyed my pork belly more.

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The beef unfortunately wasn’t as tender as I had hoped. It was a little on the tough side.

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For dessert, we ordered a couple of things to share. Mango, tapioca and lemon sorbet was refreshingly light and was a great palate cleanser!

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The taro dumplings were more on the heavier side but it’s not something I have eaten before. It was good but I definitely prefer the mango, tapioca and so did Dragon!

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Service was good and food was pretty good, especially the pork buns, shame about the beef though, as I was craving beef!

Before we left Auckland we had a quick lunch at Toru Café which is located in Ponsoby – I am really loving that area. It’s a little like Paddington, if you live in Sydney.

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‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the beef cheek, tomato, kasundi, carrot pie which was served with crinkle chips (NZD16.50) – oh how I fell in love with the crinkle chips! My my! It was crinkle potato chips, slightly fried, it was delicious. The pie itself wasn’t too bad either.

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I couldn’t go past the spiced chicken, halloumi, cous cous, raisin, harissa, date (NZD22.50) – I love cous cous, and not to mention squeaky cheese! Unfortunately Dragon wasn’t a huge fan of cous cous, nor the squeaky cheese, she did however, eat all my chicken.

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Service was polite and friendly, it’s a pretty cool little café, it was in the middle of a shopping arcade and was very relaxed. Food was good and everything on the menu sounded great! Those chips though – worth coming back for just a bowl of crinkle cut chips!

We were in Auckland for about 3 days, and then we drove up to Bays of Island. It was about a 2-3 hour drive, very scenic but lets be honest here, I spent most of it sleeping! Every opportunity I had, I was sleeping, I was SO TIRED and besides, cars and I – sleep! Who doesn’t? Come on?

Where we stayed: Waterfront Suite Paihia – Herritage Boutique Collection, 100 Marsden Road, Paihia, Bay of Islands, Paihia, New Zealand. We got the 2 bedroom apartments – don’t ask why but we definitely enjoyed the space! LOTS OF SPACE! And had a view of the ocean, which was beautiful!

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What we did: if it was summer or if Dragon was a little older, we could have gone swimming with the dolphins, go kayaking etc. But alas, our little Dragon is still 2.5 years old. We hung around town, there was a lovely grass area, and a piano where Dragon could not stop playing! I believe she has musical blood in her, just like her mama!

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What we ate:

We arrived early afternoon, and thought we would have an early dinner at Alongside which is situated over the water in the stunning bay of islands. It’s a very laid back place, very casual, we sat there drinking and eating whilst watching the sunset. It was a tad cold but it was still quite pleasant.

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I couldn’t go past the braised beef croquette – 4 generous size croquette with lots and lots of beef. The outside was slightly burnt but the inside, my my my… it was absolutely amazing!

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‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the soft shell fish tacos with our local catch, apple and mango salsa. He demolished this before I could even take a photo of it.

We also ordered a side of chunky street fries with rosemary salt and smoked aioli – they were demolished by the three of us! So good!

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They even had a kids menu for Dragon. Not pictured but for NZD10 – a bowl of Bolognese pasta and juice. She loves pasta so had no problems demolishing it.

It is really a nice way to spend the afternoon / evening. I can envisage many Sunday lazy afternoons sitting here, drinking and catching up with friends. It was really a very nice and pleasant area.

The next morning we had breakfast at Upper Deck, which was next door to our apartment. I ordered the big breakfast to share with Dragon – 2 fried eggs, bacon, sausage, mushroom and hash browns which was served with some brown toast. Pretty large serving, Dragon isn’t really a toast kind of girl for breakfast, she usually eats rice and leftovers for dinner. She loved the sausage and mushroom though, the toast she thought was a little hard.

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‘The Mother’ had something more simple – he was a little over big breakfasts (HOW COULD HE?) and opt for muesli, yogurt and fruit which was surprisingly good! Fresh fruit and the yogurt was surprisingly good!

We had dinner at one of the local pizza place near our apartments. The pizza wasn’t too bad, very big but it was for four of us. We ordered two of it and managed to finish it all!

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Overall, it was a great trip I love New Zealand, it’s such a beautiful place. However, the driving – the driving with Dragon almost killed me! Never again I think. We did have a good time, and would be keen to go to the South Island at some point.

Blue Breeze Inn

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

146 Ponsoby Road

Auckland, New Zealand, 1011

Ph: +64 9 360 0303

Toru

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

16 – 138 Ponsoby Road

Auckland, New Zealand, 1011

Ph: +64 9 555 1229

Alongside

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

69 Marsden Road,

Paihia, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Ph: +64 9 402 6220

Upper Deck

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

76 Marsden Road

Paihia, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Ph: +64 9402 8147

Oddies Foodies, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Firstly, Merry Christmas! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with family, friends and your loved ones. Hope Santa was very kind to all of you!

I have seen photos of this wonderful dessert on instagram that I had to give it ago.

