Monday, August 21, 2017

Gyukaku 牛角 [Hong Kong] - Affordable BBQ Yakiniku at Japanese Chain, Membership Card entitles Holders Free BYO Corkage

  Gyukaku 牛角 is one of the most famous budget Japanese-Korean BBQ houses in Japan,  and has since expanded to various countries to serve reasonably priced Yakiniku cuisine.  Yakiniku Ya restaurants are classified into many different levels in their homeland,  much like the concept of Sushi houses - they can range from lower family oriented prices, to ultra high end restaurants serving rarer, prized beef carcasses and butcher's cuts paired with top wines and sakes.  Reviews have been a mixed bag with Gyukaku in Hong Kong,  but since this is one of the to-go places for me on a regular basis,  here's a write up about our experiences here in Summary.  After applying for the HKD $200 Annual Membership Fee,  you can receive a 10% Off at their various restaurants in HK, and also waive all Corkage Charges from Wines to Sake, Shochu, etc.  There are also a few discount coupons available to be used.

Gyukaku -
Yakiniku house, From Japan.

Whole Squid - HKD $89
This comes with both the body and the tentacles.  I tend to grill them whole and then scissor them up into smaller circular pieces.  Quite reasonably priced as expected..  Note:  After applying for the annual $200 Membership card,  you can receive one of these as a Free Service too

Beef Short Rib Karubi with Salt Shio Tare - $59
They have various gradings of Karubi here, a must order when eating at Yakiniku houses, which itself is a concept borrowed from Korean BBQ eating Galbi,  the name for beef short ribs in Korean.

Yaki Shabu Wagyu Zabuton - 3 Pieces for $118 with Egg Tare Sauce
This is one of the best bargains in town,  and look at the quality and evenness of the wagyu marbling.  The are several ways to cook and serve this,  but usually when it is called Yaki-Shabu,  it means it is both grilled and swiped across the grill at the same time as an action to cook... 

USA SRF Wagyu Oyster Blade - $78 for 2 Pieces
This is the same as the mysterious Misuji that has taken the world by storm recently in upper end Yakiniku houses.  In the World of Yakiniku,  profit margins for every piece of meat is vastly different and dependent on how they are butchered then marketed to customers. In this particular case,  it can be yours to have for a relative bargain because they didn't bother selling it off as the next biggest thing, called "misuji" in brackets. 

Dipped into Egg Tare Sauce -
This is a eating method popular nowadays in Japan,  particularly with the Yaki-Shabu wagyu above.

Beef Filet with Garlic & Butter - $98
This was decently priced but probably also the least likable meat,  partly because it was a bit tougher and leaner.  Yet I liked the idea of being able to grill this whole like a steak myself,  before slicing it open to eat.  My idea of a cheap alternative to going out to a steak house,  which almost costs you a mortgage package in HK.

Mushrooms - $25
These were surprisingly fragrant.

Matcha Ice Cream with Kinako Powder - $25
Gyukaku is actually famous for this or their plain Vanilla and Kinako powder ice cream.  It's always a decent dessert to round off a meaty meal,  often with lots of marinades and garlic.

Discount Deals with $200 Membership Card -
Basically, you receive a card and also register with a Phone App.  The Electronic Coupons can be used at either Gyukaku,  or the related restaurants Mou Mou,  and On Yasai.   The offers range from $50 to $100 discounts off the meal,  or a free Calamari,  Vegetables,  or free plate of Beef Platter when spending over $300.   But best of all,  you can Free Corkage for Wines and Sakes at all their venues,  and a further 10% discount on top of the Coupon discounts.  For me it's quite relevant as a weekly venue to eat out with friends or with the family!

Short Video of my Yakiniku in Action,  at Gyukaku -
Over a few visits

Price:  HKD $170 to $250 + 10% Per Person 
Food:   ♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕

Address: Shop 112-115, 1/F, Windsor House, 311 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay
Ph: +852 31677138

All Gyukaku HK Addresses:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

MEXUS [Hong Kong] - Weekend Mexican Unlimited Brunch Starting at just HKD $253.50 Per Person

  MEXUS by ZSHospitality Group used to be Mamasita Cantina, but recently they updated the name to reflect on their slight menu directional change, which now incorporates both authentic Mexican food together with some American dishes.  A fellow friend was helping to organize a Sat or Sunday Brunch session here together with ZSHospitality,  which starts at HKD $338 unlimited per person.  Every 4 Customers booking can receive 1 person for Free,  averaging the cost per person to just HKD $253.50 for All You Can Eat Mexican in the middle of Central.  Free-flow drinks with Sangria, Wines, Beers and some Cocktails start at $168 more. 

