Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shang Palace 香宮 [ IV ] - Birthday Dinner


 Although the heading of the title says this is my 4th review of here,  in reality we have been coming back more often than I can remember,  it’s just that I never had time to post some of the previous visits.   Even I personally find it odd that many of us Foodies keep choosing to return back to Shang Palace and often to celebrate Birthdays.   If my friends think this is the right venue to return back all the time,  I would say the restaurant must be doing something pretty right !



Chrysanthemum Tea to start -
This was so good as usual, 
so Chinese.   So Shang Palace..



Pickled Radish with Sesame,  Dried Apricot -
My last verdict on this changed ever so slightly.  For some reason,  this time the apricots weren’t as sweet or overly dry.  It worked better as a combo as an appetizer this time around.



Chili Soy Sauce,  XO Sauce,  Chili Paste -
A trio of sauces seem to be prevalent in many higher class restaurants nowadays.   This was pretty good,  but recently,  Cuisine Cuisine’s offering gave me the most surprise.  (Review forthcoming).



Char Siu Pork – $288
Some people really love the version here.  Having tried it a few times myself,  I personally think it has a good pork taste,  but the marination and sauce can be more complex still and it is quite healthy without any charred bits.   ~ 7/10



Grilled Eel with Honey -
Can tell you I have had this dish from most Cantonese restaurants in town whenever it’s available,  and most of them are either too dry,  has muddy fishy taste,  or sliced too thin.   The Shang Palace version is probably the best I remember eating.   It is sliced thickly,  it has a nice char,  the sauce was just right,  the eel texture bounciful fresh but not muddy in taste.   Rarely does this dish anywhere get my knod but here it passed with flying colors.  ~ 9/10

Fried Lotus Root and Pork Cakes – $168
This is a staple food in Cantonese cuisine,  and has some water chestnuts mixed in.   I wouldn’t say this recipe was exciting for a Michelin 2 Starred restaurant,  but this was done pretty right and wasn’t overly minced or greasy…  (I am starting to think why my friends keep coming back.  It’s about trusting the kitchen and its consistency)   ~ 8/10



Cod Fish in Black Bean Sauce with Beancurd Sheets -
Cooked decently,  no surprises but the combination of silky fish fillets with soy beancurd sheets fitted together so well,  you almost want to ask if this was intentional or a fluked effort?   Cooked very well regardless.   ~ 8/10




Deep Fried Coffee Spare Pork Ribs – $168
Someone ordered this and I was about to cringe…  but when I bite into a piece,  sure the coffee taste was slightly artificial,  but this was cooked really well indeed and something unique?   I thought the coffee powdered fork was a bit cheesy,  but at least they tried to impress.  ~ 8/10



Fried Taro with Roast Duck – $268
Touted to be 1 of the best versions in Hong Kong by foodies around me,  this is not my 1st time having it and upon re-experiencing it…?   I do partially agree this is currently one of the best versions of this dish available,  although I have had better in the past or at overseas.   A lot of current versions don’t even have a whole duck underneath but just minced duck, fish and veggies like a patty,  especially the newer Chiu Chow restaurants saving costs.   Decades ago,  everyone did this correctly like here.  Today’s version had a fluffy and non-greasy enough fried taro,  but the duck itself still had a limpy skin.   You don’t have to believe me but I can find better versions of this dish Overseas with ease..     ~ 7/10




Amaranth in Fish Stock,  with Bamboo Piths -
I recommended us to try anything veggies with fish broth here because I have always believed this is the best I have tried in Hong Kong.
Turns out someone already did ordered this and I was happy!   Today’s version was equally encapsulating and with a great and potent fish stock base.  To me at least,  Shang Palace is always memorable for any dishes involving a fish stock and this remained consistent today !    ~ 9/10

Stir Fried Noodles – $150
Was surprised someone ordered this knowing the group always wants something more sophisticated.   Well,  sophisticated they got because this was fried to individual strands nicely but also had a strong input of finely julienned ginger…  The latter not described on the menu and many on the table got deterred a bit.  I personally thought it was too strong gingery yet somehow it was interesting as a concept.   If I could pick from this version over the Manor version before,  I would actually pick this one here.   ~ 7.5/10



Longevity Buns for our Birthday Girl – $12 each
A bit too dry on the bun,  the inside filling can have more smoother lotus seed paste and more salted egg yolk if you ask me.  ~ 6/10



The famous Petits Fours -
Shang Palace does it really right.  It reminds me of Yan Toh Heen nearby which also does them really well.   ~ 9/10



Baked Egg Tarts – $42 for 3 Tarts
Many of my trusted foodies say this is the 2nd best version in town,  just closely behind Man Wah.  The last time I had these they were a little under-baked.  This time around,  I decided to order 1 to see and they really were very delicately made.   Nice flaky pastry layers,  wobbly egg custard.  No wonder everyone on the table previously raved about it…  the irony being that the last time I had an unsatisfying batch most of the friends were here too.  This time it is definitely vindicated again and justifies us coming back!





