Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Cafe 103 Ritz Carlton [Hong Kong] - Ecuador Republica Del Cacao Afternoon Tea

  Café 103 at Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is constantly updating their Afternoon Tea promotions with different collaborations from around the World,  and for the November 2017 period,  they have welcomed the Confectioner and Pastry Chef Javier Guillen from Spain, who will work on the dessert items using the Ecuador Republica Del Cacao Chocolates ranging from 31-70% chocolates from Central and Southern America.   If you are a chocolate lover,  you may have heard that recently the Ecuador and Peruvian sourced chocolates are the hottest commodities right now,  with some heirloom cocoa bean varieties only available from these bordering countries, much like Venezuela chocolates have previously dominated the high end chocolate market for a period.  Here for the entirety of the November month,  you can sample some of these at the Café 103 Tea set at $388 per person,  or $638 for 2 persons including Drinks.  Weekend surcharge is $20.

Afternoon Tea Set with Drinks,  HKD $638 for Two Persons -
Weekend is HKD $658.

Scones with Clotted Cream & Jam -
I have tried Café 103's Tea set a few times lately,  and I believe the Scone quality has improved.  It is now more spongy with less gluten,  a pillowy feel which I like and more UK style aligned.

Ecuador Republica Del Cacao Chocolate Tea Set - Ritz-Carlton Café 103
This tea set is here to stay until end of November,  and with various natural Single Origin chocolates sourced from both Central America and South America,  including from Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, etc.  This really suits me as a pure Chocolate lover,  especially for Milk to Dark Chocolate items!

Coffee Bean with Mixed Berries,
also Feve Cacao with Caramel Milk Chocolate & Hazelnut Milk Ganache. 
The coffee pod shaped chocolate is actually quite strong in the coffee and chocolate taste,  it's definitely created for Chocolate lovers. 

Panama Hat with Passionfruit & Banana, Almond -
Red Rose of Raspberry mousse Chocolate crunch

Guanabana Jelly with Peanut Paste, Chocolate Mousse -
The Soursop fruit is according to some research very healthy,  and here only the clear juice is used from the Americans sourced fruit.  Which makes this Tea Set more the exotic and unique for Hong Kong context for me.. 

Azteca Chocolate with Coconut -
This Mexican symbol chocolate is fun to see and eat,  plus currently in the World,  the cuisines in the America's are almost up there with the Nordic and Spanish food movement!

It was again a Fun afternoon up here on the 103rd Floor of Ritz-Carlton Hotel,  Hong Kong -
These days,  with all the buzz going on around the city,  you just want to pull back and chillax a bit away from it all.  I am not sure how others who tried this Tea Set will feel,  but personally since I have spent some time living and working in that region before,  it brings back nostalgic memories and makes me want to plant a trip back to Central and South America to explore their Food Scene there again soon!

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

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Hyatt Good Taste Series Asia Pacific Competition - 6 Finalists to Battle it Out

 Started in 2014,  Hyatt Hotel Group now holds a Good Taste Series Competition across the Globe,  as a platform for Hyatt Hotel Chefs to battle it out and to promote and elevate the culinary standards for the Hyatt group around the World.  This year 2017,  I was invited along as a Floor Judge to cast my scoring votes on the 6 Finalists who will compete for the title of Asia Pacific Winner, and which the 2 Winners and Runner-up will compete in the Grand Final in Chicago.  The Grand Judges panel include notable Asia and World 50 Best Restaurant holders, and multiple Michelin Starred Chefs such as Paul Pairet from Ultraviolet Shanghai, Margarita Fores Best Asia Female Chef 2016, Vicky Lau from 1* Tate Dining Room and also Tetsuya Wakuda from Sydney & Singapore, etc.

Grand Judges of Hyatt Good Taste Series Asia Pacific Finalists -
With celebrated Chefs like Paul Pairet from Ultraviolet,  Tetsuya Wakuda, Vicky Lau of Tate Dining Room,  Susan Jung from SCMP & Academy Chair of 50 Best Restaurants in HK, Macau & Taiwan,  Margarita Fores Best Female Chef 2016, etc.

Paul Pairet - Ultraviolet, Michelin 3* & 2017 Asia 50 Best No. 8
He is actually quite witty, no wonder his Culinary achievement is built upon Sensory excitements

Inside the Competitors' Open Kitchen set-up -
In Chinese University building,  next to Hyatt Regency Shatin Hotel 

Food Presented in Order by the Six Competing Hyatt Chefs -
The Finalists for Asia Pacific Region, with only the Top 2 Winners flying out to compete in the Grand Final in Chicago

Chef Muhammad Hazwan Md Hamdan - Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
1) Seafood Umami with Sea Bass Carpaccio, Yuzu Lemongrass Emulsion and Black Radish
2) Roasted Lamb with Huancaina Sauce, Chanterelles Confit and Celeriac Chip

