Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Shang Palace 香宮 - Taiwanese Promotion from 18th to 21st June

Michelin 2 Stars

 Shang Palace is a Michelin 2* restaurant in Hong Kong,  and I believe their Paris branch is also a Michelin 1* recipient and well received.   During the June 18th to 21st period – they are also doing a cross over with their Taiwan Shangri-la restaurant on the Hong Kong side.



Shang Palace -
One of my favourite Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong.  They are older style yet creative,   I personally prefer the A La Carte dinner dishes here over the Yum Cha dim sums,  but which the latter are also one of the best in town.


Chef Lau 劉冠麟 -
From Taiwan’s Tainan.  He approaches food in a very scholarly fashion,  is an avid wine lover, and knows about global food trends.   He is almost like a food historian to me,  tracing back dish recipes to many years ago.   




白雪烏魚子,  嘉義鹹水鵝, 五味鮮九孔鮑魚,  安平鮮蝦卷,  北投紅糟肉 -
Bottarga fish Roes,  Marinated Goose,  Ice-bathed Abalone,  Beancurd sheet fried Prawn mince,  Red Pork Belly.   Some traditional Taiwanese dishes especially from Southern Taiwan.   Nice appetizers to start with and everything were handled with delicate sauces and texture.   ~  7.5/10


古早味雞仔豬肚鱉 - 
A Turtle is stuffed inside a French Spring chicken,  which is then cooked inside a Pig stomach.  This is such a sophisticated soup and had just the right amount of medicinal and herbs input,  also gelatinous coating.   This was said to be adjusted for Summer deliberately,  whereas Winter will be a deeper and more ‘hotter’ version.   ~  10/10

豆醬蒸野生石班 – Fermented Pineapple and Beans Paste,  on Steamed Garoupa & Tofu
This was a lovely Summery fish dish,  with a slight acidity and sweetness,  also umami all at once.   The fermented pineapple beans paste is a traditional product in Tainan side,  as preserving the un-sold pineapples means they don’t go to waste.   It must be preserved for roughly 1 year.   ~  8.5/10




鍋燒塔香三杯雞 – Three Cup Chicken with Thickened Soy Sauce,  Thai Basil,  Wine
The recipe here requires a slow-grilling of the chicken with a variety of sauces,  wines and ginger and garlic,  it is then claypot oven bake finished before adding the aromatic basils.   This version here was really sophisticated and full of chicken and other flavours.   Amazing stuff.     9/10


紅蟳蒸米糕 – Small Mud Crab with Squid and Sticky Rice
This is a popular dish in both Fujian and Southern China,  I used to eat it a lot there,  but in fact this is also a popular dish in Hong Kong.   This is topped with a Vine Leaf today.   I thought the rice cake was cooked well but could absorb in more crab essence,  especially when compared to some of the local HK offerings.   Still enjoyable.     6.5/10



紅燒牛肉麵 – Red Braised Beef Shin and Beef Cheek Noodles
The soup base was more elegant than outright powerful,  but it had a lot of herbs and spices within and tastes medicinal in a sophisticated way,  it’s almost Malaysian Bak Kut The like but milder..   It is definitely one of those Hotel versions which Taiwan can also be famous for.   The 2 beef parts were cooked really really tender and flavorful.    Don’t expect it to be robust and in your face,  this version is more about soup layering.    ~  8/10


Noodles were cooked spot-on -
Rare to find,  everywhere else overcooks them.  Not here.



台灣小玉瓜, 巨峄提子, 璉霧, 愛文芒果,  菠蘿 -
Taiwanese Red Kyoho Grapes,  Pineapple,  Mango,  Yellow Watermelon and Wax apples to finish. 



杏仁露蛋白,  油條, 台中鳳梨酥,  芒果冰淇淋 -
Chinese cruller doughnuts are dipped into the Almond Egg white milk,  like a breakfast dish.  It’s almost like a Churros!   With Mango sorbet and Pineapple Cake.   Interesting combination.   ~  8/10



Cool Dessert Sandals from upstairs Deli Kool -
A nice surprise for us to finish!    This Taiwanese Promotion meal is only for 4 days but it is definitely very well thought out and I wished it can last longer,  so more foodies can enjoy it.   I am lucky that I was able to participate during this lunch at the 2* Shang Palace!





Price:  Meal was by Invitation by Shangri-la Hotel and Shang Palace as a Promotion
Food:  ♕♕♕♕

Address: 尖沙咀麼地道64號九龍香格里拉大酒店地下1層
64 Mody Road,  Basement B1,  Kowlong Shangri-la Hotel, 
Ph: 2733 8754

Monday, June 16, 2014

Armani Prive – Salt Pairing Dinner

  The 3 Course Salt pairing experience starts from $698 at Armani Prive.  The 6 Course Menu for dinner is $1288,  it’s a bit more pricy but it is definitely ok fun and engaging but it is pushing into Michelin starred territory for comfort for myself.     I was Invited over to experience this salt-journey experience,  it was thoughtful enough as a food concept,  but somehow I wished it was cheaper affordable as the concept was sound,  but the pricing point can be a little alienating...


