3 Seriously Cool Asian Restaurants To Go To In Hong Kong This Summer

Junjuu’s super cool dining room

Funky mod-Korean restaurant & bar Jinjuu, headed by TV chef and UK Iron Chef winner, Korean-American Judy Joo, has just reopened in Lan Kwai Fong after a bout of renovations and menu revamp and a happy “price adjustment”. Look forward to set lunch starting from HK$198 for two courses, and new sharing plates for dinner, featuring dishes like short rib kimchi hhotteok with Korean-style pancake, Kong bowl (HK$45) with edamame topped with chilli panko mix, Philly cheese steak & kimchi (HK$85), and whole Korean fried chicken (HK$480 for 3-4 pax). Head Mixologist Edgar Santillan rolls out summer cocktails (HK$120) ranging from fruity Purple Haze, comprising hibiscus-tinted Glendalough gin, yuzu sake, acai liquor, lemon juice, apple, orange sherbet, to The Gentleman, a boozy tipple of Buffalo Trace bourbon, lillet blanc, pedro ximenez & angostura bitters. Happy hour hits between 5 and 8pm.

UG/F, California Tower, 32 D’Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 3755-4868

Summery Thai-meets-South American flavours in Limewood

If you want to get into the breezy holiday mood, head to Limewood at Repulse Bay for a seriously exciting meal where Thai flavours and South American cooking collide deliciously. Tuck into summery dishes like its soft shell crab salad and Pacific lobster salad with ponzu mayo, yellow curry mayo, grapefruit and avocado; barbecued New Zealand lamb rack served with Penang curry, green peppercorns, fragrant herbs and kaffir lime, whole roasted jerked chicken with caramelized pineapple and mango habanero sauce, and its signature Charred Whole Sea Bream. Wash it all down with craft beers, shaken margaritas and “barbeque inspired cocktails”.
The Pulse, Shop 103 & 104 G/F – 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay
Tel: +852 2866 8668

Matcha tea glutinous rice balls filled with yam & crispy glutinous rice dumpling with chocolate at Hutong

Hutong at One Peking may have been around for quite a while, but this Chinese courtyard house styled restaurant continues to keep Chinese dining fresh and stylish. Just launched is its new Fēng Wèi brunch on weekends which showcases Chinese cuisine in the coolest way possible, washed with the option of free flow Veuve Clicquot Champagne and summer cocktails. Tuck into over 18 traditional dishes given a contemporary twist, such as a rich and aromatic seared foie gras with osmanthus-smoked coddled egg, shrimp, kimchi & mozzarella spring roll, 12-hour braised beef rib with aromatic herbs in lotus leaf and Matcha tea glutinous rice balls filled with sweet potato. Complementing the experience are demonstrations of traditional Chinese arts like fortune-telling by bird (as seen in the night markets of Temple Street), Sichuan face changing, kung-fu tea pouring and Chinese rainbow calligraphy. It may be kind of touristy (good for bringing out-of-town friends) but the food is definitely worth heading back for. HK$428 and additional HK$200 for Champagne and drinks option.

28/F One Peking, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Telephone: (852) 3428 8342

Hutong’s stylish take on northern Chinese favourites

Meet Mr S.Y Punti – A Small Cafe With Big Personality

The next time you are find yourself in the increasingly trendy Sai Ying Pun enclave, drop by and say hello to a new resident there, the honourable Mr. S.Y. Punti!

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Who is he? He or rather IT is a small cafe with undeniable personality.  There are no short forms when it comes to formal introductions with this cafe. On contrary, this elusive little place is tucked behind a temporary public toilet at the end of David Lane – next to the Sai Ying Pun wet market. It took a little bit of investigative work to track Mr. Punti down but when we eventually did, my girlfriend and I were both pleased and pleasantly surprised by this little gem of an eatery which also serves coffee and alcohol.

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Cafe Manager, Bibiana greeted us warmly at the door when we arrived for lunch to try some of the traditional cha chaan teng fare that seems to have been given a nice twist in terms of preparation, presentation and the use of healthy and fresh produce instead of the usual canned fare that cha chaan tengs are so fond of using.

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The first thing we inquired with Bibiana was about was the inspiration behind the Cafe’s name. The “Mr” is just a fun formality and the Cafe’s initials. “S.Y.”, she explained, stood for Sai Ying Pun which turns out was one of Hong Kong’s oldest neighbourhoods and one of the first formally settled places in Hong Kong as it was close to where the British first landed.  It’s surname “Punti” hails from the ‘pun’ in Sai Ying Pun and also the word “punti’ which is the slang word for local dialect – a word that it’s Barrister Founder and Owner picked up in court when asking clients that he was representing whether they wanted legal proceedings to be conducted in English or Cantonese.

That done, we got down to admiring the nitty gritty – from the very retro and interesting decor to the simple but tasty menu.

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I have to say, I really liked the use of space in the venue. The eatery is essentially tiny and is housed in a small narrow shop house. Outside there is an alfresco area with seats for 2 just before you enter the premises. Inside, is a small living space that has been converted into a dining area with booths that seat 8 and  a bar area with seats for 6, whilst the back of house area hosts a rest room, an open-air air-well and the Cafe’s main kitchen.

There is a distinct retro 1960s vibe which adds to the charm of the venue. A very eclectic and quirky Hong Kong sense of style prevails here. Different elements from East and West come together almost seamlessly and effortlessly and at Mr. S.Y. Punti, it is a case of 1960s style American Diner meets 1960s Chinese vintage.