Chef Jack Jia Yuebo - Park Hyatt Beijing  Runner Up
1) Xinjian style Smoked Lamb Carpaccio, Cumin Garlic Sesame Oil, Celeriac Cream with EVOO, Roasted Chanterelles with Shallot & Parsley
2) Wok-fried Sichuan Pepper Seabass, Garlic Ginger, Dried Chilli Flambéed Scallop, Yuzu Cous Cous Timbale, Coriander Crisp and Wild Fennel Blossoms

Chef Dicky Toh - Grand Hyatt Melbourne, Australia
1) Seabass and Scallop Tartare,  with Yuzu Balinese Sambal
2) Lamb Green Curry with Chanterelles Mushroom, Pickled Celeriac and Cauliflower

Chef Damien Selme - Park Hyatt Busan, Korea
1) "Blooming" Seabass Tartare with Yuzu and Scallop Cream
2) "Mirror" Slow Cooked Lamb Saddle, Bulgogi Glaze and Sesame, Poached Celeriac, Pomme Duchesse, Pickle and Mushroom Duxelle 

Chef Tomoya Sugizaki - Park Hyatt Tokyo  1st Place Winner
1) Lightly Cured Seabass and Scallop with Japanese Yuzu,  Fresh Celery Soup,  Apple & Fennel
2) Roasted Lamb Saddle, Seared Purple Mustard Leaf, Pickled Yellow Chanterelles & Mustard sauce

Chef Oscar Lau Yuk Leung - Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
1) Kobujime Scallop and Seabass with Tomatoes, Cold Soup and Yuzu Zest
2) Olive Oil Poached Lamb Saddle, Chanterelles Mushroom, Celeriac Puree and Teriyaki sauce

My Scoring Board -
As a contributing Floor Judge. 
The Dish Taste constitutes for 30 points, and Presentation counts for 20 points.

The Winner was Chef Tomoya Sugizaki from Park Hyatt Tokyo,
and the Runner Up was Chef Jack Jia Yuebo  
*Surprisingly, this somehow also coincided with my Own Winning Picks in correct Pecking Order

It was Great to Meet Chef Tetsuya Wakuda here too as a Panel Judge -
Who is highly celebrated in Australia Sydney in his Tetsuya restaurant,  and also receiving Michelin 2 Stars in Wagu Ghin by Tetsuya in Singapore 2017.  A very educational experience for me as a contributor and taster,  and follows on from my recent event participating in  2018 S.Pellegrino's Young Chefs Competition - Regional Finalists  ( Article Link ) , which is still ongoing and also entering the Finals Stage soon!  Good luck to everyone competing.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mizumi 泓 [Macau] - Michelin 2 Star Sushi Experience at Mizumi, Original Wynn Macau

  There are two sister Mizumi Japanese restaurants - one in the original Wynn Macau which we visited and has been awarded 2 Michelin Stars in the 2017 Guide,  and also another outlet located within the newer Wynn Palace complex on the Taipa island side.  Japanese food aficionados will explain to you that it is the original 2* Mizumi which we ought to visit,  since over here the Sushi is well looked after by equally Hokkaido Michelin 2* awarded Sushi Zen's Chef Tsutomu Shimamiya as their head consultant.  The Tempura & also Teppanyaki counters meanwhile are also looked after by the teams from 1* Ishigaki Yoshida's Chef Junichi Yoshida,  and also 1* Chef Kazuhito Motoyoshi respectively,  both also Michelin Star recipients in Tokyo,  making this a total of 4 Michelin Stars collaboration project in Macau.   We came here for some Sushi Omakase on the recommendation of one of my foodie friends who is a sushi expert himself,  and he made the claim that this is probably the best Sushi house in Hong Kong & Macau region.  I trust his taste.. 

Sushi Counter at original Michelin 2* Mizumi, Wynn Macau -
The Chefs are trained at Hokkaido's 2 star Sushi Zen.  On paper,  Mizumi serves Tokyo Edomae style sushi,  although the Hokkaido native Chefs will explain to you that whilst many sushi pieces are the Tokyo Edomae style representatives,  some of the sushi creations are also uniquely Hokkaido

Madai - Sea Bream
They use white Komezu rice vinegar here for the shari.  The seafood are mostly imported from Hokkaido directly since that is where Sushi Zen can help with sourcing the best ingredients from throughout Japan. 

Sayori - Half Beak
This is a hikarimono shiny silver skin fish,  but with white flesh, with a crunchy firmness in the flesh.

Sanma - Pacific Saury
In Autumn, people expect to eat either Katsuo or fatty Sanma, although in Hong Kong region most people only concentrate on the latter.  This year with the long hot weather,  I noticed the sanma is in general thin like it's 'sword' namesake.  Having said that,  this piece of sanma was of enviable quality with some fatty belly meat,  it also represents the neta selection from the Hokkaido region.

