Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Babbo Trattoria [Hong Kong] - Italian Fare from a Taipei Chef, Quite Expensive but Pretty Good Food to Compensate

 Babbo Trattoria has been on my Radar for a while,  but every time I read its menu I just walked away though for the pricing point   The likes of Osteria Felice, Trattoria Caffe Monteverdi  Ciao Chow,  Motorino,  Trattoria Queen Hollywood all serve authentic Italian food or with a trusty Japanese twist at nearly half the price.   Over here this represents a Taiwanese Chef's interpretation of what is real Italian food.   It was excellent indeed,  but the pricing policy was way too aggressive.  A pizza or pasta here however nice it was,  was easily over $208.  It actually doesn't make sense when in Naples in Italy a famous Neapolitan Pizza is usually around Euro 4,50 or HKD $39.50 on today's currency conversion rate even at an upper end Pizzeria, a take-away pizza in Naples is only like 1-2 Euro.

Squid Ink Linguine Pasta with Clams,  Squid Calamari Rings -
This was quite dark with the ink,  and the linguine pasta was cooked perfectly for my liking.  Apart of the Basil leaves,  there was also a hint of Lemon squeeze,Garlic and I believe some minced Spinach leaves as the base.   The Calamari and Clams were flavorful,  but not when its around HKD $238.   Only at Da Domenico also in Causeway Bay will they dare to charge even more ridiculous prices. That place is totally insane,  and only idiots go there and pay $70 for an espresso shot and $800 for a Red Prawn pasta with non-house made but dried pasta lol.

Some Italian Red Wine and Long Island Tea - 
Actually whilst the service here was great friendly, my wine was already spoilt. I didn't make a fuss

Calzone Folded Pizza -
They advertize that they make true Neapolitana pizza here.  It was true.  This really was very good!   But it was also quite expensive at over $2xx dollars.  But I miss it : D

Address: 4 號 二 千 年 廣場 5 樓
5th Floor,  Plaza 2000,  2 Russell St, Causeway Bay

Ph: 26061288

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bicho 備長 Yakitori [Hong Kong] - New Items with a Cross-over with Thai Sister Restaurant Siam28

 Bicho is a trusty Yakitori Grill Shop,  which is related to Torimen in Central and also Thai Restaurant Siam28 above within the same building,  along with other Karaoke shops and their Banker Bar.  Gigi the lady boss is originally from Thailand-Chinese influence,  but her time spent living in Japan means her love for food expands from Thai Spicy Sour food all the way to the subtle Japanese style food...

Haven't been back to Bicho for a few years -
Last week I was just at downstairs Ichiban too...

Happy Hour Deal $93 with a Beer and 3 Snack Dishes -

Hokkaido Hotate Scallops,  Served with Thai Salad,  Mentaiko Roes,  Lime Jelly & Lime -
This was a very refreshing dish,  perfect for this Summery Weather.

Grilled Beef Rolls with Thai Young Asparagus and Mushrooms -
Served with a red garlicky chili sauce,  also Green Shishito Peppers, Pumpkin and Cherry Tomatoes

Fried Buta no Kakuni,  Pork Belly -
Interesting twist on the original saucy braised Pork.  This recipe I highly suspect is of Chinese origin,  it's almost based like a Chinese Dong Bo Rou 東坡肉,  or even an Okinawan Rafute ラフテー. 

Stir Fried Vegetables - 野菜炒め

Price: Around HKD $250 to $300 + 10% 
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: 銅鑼灣軒尼詩道525號澳門逸園中心26樓 
26/F, Macau Yat Yuen Centre, 525 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay
Ph: +852 28387022

Sunday, August 21, 2016

ERR by Bo.Lan x Isono Eatery & Bar [ Hong Kong ] - Pellegrino's Asia Top 50 Restaurant from Bangkok, Now in Hong Kong at Isono until 11th September 2016

 Bo.Lan and ERR by Bo.Lan from Thailand is currently cooking up a feast at Isono Eatery & Bar, up at the PMQ restaurant which has just also hosted Birds & Bubbles from New York City. We came for some drinks and also some Thai snacks on a relaxing Sunday, thanks to Isono and Bo.Lan teams for organizing.

Weekday Set Lunch until 11th September is HKD $228
There are also A La Carte items available..