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Just open the secret drawer built into one of the eatery’s standard American diner booth tables and help yourself to the eclectic mix of Chinese vintage style cutlery. Whilst you chat and eat, Faye Wong’s sultry tunes add to the relaxing ambience in the distant background. It is an unusual mix, but yet nothing feels odd or misplaced.

The menu and fare is simple with items that one would expect at a local Hong Kong eatery but decently priced, well-presented, hearty and minus that greasy after-taste that brings on the food coma you usually suffer from, after leaving a Hong Kong cha chaan teng.

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We started with what the locals call Cheong Fun, an order of Panfried Rice Rolls with Eggs and Bean Sprouts (HK$32).

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After that came the Panfried Lotus Root Cake made from mushrooms and minced pork served with Mini Greens (HK$36).

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This was followed by my favourite – Dumplings, a combination of three different types of dumplings – one with Minced Pork, one with Shitake and the last variety with Chicken and Celery (all for HK$38) served in a lovely homemade Chicken broth.

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All three items went well with the Cafe’s signature Yu Kwen Yick chilli sauce. It turns out that the Cafe was previously the actual ‘factory’ venue where this iconic made-in-Hong Kong chilli sauce was actually manufactured – fermented in wooden barrels.

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Dessert was a French Toast with Peanut Butter (HK$35) and Sesame Balls or Tong Yuen served in Iron Buddha Tea (HK$35). I really liked this unusual combination where the tea had a delicious roasted flavour and was gingerly poured over the sesame balls. Again an unusual combination that somehow, mysteriously worked.

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We ended our meal with two cups of Olympia Graeco-Egyptian coffee which barista-trained – Bibiana, personally prepared.

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Definitely, a cute spot to retreat to in the day, for a quiet girlfriend chat – over Almond Tea (HK$35) and a Cappuccino (HK$35), away from the hustle and bustle of busy Sai Ying Pun. Or this venue would also make a lovely spot to host a private party for about 20 people, after hours. Also, an ultra-nice nice venue to pop into for an evening, after work drink where Blue Girl Beer is on tap and a glass of wine starts at only HK$48.

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Nice to make your acquaintance S.Y, we hope you don’t mind us dropping the ‘Mister’ and now that we have been formally introduced, we would love to come back and say hello and get re-quainted. This time, perhaps on a first name basis!

Mr. S.Y Punti is at G/F No. 4 David Lane, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong – Tel: +852 29158885 

 

Edible Flowers And Afternoon Tea At The Langham

Everything is coming up floral and pretty at The Langham, Hong Kong this Spring. If you have an occasion to celebrate, be it a girly catch up, a girlfriend’s birthday or Mothers’ Day, then we recommend that you make a booking for their specially themed, ‘Blooming Afternoon Tea’ at The Langham Hotel’s Palm Court.

Here’s a tip to book for the 25th and 26th of March when British illustrator, Tanya Bennet will be there to design guest portraits for you to take back. If you are wondering why her ultra-cute illustrations look so familiar, its because you’ve seen these water colour sketches and fashion vignettes commissioned for use by brands like Christian Louboutin, Cartier, and Lane Crawford, all of whom have engaged Tanya for various campaigns.

We love the ambience at Palm Court. The setting is just intimate, classy and sublime. The plush armchair lounge creates an inviting and relaxed atmosphere where you just want to sit back and sink in, take genteel sips of your favourite tea (pinkies pointed up) and chat to your hearts content against the melodic tinkling tunes from the pianist, playing live in the background. Definitely a nice place to feel magically transported from the crowds, stress and humdrum of the everyday.

Executive Pastry Chef Matthieu Godard and his culinary team have designed a selection of five exquisite pastries decorated as a bouquet of blossoms and the tea has an overall floral theme from the exquisite wedgewood platters on which he serves his creation to the fact that he uses real flowers as decorations, all edible.

Jasmine is a pistachio and white chocolate macaron filled with a dash of jasmine tea flavoured cream. Rose is a decadent vanilla panna cotta with luscious rose and strawberry mousse served in a glass, topped with a thin chocolate rose petal.

Viola is a playful arrangement as a bite-sized chocolate flower pot planted with Gianduja cream rich in hazelnut, and viola flowers. Marigold is a fruity dome incorporating yuzu mousse, apricot jam and lemon biscuit, while Daisy offers a buttery base of sablé breton with raspberry mousse and Chantilly cream.

Savoury accompaniments include the “pseudo” tomato patch with fillings of smoked salmon and cream cheese, chicken with Dijon mustard, and green pea hummus with sesame paste. There are also scones and cheese sticks if you want to fill up after.

And if tea lingers on to Happy Hour, we suggest you try their Garden Globe Cocktail at the adjoining Artesian Bar. 100% instagram-worthy, this create cocktail features an ice sphere with live edible flowers (almost like a mini terrarium) delicately balanced on top of the glass with a creative cocktail concoction below made with  elderflower, violet flower and black currant liqueur, as well as fresh lime juice and egg white. This cocktail is priced at HK$130 per glass and is available from 1 March to 30 April 2017.