Unlimited Saturday & Sunday Brunch -
HKD $253.50 Per Person as Groups of 4 Pax,  or normally HKD $338 per person
Includes unlimited Buffet Table,  Taqueria Tacos and Tortilla with Dips, Ham, etc
- Unlimited Breakfast Station
- 1 Main Course
- Unlimited Desserts, etc.

One of the Brunch Tables has Breakfast, Desserts, and Ham -

Unlimited Prosciutto -
Despite the Mexican & American Theme,  they still serve some prosciutto ham,  which seem to be a prerequisite for a brunch buffet in HK

Plenty of Ceviches and Salads -
There is also a Crab meat toast on the left side

This Side has many Tortillas, Breads,  Charcuterie and Dips, Ceviche, Cheese -
And some seafood items

Starting with some Mexican Chicharrones Crispy Pork Rinds -
Also some Tortillas with Avocado Guacamole,  Pico de Gallo, Prawns, and Chickpea hummous

Unlimited Tacos ordered from the Staff -
There's Baja Fish taco,  Pork Carnitas, and some Mushrooms version

My Favorite would have to be the Pork Carnitas Taco -
By default, they are saucy but not too spicy, slightly sweet.  It is recommended that you put on more Pico de Gallo and Chili sauce on top..

Unlimited Mexican Seafood Paella with Saffron -
1stly I didn't understand reading the menu,  but it turned out despite being listed amongst the Main choices,  this carb dish with plenty of seafood is actually served unlimited,  and it was actually quite oceanic in taste.  It's Latino Spanish in spirit..

Sangria -
This was actually quite potent and spiked,  I only wanted a photo for reference but took 2 sips to try their in house recipe.

Main Course Hanger Steak -
This was my choice as a Main, although by this stage I was pretty KO'ed by the Buffet and Taco's section.  The sauce is quite intense,  but balanced by the green apple slaw.  I think the meat was slightly marinated for this recipe.

Main Course 2 - Slow Cooked Salmon
This was quite huge for a Main fish dish,  and it was silken soft.  Topped with some tortilla strips and calamari,  I preferred this main over the steak above, since it is lighter relative to the rest of the brunch buffet,  which got really filling.

Main Course 3 - Burger with Bacon and Fries
Someone on the table ordered this,  which I did not end up taking a bite.  The fries however were really crunchy and fluffy.  I am not sure that with so many unlimited Mexican tacos and desserts coming before and after,  I could actually fit in the burger myself..

More Baja Fish Tacos -
We couldn't stop ordering these again.  Remember that with Taco's in HK, they usually cost around $45 - $50 each,  and some places serve 5 Tacos for like $300 after Service Charge.  Overseas in the States and elsewhere,  Taco's are meant to be street food around USD 0.80 to a Dollar...   so in this sense,  unlimited Taco's on the weekend is quite attractive

Improvised Taco with Egg and Pork Carnitas -
The breakfast section is unlimited,  so I ordered some Fried Eggs to top my taco's.  The same thing would prob cost you $78 each at other restaurants. Lol...

Mexican Churros with Chocolate -
Fried well and not greasy,  and not overly crunchy on the surface.  These were dusted with Cinnamon and Sugar on the outside,  a bit different from the usual Spanish versions.

There's also the Signature layered Tres Leche "3" Milk Cake -
And I am glad that was the first thing I ate,  before the meal began because nowadays I try to enjoy the pastries and desserts before I get full!   Overall we all thought this was very good Value for Money at $338 or $253 per person if coming as 4 pax.  I mean overall Mexican food in HK costs a bomb,  especially when ordering A La Carte.  It seems wise to come here on the weekend every month or so,  to satisfy that Mexican or even Cal-Mex crave,  with a capped cost with your buddies!

