Friday, September 26, 2008

Hong Kong: Cafe on the Park

We now live in Hong Kong, for better and/or for worse...

We left pretty much everything behind: I quit a high paying job, we sold our house, we left our friends and my family. The reason: the business bug has taken me over; we started a book publishing company in Hong Kong. Fountain Publisher (www.fountainpublisher.com) is up and running... and we now have little revenues and a lifestyle that is far (very far) from what we had before. But you have to start somewhere!

This won't prevent us from going out for dinner. But maybe not at restaurants in the same price range as before. And, occasionally, we might get invited to the really nice places!

Anyhow, the first place we went to (for my nephew's birthday) is Cafe on the Park.
Overall, we were underwhelmed by the quality of food, provided this was relatively expensive. Meat were generally overcooked, western-style food was passable at best. Chinese dishes were ok but nothing to drool over. Variety was certainly there though.

What saved it was the desert buffet ; lots of variety and unusual flavors.

Cafe on the Park.
Tel: (852) 2738 2322
2/F, Hotel Wing, The Royal Pacific Hotel and Towers
China Hong Kong City, Canton Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Monday, September 22, 2008

Montreal: Jolifou

Just a few days before we left for Hong Kong, we went to Jolifou with my mother and my cousin.
Never been there before; it was selected because it got good reviews and it was close enough to where my mother lives.

Nice surprise; most excellent dishes and reasonable prices!

It is off the beaten path but worth the detour.

Fish of the day

Magret de canard
avec pozole et panais rôtis, réduction de vinaigre de xérès au pasilla negra

1840 Beaubien Est

Montreal: Newtown

JC abandoned me one afternoon so I decided to explore Montreal on my own and treat myself to a nice little lunch at Newtown, a restaurant owned by the famous F1 driver, Jacques Villeneuve.

I was seated near the window and it was perfect for people watching while I ate. I started with a green salad. The greens were fresh and crisp, but the dressing was way too salty and I was a little let down by it. Someone was a little too liberal with the salt shaker in the kitchen! At this point I wasn't very hopeful for a yummy main, since they had messed up a super easy dish. However, when they brought me the Saute de crevettes epicees aux legumes et couscous (Spicy shrimps and vegetable stir fry on couscous), it smelled delicious and I was attracted by the size of the shrimps! I was hooked after one bite of the shrimp. The shrimps were cooked exactly right - and the sweetness/tanginess of the sauce contrasted beautifully with the spiciness. The vegetables were still a little cruncy, exactly the way I like it.

I'd be happy to overlook the salad dressing and return for more of the shrimps...


Total: $16 CDN + taxes
1476 Crescent,
Montreal, QC

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

3 weeks on Papineau street (Montreal)

We're moving to Hong Kong. And since we plan to stay there for a few years, we figured we'd stay with my mother in Montreal for a few weeks before we go. My mom and I cooked up a storm...

Very homey table that we shared pretty much every night.

Chicken pot pie in phillo pastry, covered with pine nuts.

Beef Stroganof

Green asparagus and smoked salmon in crepe rolls.

Oven baked salmon with almonds.


Pork tenderloin 'a la chinoise' with Bok Choy and rice.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Petit Bill Bistro... a disappointing take 2

We went there when it first opened in May 2007. We had a nice experience then and we were interested to see how it had evolved since then. Terry (the owner) is as friendly as ever - but I am sorry to say that his food has suffered.

The bread they brought us was a little stale - and they were all cut in weird shapes. (some were sliced on the bias, some were just square-ish, all were rather squished-looking.)

All three of us started with salads - I had a Nutty Green, JC had the tomato salad, and our friend Cheez had a Caesar. They were all okay - I am sure most of us can reproduce the same quality from a bag out of Loblaws.

I took the Steak Frites as my main, JC took the seared tuna, and Cheez wanted tenderloin. Both Cheez and I requested medium rare for our steak, but they both came out medium to medium well. My plate was at best ordinary... the steak was a little on the chewy side, and the flavour was a little on the bland side, and the "Belgium Mayo" tasted straight out from a jar.

Cheez was in shock when he received his tenderloin... it was the size of a hockey puck!!! I generally think in North America, the portions in restaurants come way too big, but in this instance, the portion was so small it was ridiculous for a $24 plate. A minute later, Cheez had a funny expression in his face - apparently, they did not remove the strings of the pea pods in his plate - so when Cheez popped a pea pod in his mouth, there was a slight bitterness - not to mention the unexpected "chewiness" factor.

JC's seared tuna was also not to our standard. First of all, we couldn't really see the tuna because it was lost in a jungle of green salad. It looked like someone just opened a bag and dumped salad all over the plate. Then, the tuna was not cooked properly. Maybe because it was so thin... instead of being seared, it was rather just cooked through more or less. Oh, and the tuna was swimming in a sea of yellow mustard. Yup. The normal, regular, yellow mustard found in hotdogs. On the menu it was supposed to be some wasabi sauce, but maybe they ran out in the kitchen...

There was no thought in the presentation of our dinner - and the taste of our meal matched the appearance.

Service was just okay. The waitress was friendly enough but not so knowledgeable about wine and food, and also seemed a bit absent-minded.

There are better choice of restaurants in the area. Even if we were staying in Ottawa, we would not be visiting Petit Bill again.