Saturday, January 29, 2011

Man Wah @ MO (文華廳) - ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

  I have visited here several times and highly enjoyed some of its dishes (although the dim sum skins became over-cooked on 1 visit, which also happens anywhere), and even recommending some overseas friends to visit here and had written the same on my old photos blog.  Man Wah Restaurant is one of the most prestigious Chinese Restaurants in Hong Kong and situated on the top floor of Mandarin Oriental Hotel ~  and apart from Island Shangri-la, my personal favourite hotel locally…!  They even hand out free Chestnuts to customers during winter, a nice gesture!  Thanks to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel who had invited me to join fellow HK Lifestyle and the best of Food Bloggers to this meal to trial and give comments on new Head Chef Lee Man Sing’s new creations.  They might not know about this already, but I used to have meals and afternoon teas here frequently @ M.O, and they used to make a very unique Toffeed Grape in the Tea Set, which has now become seemingly extinct from everywhere in town.   Pierre Restaurant (Lunch Visit 1 & Dinner Visit 2) is also one of my favourite French Restaurants in town, not to mention the delectable goods coming out from the Mandarin Cake Shop, The Chinnery and The Mandarin Grill & Bar kitchens… 

Other Blogger Reviews:
-  Our favourite and best local Lifestyle blog by Hip Hong Kong’s Review can be found clicking here. 
-  You will also find a very detailed Review in Chinese by local prolific Food Blogger 搵食能手 on his blog.



Menu of Tasting Degustation

Chinese Tea, served in traditional way for brewing

XO Sauce
XO Sauce is delicious here, with a lot of conpoy used…

Chef Lee
has worked for some prestigious restaurants in the past including the HK Jockey Club and other notable Cantonese places, his experience belying his youthful appearance ~ he has also won multiple awards in the past from his culinary creations, which we got to try a few.  It’s actually a surprise to me that no Michelin Stars have been awarded to here yet ~ as the food is easily better than many starred restaurant in town and Lung King Heen, particularly their dim sum items.   I can foresee this finally gaining it’s Michelin Macaron or two sooner rather than later..

三元及第 – 3 Types of Dim Sums in Basket

X.O. 醬帶子鳳眼餃 - Scallop, Shrimp and X.O. Sauce Dumpling
This was quite good as you can taste the sweetness from the scallops and shrimps, but the XO Sauce wasn’t as apparent, which is actually a good thing ~ 9/10

鮑魚滑燒賣 – Abalone with Kurobuta Pork Siu Mai
The abalone was great, and so was the Japanese pork taste. This is a very expertly cooked dim sum and easily the best of a similar dish I’ve had in Hong Kong.  In fact, their other Abalone Taro Tart which I’ve had before was always one of my favourite dim sum item, I’ve attached that picture below ~ 10/10

素翅珍菌餃 – Vegetarian Shark’s Fin & Mushroom Dumpling
This had a wonderfully earthy filling of mushrooms, which is hard to come across. I thought the skin of this could be just a tad more thinner yet more elastic, but I enjoyed this ~ 7/10


竹絲雞石斛杞子燉珍珠肉 – Double Boiled Silk Hen Soup, Pearl Clam, Chinese Herbs
A very sweet Wintery Soup with an incredible amount of Chinese medicine taste, superbly done and had depth, despite looking quite transparent! ~ 10/10

海棠龍蝦 – Stir Fried Lobster, Egg White and Slow Cooked Scallop Mousse
An Award Winning dish from Chef Lee, this was served a little differently from its normal presentation, as this was already divided into individual portions and plated with flowering chives.  The lobster with egg white was good, but it needs some white rice to go with it.  And the slow cooked Scallop Mousse definitely stole the show this time, as that’s like eating a pillow full of scallops flavour ~ 8/10

Scallop Mousse was like a savoury marshmallow and so light, a big thumbs up.
Slow Cooked by Chef Lee, this even over-shadowed the egg whites with lobster..

桂花梨黑醋脆豬柳 – Wok Fried Pork Loin, Kuei Hua Flavoured Pear with Chin Kiang Vinegar
Another multiple Award Winning Dish, plated like a flower and very artistic.  The fried pork was very well done, way better than I’d envisaged. I had initially pre-formed an idea that its slightly unconventional and perhaps Westernised plating method will be more show than taste – but I was wrong because it was crispy yet light, not too fatty, and the sauce coating well balanced like an aged vinegar.  This is actually better than 得龍飯店’s Sweet & Sour Pork and I’ve had that 3 times already to compare, and I sincerely hope this is not a once-off performance!  The Kuei Hua flavoured Pear was pretty well done as a garniture but served way too cold to compliment the meat, it’ll be tremendously better if it’s served warmer ~ 9.5/10

四喜竹笙卷 – Vegetarian Platter
The presentation of this is a once-off I’ve been told, as it’s usually sold separately, but due to the degustation tasting style we were trying out today it adopted the French presentation technique. Not a bad thing mind you, and this was very enjoyable ~ 9/10

Bamboo Pith with Vegetables -
My favourite item

Braised Morel Mushroom with Bean curd -
This was good, but could do with some shavings of Yunnan Ham!

