Friday, March 31, 2017

Cafe 103 Ritz-Carlton [Hong Kong] - Sakura Afternoon Tea by Tokyo Ritz-Carlton's Chef Hideaki Tanaka

  Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong and Cafe 103 is currently doing a Japanese Sakura Afternoon Tea set, with the creations made by the Pastry and Senior Sous-Chef from Tokyo's Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Available from 1st of April to 13th of May except on Easter Weekend, it is priced at HKD $638 to $658 for two persons. For the included Drinks, customers can choose from their seasonal Sakura Tea or Hot Chocolates, as well as the normal Tea and Coffees.

Chef Tanaka from Tokyo Ritz-Carlton -
He is very friendly and explained in details about each of his Creations, albeit mostly in Japanese

A Sakura Easter Egg - 
A reminder that Sakura Blossom will happen close to Easter period...

Sakura Afternoon Tea Set for 2 Persons - 
The following items are created by Chef Tanaka.  There will also be around 2 Extra Daily items as a Surprise on the day of visit.   The highlights to me were the Shio salted Sakura Manjyu's,  Shrimps & Sakura Prawns Bread,  Sakura Berries Soy Milk Panna Cotta, and the Sakura Tropezienne with a crumbly top.  The Yuzu & Strawberries tart is actually quite refreshing sour too..

Matcha, Sakura and Berries Cakes - 
Layered almost like an Opera cake.  I think the Matcha taste in this could be stronger too.

Some of my Favorites, Captured in One Photo Shot -

The Afternoon Tea Set includes Drinks for 2 - Veuve Clicquot Champagne is Extra
Apart from these pretty morsels,  there will be 2 extra items presented as a Surprise element during your Visit.  Personally I think many Afternoon Teas in town look better than they end up tasting,  but on this occasion I really enjoyed this Tea Set as the taste was supple and softly spoken in accent just like Chef Tanaka,  plus not overly sweetened or made pretty with marzipane. The Sakura flowers input was only subtly perfumed...  As a bonus point,  I found out afterwards that we are also getting the real deal as it looks identical to the one served in Tokyo currently:  Tokyo Ritz-Carlton Sakura Afternoon Tea

Price: HKD $378 Per Person to HKD $638 for Two + 10%  (Preview by Ritz-Carlton Hotel HK)
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕

Address: 尖沙咀柯士甸道西1號環球貿易廣場(ICC)香港麗思卡爾頓酒店103樓
103/F, The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui
Phone: +852 22632270


Monday, March 27, 2017

Inagiku 稻菊 [Hong Kong] - Renowned Japanese Tempura Omakase Course with 2 Drinks for $1,380

 Inagiku Japanese Restaurant has two outlets in Hong Kong, and originally Inagiku in Japan is most famous for their Tempura Courses and especially for their frying techniques and the artisanal blended oil they make in-house for this specific purpose. Although the two Inagiku restaurants in Hong Kong serve Japanese food ranging from Sushi to Teppanyaki and general hot food, nowadays the Royal Garden Hotel Inagiku branch has welcomed back again Chef Eric to head their Tempura counter. It was a nice rendezvous with Chef Eric, who is a highly respected Tempura Chef in town.

Chef Eric at Tempura Station -
He is a veteran Tempura Chef at Inagiku,  recently returning back with new experiences and own creations to look after the Tempura section of the restaurant,  which originally made Inagiku in Japan famous

Our Tempura Omakase Course today with 2 Alcoholic Drinks - HKD $1,380
It includes a Sparkling Wine for pairing, and also a Coffee Awamori for a food pairing course

'8' Sparkling White Wine from Australia - 
1 Glass is included with the Tempura Tasting Menu Course,  although the Restaurant will actually come fill up your glass intermittently to keep you well lubricated..

Starter Appetizer Course - included in the $1,380 Price
Roast Duck with Broad Bean,
Hotaru 'glowing' Ika,
Yuba Soy Bean Sheet with Sea Urchin

Kuruma Ebi Tempura - 
Freshly plucked from the tank,  they are fried as two parts

Shira-Ebi White Shrimps,  Gingko Nuts -Interesting to see two types of prawns fried side by side as comparison.

Seafood 'Omakase' Tempura being Prepared at Counter -

Mantis Shrimp,  Ika Squid -
The Mantis shrimp was not mealy at all and quite sweet,  my fav piece at the beginning of the Tempura Course,  before the dishes became more complex...

Mehikari Fish -
The fishes used are seasonal.  This is always good for frying,  so is Kisu Whiting.  They are also currently frying up some baby Ayu fish and also Wakasagi.

Baby Sardine Whitebait Tempura -
These are fried together as one presentable piece,  which takes some expert skills for shaping..