The Blooming Art Afternoon Tea is available at Palm Court, at The Langham Hong Kong from 21 March to 31 May 2017  at HK$348 for one person and HK$598 for two persons, subject to 10 per cent service charge. The guest portrait experience is offered on 25 March 2017 at 2:15 – 4:15 p.m., 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., and on 26 March 2017 at 2:15 – 4:15 p.m. Reservations at +852 2132 7898

 

10 Noteworthy Cookie Stores To Check Out In Hong Kong

I’ve lived in Hong Kong for the last 10 years but I’m still a true blue Singaporean at heart especially when the Lunar New Year comes around each year. Each year, I faithfully head home to stock up on my favourite pineapple tarts – both open-face and closed, love letters, kueh bang-kit, cashew cookies and those incredibly addictive spicy shrimp rolls that I just can’t say no too! And then I sit back after the season, 2 kgs heavier and ask myself regretfully why I don’t possess greater self control!

It’s not that Hong Kong lacks it’s fair share of new year nibbles, because quite honestly .. Hong Kongers love their desserts and sweets! The fragrant harbour, most certainly has it’s very own cookie culture, which is not just limited to the New Year season but instead, available all year round. So, if you are a cookie-monster or a buddy to a lot of friends who appreciate food gifts then here’s my list of notable cookie stores that you should look out for the next time you pop by to visit the 852!.

Just a tip that if you don’t want to go on a wild goose chase, the cookie stores that I have listed below, can mainly be found in Kowloon, particularly in Tsim Sha Tsui along Peking Road, Lock Road, Carnavon Road, the K11 mall and around this general vicinity where I have noticed several cookie companies, recently setting up shops.

1. Jenny Bakery

Jenny’s is probably Hong Kong’s most famous cookie brand. It opened to incredibly enthusiastic and long queues in Singapore last year in the heartlands of Ang Mo Kio.  In Hong Kong, there were two stores, but at the moment only one store seems to be operating from the slightly seedy Mirador Mansion area along Peking Road in Tsim Sha Tsui.  Jenny’s has no shortage of devotees in Hong Kong and has emerged as the most sought-after, queue-worthy cookie company with multiple resellers and counterfeit retailers touting their wares to unsuspecting tourists and mainlanders, all sealed in seasonally different but the familiar signature Teddy bear-themed tins.

In Hong Kong there sometimes is a 4 box quota per person, especially during peak seasons like the Lunar New Year or Christmas period. But still the queues are there – probably because the cookies are butter and cornstarch-rich, melt-in-your mouth good and the price tag for a 4-mix of their famous Butter Flower, Shortbread, Raisin Oat and Coffee Flower cookies starts at only HK$70 per 320g tin. In Singapore the same tin size and mix, starts at double the price of its Hong Kong flagship at $25 (HK$125). Just saying, that if I was visiting Hong Kong from Singapore, that fact alone, would inspire me to stock up and cart them back.

Also worth picking up (as it’s not sold in Singapore) is a ton of their lesser known rectangle-shaped 8-mix nut cookies (great crunch and good flavour) And their 7 piece tin of Macadamia Cranberry Nougat Candy.

Where:

Jenny’s Bakery Hong Kong is at G24, Ground floor and Shop 42, 1st floor at Mirador Mansion, Tsim Sha Tsui,

Jenny’s Bakery Singapore is at 422 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3, #01-2534, Singapore 560422

 

2. Glory Bakery

My latest cookie craving is definitely for a tin of these lovelies from Glory Bakery. I am a new convert to this brand and I plan to take a few tins home to family this year! True, that they are not half as buttery as Jenny’s but they are most definitely unique.

For starters, I really like the yellow tin design which looks premium and the cookies come beautifully packaged inside with a lovely catalogue and there are 15 different and unusual flavour combinations from Horlicks Macadamia Nut, Lemon Tea, Ovaltine, Linseed to Coffee Chocolate, Charcoal Sunflower Seed and Cranberry.

There are several themed cookie combos. If you like a Hong Kong flavour to the cookie mix in the box, pick the Cha Chaan Teng combo or else, there is the Tea Time selection or the Nuts and Seeds box. Slightly more expensive than Jenny’s, they start at HK$98 (S$18) for a small tin (320g).

Also selling, are their delicious Jams with flavours like Papaya Passion Fruit, Mango, Apple and Pineapple, a selection of Roasted Nuts, Brown Sugar Walnuts, Seaweed Walnuts, Dried Fruits, Raisins and Cranberries.

WHERE: 

Glory Bakery is at: 161 Sai Yee St, Mong Kok and Shop C, Ground Floor, Carnavon Mansion, 10 Carnavon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.

3. Conte De Cookie

One other brand that I have seen in Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai but have yet to try is Conte De Cookie.

Set up by pedigreed Pastry Chefs who come from the Peninsula, Sheraton and Mandarin Oriental, one tin of these bite-sized beauties will set you back HK$178 (for about 36 cookies) but they look tempting and are apparently are made with the finest imported ingredients including organic eggs and wheat from the US, butter from France and Australia, Valrhona chocolate cocoa powder and Cacao Berry Chocolate including Fleur de sel de Guerande sea salt, organic cane sugar, natural nuts and dried fruits. The cookies are apparently made fresh daily and have no preservatives or chemicals

There are about 16 different cookie flavours at HK$82 per packet of single flavoured cookies including unusual ones like Osmanthus and Longan, Mango Cookies, Pineapple, Fleur de Sel, Rose and Raspberry and these are combined in about 5 different tin mixes that start at HK$178.

