Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hong Kong: Christmas eve dinner.

All the restaurants in Hong Kong charged a 100% to 300% premium for Christmas eve dinner.
So, we stayed home and I cooked.

Citrus salad (dried cranberries, oranges, grapefruits, goat cheese)

Caprese "sandwich" salad

Blueberry, white chocolate bread pudding "a la Vardy" with Amaretto cream sauce.

Due to popular demand (and Christmas spirit), here's the recipe:

White Chocolate and Blueberry Bread Pudding a la Steve Vardy

Serves 6

For the pudding:

1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tbsp melted butter

2 large eggs

1 ½ cup heavy cream (35% cream)

½ cup milk

½ cup light brown sugar, packed

¼ tsp cinnamon

3 cups day-old bread, cubed to ½ inch pieces

3 oz white chocolate, chopped

½ cup blueberries

¼ cup dried blueberries

For the Amaretto cream sauce:

½ tbsp cornstarch

1/8 cup Amaretto liqueur

¾ cup hot heavy 35% cream

1/8 cup sugar

½ tsp vanilla

To make the bread pudding:

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Use 1 tbsp of the softened butter to grease a 4 x 9 inch baking dish.

2.) In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Whisk in cream, milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add bread cubes, chocolate, and blueberries and stir well, then mix in 1 tbsp of melted butter. Set aside for 30 minutes so that the bread will absorb the egg mixture.

3.) Pour egg into prepared baking dish and bake until firm when pressed in the centre, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack until just warn, about 20 minutes.

To prepare the sauce:

1.) In a small bowl dissolve cornstarch in Amaretto, then add to hot cream, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook, whisking for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add 1/8 cup sugar. Whisk until dissolved. Add vanilla. Let sauce cool to room temperature before serving with bread pudding. This pudding is terrific with Cinnamon Gelato or with another similar flavour.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Macau: Clube Militar de Macau

My cousin MJ was in Hong Kong for a few days and we thought appropriate to spend a day in Macau. After going through the usual Casino & ruins visit, and having consumed some of the local street food delicacies, we headed for Club Militar de Macau for supper which came highly recommended.

Here's some of what we had:

Caldo Verde; Traditional Portuguese cabbage soup with sausage

Goat cheese with confit apple in puff pastry tart, dried fruits and port wine reduction

Sea bass steak roasted "á la plancha" with olive oil and broad beans sautéed with Portuguese smoked ham and mint

Pork spare ribs roasted for 12 hours, sautéed turnip tops with Portuguese game meat sausage and roasted potatoes

Warmed apple crumble with vanilla ice cream perfumed with cinnamon

Now, what to say? Well, I was not impressed. However, my only Portuguese reference is Ferreira Cafe in Montreal, which, to me, is light years ahead of Club Militar. It is possible that Portuguese foodies would love Cafe Militar but I didn't. I thought that the setting was a little bit stuffy and lacked warmth. Although well presented, the dishes lacked finesse. My cousin's sea bass was bland; it lacked some sauce or reduction to enhance the taste of the fish. My cod was extremely salty, which might have to be expected provided it was dried cod but still, to me, it tastes nothing but salt. Cabbage soup was decent. Goat cheese tart was also pretty good. All-in-all however, not the exceptional meal we were hoping for.

For 3 people, wine, coffee, desert and service included, HK $875

Clube Militar de Macau
Av. Praia Grande 975
(853) 2871-4000

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hong Kong: El Pomposo

No pictures for this one, sorry.

May and I had been to El Pomposo before and enjoyed it quite a bit. Decent priced and great tasting tapas are served at the podium garden of the Elements mall in West Kowloon. Of course, it is more expensive than the local Chinese restaurants but overall, cheaper than SoHo or much of what can be found on the island anyway.

The ambiance is lively and the service is good.

There is a wide variety of tapas to chose from; from fried squid to orange chicken, grilled asparagus ham to roasted bell peppers. Lovers of Spanish food should have no problem finding something that suits them.

We found very few of the dishes to be not up to par. Overall, the experience we had there (going 3 times) was relaxing, mouth watering and very pleasant. I would suggest 2 tapas per person as an appropriate serving.
For us Gweillo Kowloon dwellers, it is a nice change of scenery from the loud and hectic Asian food restaurants.

For 4 people, with wine and beverages, service included: HK $705

Shop No. R009 Roof Garden, Elements
1 Austin Road West

2196 8123

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hong Kong: Scirocco

Scirocco is in SoHo and we discovered it one night when we were both a little bit blue and looking for a culinary distraction from the daily grind. We didn't know about the place and after a quick look at the menu, we stepped in. Glad we did! Very yummy Mediterranean food.