Price:  HKD $253 to $338 + 10% Per Person  (Meal Organized by ZSHospitality)
Food:   ♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕

Address: 中環擺花街8號5樓及6樓
5/F & 6/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
Ph: +852 28966118

Monday, August 14, 2017

CIAK [Hong Kong] - Everyday Italian Dining by Chef Umberto Bombana, at Two HK Locations

  CIAK was opened by Chef Umberto Bombana of Michelin 3 Star 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo's fame,  aimed to be a smart casual, almost trattoria style Italian Dining for everyday dining.  This is a concept which is popular nowadays within Italy and Europe, where a Fine Dining restaurant is accompanied by a more relaxed restaurant accessible for customers on a regular basis.  CIAK received a Michelin 1 Star rating itself,  and subsequently CIAK also opened another branch in Taikoo City,  which is also awarded with a Bib Gourmand status.  I have periodically enjoyed quite a few dishes here and than are shown below,  but here is a glimpse of some of their offerings for your reference.

Fermented Dough Bread with Olive Oil -
The bread, like the pizzas here, are artisanal and well hydrated with overnight fermentation

Wagyu Ragu with Tagliatelle Pasta - $140 (Small)
This came with plenty of meat ragu, which has been cooked until it's almost gelatinous - in comparison with the versions I eat in Bologna in my visits, this is more on the lubricated side.  The wagyu beef flavour is actually quite pronounced,  and needs a glass of red Italian wine to pair with,  and surprisingly there wasn't much herbs taste beneath.  Pasta was cooked to the perfect degree.  ~  8.0/10

Spaghetti Carbonara with Guanciale, Eggs, Pecorino Cheese and Black Pepper - $130 (Small)
A few foodies believe this is the best, traditional recipe Carbonara pasta in Hong Kong.  I agree,  as each strand of pasta is evenly coated with a melted cheesy and eggy sauce,  with the almost fried guanciale pork cheek pieces crispy and fragrant with rendered fat.  I personally think this is not as seasoned as I expect,  so despite the look it could be even saltier and carry more cheese,  as per the ones served in Rome.  If you want another great authentic tasting Carbonara in town,  you can also try out Tom Aiken's The Fat Pig version,  which is similar in a sense but slightly heavier.  ~ 8/10

36 Hours Fermented Dough Pizza,  the Norcina with Pork Sausage & Mushrooms -
I have had the full round size,  or this Pizza by the Slice al taglio style many times,  and it remains one of the best pizza's in town.  The dough has a wheaty taste from the careful fermentation,  and despite the abundance of melted cheese on top,  the sausage meat and mushrooms always stand out.  And per slice is only $58 and makes for a good lunch option.  ~ 9/10

Chorizo & Tomato Tagliatelle -
This is eaten at the Taikoo's CIAK All Day Italian outside,  which serves some simpler pasta's at the open tables.  It's priced around the $78-88 dollar range and is quite affordable for a Michelin grade Italian venue.  Obviously,  dining inside at the finer tables is more sophisticated, but customers can get to choose on the day of dining.  ~ 6.9/10

All Day Focaccia's Sandwiches -
This is the Wagyu Beef version,  which was served in Taikoo but nowadays has been replaced with other flavors,  and occasionally I chomp on a vegetarian version with peppers and pumpkin.  Priced at the $58-68 range,  it even comes with a salad and soup during Lunch hours.  So for a Bib Gourmand or Michelin 1 Star rated venue,  you can still grab a decent affordable lunch.

Tiramisu -
There are two versions served here,  this one is the take out version.  It also happens to be the best Tiramisu I have ever had in Hong Kong,  to the point I rated it above 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo's own tiramisu.  Nowadays they are only making an eat in version in the main dining area,  but apparently this works on rotation and I wished they brought this recipe back to the open tables section since sometimes, we all just want a casual relaxed meal and a great dessert made very well to finish!

CIAK In The Kitchen, Central  (Michelin 1 Star) :
Price:  HKD $58 to $500 + 10%
Food:   ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕♕

Address: Shop 327-333, 3/F., The Landmark, 15 Queen's Road, Central
Ph:  25228869

CIAK All Day Italian, Taikoo (Michelin Bib Gourmand) :
Price:  HKD $58 to $500 + 10%
Food:   ♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕

Address: 太古太古城道18號太古城中心2樓265號舖
Shop 265, 2/F, Cityplaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Tai Koo
Ph:  21165128

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sheraton Oyster & Wine Bar 蠔酒吧 [Hong Kong] - Possibly the Best Sunday Champagne Brunch Buffet in Hong Kong from HKD $998 ?

