Monday, August 10, 2009

The Press Room

I have been talking about this place for a long while, especially on the topic of French fries. On this Monday night, it was my day off and after watching the movie UP (what a great movie), my friend and I decided to come here for a relaxing dinner. This place brings back many memories, actually not so pleasant memories now that I think about it. It has nothing to do with food quality, it was something personal. One should look forward into the future instead of circling in the past asking why continuously. Anyhow, enough with the personal reflection here. We arrived at around 8:30pm but it was almost full, on a Monday night! I was surprised but it is a good thing I guess. (O yeah, a note worth mentioning, they are having a Free Flowing Wine Night every Monday!)

On the way to the main dining area, one would pass by the little oyster bar at the corner. Again I was still shocked at the number of people here on a Monday night! The atmosphere is soft and mild but it was rather noisy that night; then again, this place is called the Press Room which is suppose to be noisy right? While ordering, I asked for some free flowing wine to start it off.

(1) Oysters Selection
With the little oyster bar hiding in the corner, I cannot help myself but to order a few to try. On the menu there was a oyster platter selection but BEWARE, the selection of oysters under the platter option was very limited. To stay away from the limited choices (which we both dislike), we ordered 2 other kinds, a la carte style. We order Angel from Scotland and Fine de Claire from France. The Angel was very salty, way more salty than our expectation especially form a Scottish oyster. Fine de Claire, on the other hand, was way better. It was salty but not in the same sense as Angel because it was rich in oyster flavor to start off with and slowly brought out the sweet and bitter aftertaste. We both liked the Fine de Claire better.

(2) Baked Sea Snails
I liked the presentation very much, simple while elegant. The snails were placed on top of a pile of sea salt. (I wonder why it is called Sea Snails because it looked like Sea Whelk to me.) The flavor was good especially with "a bit" of the sea salt. I said "a bit" because if you tip the balance and got yourself a spoonful of the sea salt in your mouth, prepare to drink a lot of water because the sea salt used was very salty that it can dehydrate soon after. However, with the right amount, it went really well with the sea snails.

(3) Baby Chicken
I am not sure if I mention it before but in my opinion, chicken is a very difficult dish to master or to prepare in a restaurant because it is very easy to overcook it. The ability to prepare a good chicken dish, be it roasted or grilled, gives you a fair idea of the skills of the chef in that restaurant. I would not give the dish being served a thumbs up review not because the chicken quality was bad, it was actually tender throughout and relatively juicy even for the breast area; but it was the flavor of the herbs and spices used that I was rather disappointed. Most of the flavors were on the skin layer so if you are not a "chicken skin eater", you would not get much of a taste out of this dish. I eat chicken skin, so by ensuring my every bite of chicken has a small piece of skin to go along with it, it was a very decent dish.

(4) Daube De Boeuf (with Wagyu Beef Cheek)
Based on my understanding, it is a very difficult French dish to prepare because it requires long cooking time and skills. (at least that is my understanding) It was because of the difficulties in preparing this dish that I insisted on ordering it. The sauce was great, very rich but tasty in my opinion. The mash potatoes were good as well with strong butter flavor. While the Waygu Beef Cheek was very tender and soft that it almost required no chewing at all. (of course not to the point of melting in your mouth like some A5 Grade Wagyu steak but very soft indeed) However, while it was soft and tender, there seemed to be no beef taste to it at all. Is that how the beef cheek tastes like or lacked of it? humm ...

(5) French Fries
We ordered two sets because one was just not enough!!! The fries at this place is so far one of the best I have tried in Hong Kong. They remained crisp even after leaving it at room temperature for 10 or 15 minutes. The texture of the fries is one of the key elements I like to mention because although individual fries were sliced up from one single potato, they were not overly filling with a relative hallow interior. Flavor wise, only traces of salt was found, letting the rich potato flavor for my taste bud to enjoy. Thumbs up!

  • Great decor, atmosphere and ambiance
  • French Fries
  • Baked Sea Snails
  • A bit noisy (+ slight echoing effect when full house)
  • Limited selection of oyster for the platter option
  • lack of beef taste from the Wagyu beef cheek (is it suppose to taste like this? humm)
Avg Spending: HKD 300 - 500 per person

The Press Room
108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
Tel: 2525 3444

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