Tuesday, July 18, 2017

泰麵膳 Boat Noodle [Hong Kong] - Thai Boat Noodles Shop Opens in Tsim Sha Tsui, Does it Satisfy Your Bangkok Crave?

  Thai Boat Noodles has seen a surge in popularity in Hong Kong recently thanks in particular to places like Samsen.  Previously,  if the Thai bug hits for us to down a proper Boat Noodles (Kuay Teow Reua/Neua) that's made with pigs blood and either pork or beef for the base soup stock, we usually headed to Kowloon City in Hong Kong,  the home of the concentrated Thai Food in general, even if no MTR reached there directly.  Recently a shop in Tsim Sha Tsui opened within the Bar district to sell authentic Thai style Boat noodles too.  With prices starting at just HKD $12 for a small bowl after 9pm and emulating the Bangkok Thai experience,  and a full sized Boat Noodle coming in at HKD $58 only,  it does at least sound attractive on paper.   In Kowloon City,  the median price nowadays is around HKD $43-$45 a bowl,  up from around $38 in 2016.

Boat Noodle -
Opened in a busy Bar area in Tsim Sha Tsui,  which was rather odd in our perspective.  But it has proven very popular within weeks of opening,  just check the queue already.

Thai Boat Noodles is suddenly Popular in Hong Kong,  
As well as Vietnamese food,  despite having been sold in Hong Kong all these years..   Exotic food currently wins in Hong Kong as we go back to more basic roots,  sometimes with a modernized or even Westernized twist.  That includes items like Bao,  Gai Daan Jai eggettes, all the way to Asian noodles or Taiwanese dishes.  It has proven to be the current trend for Hong Kong and even Internationally in 2016-2017 and I foresee has longer to come yet.  

Chili Sauces and Vinegar -
These are found served with Boat Noodles usually.  By default,  this shop doesn't add in much Chili paste or Chili Vinegar already.  This is for optioning up to cater for your own taste.

Beef Boat Noodles - Full Portion $58

Beef Boat Noodles 2 - Full Size $58
The soup base varied slightly over 2 visits.  I think on a good day there is some decent depth to the bowl,  but may be not enough to warrant a return unless if it was sold cheaply.  Apart from Samsen,  I think the regular shops I patron there all serve a better, sophisticated soup.  The Cooked Beef,  Rare Beef and Beef Balls with the Morning Glory veggies were good though for this pricing point!  ~ 6.5 to 7/10

The Noodles - 
Cooked decently and the really thin variety.  For some reason,  may be the soup didn't had too much co-agulated pigs blood,  when slurping the noodles it didn't really catch a lot of the soup.  But overall at only $58,  you accept it

Thai Yen Ta Fo with Ferment Red Beancurd Soup - HKD $52
This is called 'Rainbow Noodles' in Hong Kong,  but originally this Thai noodles dish is based on Hakka Cuisine's Yong Tau Foo 酿豆腐.   But by the time the dish migrated to Thailand side it became more of a fish balls and squid with tofu puffs noodles.

Some Side Dishes - 
Which I took only photos of..

Thai Boat Noodles - Small Size HKD $12  (from 9pm til Close)
I had this again on another night.  Despite the look on the photo,  it was literally just one or two sips of noodles and the soup broth was not as heavy in flavor as the larger bowl.  If I had to choose again, I would rather have 1 larger bowl at $58,  than 5 small bowls here.  ~ 5/10

Mixed Satays - with Pork & Chicken  $36 for 6 Sticks
As expected with a slightly sugary marinade,  these were surprisingly good and only costed a dime.  I would love to come back for these all the time as a snack or supper.  ~ 7.5/10

Canned Lime Soda -

Food Menu - Very Decently priced
I had supper here once,  with a Noodle bowl,  Drink and 1/2 Dozen Satays,  and it only costed me HKD $63..   The Boat Noodle has potential,   yet for now I would still travel further into Kowloon City for a bowl now and then, because my trusted shops there have better soup bases and are actually even cheaper at HKD $43.  Or else Samsen on Island side will suffix if you have some spare change in your wallet too and want a really decent trustworthy Thai meal. 