Price:  $350 per Person
Food:  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕

Address: 尖沙咀麼地道64號九龍香格里拉大酒店地下1層
64 Mody Road,  Basement B1,  Kowloon Shangri-la Hotel,
Ph: 2733 8754


Monday, October 13, 2014

Wagyu Pure Tsim Sha Tsui -

 I have previously written about Wagyu Pure in Causeway Bay,  and in fact within the same week,  I visited Wagyu Pure twice -  and this one is at their newest store in Tsim Sha Tsui East.   The Menu here is slightly different as it has more Sashimi and Tempura options,   on top of the central Yakiniku concept.



The Tsim Sha Tsui East side -


Lunch Menu -
People often say Irori Yakiniku is well priced for lunch.
Well Wagyu Pure is similar,  especially if you order their $130 Karubi or $120 Harami Set.  Although some of their sets are more pricy.


Starter -
Some sesame chicken with julienned veggies



Side Salad -
Part of the Lunch Courses today



Seared Wagyu and Raw Wagyu beef sushi -
Someone ordered this to share,  and for once I actually preferred the raw one,  at it had some meatiness and also melted better in the mouth.  (This is opposite to the norm where seared ones have fat which melt more easily in the mouth…)


Tempura Moriawase -
Wagyu Pure TST has this extra Tempura option.  With an array of fried eggplants,  sweet potatoes.   I think most fried food is just fried food, and despite the thickish batter I was happy with the non-grease factor.   *No price attached because somehow I couldn’t find the Menu item on my camera. 




Chuck Roll and Ox Tongue Lunch set – $280
This is a good portion and the marbling and fat/meat taste was good.   The Ox Tongues however,  I expected another piece or 2 somehow as they don’t cost too much.   -  7.5/10


Short Ribs Karubi Lunch Set – $120
Not specifying precisely it’s Origins and type of Cow,  this was still decent and knowing Yakiniku shops in Japan,  this could just be anything and especially with the lax ruling of the definition of Wagyu beef.   The Tare marination sauce is subtle enough and one of the reasons I love Wagyu Pure as usual,  otherwise I wouldn’t have visited twice in a week.   Although Futago HK’s stronger marination is equally convincing with it’s unique fruitiness and caramelization,  which is stronger in a diff level of flavouring depth but also sophisticated.   Love them both.   Nikuka 298 is my other favourite,  all carrying subtlety in differences.   -  7/10



White Rice -
Included in the lunch set of course. 

Thin Beef Tongues on the grill -
Clean set up but not really charcoal-grilled here,  just like most many shops in HK due to Fire Regulations.


Harami Lunch Set – $128
The dark look of the meat made me happy.  So many shops give out the wrong cuts,  and here it could only be the livery Skirt steak or Hanger Steak,  but classified under the Vitamin-A filled Harami options.   However due to the way this was sliced or marinated,  it seemed slightly tougher in texture.  The taste was still as expected.   -   6.9/10

A Pork Rib-eye, Harami Out-skirt Beef and Chicken Lunch Set – $175
I like the balance of this Set the most.   It seems borderline Value-for-Money,  but knowing the food costs of things I wouldn’t mind just 2 more pieces of Chicken.   - 7/10

Ice Creams -
All were done decent enough and included in the Lunch Sets on the TST East Side.
I actually find the Price Policy here to be a bit strange,  some items don’t need to be priced much higher/lower than others,  I ought to think they should be priced similar.   During dinner time,  this seems to cancel out more. 




Price:   $95  to $280 Per Person for Lunch 
Food:   ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Ease of Access:  2/5
Opening Hours: 
Mon to Sun  12:00pm to 15:00pm,   18:00pm to 23:00pm

Address: 1/F, Hilton Tower, 96 Granville Road,  Tsim Sha Tsui East,  Kowloon
Ph:  TBA

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Shelter Italian Bar & Restaurant -

At the beginning,  I was slightly confused between Shelter Italian Restaurant and Shelter Lounge – in fact they are two different places and both newly opened.  Shelter Italian inside Hysan place is actually a open rooftop space and in this sense fairly unique.   Usually similar concept restaurants and bars have a combination of an inside restaurant space with weather protection,  but then carries an additional fully opened terrace space.   Shelter Italian doesn’t actually have any closed off space,  it is a bold concept but as it’s name suggests it snugs in underneath a bridge connection inside Hysan Place and this acts literally like a ‘Shelter’,  and if the wind is strong enough you might still get rain blowing onto your Dinner plates.   Thanks for the Invitation by the Shelter Group,  which also operates Shelter in Macau and the new Cubic Club in City of Dreams,  Macau.    



This is the totally exposed to Weather section -
Behind me is the one that is slightly sheltered but still no door and windows whatsoever..