They sell Palmiers too, which Hong Kongers seem to like a lot but don’t do much for my personal sweet tooth. In terms of Palmier flavours, there are about 7 flavours from Maple Syrup to Mixed Grains, Lemon and Almond sticks that start at HK$158 per mixed tin or a single flavoured packet of Palmiers goes for HK$68.

Where:

Conte Cookie is at G/F, 8D Humphreys Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui

 

4. Cookies Quartet

This cookie brand definitely has been around for some time as they have at least five outlets in Hong Kong.

There are about 25 different cookie varieties from Blue Berry and Cornflake to Devil’s Chocolate Cookies, which I really liked because of the fact that they were not too sweet and you could really taste the chocolate and they were also crunchy.

Interesting were flavours like their Sea Salt Cookies, Rose Cookies, Orange Chocolate Cookies and Cinnamon Twists. There are about 5 different types of Palmiers from Shredded Coconut and Sesame to Golden Flaxseed and about 8 assorted box sets starting at HK$158 to select from.  A box of 9 different cookie flavours starts at HK$178 whilst 11 flavours is at HK$208. A box of single flavoured cookies starts at HK$82.

Where: 

Cookie Quartet is here (branch locations).

5. Cookie Galerie

This cookie store also has about 7 stores in Hong Kong. The flagship store at K11, has nice counters, a large shop space and looks a little intimidating especially when you want to go in for some free samples.

But the staff are generally helpful and friendly and will tell you if they are selling out on a particular cookie. For instance, I was looking for sugar free cookies which they sell for diabetics and there was but one box left as apparently they are quite popular.

They offer about 23 different cookie flavours including Belgian Dark Chocolate 75% with sliced white almonds, Rose, Lavender, Green Tea, Pistachio and Blueberry and 16 different types of Palmiers including the Spicy Hot Pork Floss, Almond and Sakura Sticks and a variety of chocolates, macarons and crispy cakes. Buy these as individual packets per flavour or you can buy them as mixed tin sets. There are 4 cookie tin sets that start from HK$128 a box – the choices: Tea Box, Nuts Talk, Suite de Chocolat and Momordica Fruit Cookies and also 2 mixed Pamier Tin Sets.

Where:

Cookie Calerie is at several locations with its flagship at K11 Mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

6. Sweet Boutique de Tony Wong

A veteran pastry chef, Tony Wong hails from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Royal Garden Bakery and set up Cookies Quartet, Pâtisserie Tony Wong and Smile Yogurt. His Sweet Boutique aims to create low-sugar and healthy sweets using organic flour, French butter and puree, French fruit, trehalose without using added preservatives.

The cookie selection is made up of a selection of Egg Rolls starts at HK$168 a box with flavours like the Chocolate Explosive Cigar, Raspberry and Earl Grey, Crispy Cookies in Rose and Sesame combinations, Sable and Tulle Cookies,  a selection of Meringues and Wafers, Pineapple cake, Assorted Dragees and Raspberry Almonds. Detailed price list HERE. There is also a special Lunar New Year pack that starts at HK$268 a box.

Their signature is undoubtedly their Bonbons which come in flavours like Rum and Raisin, Venezuela Dark Chocolate, Kalamansi and Strawberry with Balsamic Vinegar.

Where :
Sweet Boutique has 3 branch locations HERE.

 

7. Patisserie Jeffery Koo

Known as PJK, Jeffery Koo also hails from the Mandarin Oriental having worked at their Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur properties. He then trained under Michelin star patisserie Chef Pierre Gagnaier and he now is the host of a TVB TV show “Sweet Corner”, teaching celebrities how to make desserts. With a baking supplies store online as well as at Chai Wan and a patisserie in K11, this up and coming Pastry Chef is well known for his French style chocolate cakes.

Popping by the K11 store, we ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ at his range of Chinese New Year cookies seasonal products that he has brought out for Chinese New Year including his HK$628 (early bird price of HK$566) for his Salted Chocolate Kum Quat Trees. Cookies in sealed jars start at HK$128 for 240g.

Where: 
Shop Locations HERE

8. Blesscuit Bakery

Also in K11 Mall, is this bakery owned by Pastry Chef Kim Leung has about 5 other outlets throughout Hong Kong and 3 in Macau. It’s name ‘Blesscuit’ is the combination of the words ‘blessings’ and ‘biscuits’.

The brand’s belief is that blessings are what their customers gift through their prettily wrapped and boxed creations. We liked their colourful tins which start at a promotional price of HK$228 for 28 pieces with 6 flavours of individually wrapped cookies. The flavours are unusual with about 18 different flavours to choose from ranging from Pear Butter to Black Pepper and Parmesan Cheese, Truffle and Smoked Ham cookies. There are also limited edition flavours available each season from Morels and Wild Mushrooms to Blue Lobster which make great gifts for adventurous tastebuds.

Where: 

Blesscuit Bakery Outlets HERE

 

9. Lucullus

My experience with this brand is the fact that you will find it usually near a supermarket or in an MTR shop location. They are no newbies and have been around for the last 30 years. There are about 13 outlets, 2 festive counters and 2 Chocolate Cafes that the brand operates in Hong Kong. They are essentially famous for their chocolates and candies but they also sell cookies throughout the year and especially at the Lunar New Year where there are very attractive box sets and hampers galore.