A Really lovely area -
With thoughtful and almost Asiatic design.




Salt-based Cocktails to start off with -
The Grapefruit based cocktail was better than the Blue Margarita for me.    But both are tuned well.




Bread Rolls and a slightly Smoky Salted Butter -
The breads were infused with herbs and most people loved them.   It’s softish in general so I am probably biased,  as I love the textures but it’s a bit Hong Kongers preference I believe..  ~  8/10




A Variety of Salt Rocks -
Some of these are really rare.   Including a Sahara Dessert salt which cannot be found anywhere else in the world,  as it is not Lake or Sea based.    This was already here since the Atlantis period!


Botan Ebi Prawns served on Pink Himalayan Salt slab -
With Italian Amalfi Lemon mayonnaise,  Clementine orange granite,  and dusting of Licorice yellow Cypriot Saffron salt…   The prawns were slightly cured by the salt slab itself,  and were quite salty.   The combination of prawns with the exotic salt mix and the citrusy sauces was refreshing.   I still think the prawns were more saltier than I expected but it was a good concept in theory.   ~  7/10


Pan fried French Duck Foie Gras and Home Cured Duck Ham with Viking Java Pepper Mixed Salt,  Cider and Sherry vinegar Caramelised Green Apple,  Truffle molecular caviars and Rosemary Caviars -
I really liked this recipe.   The long Java Peppers lent it a distinct fragrant and slightly spicy note.   The salt-cured duck ham was done in-house here using well Salt,  the theme tonight.  It reminds me of the ones available at Madam 68 and La Cabane de Vin Bistro,  although tonight’s version was caramelized and with that peppery note.   The truffle caviars were strong in taste and so were the rosemary molecular caviars.  I think this tasted so good but if only the French Foie Gras can be cooked to a pinker state,  as it was non-galvaged and quite meaty itslef.   Otherwise this would be faultless.   ~  7/10


Duck Foie Gras slightly Over-cooked -
It is meant to be less greasy and not galvage fed,  the colour deliberately more yellow to indicate it’s freshness.   



Italian Wine -
From Puglia




Sicilian Red Prawn risotto,  Maltese scampi,  Malossol Caviar,  served with Persian Blue Salt grated on the table -
Whilst I liked this,  I think it could have more red prawn taste on top of the Saffron influence.   On the other hand I really liked the raw Maltese scampi sashimi on top and also the caviar freshness taste.   The Persian Blue salt brought out more a sweetness umami in the end.   I think the base risotto was quite cheesy though for a seafood rice. ~ 7/10 


California Black Angus Tagliata -
Served with warm Rocket jelly,  Saharan Hoarfrost Salt,  24 months Parmesan Chips  and Vintage Balsamic Reduction sauce.    The Hoarfrost salt flakes really brought out the flavour potential,  but unfortunately the beef base itself was a bit too cold when served as it is cooked to only 48C but the plate wasn’t warm enough,  and it also didn’t carry enough beefiness to me.   It was a bit too chewy and lacking character in taste for most of us,  the only fail dish for today!   I must allow myself to speak freely and to judge freely sorry to say,  this is after all  my space,  I say what I really feel as long as it is fair enough.   I didn’t like this beef much but I liked the salt pairing though and the parmesan crust.   And why is the Tagliata not sliced up already or served with arugula leaves?    ~  5/10  




Black & Blue – $118
Criollo Dark Chocolate from Venezuela,  South Equatorial pepper mixed berries,  smoky Havana and Vanilla foam with Blue Persian salt.   This was really good as a package.   The cigar like foam was really potent strong by itself,  but the overall combination somehow worked.  But that piece of Dark Chocolate ganache cake was miniscule by any measure…    ~  8/10




Armani Prive upstairs -
A place I patron often enough enough.   The Food downstairs tonight was fun and engaging enough,  it was Salt-based and Italian in spirit,  some dishes tasted great whereas some dishes were more on the ok side only.   At this price range,   I think the quality can really go up a notch but guess what?      I think they have a lot of potential locked in within here.   But I am glad I didn’t pay the bill in the end,  it was a bit too high for me to swallow easily especially when there are so many options in HK!  ; )





Price:  $698 to $1288  Per Person
Food:  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: 中環干諾道中8 號置地遮打大廈2樓
2F Landmark Charter Centre,  8th Connaught Road,  Central,  Hong Kong
Ph:  3583 2828

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Hoka Hoka Sake Dinner for 2 Persons, from $880

 We noticed that Hoka Hoka Causeway Bay was doing a Set Dinner for two with Sake Pairing included.   The 9 Course dinner starts from $880 for two people inclusive,  including 300ml of sake.  For $980 you can get the full 720ml Sake Bottle with all the below food courses, and most dishes are served as 2 separate portions individually without sharing,  which is very generous.    Note:  These special prices must be reserved in advance.   The walk-in prices will be $1180 to $1280 respectively.



