Friday, October 30, 2009

Whisk @ The Mira

Whisk is not the easiest place to find even within the hotel because the direct lift is still under construction. It is one floor above Cuisine Cuisine which opened recently as well. However, it was a rewarding experience even after the little maze adventure. I arrived a bit early so I took the advantage to try out its attached outdoor terrace (called Vibe I think) while waiting for my friends. It was a cool terrace situated in the middle of the hotel with tropical trees, plants as well as some changing lights to fit the somewhat techno ambiance. With the light breeze that evening, it was a perfect moment some personal reflection over a glass of Single Malt Mccallan 12 years old whisky.

This joint is run by famous Chef Justin Quek who headed the Singapore restaurant Les Amis. Justin Quek actually has his own website! I took notice of this place thanks to CNNgo's and TimeOut HK's article / introduction a few weeks ago

The premise of Whisk is actually smaller than I expected, well at least the main dining area. The color theme is mainly grayish and with touches of dark brownish colors from what I saw under the dim lighting. The whole decor was more or less contemporary with touches of high-tech / techno feel to it especially with its stainless steel plated menu. Talking about the menu, for some odd reasons, the fonts were HUGE!, perhaps size 36? Was it intended to fill up the empty space on the page? humm ... (o by the way, for guys, you have to check out the bathroom where the urinals are made of stainless steel and the water tab lights up when you turn it on!)

(1) Baked Lobster Bisque "herb souffle"
It was an interesting way to prepare lobster bisque especially with the souffle top. I did not try any myself but from the look of it, worth giving it a try.

(2) Warm salad of sauteed king prawn (flambeed with Grand Marnier)
A rather refreshing dish to start with especially with traces of Grand Marnier. The prawns were HUGE and fresh with the meat being very firm as well; but the whole thing was not being served at optimal temperature in my opinion. Likely had to wait for the lobster bisque before serving all starters together. Overall I was very satisfied.

(3) Surf & Turf
One of my friends ordered this but did not try any. The turf / lobster looked YUMMMY!

(4) Roasted crispy suckling pig (with truffle salad and spiced red wine sauce)
It was one of the signature dishes from Whisk and one of the recommended dishes from the wait staff as well. A classic Chinese items being fusion-ed I guess. It reminded be of a similar dish from OPIA which closed and gave way to the current Drawing Room. Anyhow, it was very crisp indeed and together with the sauce, it helped to balance the slightly fatty texture of the crispy suckling pig and the slight saltiness as well. I had to beg my friend to let me try a FEW pieces because one was just not enough!

(5) Baked Miso Marinated Cod
Another recommended item with a "whisk" symbol by its name on the menu. The cod was actually more flaky than I expected, which was good because it was less "fatty" as well. (maybe due to the baking process?) The miso flavor carried a slightly sweet taste to it and together with the ginger and lime sauce, it was a rather refreshing! I usually don't order fish (or chicken for that matter) but I think I should change my habit from now on.

(6) Warm chocolate, vanilla ice cream and caramelized banana
Another highlights of the night had to be the dessert round. The caramelized banana was placed inside the warm chocolate tart. The chocolate was surprising rich (and thick) which was wonderful but it overtook the flavors of the banana.

(7) "Flourless" Raspberry Souffle
The souffle was a delight! Soft, light, fluffy (if that's the way to describe it) and melt in your mouth. It had to be consumed quickly because it started to collapse very soon after being served. I only had a few bites because I was too concentrated on the following dessert!!!

(8) Flaky apple tart (with roasted almond and caramel ice cream)
It was not the normal type of TART you would have expected. The so called crust was made from those crispy puff pastry like from a croissant. I cannot recall the exact name for it but it was thin, crispy and hot off the tray! If possible I might just return later just for this dessert! humm ... o well, I will make it happen! Thumbs up for me!!!

We ordered a bottle of wine as well, it was the 2007 Caledonia Australis Pinot Noir which apparently won some awards. For someone who is still learning all about wine, all I know was that it was very fruity and easy to drink, good for drinking by itself without any food pairing.

  • Great decor + atmosphere (especially with the open terrace for drinks)
  • Flaky Apple Tarts - a must try for apple lovers! (I only eat cooked apples ... )
  • Roasted crispy suckling pig - a signature dish indeed.
  • Warm chocolate, vanilla ice cream and caramelized banana - the chocolate was too rich that overtook the flavors of the banana.
  • Service a bit over-attentive at times
Avg Spending: Above 500 per person

5/F, The Mira,
118 Nathan Road, TST
Tel: 852 2315 5999

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nathaniel's Buko Pandan Salad

Extra! Extra! Nathaniel's Buko Pandan Salad has just arrived, freshly off the plane from Manila! Thank You Very Much Jin!!! Thank You!! I was first introduced to this Buko Pandan Salad from one of Jin's entries and I was literally drooling when looking at the pictures; but NOW I can finally drool in front of the REAL THING!!! As recommended, this wonderful salad can be enjoyed in 3 different ways: (1) Room Temperature, (2) Chilled and (3) Frozen. At the time of picture taking, the Buko Panda Salad was mostly defrosted so I might as well start off with the tasting at Room Temperature. I cannot wait till it is chilled or even frozen, I need to try it RIGHT AWAY! I will continue to update this entry when the salad is frozen and chilled. (likely by tomorrow night, I will have tried the salad (2) Chilled and (3) Frozen! )

(1) Room Temperature Buko Pandan Salad
[28 Oct 2009] Rich and deep in coconut flavors, creamy and silky smooth! It was like very thick coconut milkshakes with plenty of pandan jelly to be consumed by the spoonful. It was not too sweet as well to my surprise! Yum, Yummm & Yummmmmmy! I was one TINY step away from "drinking" the whole thing, only stopped by the thought that there are still 2 different ways to enjoy this Buko Pandan Salad! I am so looking forwarding to tomorrow's night when I can try it frozen! (and followed by the Chilled version about 30 mins or maybe 2o mins afterwards?)

