Friday, June 23, 2017

Alibi at Cordis Hotel [Hong Kong] - New British Chef James Oakley and 4 Course Menu at Only $428

  Recently Alibi Wine Dine be Social inside Mongkok Cordis Hotel,  part of the Langham Hotel Group,  welcomed new Chef de Cuisine James Oakley to create brand new dishes for the restaurant.  James has worked previously in some other notable restaurants in Hong Kong and also the UK,  and this time we were invited over to try out some New Dishes as the 1st batch of diners.  Personally I thought their Dinner Set Menu at HKD $428 for 4 Courses was super attractive,  plus Desserts are priced at only $98 each,  making here an ideal place for a drink and dessert any time as well.

I come here Occasionally for Drinks and Snacks with Friends -
It's location in Mongkok,  which is in the middle of Kowloon,  is very convenient as a meeting point,  and to me Cordis Hotel's Alibi is comfortable for chillaxing.  Now with the new Menu,  there is added incentive to come for Dinner altogether.

Cocktails Created in situ by Mixologist -
On top of the Menu items,  we can give our own preferences to the Cocktail Bartender and she will instant shake up a new recipe to suit our personal tastes..  I asked for a Whisky based Summery drink just to see her resulting drink creativity!

Seafood Platter for 1 Person -
This had 2 Oysters, Cherrystone Clam, Alaskan King Crab Leg.. 

Misty Forest -
Pickled Mushrooms, Goat's Cheese Mousse, Pine nut Purée, Edible Parsley Moss served with Brioche Toasts.  This was served with Dry Ice and followed up the coolness with great taste,  especially loving the morel and black trumpet mushrooms in this rendition.  A Signature appetizer here..

White Crab Meat with Seaweed Crisp & Coconut -
A refreshing dish that had some elements of Asia in it,  but without the typical South East Asian exotic chili and sour sauces.  I liked the cleanness of this..

Summer Burrata Cheese with Heirloom Tomatoes, Bread -
This was topped with a Bloody Mary Granita

Scotch Quail Eggs, with an Aioli Dip -
This came with the smaller quail eggs wrapped in pork, more bite size morsels.  On a birds nest made of Fried Leeks...

Open Lasagna with Mushrooms & Cheese -
This was gratinated on top and was quite cheesy.  I love melty cheese food so this would be a crowd pleaser indeed,  and we ate this more like pasta sheets

Saikyo Miso Black Cod,  with Clams, Ice Plants,  Avocado Puree & Crispy Quinoa -
This was interesting because the crispy quinoa reminded me of sand in the ocean,  topped with two seafood.  This margination was spot on for me because it's not overly sweet or overboard,  it doesn't look like it but it will give Nobu Matsuhisa a run for his money.  The Ice Plants here are not the usual lettuce leaf like types,  but a rarer European Carpobrotus Edulis specie..

Two Ways of Lamb with Anna Potatoes, Peas -
Both the Lamb types,  from a Iberico to a mountainous Pyrenees cuts were quite gamey surprisingly for a hotel restaurant.  Even it took me some seconds to get used to it!  This was really lovely,  and with the lamb jus it worked really well with the mille-feuille potatoes with burnt edges. 

US Sirloin with Soy Glazed Beef made from Leg & Shin, Fried Garlic, Thrice Cooked Potatoes The beef presented Two Ways was lovely and Chef Oakley smartly used some secondary cuts to make the centre of this dish,  which slow braises the cuts until tender.  In Hong Kong people are used to ordering Prime cuts instead of Butchers cuts,  but here you get both so it suits everyone.  Loved the crispy potato but wished there was more,  and I saw that others eating this dish after me got some fried Beef Tendons too!  Something I experienced more in the UK dining scene..

Maple Smoked Pigeon -
Served with a Spicy aioli sauce.  This was quite smokey and really medium rare tender inside.  One of the best pigeons I have had recently.  Will be back just for this dish,  and the dip we had to order some extra fries to eat with them!

Light Cocoa Cake, Mango, Cocoa and Sea Salt Sorbet with Mango Tuile Crisps -
A pretty dessert that was part of the $428 for 4 Courses Meal,  by itself this is just $98.  Desserts work on rotation daily,  so there's always some elements of surprise.