  Sheraton Hotel's Oyster & Wine Bar and also Morton Steakhouse has accumulated many loyal fans over the years,  many of whom including myself come here on occasions for the amazing night view on the 18th Floor facing the Harbour,  together with carefully selected Wines available by the Glass and also the guaranteed best Oyster offerings.  For their unlimited Perrier-Jouet Bubbly Sunday Oyster Brunch at $998 up,  they are also voted by many locals to be the No.1 coveted spot to land a table,  to the point a friend just told me during the recent Typhoon 8 hitting our shores,  the tables remained all occupied during her Sunday visit.  Despite the morning battering rain storm,  seemingly no one were deterred to give up their tables they had reserved for months ahead.  

Sunday Perrier-Jouet Free Flow Brunch from HKD $998 - Includes
Unlimited Fresh Oysters, Seafood and Hot Food
Unlimited Breakfast Egg Dishes
Unlimited Desserts
1 Main Course of Choice
Free-flow Perrier Jouet NV Champagne

Welcome Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut Champagne at the Entrance -

Some Jamon Ham to begin with Per Table -

Seafood Counter -
Look at the Alaskan King Crab legs.  The biggest I have seen in Hong Kong for Buffets,  the other one is at Café Express in Hotel Panorama.

Beetroot Cured Scottish Salmon -
Sliced at the table, very high quality.  I pair it with Horseradish cream..

The Sunday Oyster & Champagne Brunch Menu -
There are cold and hot Oysters,  unlimited Egg Dishes,  a Main Course choice,  also all you can order Souffle and Ice Creams

Buffet Sashimi & Sushi -
Again extremely high quality fish,  especially the Tuna Maguro.  In my whole time of eating out at Brunch or Dinner buffets,  only 2 places serve this high quality of Tuna for all you can eat selection.  Here,  or at Aqua at No.1 Peking Road.

5 Types of Imported Oysters,  Shucked to Order -
Without doubt,  this is the best unlimited Oyster Counter.  Sheraton Oyster & Wine Bar had built their reputation and good will from this specialty all these years, and it's hence one of the reasons why they have many loyal customers returning for this counter

Hot Oysters -
For those of us who also love baked Oysters,  today we ordered some Oyster Rockefeller, and Kilpatrick with bacon and Worchestershire sauce.

Eggs Benedict and Ouef en Meurette Burgundy style in Red Wine -
The latter I was surprised to find here, since it is a rare Burgundy recipe which I love eating on weekends,  and here it is served unlimited.

Bouillabaisse Seafood Stew with Rouille Croutons -
This had a lot of fish and prawns inside 

My Main Course - Half Lobster Thermidor with Quinoa
There are also choices of Lamb Rack,  or Beef Tenderloin.  However there is a Roasted Tomahawk beef served as a Prime Rib style on the buffet table side and it was delectable, so I chose the lobster today.

Roasted Tomahawk Beef -
Surprised to see a Tomahawk roasted here for the hot food section.  This was of very high quality,  and little wonder this Sunday Brunch table is so popular,  as all the food and details are well taken care of.  Even the baked Cheese Pasta parcels on the side were lovely.

Some of the Dessert Selections -
Including a lovely Black Forest, Strawberries Tart and also a Grand Marnier Souffle

My Dessert Platter -
There's quite a few dessert selections,  which you can see in the Video I compiled below..

Summary Video of the Sunday Perrier-Jouet Brunch Buffet -
There's too much food to cover with photos alone,  so hopefully this video is a bit more comprehensive showing the selections.  There is also a Cheese Counter at the end which has free pour Aged Port Wine,  which completes the from start to finish thoughtful Sunday Brunch.  Remember to book in advance by weeks or months ahead,  as this is one of the Hottest tables on any Sunday.  If you follow me on Instagram "@EpicurusHongKong",  you will notice I ate a lot of brunches or buffets recently,  but usually I only have time to prioritize covering the best on this website.  The other recent hot table for Sunday Brunch is the Free-flow Dom Perignon 2006 option at Ritz-Carlton Ozone Bar for HKD $1,298,  which I had just covered here for comparison : .  Coming up as a review next,  a Mexican Brunch is also a good option in Central.

Price:  HKD $998 + 10% Free Flow Perriet-Jouet NV Sunday Brunch 
(Brunch organized by Sheraton Hotel)
Food:   ♕♕♕♕♕

Address: 尖沙咀彌敦道20號香港喜來登酒店18樓18/F, Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers, 20 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Ph:  +852 23691111


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