Price: HKD $12 to $58 Per Person + Drinks
Food: ♕♕♕  to ♕♕♕♕ 

Address: 尖沙咀寶勒巷1號玫瑰大廈地下E&F1號舖 Shop E & F1, G/F, Rose Mansion, NO.1 Prat Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Ph:  27883060

Monday, July 17, 2017

RECH by Alain Ducasse [Hong Kong] - Sunday Lunch with Signature Dishes Starting at HKD $588

  RECH by Alain Ducasse in Paris dates back to the 1920's,  and in recent years one of the most successful French Chefs in modern era in Alain Ducasse looks after this Seafood restaurant.  In Hong Kong we were lucky to be the second city outside of France to receive RECH on our shores,  and to keep the taste and experience the same,  the Hong Kong outlet imports exactly the same seafood that the original restaurant serves to customers.  We were invited over to try out the new Weekend Sunday Lunch, and since then there's been slight updates with the Pricing:   It's $588 for the Food Courses,  and Discovery Wine Pairing starts at only $188 for Free-flow.  Latest Details here: https://hongkong-ic.intercontinental.com/en/dining/rech-by-alain-ducasse/

Sunday Lunch at a Glance.  Starting at just HKD $588 per person

Juice as Aperitif -
To open our appetite,  a very European concept

Seaweed Crackers with Tuna Dip -
And Kombu Bread with Bordier Seaweed Butter in Fish Shape

Alsatian White - Gentil Hugel AOC 2014

Gillardeau & Fine de Claire Oysters -
2 French oysters daily are served,  with many more available as A La Carte

> Marinated Sardines with Carrot Basil
> Marinated Scallops with Citrus
> Langoustine Jelly with Lime-Ginger
> Vegetables in Salt Crust, Sorrel Condiment

Langoustine Jelly with Lime-Ginger

Marinated Scallops with Citrus Basil

Marinated Sardine with Carrots & Basil

Squid in Cookpot (Crockpot) with Provence Tiny Spelt, Sesame -
The Signature dish here,  it is served between 2-4 people.  The squid were carved into rings, almost like upper end Japanese sushi restaurants.  The tiny spelt tasted slightly toasty and someone commented it's almost like quinoa,  except these had more underlying flavor depth than even wild quinoas and almost like small lentils

Gerald Bertrand Reserve Speciale Pinot Noir 2014 -
A Southern French IGP Pinot Noir, which was interesting used to pair the below Cod Fish with Aioli..

Wild Cod Fish with Aioli, Clams, Prawns & Vegetables -
This sounded quite Mediterranean in concept, and was healthy too just like some dishes presented in this Sunday Lunch Tasting menu!  The cod fish was silken soft and apparently it's the same cod fish used in RECH in Paris, to ensure consistency in taste.  So it was going to be a contrast to the award winning Miso Black Cod used upstairs at NOBU.

Grilled Duck with Mango and Jus Reduction -
This was a really lovely duck Main Course.  The portion was perfect, but the duck jus reduction sauce is as expected in modern Alain Ducasse kitchens, redefining Escoffier cooking with less fat and butter, but more concentrated flavors.  The slightly peppery kick with mango made this great for Summer even as a poultry dish.

Amazing Hong Kong Harbour View from RECH by Alain Ducasse,
Intercontinental Hotel, Hong Kong

Alain Ducasse Brut Champagne -
I really loved this actually,  it's more on the Masculine side with a citrus and mineral kick.

Signature Normandy Camembert Cheese with Condiments -
RECH serves only 1 French Cheese, and befittingly it's a protected Traditional Camembert,  which has lately been mass produced by manufacturers using a different production method and eluding the protection of the denomination.  To serve this original and much more natural, unpasterized milk cheese is a statement by RECH and Alain Ducasse.

Kiwifruits as Pre-Dessert -
These were probably the best Kiwi Fruits I have devoured in my life, super sweet and ripe, and even the seeds were tiny.  Never knew this Chinese origin fruit can be of this standard.

Desserts Tray -
There are 5-6 selections here.  You can try all of them,  and not sure if it is meant to be a secret or not,  but if you really want,  you can ask for some 2nd servings of your fav items.

Eclairs with Dark Chocolate by Ducasse, also Fresh Strawberries Creme -
I took a bite of the Strawberry eclair and knew this was using fresh strawberries blended into the cream to make,  probably the best Strawberry eclair I have tried in my life - considering this is so cost prohibitive I am sure no shop will sell this individually.

Steamed Cheese Tart with Berries -
This has a buttery sable tart base,  and was so mesmerizing we had another second serving.

Mr and Mrs RECH -
The Signature Meringue desserts made with Hazelnut Powder and Cream,  and also a Raspberry version for Summer.  The lunch versions are piped higher but more petite, but equally amazing...  If anything the desserts here alone were worth a return trip soon.