Typically a box set of 9 flavours of butter cookies including purple sweet potato, chocolate ginger, green tea, honey yuzu, chocolate almond, blueberry and flax seed and about 54 cookies in a box starts at HK$185.

At the Lunar New Year, they have Rooster themed hampers and cookie tins like this with 45 cookies in 10 flavours starting at HK$259 a tin. They too sell a variety of Palmiers and just for the New Year there is a cute Tangerine Gift Box with an assortment of Gold Tael Butter cookies and chocolates including Hannovers, Orange Chocolates and Hazelnut Crunches at HK$88.

Where: 

Lucullus locations HERE

10. Little Bear Bakery

These cookies come in cookie tins that could easily be mistaken for counterfeit Jenny cookies. Take a second look at their Teddy Bear themed tins and you will realise that are not Jenny Bakery cookies but have the same flower shaped cookies that also come in 4 mix tin of Butter, Matcha, Coffee and Chocolate starting at HK$130.

The owners are a husband and wife team who apparently have as their mascots Teddy Bears and they tins feature their signature little bears going on journeys around the world.

Their solo shop in Tsim Sha Tsui offers cookies, chocolates and with seasonal Egg Rolls created for the Lunar New Year.

Where: 

Little Bear Bakery is HERE.

 

Not covered in this story (but in the plan for a future review) are Hong Kong traditional bakeries like Hang Heung, Wing Wah and Kee Wah, Macau’s Koi Kee, Taiwan’s Sunny Hills Pineapple Tarts Bakery and independent local family style bakeries along Mongkok, Shanghai and Temple Street and Wan Chai like Cherikoff and the established cookie brands that are not from Hong Kong but have stores here like Dutch cookie brand Aunt Stella, US cookie brand Mrs Fields and US Famous Amos, which are also in Hong Kong. 

Restaurant Review: All Nighter Korean Chicken And Beer Delights!

It’s no secret that in the last two years, the Hong Kong fast food scene has been influenced by the growing K-Pop phenomenon.

Korean restaurants especially fast food joints have popped up everywhere capitalising on the Korean ‘chimek’ craze, combining the word ‘chicken’ with the Korean word for beer, ‘mekju’. This approach combining east and west flavours, has transformed a traditional fast food and humble fried chicken into a favourite snack that seems to have  transcended diverse cultures.

In Tsim Sha Tsui (or TST, as its fondly called) near the Mira Hotel and down from Knutsford Terrace, there is even an enclave called ‘Korean Town’ dotted with Korean supermarkets, mom and pop snack shops, eateries selling Korean fast food and Korean BBQ joints.

Not confined to just that area and relatively nearby, at Hau Fook Street – parallel to Kowloon’s hugely popular shopping area, Granville Road, we were invited to check out CHIBEE, the latest Korean Chicken and Beer outlet there. No guesses what the ‘Chi’ and ‘Bee’ in their name stands for. The big difference about this particular Korean outlet is the fact that they pull an all-nighter and they are open till 5am with a sports bar vibe that has them screening live football and sports matches till the early hours. A perfect spot for insomniacs, supper lovers and sports fans who want a place to congregate past the witching hour.

Chibee’s first outlet made its debut in Causeway Bay in 2015, It opened as a roaring success with a winning recipe of fried chicken with spicy sauces and delicious snack-style bites washed down with bottled beers and soju.

Outdoor Balcony at TST

Inspired to open another outlet, the owners have given its second branch a hip interior and a rooftop balcony so that you can chill outside, perfect for the Winter months. It opened recently in Tsim Sha Tsui’s H8 Food Mall on September 22. this year.

In terms of food, the formula is the same, but the menu has definitely expanded to include specialties that you can only enjoy at this particular outlet.

We headed over for dinner last week to try a few of their exclusive items. The first was the Fondue Chicken that comes with curly fries and a cheese fondue with a side of Korean pickles. I would have preferred the cheese to be a bit more melted and drippy but otherwise a nice snack that washes down well with a tall glass of Korean beer.

Chicken, Fries and Cheese Fondue (HK$152)

Their Dino Cheese Balls (HK$60) made of minced chicken and cheese is another item unique to the Chibee TST branch. Think of these as large-size Chicken Meat Balls mixed with cheese. They are hearty and you are meant to tear them apart to go with the dipping sauce that taste a bit like a cole slaw.

The drink that you see in the picture below is a definite signature to Chibee. This is called the Strawberry Cider Rita (HK$98) and features a bottle of Sprite suspended over a Strawberry and Cider mix.

Dino Cheese Balls (HK$60)

The best fried chicken dish I had that night was this most definitely this addictive number – the Fried Nongshim Noodle Chicken (HK$168). The chicken is coated with favourite Korean Nongshim noodles before deep frying, This gives the Chicken a delicious crispy exterior with that salty ‘mah-mee’ noodle taste. Pair this with a mild dipping sauce, Korean pickles and a bit of salad and you won’t stop at one basket. Heart ‘clogging-ly’ good and most certainly calorie-worthy!

Fried Nongshim Noodle Fried Chicken (HK$168)

We also had a few accompanying orders of a totally tasty hotpot noodle dish which I will not hesitate to order again – the Budaejjigae (HK$220). We also had some Shin Ramyun Chicken (HK$168), Korean Rice balls  (HK$58) which are actually triangle in shape and generously covered in seaweed, and the Spicy Tteokbokgi (HK$98) a tasty rice cake that looks like cheong fun, famously used in Korean street food.

