Wednesday, May 31, 2017

藤之宮誠太郎商店 Fujinomiya Seitaro Shoten [Hong Kong] - Japanese Seafood Izakaya for Dinner Under $200 Per Person

  之宮誠太郎商店 Fujinomiya Seitaro Shoten used to be simply called Ika Centre,  before converting into the current Concept which is more of a Seafood Izakaya.  I have been here quite a number of times and a recent re-visit saw standards being maintained very well and right up there with expectations in Japan,  and the prices have not crept up either, remaining in touch with reality.  Below are some dishes I have experienced here,  I will have to search for some other visits' dish photos gradually as I recompile them..

One of the Best, Unique & Affordable Seafood Izakaya's in Hong Kong -
There are many decent Japanese places in HK from low range to Michelin Star expensive,  but usually the better places are pricy.  Here it is always affordable and with daily specials

Whisky High-Ball -
Still at $38 only

Small Seafood Rice with Egg - HKD $98
The price of this crept up a bit recently,  but it is still affordable

Adult's Potato Salad with Tuna Flakes - $38
One of the best Japanese Potato Salads in town,  the only other one better is probably the 3 Textures one at Futago Yakiniku.  And big size too with a bit of salad leaves..

Sea Urchin Croquettes - $58
Full of creamy melted Urchin bechamel inside, this is probably the only shop in Hong Kong which carries this recipe and it's not only done well,  it's only $58 for 4 pieces

Seaweed and Grated Yam Tempura -
This is one of my favourite dishes here,  but it is on rotation.  You can always ask the Chef to cook this up again..

Mixed Prawns Tempura - $88
The price is joking right?  But it is reasonable and not greasy,  with decent tasting prawns.  Hence why for a while this was my canteen.

Kinmedai Alfonsino Kamameshi Rice 釜飯 - $98
Made with Alfonsino fish stock which penetrates into each rice grain,  this was sweet and paired with egg shreds and mitsuba herbs, and sliced lime.

Umeshu Apricot Wine - $38
Have been here quite a few times and photos are left behind everywhere or on Instagram, and they actually specialize in Sashimi and Calamari-Squid dishes here too.  Already want to come back as I am typing this review!

Price: HKD $180 - $300 + 10%
Food: ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: 銅鑼灣登龍街28號永光中心22樓
22/F., Circle Tower, 28 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay
Ph: +852 3904 3533

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Pici [Hong Kong] - Italian Pasta Bar. Precisely What the Doc Prescribed for Hong Kong's Foodies

  Pici has proven super popular with the Wanchai and Admiralty crowd arriving here for their pasta's, cocktails & wines.  Prices are reasonable and a quick glance at the menu and other foodie's Instagram posts confirmed this is a value-for-money handmade Pasta bar concept which is not dissimilar to one you find in Bologna, Italy, which frankly was something Hong Kong has always needed, and which we actually do have some, but no one simplified it enough to make it an understandable concept by first glance.  And then bang,  we have the success of Pici by the people behind the Pirata and The Optimist Group.

Prosciutto Ham - Part of Lunch Course for HKD $148
It came with some aged Parmesan cheese too,  and portion was generous.  When I arrived here during late lunch time,  the queue was not as bad as I'd imagined.  Walking past during night time however would be a different story as the wait can take an hour or more..

Tagliatelle with Spicy n'duja Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes and Cheese -
Basically the same sauce as their Orecchiette pasta,  but served with Tagliatelle paste during lunch time.  The fresh pasta was smooth and the appetizing sour and spicy sauce hung onto the pasta strands well,  and texture was perfectly cooked too.  Look it is a very simple pasta recipe,  but sometimes we just want some simple food that's affordable.  That's why Pici does well..

Tagliatelle Noodle Strands remained Long and Springy -
Unlike some shops which fall apart with little gluten within...