Fresh Baked Madeleines -
When these arrived,  they smelled so buttery but not too rich.  They looked super even and precise, despite baked from the non-silicon tray.  It turned out they were just about perfect from shape to smell to taste, and even crispy at the edges believe it or not.  Inside,  the batter recipe was definitely singing out authentic French Madeleine!    Easily if not the best in Hong Kong..

RECH by Alain Ducasse -
Interior was smart, refined yet relaxing.  Nothing overly pretentious, and lined with paintings of seafood and austerity.   It felt almost like Paris was transported to Hong Kong's harbourside

Extra Order - Signature Alain Ducasse Rum baba
Previously this was doused with Armagnac,  and Hong Kong RECH by Alain Ducasse has now changed back to using Rum instead.  I have had this previously and it remains probably the only correct Polish/French/Italian Baba au Rhum in town in terms of texture and taste.  Four Season Hotel's Blue Bar also makes the other correct version.  Adding the above correct Madeleines formula,  I think if you really miss something traditional but done precise,  RECH can actually satisfy this need too,  since some people like me are quite particular about certain historical taste profiles. This ended our lovely Weekend Sunday Lunch session and I am sure I will be back soon,  and at only HKD $588 before Wines,  it represents fantastic value to try out their Signature dishes 1st.

Price: Sunday Lunch HKD $588 Per Person + 10%,  Wines from $188  (Meal Organized by RECH by Intercontinental Hotel)
Food: ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕♕

Address: 尖沙咀梳士巴利道18號香港洲際酒店酒店大堂 
Lobby level, InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Ph: +852 23132323

Friday, July 14, 2017

Electric Avenue [Hong Kong] - Voted the Best Burger & Bone Marrow Chips in Hong Kong?

  Electric Avenue was started in Sai Ying Poon not long ago I believe in 2016,  but suddenly the online buzz about it being the outright Best Burger in Hong Kong have flashed across my phone screen for a few times.   Around the 1st to 3rd and High Street area,  there are plenty of shops that I love already,  ranging from two 60 year old traditional Cantonese restaurants nearby all the way to modern French or a Cha Chaan Teng selling local Trappist milk as a Theme.  So it took me a few months down the track to finally pay here a visit instead..

Electric Avenue is found in a back alley -
In fact the quickest way to reach here is actually from the main Queen's Road West Road, it is approximately adjacent opposite Winston Coffee.

Mac Daddy, with Faux Mac Sauce, American Cheese,  House Pickles & Double Patties - $98
Although not the representative Signature Burger item here, during lunch time it comes as a Set with Rosemary Fries and a Soda included at this price.  So this would be a good first trial of their food..

Mac Daddy -
Apparently the 1/2lb Beef Patty is now split into 2 smashed patties instead of 1 large one,  like in their other Burger choices.  The beef texture is spot on,  slightly loose but not drooping over the place.  In an almost cheeky way, this burger was meant to take a dig at the McD's burger obviously.  The Brioche bun was buttery and very good,  so was the house pickled Cucumber which is way south of the overly acidic Gherkins fished out from a jar.   The beef flavor is good,  and somehow I expected the patties to be served more Medium by default than cooked through...  ~ 7.5/10

Bone Marrow Fries - $50 for Full Size
A Signature here and all hand made,  taking many hours of preparation and cooking stages.  From what the owner-chef explained to me,  the processes seem even more complicated than Heston Blumenthal's thrice cooked chips,  but I will keep it offline as his Trade secret but it makes total Scientific sense.  They are fluffy with the external starchy skin roughened up,  rather crispy.  The Bone Marrow flavor is not overly abundant but I treat it as a way of frying in animal suet fat anyway.. 

Menu -
The Classic 1/2 Pounder Burger starts at $120 at night,  although for Lunch Hours some special, more affordable deals are available, such as what I ordered.  It is reasonable considering they source high quality Australian Grass fed Beef and their Meat Patty portion is the biggest of any burger shops in Hong Kong by far...  Whether it is the best Burger and Bone Marrow Fries in Hong Kong,  I will have to come back again to explore their other Burgers before making a firm statement.  But it is definitely very close...  especially when compared to the likes of Beef & Liberty and also Butcher's Club,  known as the people's burger choice nowadays.