Lunch sets are also served, and the drinks menu offers a range of bottled beers, juices, cider and trendy fruit-flavoured sojus.

Where:

CHIBEE is at 23/F of 8 Hau Fook Street, just a stroll from Exit B2 of Tsim Sha Tsui MTR. Opening hours are midday-4pm on weekdays, and every night from 6pm-5am.  Tel:  (852) 2158 1818

 

Best Place For Sushi And Origami For Kids

Here’s a great place for a weekend lunch with Kids especially if you want a light and easy intro to Japanese cuisine and something for them to do whilst the adults chat.

We walked into Shiro at Pacific Place (next to Great supermarket) in Hong Kong, last week to try their new menu for Juniors and I also got to enjoy the new items added on to their innovative Crystal Sushi menu which we wrote about a few months back. Look out for my story piece on that soon.

Back to ‘babies’ … the new Junior Menu is fun and an adventure in eating different types of food especially if you have a young child that you would like to introduce Japanese food to.

I liked the fact that its not just one thing on the menu and the restaurant did not try to reduce it to serving Japanese food on cute plates and cups with ‘kawaii’ Hello Kitty cutlery. Instead, they took the trouble to size the adult portions down, offering some nicely thought through selections on what kids would like to eat, making this a more sophisticated introduction to Japanese 101.

My daughter is only just starting to eat raw as somehow her stomach always turns renegade with undercooked food. We picked the Sakana Sushi Set (HK$128) which featured mini sized sushi from mini salmon to tomago and prawn sushi complete with miso soup and orange juice. A great choice – as besides the sushi being small and cute – each piece is served as a bite sized piece – each sushi order is also unlimited. So, if your child likes one variety more than another, order another piece and so on.

We also ordered a Bento Box which was actually almost as generous as the adult-sized portion as that offered a lot of cooked items. Offering good variety and flavour, there are two boxes to choose from:  the Chocho Junior Bento Box filled with tasty prawn katsu, chicken karaage and udon noodles or the Tatsu Junior Bento Box with prawn and vegetable tempura, chicken teriyaki ball and udon noodle soup. Each Bento Box is only HK$98.

Otherwise, if your child is into finger foods, then the posh little Mini Temaki Handrolls made for children only are from HK$15 per piece. Kids can choose to have salmon, crab and avocado, freshwater eel, Japanese omelette or cucumber.

And whilst the adults are busy chatting, each Shiro menu also turns into an origami art piece and activity for the kids.

If the service staff are not too busy, they will even come fold the pieces with your little one. Now that’s what I call service!

Shiro is at two locations in Hong Kong at: 

Shiro Pacific Place – LG1, Two Pacific Place, 88 Queensway
Admiralty, Hong Kong
Reservations : +852 2117 9481
Shiro TaiKoo Place – Lincoln House, 979 King’s Road
TaiKoo Place, Hong Kong
Reservations : +852 2116 4969

 

Celebrity Kitchens In Hong Kong

Its no secret that Chefs all over the world who want a presence in Asia open first in Hong Kong just to see if the 9 million plus (unofficial population) will bite the bait, so to speak. So, if you are headed to Hong Kong, in search of the who’s who – here’s a list of what and who to check out!

Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen and London House

More charming than hellish in person, Gordon Ramsay has gone on to open two restaurants in Hong Kong. His Bread Street Kitchen opened in 2014 at LKF Hotel followed by London House which opened in TST in 2015.

Bread Street Kitchen has a gastro-bar feel to its menu with items like its delicious Tamarind spiced chicken wings, spring onions, coriander. There are also hearty meat dishes like the Dingley Dell pork BBQ baby back ribs, Cote de boeuf and for dessert a rather irresistible Sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream. It’s a good choice for date night as the place has a nice buzz with a shared table concept. Also a great place for Sunday brunch with the kids.

Bread Street Kitchen – Mezzanine Level, LKF Hotel, 33 Wyndham Street, Tel: +852 2230 1800 

London House is definitely more of an English pub type concept. Expect the latest game to be screened, live entertainment on weekends and a wide menu of beers, ales and drinks alongside comfort food like Fish and Chips, Bangers and Mash, my favourite – the Potted Crab with Seaweed Toast and Bread and Butter Pudding.

London House – G5, Tsim Sha Tsui Centre, 66 Mody Road, East Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel: +852 3650 3333 

Jamie Oliver’s Italian

Similarly Jamie Oliver also has two restaurants in Hong Kong. Both a spin off from Jamie’s Italian in the UK. Casual dining at its best, Jamie’s Italian has two branches – one in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong island and the other in Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.

Expect a fun evening of affordable all-day eats and drinks, lots of canned food on your table to hold up their signature planks full of fish and meat starters. The menu is filled with easy eats like their Hong Kong Hot pizza, Prawn Linguine pasta, the Lamb Lollipops and the Epic Brownie for dessert.

We like the fact that they have a good kids menu, interesting cocktails – our favourite is the Bramble, decent wine – try Jamie’s Rosso and the fact that each of the restaurant’s has been uniquely designed to incorporate the history and personality of the city, as well as creating an environment where the focus is on exceptional food, good company and the relaxed conviviality of the ‘Italian table’.