Tiramisu in Verrine Glass -
This looked really correct on paper,  but unfortunately the taste was south of average,  I was actually quite shocked.  There is almost no espresso coffee taste or well soaked savoiardi fingers,  and 2ndly the worse fear was confirmed that it had absolutely no Marsala wine nor even Kahlua or Rum or coffee liquor at that within, this second omission I can understand for a family bistro,  but at Pici?   This disappointment in dessert is easily fixable however - and overall this was a dainty little Pasta Bar which served it's purpose and was well priced at HKD $148 for Lunch 3 Courses.   It's not meant to be Amazing,  although some Pasta Bars in Italy actually do, but perhaps that's not its point for now!  Until next time..!

Price: Around HKD $148
Food: ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: G/F, 16 St. Francis Yard, Wan Chai
Ph: +852 27555523

Monday, May 22, 2017

Chilli Fagara [Hong Kong] - Rare Sichuan Food that isn't the Typical Fare

  Sichuan Food around the Globe as mentioned previously,  suffers a similar fate to say ordering a Beijing Peking Duck or going to Yum Cha for Dim Sum.  What's promoted is often only what people perceive the cuisine is famous for and are then nit picked by the restaurant operators for selling,  whereas what really defines each regional cuisine are comprised of years of history and many more local dishes which define it's original cultural background.   Chilli Fagara was the recipient of Michelin 1 Star status for a number of years,  and nowadays in its new location it's got a Michelin Recommendation.  The food here however remains one of the more impressive Sichuanese in town,  along with Deng G. in Wanchai which cooks up the banquet elegant style in contrast.

Spicy Peanuts as Appetizer -
These are the more wetter types, sometimes they are fried..

Trio of Sichuan Appetizers at Chilli Fagara -
The small dishes are meant to emulate the separate Flavors inside a Hotpot 麻辣烫 Malatang, but here served in their separate tasting profiles as a starter...

Black Truffle Shredded Chicken Salad -
The only not overly Sichuanese starter we ordered,  since this modern salad starter was meant to have a cooling effect and won't numb our tongues from the 1st course.. 

Ginger Beef Glazed with Caramelized Garlic & Ginger-infused Sauce $168 薑煸蒜片牛肉
A homely Sichuan dish that tastes more like a sugary Beef Katsu with Ginger sauce, an addictive dish that is authentic but nowadays hardly found in Sichuan restaurants that only sell us the best selling Chili dishes.  This is based on the Head Chef's Mom's recipe from home in Sichuan,  who also happens to be the Consultant for the restaurant.  Addictively despite being sweetish, a must order ~ 9/10

Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐  (全名: 阿婆麻辣豆腐) HKD $108 -
'Po' means Grandmother in Chinese, so this is considered a passed down recipe.  The silken tofu are made locally but using a Japanese recipe, meaning they are thickly cubed, didn't fall apart yet remained supple soft.  The meat sauce was not overly fermented beans salty, with a good amount of toasty Sichuan Peppercorn numbness and it's quite hot by default.  Best Mapo Tofu I have tried in town so far...  ~  9.5/10

Vegetarian XO Sauce -
These are super spicy, surprisingly!

Fragrant Sole Fish - Cooked and Served with Jasmine Tea Leaves and Chili
HKD $208 竹網茶香龍利魚 
A dish worthy of coming to this Michelin Grade Restaurant alone, that showcases a mixture of Traditional and Modern Sichuanese dishes - and this fish recipe stands out from the more typical Chili Poached Fish which is also served here.  The tea aroma is encapsulating..  ~ 8.5/10

干扁肉鬆四季豆 Fried String Beans with Dry Chili, Pork Mince & Garlic - HKD $118
Another well done dish.  Not overly stringy nor dry, with right proportion of pork mince.  This went well together with the rice..  ~ 8.5/10

Chili Paste and Red Oil Dumplings - 紅油抄手
Very hot with the paste again,  but addictive and well wrapped.  On Par with the dumplings at Deng G.,  which over there has a sweeter sauce deliberately..  ~ 8.5/10

Toffee Banana with Pulled Sugar -
This is probably more synonymous with Beijing Cuisine but was a sweet crunchy ending to the numbing and spicy meal,  which is not typical of the toned down Sichuan restaurants in Hong Kong.  A job well done from that aspect.. (Except for Deng G,  which sells milder Sichuan food)

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Chili -
Just a reminder of the fiery food here, even the sweet ice cream ends on a spicy but rich chocolate note.  A concept which is popular nowadays in both Mexican and Sichuan restaurants - which remembering Chili Pepper were introduced into China by the Columbian exchange from Mexico in the 15th Century!

