Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hong Kong: Le Soleil @ The Royal Garden Hotel

One of the perks of a credit card; an occasional discount at some restaurants.
We heard good things about Le Soleil at The Royal Garden Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Quite happy with it; food is decent and the ambiance is very relaxing. It is a nice change from the typically loud talking, cutlery banging Chinese food joints where we  usually have weekday supper.

Dinner for 2, with MasterCard 15% rebate: HKD $670

Le Soleil,  3/F, The Royal Garden, 69 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Hong Kong: Bricklane

New breakfast spot in Tsim Sha Tsui. Food is quite good. Ambiance is relaxed. Coffee is good (May approved). Sorry for the crappy pictures, we forgot the S95, had to rely on the crappy berry phone camera.

Eggs Benedict; quite good. Better sauce than 18 grams according to May

Omelet; could use a bit more seasoning.

Bread pudding. A miss. Not "bready" enough. More like a flan.
HKD $400 for 3.
G/F, 2 Blenheim Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hong Kong: Gold

For our 8th year anniversary, Gold in LKF.

Quite good, Harlan Goldstein on the premise to ensure quality. A great evening.

Comfortable and cozy.

Gold's interpretation of Caprese salad; with tomato sauce. Nice mozz, nice flavors.

Scallop Carpaccio. Yum!

Pasta with mushrooms. Shaved truffles. Very fragrant and rich, bold taste.

Wild boar pasta with egg.

Tiramisu. Probably the best I had in Hong Kong. Except for my own (not bragging, mine is lighter because the egg yokes/mascarpone is folder into the egg whites, not mixed)

Pleasant outdoor setup if not too hot.

For 2:
Food HKD $960
Wine $366

2/F LKF Tower
33 Wyndham Street
Central, Hong Kong

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hong Kong: Al Molo

Tried Al Molo on the cruise pier in Tsim Sha Tsui.

I suspect that the Michelin starred chef Michael White just lent his name to this place. Many things wrong with this place, starting with the service which was rushed taking the plates out as soon as we had taken the last bite (now, slowdown guys, this is a European-style joint where dinner is expected to last 3 hours), waiters that obviously do not know much about the dishes they serve. Plating is weak. And the food is just OK, not terrible, not extraordinary, just OK (with the exception of the truffle pasta May had which was great).

Bread. Too crunchy to go well with Olive oil. Not very tasty. Waiter seemed to be baffled when we asked for a little bit of balsamic vinegar.

Caprese salad; tomato wasn't  all the great. Didn't have this great refreshing taste that a Caprese salad usually  have. HKD $128

Pasta Garganelli; pasta quils, prosciutto, basil and mozzarella. Now, that was very tasty. Well done but for the plating which was a bit too rustic. HKD $178

Spigola: Seabass , artichokes, pine nuts, roasted peppers. $258. Not bad but just not good enough. Reference for Seabass? Fererra in Montreal. Now, that's a sea-bass!

Torta della Nonna. Well, Nonna is not going to be all that impressed with that one... No subtle, not particularly appetizing. A lazily made dessert. HKD $88.

HKD $923 for two, with 2 glasses of wine + Cafe latte
Al Molo
Cruise pier, Tsim Sha Tsui.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hong Kong: Kings n Cream

Now, that place you have to try and patronize frequently. It would be a shame if it would go away.

Don't know if you have ever tried the crappy pseudo-ice-cream that is served by the Mister Softee vans? Softee's ice-cream taste like shortening. Quite disgusting.
Kings n Cream  would be at the exact opposite of the spectrum; one can taste the richness of texture and flavor of their product which is, I am told, home-made.

That is definitely the best ice-cream I have had in Hong Kong.

(As you walk there, don't be too disconcerted by the fake-guns shop; you are in the right area...)

Kings n Cream
Shop G23,
1 Kwong Wah Street,
Mong Kok

Hong Kong: Buono Italiano

I think I have mentioned it before but I view the statement that Hong Kong is a multicultural city largely as a myth... Unless mainland-Chinese are seen as another culture. The fact is, in Hong Kong as a whole, there's only about 4% of the population that is non-Chinese (let's leave the maids out of this as they don't really factor in the argument), probably less than 1% non-Asian. And most of that non-Chinese population lives/works in very specific areas (HK Island, West-Kowloon, Disco Bay, etc...).