We had merguez; tasty, not too fat . Adequately spicy. Quite a good start!
Caprese salad; good Buffalone Mozzarella. Generous helping of basil (a few leaves between each slices of tomatoes. So the basil taste is always present). Here as well, very good food! Bold taste.

Tajine of Lamb; that was very good. Tender bits of lamb. Tasty sauce. Couscous came in a separate bowl; there could have been a bit more of it.

Desert of Sweet Almond Polanka Cake was a low point; would have liked a stronger almond flavor and maybe a coulis?

Total: $746 with 2 glasses of wine.

1/F Treasure View
1--12 Staunton Street, Soho
Central, Hong Kong

Check it out.

(update. We went back because we were blue one night and needed something comforting in our bellies to wash it away. Still very good! See below)

Risotto; very tasty. Creamy and Al dente, as it should be.

Seabass wrapped in paper. It does taste much better than it looks! The parchemin paper it cooks in keeps the fish moist and juicy. Delicious. And de-boned for the lazy eater such as myself who would rather enjoy the food rather than fighting with it!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hong Kong: Le Petit Paris at IFC 2

We wanted to go back to Dressed to have a Greek salad (rare feat in HK) but it seems that it closes early on Sunday.

We wandered around a bit in the International Financial Center and ended up trying 'Le Petit Paris'.

Food is quite good actually, although it suffers from an 'IFC premium' (I'm quite sure the rental rates for commercial space at IFC is extremely high).
Pretty nice view of Tsim Sha Tsui as well...

Seared tuna salad.

Very good mussels (but there would be no excuse for bad seafood in Hong Kong)

French onion soup; pretty good.

Salade Nicoise; true to form and tasty.

Le Petit Paris
Shop 2076

(852) 2805 5293

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hong Kong: Dressed

Hard to find a nice salad in Hong Kong. Chinese people tend to cook everything.

At Dressed, you build your own or order pre-built. Lots of selection for ingredients. Everything is very fresh.

A little bit on the pricey side (it is in IFC) but if you crave a good salad from time to time, as we do, the quality options are limited.

2/F, IFC Mall, 8 Finance St, Central, 2295 4848.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hong Kong: Aspasia

Thought we had pictures of Aspasia; can't find them anymore.

Anyhow, a bit expensive but definitely good food to be had there. Better that most of what is available on Knustford Terrace.

Risotto Lobster tartare $265
Mackerel Scampi Confit $228
Mascarpone Ravioli $198
Scallops with foie gras $178
Rolan vegetable soup $163
Pear tart $128
Traditional Custard Cake $108


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hong Kong: Pizza Express

Something that I like about Hong Kong is that at the low to mid-price range, restaurant are usually better than the equivalent North-American fare. For example, for the price of TGIF, Perkins or other low to mid-priced franchise serving food-as-a-filler, you get a very good Pizza at Pizza Express. Great variety of tasty pizzas on a great dough base. Plus, at their Festivak Walk location, the ambiance is nice and relaxed. The wine by the glass is decently priced and they really fill the glass! (update: however, last time we went there, it seems that they went cheap with smaller portions, less wine in the glass, no fresh parmesan... Hopefully not the new trend)

Salade Nicoise


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hong Kong: Naozen

21-25 Wellington St, Central
2877 6668

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hong Kong: Cafe Initial

Ok, just a quick one to report that May found her best coffee place in Hong Hong. It is called Cafe Initial and she claims it is currently the best coffee she has tasted in the sub-par coffee land that is Hong Kong. Oh, it also happens to be a fashion store (or is it the other way around?)

48 Cameron Road
Tel 2311 4223

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hong Kong: El Cid

Sometimes, one needs a break from the crazy Hong Kong pace and relax Mediterranean style (i.e. 3 hours dinner). On TV the other day, an announcer said that the French are "the laziest people" on the people on the planet because, among other, they take hours of their day to prepare and eat their meals... I think the Chinese have a long way to go before they fully appreciate the meaning of La Dolce Vitae.

Anyhow, we were due for a relaxed evening and El Cid fit the bill perfectly.
Nice breeze, the smell of tomato and basil in the air, over a background of great Spanish singing.

Olives and tomatoes: $55
Olives were not very good; canned stuff. Hard to find good olives in restaurants in Hong Kong.

Anchovies and Tomato Toast: $60
Toasts were not toasted enough.

Madrid Snails: $60
Snails were slightly chewy but mashed potatoes were really good.

Roasted Veggies Tartelettes: $70
Tartelettes were fine, if too simple.

Lamb good; juicy. None of the "lamby" taste which would indicate lesser grade meat.
Roast Lamp Chops: $130

Banana Truffle Pie: $55
Pretty good.

El Cid
Address G/F, New Knutsford House, 14 Knutsford Terrace, Tsim Sha Tsui
Phone +852 2312 1898
Opening Hours Mon - Sat: 12noon - 1am