A Lovely Sichuan Restaurant -
Some customers have labelled it as selling Expat's style Sichuan food,  but I think it depends on what we order here.  It caters to different crowds on the menu,  and there are occasionally off-menu items which are more labour intensive and needs reservation.  Think it is time for us to organize another Group Dinner here soon..

Price: Around HKD $300 - $400 Per Person + 10%
(Dinner Organized by Chilli Fagara)
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕ 1/2 

Address: Ground Floor, 7 Old Bailey Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong
Ph: +852  27966866

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The French Window [Hong Kong] - Le French Gourmay Menu with FeedMeGuru, with Champagne $720

 French Window at IFC,  is currently doing a HKD $720 Le French Gourmay Menu for 6 Courses,  and includes a bottle of small 375ml Duval-Leroy Fleur de Champagne NV for 2 person bookings.  A 2nd bottle of 375ml Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV Champagne is given to booking of 4 persons, and there is also a sweet Ratafia from Champagne region included with the Cheese and Dessert Course.  You can book this menu via , and using a code of 'HKEpicurus88', receive a $88 Discount booking online.

Disclaimer:  I was dining together with FeedMeGuru x the traditional May 'Le French Gourmay' promotion and received no rewards from my posts,  just helping to spread the word.  Below is a quick video of what to expect!

French Window Menu at HKD $720 per person with Champagne and Sweet Wine -
enter code 'HKEpicurus88' on for $88 discount..

Price: HKD $720 Per Person + no 10% (Visit Invited by Le French Gourmay and FeedMeGuru)Food: ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: 中環港景街1號國際金融中心商場3樓3101號舖
Shop 3101, 3/F, IFC, 1 Harbour View Street, Central
Ph: +852 23933812

Friday, May 5, 2017

富豪金殿 Regal Palace [Hong Kong] - Yum Cha inside Regal Hotel Causeway Bay with Disappearing Michelin Star ?

  Regal Palace 富豪金殿 used to be adorned with a Michelin Star status for quite a number of years,  but checking the list recently,  even any mention in the guide has been omitted completely.  It used to be one of the best Cantonese restaurants in town for a while,  and upon my recent two visits in 2017, I still held it with high regards.  Execution across the board was strong,  dishes were Classical Cantonese and cooked more than correctly than many famous places in town,  even the smaller details were attended to well except for a slightly run down interior.  Personally I will still highly recommend here especially during Lunch Yum Cha hours, when you can order both Dim Sums and A La Carte.  

Mysterious Drop from Michelin 1 Star, to Not a Mention - 
Here's a summary of my last two visits in 2017.  Once with Family and once as a Media Luncheon, and not every dish were listed below as it is indicative enough..

Pig's Trotter in Marinated Master Stock  滷水豬腳仔 -
Good fresh pigs legs, with bouncy skins,  tender meat and a fine tuned master stock.  One of the if not best version I tried in recent years... ~ 9/10

上湯煎粉果 Fried Prawn & Chives Fun Gor Dumplings in Superior Broth -
The traditional Dim Sum item that is disappearing in HK Restaurants,  one can still find it in places like Fook Lam Moon or off shoots like Seventh Son,  or the original Fung Shing restaurants (Prince Edward and North Point).   The soup could have more Chinese chives flavor, but the dumplings themselves were more elegantly folded and fried here.  ~ 8/10

鮑魚鴨腳扎 Duck Feet wrapped in Soy Bean Sheet, Taro, Abalone, Fish Stomach -
Another Classic oldies Dim Sum item.  I usually eat this at very traditional Yum Cha places, here the version had very good powdery taro,  well braised Duck Feet with a balanced Abalone braising liquid which isn't overly starched up.  Probably the best version I remember having in Hong Kong.  ~ 10/10