Itoyori Fish with Mushrooms and Sea Urchin Sauce -
The Red Mullet used is from Japan, which tend to taste a little more sweeter than in Hong Kong and is a slightly different DNA fish...  The Sea Urchin sauce is also sweet but not too minerally 

Abalone Awabi Tempura - 
South African Fresh Abalone is deep fried,  then halved.  It is actually quite a big piece..

Anago Sea Eel Tempura with Bannou Spring Onion Sauce -
Anago is always a Tempura Chef's Litmus test.  This was crunchy on the batter but not hard,  nor too flaky broken inside.  In Japan the famous Tempura shops cut the anago into half with Chopsticks to indicate how well it is fried...  The grassy sauce is dished underneath,  so that Diners can freely refrain from or dip the eel into more sauce

Crab Meat Tempura with Sea Urchin -
Always a lovely combo.  I personally find Seafood pairs better with Urchin, whereas nowadays most restaurants are serving Urchin with Wagyu beef..

Hokkaido Oysters in Pimientos Peppers - 
One of Chef Eric's creations.  It is meant to coat the oyster so that the inside is still relatively rare and creamy,  and the slight peppery-ness and sweetness of the green will pair with the oysters.  You know instantly Chef Eric is in the kitchen when you see this dish..

Hokkaido Bafun Sea Urchin Tempura in Seaweed - (Extra Course)
The urchin is plump and fresh today,  and after frying was still runny creamy inside,  and the seaweed is not crackly.  A good frying job as expected at Inagiku

Japanese Onsen Egg Tempura, paired with Coffee & Rice Awamori from Okinawa -
This was runny inside,  and surprisingly was paired with a nutty & sweetish coffee wine,  since Eggs can usually be served nearer the end of the meal to bridge the gap to a Dessert course

Japanese Cheese Tempura, paired with same Coffee Awamori -
A bit runny inside,  its steaming hot.  Becareful..

Maitake Mushroom,  and Okinawa Bittermelon -
Some vegetables.  I noticed that some Seasonal items are slightly different from the printed menu version,  but this could be expected as Omakase Course items are determined by the chef daily

Annai Sweet Potato - Dipped in Brandy & White Sugar
Another Signature Tempura item here,  the sweet potato is fried near 40 minutes from raw.  The skin layers and the thin tempura batter is very crispy,  and the brandy always works so well with the sweet potato from Japanese.  Many regular customers follower Chef Eric just to eat this item!

Zaru Cold Soba Noodles - 
This was nicely chilled and still chewy,  and included in the Omakase Course.

Dessert is a Japanese Muskmelon -
Super sweet as expected, we all agree unanimously Japan has the best melons in the world! 

Inagiku Tempura Counter - 
It was pretty full by the middle of Lunch Time and the seats were packed.  This Tempura Omakase Course is served during both Lunch or Dinner on request,  and at $1,380 with 2 Drinks included and many Creative or Traditional Courses,  including fresh flown in Japanese delicacies is a good deal in town nowadays.  Some other famous Tempura Shops in town now charge around $1,500 without any Drinks, just as a comparison.

Price: HKD $1,380 + 10% Per Person  (Meal Organized by Royal Garden Hotel)
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕

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
Phone: +852 27332933

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

食・八方 Square Eight at MGM Hotel [Macau] - Unique Experience of Ordering Southern & Northern Chinese Food from Both Kitchens

  MGM Macau has recently revamped it's 食・八方 Square Eight restaurant, and is now interestingly branched into two sections - one side South 南苑 sells Southern Style Chinese food with a more emphasis on Roast Goose and Cantonese Milk Tea, plus accessible Rice dishes. The North 北㕑 on the right caters for customers longing for more homely Northern dishes like house made noodles, Spicy Chili Fish or Mapo Tofu, or even Beijing or Shandong dumplings, the variety extending all the way to unique Shaanxi thick noodles. I had the pleasure to dine at both restaurant sides three times lately, one time even got to experience making the noodles. I know I will be back for more soon.

   South 南苑   

Roast Goose Ovens on Lava Rocks -
My 1st visit was to the Northern restaurant next door. This 2nd visit, I came to the South side and discovered they make Cantonese Roast Goose dishes here

Cantonese Hong Kong/Macau Milk Tea - 
Very excellent actually, full of Tea Aroma.  I keep repeatedly saying,  the chances of having a great tea is much higher in Macau than Hong Kong nowadays.

Appetizers to Begin with - 
Jellyfish & Sliced Chicken with Ginger & Spring Onion - MOP 55
Cuttlefish tossed in X.O. Sauce - MOP 80
Black Fungus Mushrooms & Cordyceps Flower in Spring Onion Oil - MOP 40

Black Wood Ear Fungus & Cordyceps Flower in Spring Onion Oil - MOP 40
A crunchy appetizer, this seems to be becoming more popular in Southern Chinese cuisine these days, albeit we make them less spicy than in colder states.