Baked White Chocolate & Miso deconstructed Cheesecake, Banana Puree & Caramel Sorbet  -
Quite a British banana dessert for me for some reason,  I remember having a similar at 22 Ships locally too where Chef Oakley had worked also previously.  This Signature dessert is definitely for you if you like Caramel and Banana,  with Cheesecake!  Balanced by some dehydrated Raspberries for sourness.   Overall I was surprised at how affordable a 4 Course Dinner here is at only HKD $428, and it is definitely on the top of my list of to do's if I am in the area near Cordis Hotel.

Price: HKD $428 + 10%, Wine Pairing $180 for 2 Glasses  (Tasting Preview by Cordis Hotel)
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕

Address: 旺角上海街555號香港康得思酒店5樓
Level 5, Cordis, Hong Kong, 555 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok
Phone: +852 35523028

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Whisk at Mira Hotel [Hong Kong] - New Tasting Menu with Japanese Ingredients $690 for 4 Courses

  WHISK at The Mira Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui, seems to have undertaken some revitalized changes with the Menu which is geared towards exotic Japanese Ingredients being cooked in a Modern French manner. The Tasting Menu is attractive with the 4 Courses offered at only HKD $690, and 6 Courses at an affordable HKD $890 during dinner. Wine Pairing is optional at $360 for 4 glasses chosen by the Sommelier, and here are some dishes we tried during the night.

Red White Pepper Crackers, Squid ink & Chestnut breads, Garlic Herbs -
With Spreads of Dijon Cream Cheese, Scallion & Sun-Dried Tomato Horseradish.  A pretty bread basket to start with..

Chateau D'Esclans Rock Angel Rose, Cotes de Provence, France 2014 -
A sparkling Rose to start off the meal. Sommelier's Selection Wines are $360 for 4 Glasses, very reasonable.

Tokudani Tomatoes, Hokkaido Scallops, with White Asparagus Grilled and Fried,
Coriander & Coconut Oil -
This had fried asparagus to give it a textural supplement to the dish,  and the green herbal sauce actually worked really well with the grilled scallops,  giving it almost an Asian element.  I usually like my Scallops sliced thicker,  but somehow this work well in this scattered biteful presentation.

Seared Duck Foie Gras with 松茸 Matsutake Broth, Mushroom Powder,
dotted Miso and Okra-

It had a great earthy Mushroomy broth, and I thought on top of Matsutake I could taste Porcini too somewhat.  This was an interesting take on a trusted flavor combination for me,  yet somehow injecting a Japanese accent into it smartly.

Dr. Burklin Wolf Riesling, Bohlig 1er Cru, Pfalz, Germany 2014 -
A lovely tropical fruit in the palate and being a trocken was more on the drier side, but with a round finish which appeals to many as a starting wine..

Enshui Hokkaido Murasaki Sea Urchin, Menegi,
Cauliflower Cream & Cauliflower Florets with Curry Oil - 
Personally this is quite a Japanese x British accent flavoring, especially with the curried cauliflower as base.  This worked a treat as underneath the cauliflower cream was a urchin flavored warm custard, which was umami packed enough to stand up to the curry.

Kegani Hairy Crab with 20 Years Aged Soy Sauce, Okinawa Onsen Egg on Koshihikari Rice cooked slightly chalky like Risotto style -
Another Japanese inspired dish which mixed together and tasted like a Japanese risotto, with sweetness from both the crab and the aged soy sauce.  I can imagine that certain customers might prefer the rice to be more cooked through,  although I like this statement like approach to pronounce it as a uniqueness selling point

Banfi Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy 2011 -
When I saw this wine presented as a pairing, I felt that this was a safe yet exploratory pairing at once. I am sure the Sommelier has many choices for the following meat courses,  but thus far the wines were sensible without going overboard with exploration, but not overly conservative either.  It suits most diners in my opinion.

Grilled Kumamoto Pork Belly with Roasted Aubergine, Bonito & Kale for Main Course 1 -
This was slightly smoky and the pork had a good oiliness.  The Kales were fried. 

Main Course 2 - Sizzling Kumamoto A3 Wagyu with Black Garlic (+$250 Supplement) -
This was quite meaty at the same time as having Wagyu fat taste. I thought this tasted quite memorable compared to many Wagyu's marketed in town,  partially I think because of the lesser A3 marbling grading which actually helps achieve balance between red meat and fat flavors.  Almost craved for another piece in the end !   For some reason,  I think we could do with some Carbs such as some Potatoes or a Mash at this stage too.