Jamies Italian

2/F, Soundwill Plaza II- Midtown, 1 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 3958 2222

Shop 412, Level 4, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Tel: +852 3758 3333

Jason Atherton’s 22 Ships, Ham & Sherry & Aberdeen Street Social

Unlike self-made and self-styled Gordan and Jamie, Jason Atherton started out working under great chefs like Pierre Koffmann, Marco Pierre White, Nico Ladenis and Ferran Adria at el Bulli, before joining the Gordon Ramsay Group in 2001. After launching ‘Maze’ in London and overseeing the opening of five more ‘Maze’ restaurants globally, Atherton left Gordon Ramsay Holdings to launch his own restaurant group. To date he has quickly expanded into London, New York, Dubai, Hong Kong, Sydney and Shanghai. He has already opened 3 restaurants in Hong Kong – 22 Ships, Ham & Sherry and Aberdeen Street Social.

Ham & Sherry is definitely the place to go for light bites and a drink – nothing too pricey. There is a good and wide variety of Spanish tapas style eats and Asia’s largest list of Sherry.

Ham and Sherry – 1-7 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2555 0628                         

Opposite this eatery and along the same stretch of road in Star Street, you will find 22 Ships, a great choice for a night out with friends as it has a buzzy party pub feel to the ambience and food (also tapas inspired but incorporating a mix of European and Asian ingredients) is all about sharing. Good wine list with a nice cache of Spanish beers.

22 Ships – 22 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2555 0722                                  

Aberdeen Street Social is his latest offer in Hong Kong and takes on the party crowd in a hip setting. Located at PMQ (the old Police Marine Headquarters) in Central, this newly opened venue has two floors with outdoor terraces.  It is the sum of many parts – a restaurant with a private dining room, an all-day cafe, cocktail bar and a retail space that sells confectionery and sweets.

Aberdeen Street Social – PMQ at 35 Aberdeen Street, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2866 0300

Alain Ducasse’s Spoon

With sweeping views of the Victoria Harbour, once French national and now a citizen of Monaco, Chef  Alain Ducasse’s 1 michelin star restaurant, Spoon is located at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kowloon.

All about the ultimate expression of culinary freedom, sophistication and design, it’s contemporary French menu brings together Asian produce prepared in French tradition with an excellent wine menu, where pairings are offered with your meal.

Prices here go from whatever you order on the ala carte menu to a Le Printemps set menu at HK$888 per person to a Discovery Menu at HK$1,688 per person.

Spoon – InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong.  Tel: +852 2313 2256

Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier, Le Cafe, Le Jardin and Le Salon De The

Awarded three Michelin stars by the MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong and Macau for the fifth consecutive year.  It’s owner French chef and restaurateur, Joel Robuchon has won several titles including “Chef of the Century”, the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (France’s Best Craftsman) and he has published several cookbooks and hosted culinary television shows in France.

His main restaurant in Hong Kong is located at the Landmark Shopping Centre where it opened its doors in Hong Kong in 2006, featuring an intimidating decor that is all about lush red velvet seating complemented by dark wood furniture. The restaurant has gone on to  become an institution for French fine dining offering a variety of great French classics in innovative tapas style portions. Over the last three years, he has also opened several variations of the fine dining concept including a Cafe, a Cake Salon and Roof Top Dining area in selected locations around the city.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon features a circular bar enveloping an open kitchen, allowing customers to witness all aspects of cooking, from food preparation to the plating of dishes. A Lunch Set Menu starts at HK$598, a Discovery Menu at HK$2080. If you just want to check it out the fare then perhaps the Canapés Menu at HK$280 for Happy Hour at 6pm to 730pm is the thing to try. There is also a menu of Desserts at HK$170 each, an Ala Carte menu and even a menu if you are Vegetarian.

Le Jardin has an elegant interior setting and looks out to a quaint roof top garden. It offers a contemporary fine-dining experience and a menu of gourmet French cuisine.

Le Salon De The is a French tea salon that offers a great selection of sandwiches, bakery products, pastries and cakes, and coffee/tea for dining-in and takeaway. It is one of the best tea salons in town that famously serves afternoon tea, croissants as well as macarons. Their High Tea Set starts at HK$280 each or HK$528 for two.

Joel Robuchon’s – Le Jardin, Le Salon De The and L’ Atelier are at Shop 315, 334 and 401 at The Landmark, Central District, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2166 9000.                                                                                  

Le Cafe is a much more casual version of the Atelier. The same heavy signature colours mark the Cafe but the menu is more casual. They also have a High Tea for 1 at HK$280 and for 2 at HK$580 and Crepes and Waffles on a separate menu. There are also sandwiches, crispy pockets and desserts, a boulangerie selection and drinks. All generally slightly above your regular cafe prices, naturally, but then again this is a spin off from a 3-star michelin experience!

Shop 2608-2610, Level 2, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Tel: +852 2327 5711.                                                                                                                                       

Nobu

Nobu in Hong Kong is the first of Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s restaurants outside of Japan. Known to the world simply as “Nobu”, his empire of Japanese restaurants located around the world spans from Beverly Hills to New York City, London to Tokyo, Aspen to Milan, Las Vegas to Miami Beach, as well as the newly launched NOBU Hotel brand. The restaurant opened in Hong Kong at the Intercontinental Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui in late December 2006.