Baked Char Siu Pork Bao,  Steamed Chiu Chow Fun Gor,  Pork Siu Mai -
The baked Char Siu pork bun with honey coating is famous here and exemplary, with diced pork inside that is coated by a well tuned BBQ sauce but not overly gooey,  the buns are fluffy and smells like honey.  The other dim sum items also tasted like as they should,  the Fun Gor with right amounts of peanuts, cassava, chives, dry prawns and pork, etc.  ~ 8-10/10

Salted Duck Egg coated Fried Prawns with Scrambled Milk -
Another Signature dish here,  it can be slightly heavy overall but who doesn't like this combination once in a while?  Plus despite the slightly crunchy thickish batter,  it had enough egg yolk flavor to support it.  ~ 8/10

Ja Zhi Fried Chicken - 
This was my less favorite dish.  There is nothing particularly wrong with it, however the Skin could be even more wafer crispy and less oily,  and the chicken meat was partially rougher at the leaner white meat parts.  There are better versions in town even in Wedding Banquet restaurants,  so this was surprising to me...  ~ 6.5/10

Fried Glutinous Rice with Preserved Sausages -
This was a total Winner.  I cannot remember a better version in town.  Rice was flavorful chewy,  coated with preserved pork oil, yet not greasy.  Couldn't wait to order this dish here again.  ~ 9/10

Fried Jin Dui Dumplings -
These days you expect them to have some kind of custardy or egg yolk, even matcha fillings.  This was fried well and the dumpling skins were not overly thick,  a common problem at most shops.  But at the end of the day this is expectable,  considering even a traditional Congee shop sells this item...  N/A

White Sesame Ma Yung Bao with Duck Eggyolk 麻蓉包 -
Another Classic Dim Sum, the best version in town is arguably Luk Yu Teahouse,  although Lin Heung might also give it a run for its money.   The version here had good bread again,  consistent with bread-y items here.  Overall it was elegant,  but it needed more Pork Lard and probably sesame toasting, to bring out the Sesame fragrance expected of this item.  ~ 7.5/10

Red Bean Soup and White Almond Dessert Soup -
Both were the healthier less sweet type.  The red bean with a gritty liquid,  with a tinge of tangerine peel.  The Golden standard for Red bean soup in HK is at Yung Kee Restaurant....  if that sets a 9.5/10 benchmark,  I would say this version here stands at around a 7.5/10.   Overall,  and with the Dim Sum items hovering around the HKD $58-68 mark,  and other dishes in the same ballpark as most Hotel Restaurants,  I still thought the two visits were very consistent and of higher quality than many lauded places in town!  And would recommend here as most dishes were great,  bar the Chicken dish that was unexpectedly off one time...

Price: HKD $200-450 Per Person + 10%  (1 Visit Privately, 1 Visit as New Years Media Lunch)
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕

Address: 銅鑼灣怡和街88號富豪香港酒店3樓
3/F, Regal Hong Kong Hotel, 88 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay
Ph:  +852 28371773

慢煮工業 Under Vacuum The Steak [Hong Kong] - Slow Cooked Sous Vide Meat in Prince Edward, Popular but Is it Any Good?

  We came to Under Vacuum's restaurant for one reason - its original sister kiosk inside a Park in Tsim Sha Tsui churns up some of the best Steak sandwiches and Turnip fries in Hong Kong,  rivaling those wagyu steak sandwiches in Tokyo but at a dime around HKD $42 (Previous Review:  Sous Vide Steak Sandwich inside Park ) .   This time we came to its second and grander restaurant,  which sells Steaks and Meat at affordable prices with seating.  

Prices are Very Reasonable - 
Duck confit starts at only HKD $48,  Steak for 1 Person from HKD $98 only... Hence it is quite popular in this Prince Edward location.

Fried Mozzarella Sticks - HKD $38
These are bulk bought from manufacturers,  but comparing Apples with Apples other shops sell these at around $58 for the same portion size. 