Some Passionfruit and Guava Cocktails -
Quite Tropical South East Asian and perfect for Summer weather

Pak Dong Ruam - $78
Siamese Pickled Pincho's 鹹酸菜

House made Naem - $78
Fermented Sour Sticky Rice & Garlic Northern Thai sausage.  This version is skinless. The Vietnamese equivalent is called Nem, no coincidence it sounds similar to Naem. It also sounds similar to Chinese Nuomi Chang 糥米腸 which also uses Sticky Rice

Meuk Tod Kamin - $98 
Battered Squid with Fried Garlic & Shallots

Sai Ouwa - $78 
Coconut Smoked Chiang Rai Curry Sausage, actually this was quite Chili Hot!

Muu Ping - $78
Grilled Pork Skewers. This was addictive and slightly sugary too on the caramelized surface

Khao Tort Plan In Sri Kem -
Crispy Rice Balls of Salted Mackerel. This was fun to eat, although somehow I wished there was more Salted Mackerel fish within too! It also reminds me of Portuguese and Spanish salted cod croquettes for some reason, which they also sell here on the regular ISONO Spanish menu !

Price: Around HKD $250 to $300 + 10% 
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕ 

Address: 6/F, Block B Hollywood, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central 
中環鴨巴甸街35號PMQ元創方B座Hollywood 6樓 
Ph: +852 21560688

The Lounge, Four Seasons Hotel [ Hong Kong ] - New Chef Andrea and Pastry Chef Ringo, Revamping the Menu and Plenty of More Italian Inspired dishes..

 The Lounge at Four Seasons Hotel, has welcomed a new Chef Andrea Accordi from Italy. His influence is noticeable immediately as reading the latest Menu, quite a few options are now modernized Italian Recipes with a twist, just the way I like them. Pastry Chef Ringo Chan has also updated the Desserts Menu with items which suits the current Summery and upcoming Autumn season.

Business Lunch Menu within 45 Minutes - 
$375 for 2 Courses

Avocado and Cucumber Drink - 
Interesting but a trusted combo. This was quite thick and is actually filling, and I can almost imagine some Fruit shops selling this similar item as a detox plan. : )

Bread Basket - 
The Crispy Bread, Latte Milk Bread and Focaccia with Olives are always baked well. Bread is one of the strongest point all these years within the Four Seasons hotel.

Corvina Ceviche, Pickled Apricots & Avocado, Tomatoes - 
The fish is not thinly pounded or sliced like a Crudo but is chunkily diced, giving them Ceviche some bite. Brilliant. I was also somehow craving for also some Tostones or Patacones plaintains to go with the Corvina fish too.. perks of eating too many hard bananas whilst working in South America previously! ~ 9/10 

Grilled Hokkaido Scallops, Australian Black Truffle, Button Mushrooms with Buttermilk emulsion & Lettuce Sauce - 
This was grilled caramelized well, and in Hong Kong we are blessed as we basically have 2 Black Truffles, 1 Summer Truffle and 1 Alba White Truffle seasons per year  ~ 8/10

Lobster Tagliolini Pasta with Trumpet Zucchini & Zucchini Flower Blossoms, Mullet Bottarga Roe HKD $340 - 
Perfectly cooked and the bisque like sauce was Crustacean Sweet Intense. What I liked about this Recipe was that it wasn't too Tomato-ey... Too many places do this with too much whelming Tomato base and mixed with cheaper Toasted Sakura Prawns. I like this purer version here definitely.. No Shortcuts taken!  9/10

Medium-Rare Mayura Station Wagyu Striploin with Roasted Beets & Puree, Crispy Purple Sweet Potatoes, Red Wine & Beef Jus Reduction. A Sprinkle of Sea Salt on top - 
I didn't realized this previously, but The Lounge at Four Seasons Hotel has pretty good Steak & Sides options for a reasonable price. Starting from the HKD $300 range to the $800+ Wagyu options.  7.5/10

Fresh Mint Gelato with Lime & Strawberry Semifreddo Centre, Caramelized Puff Pastry, Baked Meringues, Strawberries and Wild French Strawberry Jam Infusion, Freeze Dried Berries Powder - HKD $140 
I like this as it was both minty and also berries acidic. The Jam was done in-house with lots of effort. The Caramelized Pastry were deliberately half-torn with holes in them to make it crisp but lighter, just like the icy cold semi-freddo itself.  ~  9/10

French Chocolate Cream Caramel, with Raspberries, Candied Pine Nuts HKD $145 -
This using a French Chocolate, and meant to be also lighter for the Summer heat and not too dark chocolaty, very thoughtful.  ~ 7.5/10