Smoked Beancurd Roll -
Neat and enjoyable, smokey!

Crispy Imitation Eel with Shredded Mushroom -
My 2nd favourite and everyone adored this, I could eat 10 times the amount
easily! Nearly as good as the real thing made from eel

龍蝦湯泡脆飯 – Lobster Consommé with Crispy Puff Rice
I didn’t really get this dish to be honest. Firstly lobster was already used above in another dish. And most pertinently, the crispy puff rice was like eating a breakfast cereal!  This tried-too-hard and deviated too much from Cantonese cuisine for my comfort – I would rather this soupy rice be served with say 70% normal white rice and then sprinkled with some puffed ones, or just serve them as whole pieces of Wo Ba Crackers.  The lobster consomme itself was very tasty and like the sea mind you.  Man Wah to me is really spot on with their soups and broths, as one of the Shark Fin and Seafood Dumplings in broth I’ve eaten here  before was easily the best version I’ve had in town  ~  6/10

酥皮蛋撻拼炸涼瓜湯丸 –
Flaky Egg Tart, Fried Bitter Gourd with Winter Melon Filling & a Jasmine Ginger Tea completed the meal. I’ve had their egg-tarts before and I’ve already said so, this is the best egg-tart I’ve had in Hong Kong and today it continued to be the case!  Flaky yet crumbly without the annoying fattiness, and the egg custard was so strong of egginess, one wonders why other egg tarts out there is missing this important taste!  ~10/10.  The Bitter Gourd and Winter Melon ball tasted slightly Chiu Chow in style and was equally well received by fellow invited eaters ~ 10/10.  Jasmine Ginger tea worked very well with the desserts but not much Jasmine fragrance was detected. They should have this trio of combination permanently on the menu!  ~ 8/10

XO Sauce
Take Away X.O. Sauce -
I am going to do a lot of different dishes with this!   It’ll make the perfect gift for New Years ~ the only X.O. Sauce I’ve had which is even comparable is from 龍苑中菜廳 & that of 永利軒 Macau,
but this one here is immensely better…

The Man Wah dining area is set up a little too close together, but this makes it more exclusive and the view is unbeatable.  Peking Duck is supposedly very good here as well, even though that is not traditionally Cantonese cuisine.

****** Some Recommended Dishes from My Past Visits to Man Wah ******

Drunken Chicken with Sliced Jellyfish

Prawn 'Har Gau' Dumpling -

文華廳四喜烤夫 -

Abalone Puff
Crispy Taro Puff with Abalone and Assorted Meat -

Wagyu Puff
Wagyu Black Pepper Puff -

Shark’s Fin & Seafood Dumpling in Supreme Broth -

Spotted Garoupa, Black Truffle and Asparagus Dumpling -

Goose Dumpling
Roast Goose with Pickled 'Young' Ginger Dumpling -

Lobster Puff
Baked Lobster Puff with Parma Ham -

Bresse Pigeon
Tea Smoked French Bresse Pigeon with Spiced Salt and Worchestire Sauce -

Lotus Steamed Rice with Conpoy, Chicken & Abalone Sauce -

Man Wah Egg Tart -

Petit Four
Petits Fours: Coffee Jelly & Custard Puff -



Price: Around $250 to $350 Per Person + 10%
Score: ★★★★★☆
Mon to Fri: 12:00pm - 23:00pm
Sat to Sun: 11:30am - 23:00pm

Address: 中環干諾道中5號香港文華東方酒店25樓
25/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, Central
Ph: 2825 4003

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Home Cafe - ♕♕♕♕

 Home Cafe might not have any wi-fi service which you’d come to expect, but apparently their owner chef has trained in Italy with Lavazza to perfect his Naples style Espresso coffee (not to be confused with Neapolitan coffee, also from the same region but different), before enrolling into a culinary institute to study and become a chef.  I was quite keen to try out both his food and coffee, and the menu looks promising indeed!


Egg Benedict -
Never seen this word used in a singular format before, but for afternoon set you get 1 portion of an Egg and Ham on muffin.  The Hollandaise sauce tasted natural with an acidic tang, but the greenish colour and consistency, as reflected in the photo truthfully (it’s starting to split, yet remains thick artificially) can have an improvement. Taste wise, the ham was good. The egg was poached slightly too hard as the egg white has almost hardened  ~ 6.9/10

Trucillio Espresso, from Naples -
Done well here.  Slightly longer shot than what Italians normally regard as a Southern style espresso, but it tasted good in that old fashion way.  A rare Italian style coffee done right locally ~ 8/10

I swear I have seen this lamp somewhere before !
Its cute, and I want one..