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It took a while, but finally made it and it did not disappoint. Oddies can be found in Wan Chai, just off Wan Chai Road. The shop itself was pretty small, no sitting area and you could probably fit about 3 people in there.\

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They offer either a normal cone with their signature 2 flavours (dark chocolate / original) or a mix or you can go something more elaborate (and expensive) option which includes night wolf, dr.oddie or mont blanc or just fusion eggettes.

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We opt for the night wolf (HKD49) – italian low fat soft gelato twisted with 66% dark chocolate served with buttery crumbles, caramelised banana ice cream, passion fruit panna cotta, brownie and chocolate chips eggettes and crunchy flakes. ohhh eeemmm geeeeee. My goodness – this was definitely for two people, I doubt I could finish it on my own. The brownie and chocolate chips eggettes were too die for, it was served warm and absolutely fantastic. The mix soft gelato of vanilla and dark chocolate was a little on the rich side but it was good. Everything worked, including the caramelised banana, and passion fruit panna cotta.

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Dragon and I shared the mix – milk and dark chocolate, large cone (HKD27) and it was good. Again i thought the chocolate itself was on the rich side, but the blend of both was seriously tasty.

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Great dessert place, pity there’s nowhere to sit but we managed to find a park where we could sit and eat our ice cream. It was seriously good and definitely worth going back to try their other desserts!

GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10

Oddies Foodies

Shop 1F, G/F, 149 Wan Chai Road,

Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 9155 5185

Ho Lee Fook, Central, Hong Kong

I have been waiting impatiently for Ho Lee Fook to open, one because the chef whom I have a lot of respect for is Chef Jowett Yu. As some of you may know, he worked along side Dan Hong (another chef whom I have absolute respect for) in Ms G’s and Mr Wong in Sydney both are my favourite restaurants. I can’t count the number of times I have been to Ms G’s and I have a feeling that Ho Lee Fook will be one of the restaurants I keep coming back too!

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Ho Lee Fook (aka ‘good fortune for your mouth’) serves diners Jowett’s signature ‘east meets west’ dishes. I know Jowett’s going to hate me for saying this, but I can see a little bit of Ms G’s style and I am not complaining as I LOVED Ms G’s but it does have Jowett’s own twist and one of my dining companion actually said that it was BETTER than Ms G’s! The menu is split into 6 sections – to start, raw, vegetables, roast meats, not a small plate and desserts.

Started with the Mum’s ‘mostly cabbage, a little bit of pork’ dumplings, sacha soy dressing. Delicious, moreish pork dumplings with a hint of chili. Even Dragon managed to demolish a couple of these babies.

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The wagyu steak tartare, Yunnan style, hot and sour, herbs had a wonderful flavour and crunch to it. It was fresh and the flavours were outstanding.

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Dragon really enjoyed the fried chicken mid wings with shrimp sambal (without the sambal of course) – the skin was crispy and the meat itself was tender and succulent.

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There were so many wonderful choices that we wanted to try everything. We opt for the grilled pork belly, red cabbage salad, roasted chili and almond salsa – beautifully cooked pork belly, it had the right amount of fat and meat ratio and was incredibly succulent that it melted in your mouth. The red cabbage salsa had a lovely sour tang to it which was a wonderful addition.

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My favourite of the evening, the roast Wagyu short ribs, jalapeño puree, green shallot kimchi, soy glaze – OH MY GOODNESS! AMAZING!!! The short ribs were cooked to perfection, so tender, and the jalapeño puree was just to die for. This was definitely the highlight dish for me. If they were opened for lunch, I would come in on my own and have this – just for me.

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We also ordered the Taiwanese style Lu Rou Fan, 5 grain rice, pickled daikon and it was excellent. I don’t usually like grainy rice because of its texture but this was surprisingly tasty! We also ordered a serving of stir-fried asparagus, broccoli, sugar snap peas, garlic, shoaxing sauce – simple right? All the ingredients were fresh and it was delicious.

For dessert, we thought we would share a couple of things, first the matcha sponge cake, chocolate ganache, hazelnut praline and strawberries. The matcha sponge cake was light and the chocolate ganache was gooey and oh so chocolatey!

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The granny smith apple granita, calpis sorbet, mochi and kohi jelly was my favourite out of the two. It was light and refreshing, the mochi was out of this world yummy and the calpis sorbet really gave it that extra flavouring.

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Service was excellent, food was fantastic. I am so glad that this has finally opened in Hong Kong. I am no food critique but Ho Le Fook is definitely a wonderful addition to the Hong Kong restaurant scenes. I have a lot of respect for Jowett, and I can’t wait to go back and try their other dishes!

Unfortunately, there is a no reservation policy, we we were there at 6.30 pm and had no trouble getting a table. Mind you it was Sunday evening and it was the first week of opening. If you are wondering if its child friendly? There were 3 tables with kids, it is a little dark and the music can be a bit loud but Dragon definitely enjoyed the food and didn’t mind the music at all!

GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10

Ho Lee Fook

G/F, 1 Elgin Street

Central District

Hong Kong

Panino Gusto, Central, Hong Kong

I love a good sandwich – the bread is important, then the filling! However,it has been difficult to find a good sandwich in Hong Kong. Panino Giusto has been opened for a while now, it offers diners authentic Italian panini, desserts, espresso and wine. It is located on the 3rd floor of the IFC shopping mall, and although it’s small and busy around lunch time, it is quite a cool hang-out spot, especially the view overlooking the harbour.