Cuttlefish tossed in X.O. Sauce - MOP 80
Shaved thinly and the marinade is quite Cantonese style, also with the spicy XO Conpoy sauce. Chili and appetizing.

Jellyfish & Sliced Chicken with Ginger & Spring Onion - MOP 55
Another popular appetizer, some customers will add in Chili oil.

Whole Roast Goose - 
This photo I took at the Kitchen. Before we ordered a Combination of Roast dish below..

Roast Goose, BBQ Rose Wine Char Siu Platter - MOP $150 (Front)
The Roast Goose was excellent. Skin was crispy and not overly fatty underneath, using one of four famous Goose DNA's in China. The skin remained crispy even after turning cold, it was almost like a proper Peking Duck! The BBQ Charsiu in MGM restaurants are always famous, here it was thickly cut and tender, meaty, and the surface coating uses both malt & honey. ~ 8.5/10

BBQ Pork, and White Chicken in Broth - $150
The 5 layered BBQ Pork was squarely diced, and is crunchy with the skin, and I liked how it was not overly fatty. The chicken has good chicken flavor, although the poaching liquid retains a saltiness to it, which goes better with rice. ~ 8/10

Mixed Seafood Congee - $140
With famous local Macanese Crab, Prawns, Abalone, Fish, etc. Surprisingly despite being a Casino & Hotel restaurant this was affordable, in fact much more so than many other famous shops out there. The amount of seafood made one feel like you're eating a seafood stew! The rice congee base has a thick texture, overall I felt like there's more seafood than congee in the bowl. ~ 8/10 

The Graphic Designs by local Macau Artist -
Each picture has a meaning, some of them depicting Macanese History and famous Poets & People, and many locals would know about these folk stories...

    North section 北㕑    

Chef Making Shaved Noodles -

Sichuan Chengdu Sesame Sauce White Cabbage $44
This looked like Chinese Kimchi, and has a nutty sesame sauce with a hint of spice.  Really liked this as it was less greener than I thought, with an appetizing sauce.  ~ 9/10

Northern Chinese Chives and Pork Dumplings - MOP $55
The skin is slightly chewy and the minced pork inside is not overly grinded, the way I like them. They are also not overly seasoned, which can be a plus for eating late at night. ~ 8/10

Chili Oil Poached Perch Sichuan style - $180
This expectedly had a clear broth beneath, filled with hot dry chilies, chili oil and Sichuan peppercorns. I love how the fish were silky soft and the portion was big, and you can also order a yellow eel version. The mala numbness is slightly subdued, and overall it's less spicy than we imagined! For hardcore chili lovers, they might need to order extra extra hot! ~ 8/10

Braised Sea Cucumber with Minced Pork, Spicy Sauce and Bamboo Shoots - $200
This delicacy dish looked unassuming but was really spicier than imaginable! It was also of a great price as there's plenty of sea cucumbers which are pricy ingredients. This rendition is also less oily than the normal pork belly version! ~ 8/10

Sour Pickles & Pork Dumplings - $55
This time ordering them,  they seemed to be slightly smaller in size.  This is a Beijing version with sour pickles instead of other vegetables.  I personally prefer the Chives version more, but this is cleaner tasting..

Shaanxi 'Che Mian' Flat Noodles with Chili, Garlic & Soya Sauce - $70
Very thick chewy noodles, which are hand pulled. It's almost like Chinese equivalent of Italian pappardelle pasta. A very floury noodles and despite the simplicity, quite addictive for me. ~ 7/10

Sichuan Mapo Tofu - $60 + $10 for Rice
I came back the 3rd time to eat this, as it was on my radar since my 1st visit but my priority was trying other dishes and noodles!   It was a generous portion and was more on the savory side, with thickly diced tofu cubes which didn't break up too much.  Clean and the way I like them ~ 7.5/10

Beijing Style 'Donkey Sand Roll' Dessert. with Red Bean Paste - $30
Rolled neatly and with thin layers of glutinous rice sheets, it's a refined version of this Imperial Dessert Dim Sum.  This version does not come with soy bean powder.  Lovely finish.  ~ 9/10

Have Visited Here for 3 Times Separately -
On 1 of the Media Photoshooting Trips, I took the opportunity to learn making some hand pulled noodles, of which there are at least 3 to 4 different varieties here..  Overall the quality of the revamped restaurant is dependable,  hygienic and affordable,  and I enjoy how one can order Roast Goose from one side of the kitchen,  but at the same time order Northern style dumplings and noodles.  Little wonder I have already eaten here 3 times in succession. 

Price: MOP $55 to $200 + 10% Per Person
Food: ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕

Address: MGM MACAU Avenida Dr. Sun Yat Sen, NAPE, Macau
Phone: +853 88022388


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...