2 Pieces of Tuna Chutoro & then Otoro Nigiri -
We went straight to the fatty spectrum of the Tuna, I suspect because my dining companion is a regular and he prefers it this way.  The Bluefin Tuna blocks were shipped fresh to here and unfrozen,  and not really aged - yet they had a really good maguro flavour to them,  and in this respect it really stood out from the competitors in Hong Kong and Macau. 

A double-layered Slicing of Marinated Chutoro-zuke -
This was presented neatly and due to me being quick on the photo taking,  before the temperature of the sushi changes too much,  the photo doesn't do it's presentation justice.  The sharp spike of the soy sauce marination on the outside of the tuna was interesting,  as it was quite salty at first,  but luckily as mentioned above the Tuna carried enough tuna flavors to balance this out.  A lovely piece of Bluefin Tuna,  but without sounding like a hypocrite I think we should eat less of,  unless it is guaranteed to be Sustainably Farmed - in 2017 thus far only the Kindai tuna is achieving this right globally.

Kuruma Ebi -
Cooked right before serving,  this had the coral and tomalley diced up and then stuffed into the prawn.  Perfect texture and served slightly warm.  A classic Edomae sushi preparation in the modern Era.

Shima Aji - Striped Horsemackerel
This looked almost like buri for a shima aji,  but the buri wasn't perfect enough to be released yet for another 2-3 weeks from the date of this dinner apparently.  This had both oiliness and a crunch.

Aburi Kinmedai - Grilled Spledid Alfonsino
Usually people group the Kinmedai,  Nodoguro & Kinki together.  For me the Kinme is usually the most consistent performer,  and here it is grilled at the back rather than blow torched,  with the oil from the flesh and skin sipping into the rice.  It's a decent piece,  although not the best Kinmedai we have had,  but the other pieces were excellent.

Grilled Hokkigai Clam -
This is again a Hokkaido style sushi,  which is not always served in traditional Edomae omakase.  Obviously the Hokkaido suppliers and Chefs think this is performing well,  and it was deshelled alive in front of the customers.  Thick and bounciful.

Kegani Hairy Crab -
Another Hokkaido representative,  this was also deshelled in front of us,  and then the carefully removed sweet crab meat placed on the shari rice,  before topped with kani miso crab tomalley.  An excellent take on this crab,  with the meat intact and not overly loose or shredded,  perfectly steamed.

Ezo Bafun Uni Sushi -
I was debating inside my head whether this piece is classifiable as a Gunkan sushi,  since the ingredients are the same,  just the proportion is geared towards piling on more Salt Water stored Ezo Bafun urchin from Hokkaido.  A super sweet and fresh piece,  and I personally found this proportion smart,  since you have copious amounts of urchin bite vs the little bit of rice now almost acting like a boat.

Akami Zuke -
We had most of the Toro pieces above already,  and since that came as a trio I did not expect an Akami at this stage,  but it did arrived!  Good tuna taste and the tsuke marínation wasn't too overpowering salty,  just right. 

Anago 2 Ways - with a Tsume sauce and also Salt & Yuzu
Usually you only receive one treatment or another,  but the Chef made them both for us to try in smaller sizes this time.  These were grilled to be the more crispier type,  and sometimes I also love them being all steamed softish too to the bite - a texture which is more found in Sushi ya in Japan itself.

Castella Egg Tamago -
This was quite full of fish & shrimps taste, with a silky smooth texture from the nagaimo.  This time it was more on the savory than sweet side,  and apparently the Sushi Chef team preparing this,  which takes at least 4 hours to bake,  have adjusted the recipe to incorporate more seafood essence and less sugariness these days.  Perfect for a guy like me.

Minced Tuna Sushi to Finish -
Usually, whether it is in Hokkaido or Tokyo,  you finish the Omakase with some Maki-mono.  This time we opted for a Negi-Toro style nigiri,  which uses both scraped fatty meat as well as diced ones by hand.  Absolutely gorgeous and despite the melty fat,  still carried loads of tuna taste as was the norm this night.  I won't carry on about the technical skills to pull off this last piece of sushi for the night,  but overall the meal was entirely satisfactory because almost all of the seafood tasted right !  In both HK and Macau region,  a lot of Sushi ya seem to carry some seafood which lose their intrinsic natural flavors compared to eating in Japan or Taipei -  and although recently there is some apportioning the blame for the fish not being prepared or conditioned properly,  including pickling or aging,  at the end of the day customers only care about the final taste result and not the processing if it doesn't work.  Here,  it was impressive indeed and no wonder it has achieved a Michelin 2 Star status. 

Price:  Around MOP $1,600 to $2,000 + Tax & Service Charge
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕

Address:  新口岸仙德麗街永利澳門酒店地面層
G/F, Wynn Macau, Rua Cidade de Sintra, NAPE,, Porto Exterior
Phone:  +853 89863668


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