US Angus Sirloin - 8 Oz for One person, $98
The steak surprisingly fared worse than the Steak Sandwich in its sister kiosk shop, the inside was mostly grey meat and slightly dry.  The marination with thyme and salt was okay,  but since one cannot order the 'doneness' as they are by default Medium to Medium-Well,  we were sorely disappointed..  ~ 5/10

Duck Confit - HKD $48
At this pricing point,  we weren't expecting any miracles.  In the end the duck confit had dry stringy meat,  and a rubbery skin.  Instead of having a fatty taste,  it also had a very salty briny taste within...  If I had to pick though, I would pick the Duck over the Steak - it's like comparing eating softened Chewing Gum vs dry Protein with gristle.  ~ 6/10

Despite the Popularity - 
And my recommendation of their gorgeous Steak Sandwiches at the other park location,  this bigger premise restaurant simply didn't live up to the same hype.  Even at this more than affordable pricing point,  we personally wouldn't recommend it unless it saw a major improvement in cooking technique and finishing.   In all honesty Beef Steaks and Duck meat don't really need sous viding in my books anyway,  but we were exploratory due to good experience with the brand elsewhere.

Price: HKD $110 Per Person 
Food: ♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕ 

Address: 旺角太子道西91號
91 Prince Edward Road West, Hong Kong
Ph: 56903290

Monday, May 1, 2017

SKYE at Parklane Hotel [Hong Kong] - Weekend Brunch with Unlimited Desserts & Freeflow Italian Prosecco for HKD $500

  SKYE at Parklane Hotel in Causeway Bay has started a new Weekend Brunch on both Saturday and Sunday,  and for only HKD $500 includes 3 Courses, with unlimited Dessert Trolley items and Free-flow Italian Prosecco and a lovely view of Victoria Park & the fragrant Harbour.   Here is a quick Video of our experience and our comments about some dishes and overall experience:

Perged on the 27th Floor Rooftop of Parklane Hotel by Pullman -
Overlooking the Victoria Park and Harbour.  The Weekend Brunch is HKD $500 per person.

Weekend Brunch menu - Click to Enlarge

Unlimited Italian Prosecco - included in HKD $500 Price
Also included is Freshly Squeezed Juice.
Add $250 for free-flow Veuve Clicquot NV Champagne..


Bread Basket with Smoked and Whipped Butter - With some Sea Salt flakes on the side

Hamachi Ceviche - 
In reality Tasting more like Italian Crudo in texture and curing,  but with the Ceviche citrus acidity. We commented that locals actually prefer this fish to be served simply 'fresh' unadulterated like Sashimi,  especially for Hamachi Yellowtail or Kingfish with its marbling..

24 Months Curated Serrano Ham with Cantaloupe Melon, Toasts and Tomato Chutney -The jamon is thickly sliced and soft.


Butter Lobster with Fennel Tempura - 
I have had this dish at SKYE before,  this time the presentation changed slightly.. Pretty dish and befitting the now Summery weather

Parsley Risotto with Globe Artichokes, Asparagus & Black Truffle -
A vegetarian option,  this was quite green tasting.  I know some locals are deterred by the grassiness and the herbs, especially when it comes to parsley or coriander,  but personally I like this.  Black Truffle aroma was just okay.

Beef Bourguignon - 
Quite fork tender literally.  The person who ordered this dish mentioned he only needed the fork or spoon to devour this.  I thought this was a large dish and had the texture of melty beef cheek..

Unlimited Desserts - from Dessert Trolley 
The Canele was caramelized well yet moist inside,  quite French accurate.  The Macarons were also done well.  The Lemon Marshmallows smelled quite citrusy pungent,  but surprisingly were a bit sweet underneath and clouded the aroma.  Mille-feuille pastry creme could be slightly more custardy and vanilla filled in my own preference,  but overall it's like having Afternoon Tea with Prosecco to enjoy right after brunch and chillaxing ~

Price: HKD $500 + 10%  (Brunch Organized by Parklane Hotel by Pullman)
Food: ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: 銅鑼灣告士打道310號柏寧酒店27樓
27/F, The Park Lane Hong Kong, 310 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay
Ph: +852 28393327


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