Shelter Afternoon Tea Set for 2 – $388
Served in a Golden Bird cage,  apparently this is one of the most popular Afternoon Tea Sets that has quickly spread word around Hong Kong.   Shows that Bling Bling and an interesting presentation always sells itself well especially amongst the females.  



Bruschetta with Roasted Peppers -

Some Macarons -



Salmon Finger Sandwiches -


Croissant with Truffle Paste and Egg -
This is always a never fail item,  but their croissant was surprisingly fresh.




Pistachio Cannolo –
I was really looking forward to this,  but when I bit in,  the raw pistachio (as opposed to toasted pistachio) taste and also the really salty savouriness,  possibly from both this and Ricotta Cheese,  really shocked me.   It also didn’t have much citrus zest flavours.  Needed a lot more sugar to be a dessert and very grassy.    *We reflected this to the Management already,  hope they will improve this item



Meeting was Finished -
Time to start on the Dinner with some white French Chardonnay..




Bread Basket with Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar -
The Ciabatta was way better than expected,  I think it will go well for a Steak Sandwich with a Pesto sauce. 




Mesclun Salad with Asparagus, Celery,  Tomato,  Truffle Dressing and Shaved Truffles -
The Summer Truffles had an Earthy Aroma and was actually stronger than many places I have had it,  including some of the biggest names in town.   Kind of surprised.  - 7/10


Poached Boston Lobster,  Papaya, Mango,  Blueberry,  Strawberry and Lobster Sabayon -
This looked pretty.   It’s a bit summery with the fruits,  but somehow I expected more savoury and lobster sabayon flavour.  But aesthetically a pleasing dish.   ¬  7/10


Acquerello Risotto,  Rose Prawn,  Hokkaido Scallop,  Spinach,  Lemon Scent and Pantelleria Capers -
This was much more sophisticated than it seems,  inside were diced prawns and grilled whole prawns,  scallop,  and dried capers,  with a good crustacean taste than the risotto color reveals.   Was pleasantly surprised by this.   -  8.5/10



House-made Strozzapreti Pasta,  New Zealand Diamond Clams,  Artichokes -
The Dish of the Night for most of us.  The clams are pretty briny and salty,  some people thought this was too salty but I see a reason for this.   With the artichokes and nicely textured pastas,  this is the dish to come back for definitely.   -  8.5/10



Gadus Morhua Spanish line caught White Cod,  Mussel & Clam Broth Powder,  Asparagus -
This White Cod is surprisingly slightly salted cured first but they only used the internal parts.  I liked the concentrated taste of this and it also carries a slightly chewy texture,  which is 1 of 2 ways to represent a cod fish.   Ultimately however,  I think this was a little too simple and I liked the salads and pasta dishes above more.   - 6.9/10


Stuffed Veal Chop ‘Vitello’ with Mushrooms,  Spinach & Parmesan,  Wrapped in Pig’s Caul Fat,  Truffle Mashed Potatoes -
This looked good and the pork was cooked decently,  yet on top of the caul fat lubrication it needed more of the reduced jus to bring it to another level!  This was a good recipe but it needed more of the mushrooms,  spinach and parmesan taste.  - 6.9/10



Spaghetti Carbonara with Guanciale pork cheeks, Eggs,  Parmesan and Black Pepper -
The recipe was very close to a real Roman/Lazio version,  without cream and even mentioned Guanciale and Black Pepper in the same sentence – how can we not order this?   It turned out this was pretty well done for Hong Kong Context,  it even had enough Black Pepper which is one of the essentials of a true Carbonara.   The Parmesan cheese is more a compromise as it should in theory use more sheep’s milk Pecorino Romano cheese,  but in local context,  this was easily one of the best ones around.   -  8/10



Mojito Semifreddo,  Peppermint Jelly,  Jasmine Tea Sauce -
When I saw this arrived my eyes cringed at the green mint jellies,  they were so fluorescent in colour.  But the Mojito Semifreddo at it’s half frozen state tasted better than anticipated and has a graham cracker base,  with the tea sauce a nice addition.   I just wished the portion was bigger somehow.   -  7/10




Inside Hysan Place in Causeway Bay -
I really did not expect to see such a dining and bar space here.   The food is looked after by a Northern Italian Chef,  and this is evident down to his pretty accurate version of a Pasta Carbonara,  which correct versions in town can be counted with 1 hand.   Some dishes were more than decent,  the Afternoon Tea was surprisingly presentable.   My general observation is that Main Courses here are a bit too expensive to my liking,   I would suggest you to order the Entrees and Pasta courses as a first test. 





Price:  By Invitation to Shelter Italian Bar & Restaurant.  Approximately $190 per person Afternoon Tea,  $700 + 10% for Dinner per Person
Food:   ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Ease of Access:  5/5  (Right above Causeway Bay MTR,  Hysan Place exit)
Address:  銅鑼灣軒尼詩道500號希慎廣場7樓718-719號舖
7th Floor,  Hysan Place,  Hennesy Road,  Causeway Bay,  Hong Kong
Ph:  2778 8398


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