This Month’s Special Sake Pairing Menu – Starting from $880 for 2 people
Aka Mebaru Fish Dinner Set and Sake Marriage Course.




Sakes and Shochus -




蓬萊泉 和 Houraisen Junmai Gingo,
from Aichi Prefecture,  Japan -
The whole 720ml Bottle is included if you pre-book the $980 Dinner Set for 2 people.



Otoshi of Beancurd Strips -



Hiyashi Cold Japanese Tomato Salad - 冷やしトマト
A nice starter in the Summer,  with a sour vinegar dressing and already peeled.  ~  7/10 


Aka Mebaru Sashimi 2 Ways - 赤メバル
This is 2 people’s portion, and you receive the whole fish!!   We had 2 plates as we dined as 4 persons,  and one plate of this tasted slightly more fattier than the other.   I usually like thin cuts of this Aka Mebaru fish,  but this particular one performed with the thicker cuts.   Chef recommends very little soy or wasabi,  but mix it with the Sake above.  ~  7.5/10



Thicker Cut of the Aka Mebaru -




Soy & Ginger Stewed Abalones - トコブシの生姜煮付け
I was surprised because this is only 1 person’s portion,  which means each person gets 2 abalones!!  It paired really well with the Sake above,  bringing out the pear fruitiness in the rice wine and cancelling the bitterness.   ~  9/10



Japanese Asari Clams in Sake soup - あさりの酒蒸し
Using the more expensive imported Asari,  this was for 2 persons but a large serving size.   It has a lot of sweetness from the clams and the sake,  although personally I prefer even more sake and clams flavour.   Can’t complain at this price.   ~  7/10


Home-made Pumpkin Croquette - 自家製かぼちゃコロッケ
This was quite loose but really sweet.   One of our favorite courses and it has some minced meat inside.  ~  8/10



Salt-grilled Ayu fish -  鮎の塩焼き
This is a must do around this time of the year.  Here it was grilled a bit too salty to my liking,  but the meat remained moist inside and sweet.   Again you get 1 fish for each person.   No need to share even at this price.  Amazing… !   ~  7/10

蓼酢 – Tadesu
For the above Ayu fish to dip into,  its based on the same plant diet that the fish eats itself on a daily basis,  which lends it the slight melon flavour.



Grilled Beef and Kimchi,  and Japanese Nagasu Chicken with Miso - 
長洲鶏の味噌串焼き,  牛肉のキムチ串焼き
I think the caramelization today was a bit weak,  which means it was more boiled like.  However the chicken meat was tender but I prefer them wth skin-on for flavour.   Like the combination of beef and kimchi,  but again,  think the crust could be better darkened.   ~  6/10



Avocado Tempura - アボカド天麩羅
Interesting to see this and it was fun to eat,  also working well with the Sake.  It brought out a real sweetness.   Topped with chili strands.   ~  8/10


Yamaimo and Tuna Maguro-zuke Don -  山芋とマグロの漬け丼
The tuna was just marinated but not overly so,  it’s a good finish with the slimey grated yamaimo  ~ 8/10

Bill for 4,  with 2 x 720ml Sake Bottles included -
$2,244 for 4 people and most dishes above were individual portions too. 
Really good bargain and this Dinner Course changes every month with a different theme.   Really Bang for Your Buck if you ask me.   Only $565 a person if my maths is right with enough sake to make you dizzy. 




Price:  $980 for 2 Persons including Sake  (remember to pre-booked the table!)
Food:  ♕♕♕♕

Address: 銅鑼灣駱克道491-499號京都廣場9樓
9th Floor Kyoto Plaza,  491-499 Lockhart Road,  Causeway Bay,  Hong Kong
Ph:  2892 8899

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sunkist Tasting Menu, at Lily & Bloom

 Sunkist Hong Kong recently did a Cocktail dinner pairing at Lily & Bloom and upon re-confirmation,  this will be lasting until August 2014.   I love this type of cross-over concept,  and the cocktails and food were prepared really well as a central theme.   The only blip tonight was that some dishes took a bit long to come out between courses.  After working for a long day,  with the dim lighting and slightly slowish pace,  I was naturally becoming sleepy by the minute  but I did remembered the good cocktails and food dishes.   Except for the rawish foie gras.   