Makrut Lime Leaves Poached Pineapple Creme, Pineapple Crisp, Fresh Summer Fruits & Pistachio Tuiles. HKD $135 - 
The Pineapple slices were first Sous-vide compressed and infused with Vanilla spice. Before being baked and dehydrated baked into a transparent state. Very lemony leafed in taste, a rather lovable concoction for Summery times. Very well done job! ~  10/10

Price: HKD $375 + 10% for Lunch, Desserts Extra
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕ 

Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central
Ph: +852 31968820

Saturday, August 20, 2016

L'Eclair de Génie [ Hong Kong ] - Mid-Autumn Mooncake Series, only for Hong Kong Market

 I have been to the original Paris shop of L'Eclair de Génie in the Le Marais 4th Arrondisement, which is actually a relatively new addition to the Choux pastry scene and from memory only a few years old at most.   Subsequently this has expanded into the Asian Market including Hong Kong. The earlier versions I tried in Paris were more about colorful and laser printed edible photos on their Eclairs,  not unlike Fauchon.    The HK side has within a short period also undergone some fundamental changes, starting with an array of HK only flavors and now starting to synchronize more with their Parisian offerings and merging...   Although for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Mooncake Festival for the Chinese Luna Calendar,  they have also created around 4 new items for the HK market.  

The New Opening of L'Eclair de Genie store at Taikoo Shing -

Moon Cake Versions - 
The Yellow ball is so befitting with the recent Pokemon catch and the Powerful Yellow Ball..  The other Mooncake is Chocolate based

Black Sesame piped Eclair with Adzuki Red Beans.  2ndly a Moon Cake based Crust with Strawberry & Peanut Butter filling -
Both are intended for the upcoming Mid Autumn Moon Festival too.   Both are interesting and only for the HK Market,  the second option was more sour than anticipated,  although still kind of fun when Strawberries mingle with Peanut butter.  

Chocolate,  Citrus-Yuzu,  Salted Caramel, and Passionfruit Flavors - 
It's all pretty personal.  I am a salty person so the Salted Caramel wins by default,  although I also appreciated the Citrus-Yuzu version as that befits the Summer humid weather here and brings back the Summeriness feeling...  appetizing indeed.  Their other Signature item here is the Vanilla with Walnuts,  but somehow I was imagining they will do one with Maple Syrup with Glazed Bacon too.

Price: HKD $80 
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: G/F, Cityplaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Tai Koo, HK 
Ph: 28816681

Friday, August 19, 2016

Akari 灯り [ Hong Kong ] - Specializing on Japanese Seafood flown in Daily and Kushiyaki, Now Open for Lunch for a Bargain.

 I was walking up from Sai Ying Poon towards this new Foodie's Paradise area which is located in the mid-levels,  on a very straight and steep gradient climb up the hill from the office. One of my most favorite Institutional HK Beef Noodles Shop with 50-60 years History is located around here, but eventually I also noticed Akari down the street only 50m away is now also carrying a New Lunch Menu beginning from just a week ago.   Since I am always wandering in this area for inspirational eats,   I decided impromptu to give here a try.   Akari is part of the Dining Group behind notable places like Keyaki Central (Review: Keyaki ) which I have just been back again recently,  also the Michelin Recommended Shiba Yakitori in Kennedy Town, and the Japanese Bar Nocturne on Peel Street which I have been a few times but never covered,  plus a few more upcoming openings within the pipeline come these 2 months... 

Up in the Middle-Levels -
Looked after by a Capable Team and known for their Kushiyaki,  Robatayaki and Bars,  Sake offerings.  This Group is expanding quite quickly within the last 2.5 years.   Paul the Restaurant Manager over here is experienced knowledgeable and will look after you very well, and explaining the daily fish selections to you.

Negitoro Tuna & Spring Onions Lunch Set - Side Salad & Prawn Head Miso Soup - HKD $68
Although I like Keyaki and Shiba which are affiliated restaurants,   I did not initially know what to expect as it is my 1st visit to this outlet here.   I just randomly walked-in last minute.   It turned out this was decently portioned, and without any Green Tea or 10% Surcharge fees during lunch time,  all I ended up paying really was $68 as advertised!  I like it how Restaurants don't carry any hidden charges and deceive the customers.  Yay !