His training stems from Tokyo sushi bar roots and his life abroad in Peru and Argentina (think Nikkei-cuisine) and his travels around the world inspired him to create a whole particular new trend in Japanese cooking that features signatures like his fresh yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, black cod saikyo yaki, toro tartar with caviar, white fish tiradito, sashimi salad with Matsuhisa dressing, rock shrimp tempura, soft shell crab roll and new style sashimi.

New creations that showcase local ingredients include Saga Beef Truffle Nigiri Sushi, Hirame XO Salsa, Sake Roasted Chilean Seabass with Sansho Salsa all feature at this Nobu.

Nobu – 18 Salisbury Road, The Intercontinental Hotel Hong Kong, Kowloon, Tel: +852.2313.2323                                                                                                                                 

 

Akrame Benallal’s Restaurant Akrame and Vivander Atelier

For a 33 year old, French born, Algerian Chef Akrame Benallal has come far and fast. Benallal was mentored by two of the world’s great chefs – Pierre Gagnaire and Ferran Adria (El Bulli). His cuisine sees fish and seafood as treasured ingredients and often the focus in his dishes. His signature is the way he cooks lobster in an infusion at the guest’s table. Other familiar elements lean towards the inclusion of black, his favourite colour, as well as handcrafted, hand-churned butter, with which he has an enduring fascination.

He opened Restaurant Akrame, Hong Kong along Ship Street in 2013. In 2014, the restaurant earned its first Michelin star.

Ever eager to embrace change, innovate and elevate, in March 2016, he relaunched his menu – introducing an inventive new tasting menu paired with his own line of culinary juices paired with a four, six or eight course menu option where components of each dish are complemented with a selected fruit blend. Menus start at 4 courses for HK$788 with juice pairing at HK$198.

Akrame – Shop B, G/F, No. 9 Ship Street, Wanchai Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2528-5068                      

His second Hong Kong restaurant, Atelier Vivanda is a take on the traditional French bistro. He opened this in June 2015 next to Restaurant Akrame, also along Ship Street. The same street has since become known as michelin row as it has also become home to michelin-starred names like Bo Innovation and 22 Ships.

Atelier Vivanda serves classic French meat dishes with twists of Chef’s famous creativity in a comfortable, casual setting that recalls the atmosphere of a countryside butcher’s studio. Menu selection is minimal, where high quality gourmet ingredients are simply prepared to casual classic French recipes, showcasing twists of Chef’s distinctive style in adventurous and unexpected flavour combinations. A light lunch is offered at HKD128, alongside a more substantial lunch menu at HKD298. Dinner is available from 6pm onwards and is priced at HKD448.

Atelier Vivanda – G/F, 9A Ship Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong.  Tel: +852 2109 1768                                                                                                                           

Catalunya

Opened in 2013, the opening team from the world-renowned Michelin three-starred El Bulli opened Spanish restaurant Catalunya in Wanchai’s Morrison Hill area. The 5000 sq foot restaurant boasts an El Bulli alumnae headed by Group Executive Chef, Mr Alain Devahive Tolosa and Group General Manager, Mr Pol Perelló, a Spanish native who held a similar role at El Bulli for over 10 years, so you can expect something pretty special.

This is one group that opened very successfully Catalunya first in Singapore at the Marina Bayfront and has now come to Hong Kong. Signature dishes from its restaurant in Singapore including items like their Cod Esqueixada, Roasted Meat Cannelloni, Lobster Rice, Roasted Suckling Pig with Lemon Puree, and all-time favorites such as Spanish Bombas and Truffle Bikini feature alongside a comprehensive Spanish wine list and cutting-edge cocktails.

Catalunya – G/F Guardian House, Morrison Hill, Wanchai, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2866 7900

Demon Chef Alvin Leung’s, Bo Innovation

Bo Innovation has made big strides on the global culinary map. It opened in London late 2012 and won a michelin star for Bo London in 2014 but also closed that very same year, promising to return after a ‘refit’. If you are missing it, the Hong Kong eatery is still very much alive. Helmed by the self styled Demon Chef, Alvin Leung, Bo Innovation, earned its 3 Michelin stars in Hong Kong and Macau guide for 2014 to 2016 and still forks out extreme Chinese cuisine with a molecular touch.

The restaurant is located at Star Street. We first ventured there in 2012 when the lunch set was a humble HK$268 for a choice of two dim sum or Bo Signature appetisers, a choice of main course and dessert. A lunch drop by these days costs double at HK$430 per person for a Set Lunch (Entree, Main Course and Dessert) and HK$730 for the Chef’s Lunch. Dinner offers different menus with a basic Tasting Menu starting at HK$$1,680 per person with an optional wine pairing HK $1,100 per person. There is also a Chef’s Menu and a Chef’s Table Menu. Undoubtedly all serve premium ingredients like scallop, foie gras, unami, oyster, caviar, cod, Brittany blue lobsters, abalone, all beautifully presented, molecular in consistency, style and size (somewhat) and definitely innovative. Make sure you try their signature molecular cuisine specials the Caviar, Smoked Quail Egg at HK$280 and the Xiao Long Bao at HK$90. The latter is an expensive mouthful of one precious morsel occupying about ¾ of a Chinese soup spoon, laced with a thin red line of edible paper infused with dark Chinese vinegar. It had the texture of raw egg yolk, and once you popped it in your mouth, out oozed an intense, rich soup holding authentic XLB flavours. Very clever.

Bo Innovation – 60 Johnston Road, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2850 8371