In Kowloon, where we live, on last count, I believe there's less than 0.5% of the population that's non-Chinese. Compound that with the fact that the median income is about HKD $10,000/month, this gives you a mono-culture with relatively low-income levels. In that context, the restaurant goers are mostly price sensitive and mostly exposed to Asian fare.

Having lived in truly multicultural cities (Ottawa, Montreal) got me exposed and craving for a wide variety of food from all around the world. Not that it is impossible in Hong Kong, but it is typically on the pricey side to go to restaurants for anything but Chinese food.

So, I am using this roundabout way as a background to express my delight when some inexpensive and decent non-Chinese place opens up in my neighbourhood.

I'd say that Buono Italiano is such a place. Tucked behind the stalls selling all sorts of junk in Mong Kok's ladies' market (Tung Choi street), Buono offers a good variety of dishes in a casual environment, at a reasonable price.

Finding the place is a bit of a challenge; it's hidden behind the stalls.
Seared tuna salad. Nicely done.

Pasta with clams. Quite nice as well.

Penne in tomato sauce. Pasta were a bit too chewy (should have cooked for an extra 2 minutes) but the sauce, fortunately, was not sweet, like many pseudo-Italian do in Hong Kong.

HKD $246 for two, with wine.
Buono Italiano
10 Tung Choi Street,
Mong Kok, Kowloon

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hong Kong: Casa Lisboa

I'm really of two minds about our experience at Casa Lisboa; there was excellence neighboring mediocre. Let's go through our Saturday night at Casa Lisboa.

First thing that rang and alarm bell was when I asked for tap water, as I hate to pay for fancy bottled water that is basically the same thing. Nope, we were told they "don't do that". Ok, well, bring us some overpriced still water then.
Then, comes the bread with various spreads and a plate of olives. Now, come-on, a Mediterranean restaurant which serves canned olives? And some of the worst canned olives at that. Not impressed. The Sangria? Over-sweetened and cool-aid-ish. Much better at Uno Mas or El Pomposo.

We ordered the Octopus salad which, again, came with canned olives. And the octopus was OK at best. So, another miss. That really doesn't bode well for the night. The waitresses also look like they'd rather be somewhere else, which doesn't help the ambiance.

Ok, so in comes the roasted suckling pig. Excellent: tender flesh, crispy skin on a bed a flavored rice. Very, very good. So, we're happy about that and we forgive the previous mishaps. But then comes the Stuffed Quail with port reduction. The quail is dry while the stuffing is OK, the port reduction is flavorless and seems to have been reduced out of the plate. I left my happy place again.

So, at that point, I'm a bit confused. But anyway, there's desert, which may picks.

Glorious pick as the Serradurra is really, really good. It's a vanilla whipped cream desert with a cookie dusting. Some kind of Macanese Tiramisu.

So, you see my dilemma? Will we go back? I don't know. A bit like digging for a treasure in a minefield.

The canned olives. $35 water

The octopus salad, with complements of canned olives. $85

Entertainers. Seemed a bit bored.

Most excellent roasted pig. $260

Quail with port reduction. $200

Serradura (sawdust). $70

Total for two with a jug of Sangria ($210 wasted dollars), Coffee, water and service: HKD $984.50

Casa Lisboa
8/F LKF Tower
55 D'Aguilar Street
Central, Hong Kong

Hong Kong: 18 Grams

May and I were looking for a simple place to have a decent, western-style breakfast somewhere in Kowloon, but we woke up a little late. We ended-up at iSquare, at Carpaccio Pasta Pizza Vino which had what looked like an OK brunch. It wasn't; coffee was terrible (watered down latte according to my wife), food wasn't good.

We read about a new spot in Mong Kok called 18 Grams and decided to give it a try the next day.

Very satisfied with the outcome: food was quite good. My wife tells me the coffee was also quite good. Price is decent. Eggs Benedict and Croque Madame were good.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a lot of places in Kowloon that can do the basic western breakfast right and at a decent price. 18 Grams pulls it off nicely.

18 Grams
Shop B04, B/F, Gala Place, 56 Dundas Street, Mong Kok

Cafe latte


Eggs Benedict

Mango mousse