Negi-Toro Chopped Tuna, with Spring Onions, Seaweed on Pearl Grain Rice - $68
This was quite a substantial portion and was lovingly medium fatty.  I did not expect to discover this serendipitous finding so randomly on a weekday lunch session.  Though I am glad I did put a gun to my head and decided to come in!!  Nom!!  ~ 8/10

They Give Prawn Heads with Their Miso Soup -
This was also fragrant and lovely,  also Unique for HK Market.   I personally wished it had more chopped tofu within,  but overall this was very addictive with the Seaweed and Prawn Crustacean flavor definitely. ~ 8/10

Sake is a 'Masu' - A Must Order
I always have Sake or Shochu,  Beers at Keyaki the sister restaurant (and especially when over there they carry a real Bichotan Charcoal-Grill Bed too).  Over here at Akari,  they also carry grilled Kushiyaki sticks but they concentrate more on imported Fresh Seafood from Japan's Tsukiji market.  It seems like each and every one of their Restaurants do have differing themes,  and this could be a good excuse to eventually visit all of them 1 by 1.

Price: HKD $68 Per Person 
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: Shop A, G/F, 3 St. Stephen's Lane, Sai Ying Pun, Western District 
Ph; +852 28572127

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Azure [ Hong Kong ] - Good European Style Food, and then It Turns into a Dance Floor Upstairs

 Azure inside Lan Kwai Fong Hotel is a good partying venue for youngsters,  although not too many customers seem to realize they also make one of the best Afternoon Teas in town, and also Dinner is actually quite decently executed and affordable.    Remember to download the Rhombus App on your phone as well, as this entitles you to enjoy significant discounts when dining here or at their other hotel venues on Kowloon side!

We were Dining at this Downstairs Private Room this time -

Some Cocktails to Start with -

Pan con Tomate - with Spanish Jamon, Spicy Tomato Jam, Arugula Leaves and Grated Parmesan $128
Looking rather presentable and with plenty of ham and tomatoes.

6 Pieces Crispy Fried Oysters, with Pickled Cucumbers - $158
A nice dish with some pickles to nullify out the grease,  oysters were creamily plump.

Crispy Fried Baby Squids,  With Lemon Mayonnaise - $148
This was one of my favorite dishes.  It was fried food but counter balanced by the well tuned Lemony Mayo sauce,  without any jarring effects which might make it too sour nor oily.  Love!

Foie Gras & Spanish Jamon Beef Sliders, with Quail Eggs and Truffled French Fries
on the Side - $328
I have previously had a similar version in their Afternoon Tea Set before,  and despite so many Sliders in town which end up being slightly disappointing,  I have to say this one was totally legit.  Buns toasted well enough and weren't soggy under HK's high humidity,  and the beef patties had a good beefy taste but not too gamey..

The Focus on this isn't just on the Beef Slider Burger,
but the God Father like image behind the Scene.. !  Our host for the night

Pan-Fried Cod Fish, with Chorizo Sausage,  Pine Nuts,
Spring Onions & Buttered Mash Potatoes - $308
This also came with some Bread Crumbs as a textural contrast with the Mash Potatoes.  The fish was done well and slightly oily yet also salty like a Bacahau,  the way I love to eat my Cod fish.   I personally thought that at this price though,  the portioning could be a tad bigger.

Spanish Panellets with Pine Nuts, Candied Fruits & Cookie Rounds - $158
This traditional Spanish dessert recipe is not easy to find in Hong Kong,  but somehow they recreated this dish here for us to experience...  This was lovely and appreciated,  albeit I thought was a bit too pricy.

Billiard Table downstairs - Always a good Idea to come and Challenge another Team for Fun
And it is available for FREE if I remember correctly.

Tecula Mecula - Moist Spanish Almond Tart $168
With Mint Yogurt Sorbet and Raspberries.  Although this tasted rather good,  once again I think the Desserts here at AZURE are a little over-priced, especially when considering quite a few Savory dishes above were actually cheaper or around the same pricing point.  Nevertheless this was another unique dessert item to be found in Hong Kong context.   If they lower the price,  I would definitely come back here for more desserts.  Don't forget that Sister Restaurant AVA in Tsim Sha Tsui also has some famous Frozen Rose dessert,  so this must run in their Rhombus pedigree somewhat to be unique with their desserts.  I have heard quite a number of stories where people actually proposed with their romantic desserts over at AVA too..!

Price: HKD $350 + 10% 
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 

Address: 中環中環蘭桂坊雲咸街33號隆堡蘭桂坊酒店29-30樓
29-30/F, Hotel LKF by Rhombus, 33 Wyndham Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong 
Ph: +852  35189330


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