Monday, July 30, 2012

Hong Kong: Blue Smoke Bar-B-Que

(Sorry for the crappy Blackberry pictures, we weren't planning a night out so we didn't have the S95 handy)

May wanted to try BrickHouse, a Mexican restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong. Being a Monday night, I figured there wouldn't be a problem just dropping by but it turned out there was a private party and we would have to wait an hour. Being quite hungry at that point, we explored other options in LKF. May spotted Blue Smoke and since she heard of it before, we decided to pay them a visit.

The bar-tenderess (how do you qualify a female bar-tender?) was quite nice, making recommendations on food and drinks. We saw nachos and pecan pie on the menu and that got us quite interested.

Unfortunately, the food was not all the best; May had the ribs and they were really, really dry. My pulled-chicken sandwich was also quite dry. On the plus side, the pulled-pork nachos were quite good and the pecan pie was delicious.

Would we go back? Yes, but we'd set our expectations and focus on what's good: nachos, some greens, and dessert. Otherwise, better look for other options.

1/2 slab ribs. Very dry, almost inedible. HKD $168

Pulled chicken sandwich. Dry as well.  $88

Nachos. Good. Big portion enough for two. Pulled pork was  nice. No skimping on the toppings. Some of the best nachos we've had in HK. $98

Pecan pie. Now, that's enough for 3 I would say. Lots of pecans, nice base. A classic. $78

Blue Smoke
3/F, 15-16 Lan Kwai Fong, Central
Hong Kong
tel: 2816 9018

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hong Kong: Otto e Mezzo

For our 9th wedding anniversary, we booked the ever busy Otto e Mezzo, one of the 4 three Michelin starred restaurants in Hong Kong. As one would expect from such an establishment, the ambiance is great and service impeccable. But, much to our disappointment and as we experienced at L'Atelier Joel Robuchon HK, the food is not at the same level as a 3 Michelin star restaurant in other big cities, be it in New York, Paris or London. It's not that the food is bad but at that price level and at that 3-stars "bragging level", I expect my experience to be surprising and memorable (in a good way). And I demand that elusive quality of food of the great chefs which is the layering of flavours; each bite should bring a succession of flavours teasing your palate, complementing each other perfectly, crashing on one's taste buds in waves of tastes that will make you feel transported to another universe. That's why, for me, eating a good meal is a lot like traveling to a foreign country; there needs to be a sense of discovery.
All of this to say that I have yet to experience this in Hong Kong as I did in London, Chicago, New York, Paris, San-Francisco and Montreal, among others.
Should you go? Well, if you are an investment banker and dropping $3,000 for a meal with a hot date is equivalent to an hour of your work, then sure, you'll have a good meal and won't think about it twice. But if that is the meal that you have once a year, or once every five years, then I would suggest that you wait for that trip to Europe and then splurge on that 3 Michelin star restaurant there. Or, instead, go to non-starred restaurants which will give you 90% of the food experience for 1/3 the price (e.g. La Marmitte, there are others).

Fresh bread basket. I especially liked the fresh tomato topping.

Octopus amuse-bouche; weird fishy taste and was too chewy. Didn't like it

Seared Maguro Tuna with Fennel Pollen. Eggplant salad,  tomato and orange dressing.  Dressing was nice and light, not overpowering the tuna. Quite a nice dish.

Poached langoustine on asparagus compote, natural jus, sea urchin. That was good but we weren't blown away either.

White asparagus risotto with black truffles.  Decent enough risotto.

Homemade fettuccine, black truffles, butter  and Parmesan. Fresh pasta were really nice.
Clear attention to ingredients.

M9 Tajima beef sirloin. Beef jus, graden salad. Good but still waiting to be blown away.

Colorado rack of lamb, Artichoke puree, Black olive and lamb jus.
Tasted lamb-y. Now, fresh lamb should not have that lamb-y taste.

Peach and almond. Vanilla panna cotta, peach jelly,  almond mini shortcake.

Two degustation 8 1/2 menus + bottle of Barolo: HKD $3,311
Tel:  +852 2537 8859
Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Road,
Central, Hong Kong.