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Menu is well all panini with different types of fillings ranging from beef, ham, proscuitto, turkey and even vegetarian. ‘The Mother’ started with the coffee and it was a pretty decent coffee which was served with a nice little block of ice cream coated with chocolate!

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We shared the tartufo – parma ham, brie, tomato, rocket, alba truffle oil (HKD98) – everything I really love in a sandwich! The truffle oil really gave it a nice rich flavour and loved the combination of parma ham and brie (although I think the brie could have been melted a little more!). The bread itself I thought was ok though, definitely had better bread in Sydney!

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The montage – rosemary and sage roast beef, tomato, rocket, lemon, extra-virgin olive oil (HKD88). ‘The Mother’ really enjoyed the roast beef, but I definitely prefer the ham, especially with the truffle oil!

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Overall I thought it was ok. It’s better than most places I have tried but considering I don’t work nearby, I don’t think I would make the trek.  I know ‘The Mother’ has been a couple of times and really enjoy it, especially the apollo – roast turkey breast, tomato, mozzarella, and mustard sauce! I have definitely been utterly spoilt by the choices of bread in Sydney, nothing really compares it in Hong Kong unfortunately and I am indeed looking forward to indulging when I am back later in the year!

GA’s ratings: 6.5 / 10

Panino Gusto

Shop 3077, Podium Level Three

ifc mall, 8 Finance Street,

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2564 7000

The Chop House, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

The Chophouse is a new venture by the Woollomoollo group, which can be found on Tung Lung Street in Soundwill Plaza – there’s actually a whole building of new restaurants including Jamie’s which should open in the summer. I had originally thought that The Chop house is from Sydney, but apparently, there is a gastropub in Singapore also called The Chop House. The menu is quite similar, offering diners burgers, steaks, and lots of different types of beers and wine. There’s also a beer tap on some of the benches which looked uber cool – customers just need to buy a special card ($300) to activate their device and they can serve themselves brews until the money runs out. The restaurant is quite spacious and there is also an outdoor area which is great for the summer. I love the relaxing vibe and it’s great for catching up with friends over beer and burgers.

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We started with these Japanese beef – cooked medium rare, the sauce was delicious, a little spicy which gave it a nice kick.

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I couldn’t go past the beef burger with cheese and bacon – sounds simple enough right? It was excellent, potentially my favourite burger in Hong Kong thus far – better than Beef and Liberty in my humble opinion. The beef was juicy and tender, the cheese was perfect and the bacon was definitely a wonderful addition.

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On top of that, it was served with these potato gems! I haven’t had these in years, and they were crunchy on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside. Even Dragon couldn’t resist.

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‘The Mother’ whenever he sees turkey sandwich he would order it. I am not sure why because surely my turkey sandwiches are better? The turkey sandwich was served with guacamole and salad – it was nice but no thing special I thought but then again, I am not big on turkey sandwiches.

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The steak looks pretty decent – will definitely come back to try. I am not missing the Chophouse in Sydney – especially the pork and not to mention the chocolate!

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GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

The Chophouse

3/F, Soundwill Plaza II

1 Tang Lung Street

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2771 3177

Fish and Meat, Central, Hong Kong

I have heard wonderful reviews about Fish and Meat, the latest venture from Maximal Concepts who are also behind Blue Butcher and Brickhouse. From memory, it is where Sal Curioso used to be. The restaurant is very cozy and welcoming; I love the polished concrete floors, white-washed walls and rustic wood tables.

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Fish and Meat focuses ‘on the best produce and techniques, to deliver fresh seafood, homemade pasta and farm-to-table cooking’. We were here for lunch and the lunch menu consisted of small and large dishes as well as sides and sweets.

We started with some crispy whitebait with lemon aioli. The whitebait was deliciously crispy and the lemon aioli was a wonderful addition. It was so hard to stop at one.

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I couldn’t go past the slow cooked Spanish Teruel pork belly porchetta ciabatta / pork fennel sausage stuffing / gremolata. Oh my, one of the nicest sandwich I have had in a long time – the pork belly were incredibly tender, the rocket and the gremolata was a wonderful complement – the lemon zest gave it a nice kick!

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The saffron risotto / crispy sea bream / scallop / squid / prawn were deliciously creamy! I loved the colour of the saffron risotto – so vibrant!

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The free range warm French chicken salad / pancetta / arugula / cherry tomato / cherry tomato / basil were deliciously light and refreshing. Dragon absolutely loved the chicken and not to mention the croutons!

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The cedar prime sirloin steak was cooked to perfection. It was served with celery truffle salad and roasted tomatoes.

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We were quite stuffed so didn’t order any desserts, however, I am definitely keen to come back for the dinner menu. I have heard wonderful things about the slow cooked Spanish Teruel pork belly porchetta that I really need to get some in my belly!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Fish and Meat

2/F, 32 Wyndham Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2565 6788