Le Guishu L'Umami Demi Doux Yellow Wine, France NV -
A wine made from Rice, which is emulating a certain yellow wine style from China and Japan,  apparently this is sold only at The Mira,  and it is a smart Dessert pairing.  I have drank this previously before but it would be the 1st time to pair it with a dessert..

静岡県 Shizuoka Musk Melon with Milk Sorbet & Kinome Leaf to finish -
The melon was super sweet as expected, and the sorbet gave it a cleansing yet creamy effect, topped with some spicy numbness from the kinome.  The French made rice yellow wine under this pairing carried a strong Jackfruit aroma, which gave this combination a new interesting dimension and I must say was also unique in my palate training..

Wagashi as Petits Fours -
Made of Adzuki Red Beans and Chestnuts, these were formed into balls.  I almost wanted to have a Green Tea Zen like finish to this slightly Japanesque Tasting menu! 

Price: HKD $690 - $890 + 10%, Wine Pairing $360  (Tasting Menu Organized by The Mira Hotel)
Food: ♕♕♕♕ - ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address:尖沙咀彌敦道118號The Mira Hong Kong 5樓
5/F, The Mira Hong Kong, 118 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Phone: +852 23155999

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dr Fern's Gin Parlour [Hong Kong] - New Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at $498 for Two Persons

  Dr Fern's Gin Parlour is in a secluded spot underneath Landmark Central,  and it took me until recently to visit it for afternoon tea after bumping into some friends nearby.  Since I don't really go out of my way to have a drink these days,  yet the concept behind Dr Fern has always intrigued me,  it was a no brainer to crash the 'Tea Party' literally with other friends inside when I heard they are trying out the Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea Party !

$498 for Two,  including Drinks -
You can switch to their Gin & Tonic drinks for $50 supplement

Mad Hatter's Tea Party -
The Top Layer has Lobster Rolls,  and the 3rd Layer has mostly Savory Items.  For girl fans,  they look straight at the middle tier of colourful desserts..

Lobster Rolls with Lobster Bisque Sauce and Chives -
These were decent with the roll and sauce.  I was commenting that indeed, if the lobster were sliced rather than diced finely,  perhaps the mouthfeel will be even more satisfying ..

There's a Chocolate Ganache & Raspberry Tart, Matcha Tart & Carrot Cake -
With plenty of berries.  Although predictable,  at the end I still enjoyed the almost floury Matcha tart the best here.

Neal's Yard Cheese Platter - $228
Surprisingly,  they also carry the proper UK sourced Neal's Yard Cheeses, which visitors to Borough Market will probably always go in to visit and then have a coffee next door at Monmouth..  Great to see this here and it really fitted in with the scheme of Dr Fern's Gin Parlour. 

Blind Tiger -
Predominantly Gin and infused Gin based Cocktails here,  almost like an elixir potion and prescribed by the Doctor.  I don't drink much lately but I did had some herbal teas with the Afternoon Tea Set, which were relaxing.  My friends had Coffees and mentioned they are actually very good,  also reasonably priced at around $40 only...  Will have to come back for those next time!

Price: HKD $498 + 10% Food: ♕♕♕♕ - ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: Shop B31A, First Basement Floor, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road, Central
Phone: +852 21119449

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Co Thanh [Hong Kong] - Latest Vietnamese Banh Mi & Noodles Cafe to Open in HK

  I have been anticipating the opening of Co Thanh in Kau U Fong for nearly 3 months, and already knew that it was due to soft open tomorrow on Monday 12th of June.  Luckily enough I secured myself an order of Banh Mi when I walked past the shop on Sunday,  hopefully taking a preview and also avoiding the likely crowd in its first weeks of opening. 

Co Thanh -
Located on the same street as The Chairman,  Nagahama No.1,  名人坊高級粵菜 Celebrity Cuisine, Le Port Parfume...

There is a Stainless Steel Cart inside the Shop - 
Co Thanh is inspired by and emulates the famous "The Lunch Lady" in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  Hence apart from the Banh Mi,  they also sell Bun Bo Hue,  a Thai inspired Bun Thai noodles,  but ultimately what attracts the most is Bun Mam made with fermented Fish,  something I love eating in HCM.

Some Prawn Crackers to start..