Price: Afternoon Tea $48 Per Person
Score: ★★★★☆☆
Address: 銅鑼灣加路連山道11號地舖
G/F, 11 Caroline Hill Road, Causeway Bay
Ph: 2881 5598

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Inagiku (稻菊日本料理) - ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

  It wasn’t our original plan to visit 稻菊 Inagiku, but after a major stuff up with booking a nearby restaurant for its Brunch, we were scrambling about for a 2nd alternative and my dining companion asked me whether I have tried any of the HK Inagiku branches of Tokyo’s famous restaurant, just as we were walking pass the Regal hotel. The conversation made me recall reading that Kowloon Inagiku has now hired a female Teppanyaki Chef,  Miss Masami Inoue from Tokyo.  We proceeded upstairs to initially enquire about the possibility of a table, but one of us eager foodies walked right in without even bothering to check out the menu !

Too exciting, not only to have a Japanese chef cook for you, but also a lady from Tokyo.  And that wasn’t the end of the surprise, as you will see later…

ChefcChef Inoue – Speaks very fluently in English and Japanese,
and is picking up on Cantonese!

The Enclosed Teppanyaki Section only sits 8 persons,
and there is only one chef Miss Inoue looking after here.
It’s a good thing, as even the seasonal menu is named after her own creations..

Wonder why there is a French saucière sitting on the Teppan ? 
That’s the surprise in store for us today, read below…

Green Tea

Inagiku symbol paper weight..

Tomato Salad -
A little cliché but refreshing

先付:  Black Sesame Mochi Dumpling with Minced Pork -
This arrived after the salad. It was good albeit boring, and from this we hopped straight onto the main courses. I thought it needed something more to tie it all together somewhat…

Chef Inoue is preparing our 1st Seafood Course, using the ステーキカバー lid to bake the ingredients slightly.  She’s also cooking the sauce for this dish on a mini sauce pot, directly on the Teppan, HINT:  aka  L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon style…

Scallop with Garlic and Basil Butter Sauce, on a medley of Mixed Mushrooms -
Chef has not only trained in Tokyo as a Teppanyaki master for 15 years, but prior to that she was trained as a French chef.  This dish was executed very well, scallops perfectly grilled then baked, the mushrooms even carries taste for once – sauce complimented it in a French-Japanese way with a feminine touch ~ 9/10

Chef onto making our 2nd Seasonal Course, look at how she does everything in front of you,
including cooking the sauces.. and as the final finishing touch, she proceeded to bend her waist down ever so slightly, so she could position herself better for slicing across the pork meat diagonally on the Teppan itself. How elegant…

Kurobuta Pork Chuck Steak, with Miso Sauce, Nagaimo and French Young Vegetable -
This was cooked very well. Juicy and tender,
the crunchy nagaimo absorbing the pork juice and miso,
as well as a bit of alcoholic aroma ~ 10/10

A seasonal new vegetable,
looking like a hybrid between a mini Savoy Cabbage and Brussels Sprout. Very lovely!

Now onto the 3rd Course..

Sesame & Vinegar Sauce for beef..

American Beef Steak Atsu-Yaki (Back Loin),
with Shishitou Pepper, Pumpkin and Garlic Chips -
This is from the sirloin part. It has a good beefiness taste, but despite the visual marbling, seemed a bit lean after cooking. I also think it was under-salted. The side veggies were good, as I am sick of eating bean sprouts for teppanyaki!   Have you noticed how every dish here is also plated beautifully with layering?  That’s Chef Inoue’s personal signature touch ~ 8/10

Ordered Medium Rare hoping its rarer than well done,
and it came out perfect to our wishes !  Superb control of timing.

The Rice Course.
Chef Inoue cooks her Chahan Fried Rice with a twist. She first cooks the egg then inverts it into something resembling an Omurice, before breaking up the egg omelette and mixing it into the rice.

Salmon Flakes Fried Rice -
This is meant to come with Miso Soup and Pickles, but obviously someone forgot to give it to us. Sad smileI don’t normally like cooked salmon as it can be quite fishy, but my dining companion said it was just fine ~ may be it’s only me, but when eaten raw or in ocha-zuke salmon is usually fine, but I find cooked salmon like this version slightly fishy. Nevertheless, this fried rice was done very well and even having that wok chi from the teppan but without being over browned..  ~8/10

Seasonal Fruits -
Very sweet pineapple and Japanese melon. 
But no desserts included in this course… boring!

If anything, the Mains were cooked to a superb standard and one of the best we’ve eaten in Hong Kong, and with a French and feminine twist to it all. The slightly uninteresting supporting dishes and our few missing items, made me deducted half-a-point in the end from the final score…


Price: Lunch $480 + 10% Per Person
Lunch Score: ★★★★☆☆
Address: 尖沙咀麼地道69號帝苑酒店1樓
1/F, The Royal Garden, 69 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Ph: 2733 2933


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