Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hong Kong: Noble Dessert

I mentioned it before, Tai Kok Tsui is gentrifying fast and as a result, tons of new restaurants are opening. I was going to write "Noble is the latest in the list" but it is already no longer the case. Since then, at least 3 new eateries have opened their doors. It certainly makes going out for supper a lot more exciting than when we moved to Tai Kok Tsui two and a half years ago. Lots of food blogging to catch up to however.

Anyhow, Noble...
Only desserts there but a wide variety of Chinese and western style sweets. We actually went twice by now and both times, desserts were nice and overall, affordable. Not as "upscale" as Black&White nor as local as Mega Eight (which are both within a 1 minute walk), it provides a happy median not only in price, but also in variety and taste. Tends to get quite busy at night. Recommended.

Mango rolls. HKD $30

Lava chocolate cake. $45

G/F, 98 Ivy Street, Tai Kwok Tsui

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hong Kong: Trattoria Doppio Zero

Doppio Zero, literally double-zeroes, is supposed to be the finest grade of flour used to make what one could expect to be the finest fresh pasta in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, I didn't find it to be the case. I thought that everything at Doppio was a little bit off; pastas were more chewy than al-dente, taste was a bit on the bland side where I expect bold flavors, and presentation was average.

Actually, we did return one of the pasta dish because it was under-cooked. And yes, we know what al-dente should be like, but when there's a piece of pasta that is solid, this is not authentic in anybody's book. Incidentally, what we returned to the kitchen came back virtually the same. If I were a chef and a dish of mine was returned which I believed was fine, I would actually go argue with the client. Or, if the dish was cooked wrong, I would go apologize. None of this at Doppio Zero.

All in all, a disappointing experience which made us decide that there wouldn't be a second time.

Octopus. Was not very good. Octopus is nice when grilled so it is slightly charred so as to have a smokey taste, resistant to the tooth whole not being rubbery. This one was a bit mushy, and tasteless. It also looked a bit messy. As if there was no love being put in the preparation. HKD $120

Burrata. Basically a mozzarella ball stuffed with cheese and cream. On a bed of  arugula and pickled red onion, with eggplant jam and aged balsamic vinegar. That was fine if uninspired. $95

Fritti Misti. Various deep-fried seafood morsels. Nothing subtle there. Batter could have been lighter. $60

Chitarra pasta with sea urchin, crab roe and tarragon. Although I thought that the pastas were not the best, flavor was there and very satisfying. Best dish of the night in my opinion. $165

We went as a group and although I did not sample all the dishes, the agreement was that the Spaghetti Carbonara, the Cappellacci and the villa mangiacane were not up to the guests' expectations.
Yet, the restaurant was full so I guess opinions vary. For myself, I would rather skip Doppio Zero and go to CineCitta (just a short walk from Olympic station, give it a try)

G/F, The Pemberton, 22 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hong Kong: Lupa

Batali's Lupa arrives in Hong Kong in the brand new LHT building on Queen's road Central.  There's a nice terrace at the back for a drink while waiting for your table and/or friends. We quite enjoyed it. Now, it was opening week (Batali was rumored to be in town but we didn't see him at the restaurant at the time) and service needs to be tweaked; the local waiters didn't quite know the menu, nor fully mastered the waiting techniques but Batali had a maitre D' on site who seemed to be borrowed from one of this U.S. establishments and that guy was top-notch; he could perfectly describe the menu items and why things were done the way they are, and offered us complimentary dessert-wine. Provided he's the one who will train the rest of the staff, that augurs well for the future of Lupa in Hong Kong.

Favas, Ricotta and Guanciale. To my taste, this was the absolute best dish, just spectacular; nice combination of textures from the crunchy salad to the fava beans, and amazingly flavored dressing. Amazing.
HKD $98

Octopus and Celery; thought it was OK but nothing earth shattering.

Corzetti with rabbit ragu. Quite good. Pasta nicely al-dente.

Linguine with Crab, Fennel and Chilies. Nice punch from the chilies.

Desserts were ok but not a match for the mains.
Lupa Tartufo

Date Torta

HKD $2577 with service, for 4 people. $580 bottle of Amarone, and 2 drinks included.
3rd floor
LHT Tower
31 Queen's Road Central