Price: Around HKD $98 to $120 Per Person + 10% 

Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2  

Address: 西環西營盤第一街27-29號太益樓地舖 LG/F, Tai Yik House, 27-29 First Street, Sai Ying Pun, Western District
Ph: 28588883

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dynasty 滿福樓 [Hong Kong] - Institutional Cantonese Restaurant, Now with South East Asian Influence

  Dynasty 滿福樓 inside Renaissance Hotel used to be one of the most renowned institutions serving Cantonese Cuisine in Hong Kong, and many of us still carry vivid memories when they had two outlets in Wanchai and Tsim Sha Tsui, and over here they were recipient of a Michelin 1 Star status for quite a few years deservedly.   Nowadays, Chef Suen from Nanhai No.1 heads the kitchen, which itself was also awarded Michelin 1 Star status in previous years.   Suen brings with him some of his South East Asian award winning dishes including his Spicy Lobster Signature, complementing the already strong Dim Sum team here as well as the famous Roast section. 

Night Harbour View at Dynasty, Renaissance Hotel,
and Next to Wanchai Convention & Exhibition Centre -

A German Riesling Kabinett to pair with some Slightly Spicy dishes tonight -
It is late harvest and off-dry sweetish,  which ladies usually love to start off dinner especially during Summer period..

Fried Taro Strips with Honeyed Cashew Nuts 金絲脆腰果 -
This is an appetizer that looks like a nest,  and Chef Suen made this flavor combination which used ingredients which are quite Cantonese,  yet somehow resembled a new recipe..

Chilled Chili Abalones -
These are already sliced and ready to be shared..  Quite refreshing,  and actually worked well with the German Riesling Kabinett as a pairing,  since the stonefruit sweetness made it rounded in the mouth

BBQ Charsiu Pork & Fresh Chicken Livers
蜜汁燒雞肝 & 蜜汁叉燒 -

Both Signature dishes here,  the Dynasty name is synonymous with making the best Roast items in town for many decades in Hong Kong.

The Famous BBQ Charsiu here ..
With good marination and maltose/honey coating, and decent charred service, it is to me more biased towards the savory side which suits my personal preference.. 

Signature South East Asian Lobster in Fragrant Chili Sauce with Fried Mantou Bread,
$348 for 1 Whole Lobster - 風味金榜開邊龍蝦

This carries from Chef Suen's tenure at Nanhai No.1.  It's almost curry laksa like with lemongrass, coconut and spices fragrance,  and is super addictive.  For an Asian twist on Lobster,  this is currently probably the best dish available in Hong Kong right now.  (In Macau, Saffron inside Banyan Tree Hotel has an equally memorable dish..)

Soy Sauce and Tea Smoked Chicken - 豉油皇茶燻雞
Tender Chicken here, the soy sauce was sophisticated.  Tonight's version had good smokiness on the skin itself,  but not all the way through to the meat underneath,  so I believe this was probably deboned after hot smoking.  Sometimes for such dishes,  I ask for them to be served Bone-in instead for this reason.

Taiwanese 3 Cup Fried Oysters - 台式三杯焗桶蠔
Another winning dish with plump crunchy oysters with Thai Basil, Ginger, Shallots and Chili, a twist on the 3 Cup Chicken Taiwanese recipe.

Hand Beaten Fish Tofu with Vegetables - 魚湯手打魚腐浸時蔬
Extra large Fish Balls which were fluffy and depletes slightly when cooled down,  they remind me of Fujian fish balls,  and are less dense than the Shunde recipe variety.  Apparently this is popular with some diners,  although for me knowing Dynasty has many famous dishes over the years,  I would probably save quota for some dim sum items or a Salt Baked Chicken here next time..  Or even their Braised Pomelo Skins here which is one of the best in town

香蜜蛋散, 楊枝甘露 -
Dessert Platter had Fried Honeyed Crullers,  Coconut Cream Pudding and Sago & Mango, Pomelo Cold Soup.  It was pretty almost like mignardises...

Dynasty -
Dinner at this sometimes Michelin 1 Star awarded restaurant is always solid.  We were mentioning during dinner that apart from the Roast BBQ Charsiu, they used to do one of the best Roast Goose with Chinese medicines and Mushrooms in town too.  Chef Suen's new contribution to the restaurant is interesting because now it has become old and new together, with some South Eastern Asian influence in the mix.

Price:  Around HKD $450 to $600 Per Person + 10%   (Dinner Organized by Renaissance Hotel)
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕

Address: 3/F, Renaissance Harbour View Hotel Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
Ph: +852 2802 8888, or 2584 6972


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