It’s Summer -
Sunkist Oranges and Lemons grew up with the Hong Kong locals.  It is actually quite nostalgic with us although these days,  their image has taken a back-drop for sure.   Marketing is always important I always believed! 

Orange Juice -
My favourite drink alongside a cold Watermelon juice.   I also love it with carrots infused.   OJ is for any time for me!



Tonight’s Sunkist Cocktail Master -
His drinks were sensational and well balanced.  Using a lot of liqueurs not usually available,  including European and Central American offerings,  as well as self-made versions.   It is definitely one of the most sophisticated if not fussy cocktail guys I have met recently.   I used to make cocktails myself but one really has to be totally concentrated to make a good one.  I think I was a bit tired after working at many projects…  It really shows.



Zombie Punch -
Blend of 3 Aged & overproof rums,  Freshly squeezed Grapefruit and Lime juices,  Passionfruit,  Evil spices,  Fresh Grenadine,  Absinthe & Clove Bitters.   This carried a sophisticated formula for a cocktail but it worked well as a Summery drink which was also so SUNKIST in this theme.   ~  9/10


Hamachi fish with Lemon and Orange juice curing juice,  Avocado and Tortilla Chips – $105
Topped with some micro purple shiso leaves and garlic confit.   This was a lovely starter and worked well with the above cocktail.   The Hamachi fish for this season was still surprisingly oily too.   ~  8/10

Scorpion -
London dry gin,  Spiced rum,  Calvados,  freshly squeezed Lemon & Orange juices,  Small Hand Foods Orgeat Syrup,  Demerara syrup,  Plum Bitters.   Another rather long winding description but again a lovely combination.   I even made one for myself on the night under the Cocktail instructor’s guidance!    ~  8.5/10



Nui Nui -
Aged Tequila,  Mezcal,  Dry Curacao,  freshly squeezed Lemon,  Orange & Lime juices,  7 spice syrup,  vanilla extract,  cinnamon & allspice bitters.     It is interesting how they managed to make a few cocktails all based on the citrusy products by Sunkist,  but with totally different characters.  ~  8/10


Spiny Lobster and Crab Croquettes -
With Saffron Alioli,  Smoky pepper sauce and frisee salad.   This was cooked nicely enough and the crab croquettes were pairing well enough with the citrusy sauce and cocktails.  My lobster body was also good but could be cooked less dense but it was ok enough.   ~  7.5/10



Crab Croquette -




Seared Pork Belly – with Grapefruit Mojo sauce,  Acho BBQ,  Arugula
And topped with piece of fried pork skin.   ~  7.5/10



House Smoked Spiced Duck Breast with Seared Foie Gras,  Cherry gastrique, Parsnip puree and Hazelnuts,  with an Orangey sauce  -
The duck breast was well seared and spiced,  lovely and pink.  The Foie gras part was well seared on the surface but a bit raw inside for most people.  Luckily mine piece was within limits and I enjoyed the duck foie gras too.   ~  7/10



Duck Foie Gras looking well seared with Crisscross Patterns -
But a few pieces became a bit too rare.    Mine was thankfully ok.



Dry-Aged Wagyu Striploin,  Sunkist Orange Hollandaise sauce,  Celery Root & Preserved Lemon puree,  Hazelnuts -
This wagyu cooking and flavour was exemplary.   I suspect even the side condiments and sauces were also great but by the time this dish arrived,  it was nearly 4-5 hours later.   I was getting too sleepy to remember most things,  except that strong wagyu flavour.  It might be a good sign as at least I remember it in my head.   ~  8/10

Sunkist Fruit Crepas -
Spiced Mascarpone filling,  Almond Crumble,  Fig,  Grapefruit,  Salted Caramel ice-cream.   The original menu description does not fully transcribe the sophisticated final recipe here.   I think this was a really thoughtful dessert and that salted-caramel ice cream nearly rivals the one from Blue Butcher and La Maison du Chocolat.   




Personally I love citrus fruits especially when its Summery -
I also love grapefruit and berries too.   This Event was really well organized and I enjoyed most of the drinks and menu offerings which were so thoughtful.  Although it did almost dragged on for almost 4 hours and we were all becoming a bit sleepy.   If this was compressed into a 2 hour meal,  I think it would have been highly impressive indeed! 


Price:  Meal by Invitation by Sunkist Hong Kong and Lily & Bloom
Food:  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: 中環蘭桂坊雲咸街33號LKF Tower 5樓
33 Lan Kwai Fong Tower,  5th Floor,  Wyndham Street,  Central
Ph:  2810 6166  


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