Banh Mi Sandwich with Cold Cuts, Vegetables, Pickles (Spicy) - HKD $88 + 10%
Surprisingly there's only 1 type of Banh Mi served here, with cold cuts thit nguoi style.  Bread is reheated in the oven and it comes with pork pate spread and a variety of cold cuts.  Since this is their new opening,  I won't comment too much on the taste aspect as yet.  Although I think it could do with slightly more margarine-butter beneath the pate,  and the sauce is not that spicy albeit that would be more a Northern style.

Co Thanh sounds Promising -
The Concept itself,  the recipes,  and the tenacity of the Owner in sourcing his produce from Vietnam directly and learning the trade of cooking up traditional Saigon style food.  It's a little more pricier than I initially envisaged,  and let's see when I get around to trying out their other Signature dishes,  also their Rau Ma Pennywort juice..

Price: HKD $88 + 10%
Food: N/A Soft Opening Stage

Address:  2 Kau U Fong, Central

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

AMMO [Hong Kong] - Flavours of Spain in June 2017, AMMO Dinner Menu $560 Per Person

  AMMO, which stands for Ammunition at Admiralty had a quick new change of Concept, and is now headed by Chef Nunez,  who used to look after ISONO & Vasco from the same Dining Group.  The Menu is now predominantly Spanish fare with Mediterranean accent,  a little further west in flavors compared to its previous Italian image and pasta dishes.  Coinciding with the 2017 June 'Flavours of Spain' Promotion together with , here we were trying out the 4 Course Dinner for HKD $560 per person. 

The Copper Tubes and Pipes,
back to the familiar AMMO Theme of the Bar & Restaurant

Welcome Sangria Drink -
Part of the $560 Menu,  although I opted for the 'Virgin' non-alcoholic version this time.

 Entrée Option 1 - Green & White Asparagus
Seasonal, looking pretty like a Salad..

Entrée Option 2 -  Beetroot and Walnut Salad
With a few Beetroot types and textures, including Chips and a Beet Tartare,  Gel, etc.  It's quite healthy yet somehow I expected some Goat Cheese in there somewhere!

Warm Bread -
The Olive Oil is really good.

2nd Course Option - Fregola with Sea Urchin and Mussels
It was either this or the Pork Paella below.  Initially we thought this might be better value for money,  and it was nicely oceanic rich.  In hindsight we also like the paella below so it's good to order both for contrast..

2nd Course Option 2 - Pork Paella
The Menu actually looked simpler than some other fancy restaurants,  but here were some well grilled and spice rubbed Pork pieces.   With flavorful rice and a smidgeon of melty Allioli sauce on top.   My only concern initially was that served in a glass container,  it might not have much of the crispy 'socarrat' rice layer.  A lot of modern Paella recipes are like this style lately!

3rd Main Course - Daily Fish cooked Basque Style with Grebeche Sauce
I was saying on Instagram that this portion of Fish Filets was actually generous and it was crispy on the skin.  It arrives with some cauliflower mash and Spanish version of Gribiche sauce..

3rd Main Course Option 2 - Iberian Pork Collard with Roasted Peppers
This looked pretty and pinkish, the best way to enjoy this flavorful and meaty cut.  It was more crunchier yet tender than I'd envisaged, it's almost like eating meat with melted sinew or collagen inside.  Chinese eaters should enjoy this texture!

Dessert Course 1 - Lime Cloud with Pistachio Sponge & Coconut Ice Cream
A colourful looking dessert with Molecular Sponges,  this is quite Modern Spanish style dessert.  The Lime Cloud tasted like gel.  I thought this needed slightly bolder flavors somewhat to stand out?

Dessert Option 2 - Crème Catalan Foam Sauteed Pineapple & Caramel Ice Cream
I much preferred this dessert, with the caramelized pineapple bits sweetness, also an egginess in the crème.  Again a modern take on a classic Spanish Crema Catalana dessert,  which I just had a similar one at Fofo by El Willy!  

So overall this 4 Course Dinner including a Sangria is HKD $560. is supplying a Discount of HKD $88 off the Menu Price via this CODE Link:  .  *Note that I have no monetary reward from this,  I am just posting on behalf of Spanish Chamber & FeedMeGuru for promoting the Spanish Month in June 2017. 

Price: HKD $560 + 10%  (Discount Code for HKD $88:  here )
Food: ♕♕♕♕ - ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: 金鐘正義道9號亞洲協會香港中心低層
Lower Level, Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty
Ph: +852 25379888


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