(2) Frozen Buko Pandan Salad
[added 29 Oct 2009] After a long day of waiting, I finally got my chance to try the frozen version of the Salad. It was rather flaky and of course cold! When I tried to dig into it, it felt like shoveling snow but instead of sweating all over, I got to eat it. The texture somewhat reassemble Kakigōri (Japanese dessert made from shaved ice flavored with syrup similar to that from Taiwan as well). A very refreshing version of the dessert indeed! Now I am sitting here waiting for it to defrost a bit so the Chilled version can be sampled!!! 10 more mins? 20 mins? or 30 mins? hummm ...

(3) Chilled Buko Pandan Salad
[added 29 Oct 2009] FINALLY ! After about 30 mins of waiting and constant checking every 5 mins (which felt like 3 hours!), it was time to sample the Chilled version! With it thawed, the texture was more like ice cream. The coconut flavor was richer in this version than the frozen version. I love this version the most! You can let it thaw longer if you prefer to have a more creamy texture but it takes precious waiting time which was rather painful for especially when it was sitting right in front of me!

Thank You Jin! I seriously don't know how long this tub is going to last! I am doing my best to control myself but not an easy task indeed!

  • Room Temperature Buko Pandan Salad - just like coconut milkshakes: thick, creamy and smooth!
  • Frozen Buko Pandan Salad - just like Kakigōri (Japanese dessert made from shaved ice flavored with syrup similar to that from Taiwan as well)
  • Chilled Buko Pandan Salad - ice cream like texture which was really hard to stop eating spoon after spoon.
  • Sorry none so far


It is rather difficult to imagine you can find a place near SoHo whereby you can sit comfortably indoors looking at the busy traffic on Hollywood Road through a large window. I found such a place a few weeks ago @ Prego. It is a cozy Italian bistro with a rather upscale decor. The floor seems to be of hard marble as far as I can tell.

The overall atmosphere was rather relaxing especially watching the traffic come and go but without hearing the sound of the horns!

During my stay, many came for their sandwiches and pizzas for takeout. Not the regular pizza slices in triangular shape but the rectangular folded pizza pocket which I ordered as well. The folded pizza sandwich I like to call it (is there a special name they call this type of pizza? I tried to dig it up but no luck so far), reminded me of how I use to do the same with sliced pizza from Pizza Pizza back in Toronto. Instead of common pizza dough, it was served with Focaccia-like bread, only softer and thinner. The sauce was light and there were plenty of mushroom for my wild mushroom pizza I ordered.

The Cappuccino I ordered was not what I expected unfortunately. It was not strong enough and the foam was like ... someone having a bad hair day! It somehow reassembles a pile of snow shoveled against the side of a driveway on a cold and snowy morning. I did my fair share of snow shoveling once upon a time! Anyhow, there are much room for improvement with the coffee beverages. I might visit again soon to try out their pasta dishes.

  • Great atmosphere, decor and service!
  • A rather refreshing alternative to common pizza slices

  • Coffee too weak and the foam ... humm ...
Avg Spending: Around HKD 100 per person

Prego - Italian Food and Coffee Shop
G/F, Carfield Commercial Building,
75-77 Wyndham Street, Central
Tel: 852 2140 6555

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Caprice (Cooking Demo w/ Michelin 2-Star Chef Philippe Jourdin)

I am very honored to be invited by WOM Guide ( to attend a cooking demonstration (followed by lunch) by visiting Chef Philippe Jourdin who heads the Michelin 2-star Faventia at the Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche. The cooking demonstration was hosted by Caprice @ Four Seasons Hong Kong. (Caprice was awarded Michelin 3-star status on 26 Nov 2009 by the Michelin Guide Hong Kong 2010) The lunch that followed the demonstration was wonderful as well and I got to finally meet with the editors behind the WOM Guide and another food blogger Peech who was also invited to this event. The event started early on a Saturday morning when the kitchen @ Caprice was still under preparation for their lunch session.

After a short introduction by Chef Vincent Thierry of Caprice who was acting as translator throughout the demonstration, Chef Philippe Jourdin and his sous-chef Stéphanie Le Quellec quickly started to prepare the dish of Line-Caught Sea Bass Fennel Aroma with Green Asparagus Panache and Olive Oil Emulsion.

Cooking is really an art! Chef Philippe Jourdin went into details about how one can turn a simple ingredient of asparagus into something of such refined delicacies as well as the many steps it takes to perfect it.

For this demonstration dish, the fresh asparagus was to be prepared in three different ways, namely, (1) peeled asparagus, (2) asparagus stew and (3) asparagus rings. Who would imagine asparagus can be prepared in so many ways and in different forms as well!

Now that the asparagus were prepared, it was time for the sea bass. It was pan-fried with the skin facing down for a couple of minutes before placing it in the oven for anther couple of minutes. By this time, I was literally drooling and it was just 11am in the morning !!

Cooking is an art, and so is food plating! A picture is worth a thousand words so I will let pictures below do the job of explaining the creativity and effort involved in the art of food plating.

By the end of the cooking demonstration, the kitchen area was starting to get crowded and so was the dining area.

We were lucky enough to have our lunch at the Chef Table inside the wine cellar / cheese room behind the kitchen.

If I recalled correctly the bread I picked was a variation of Brioche. (I have so much more to learn about bread, cheese and more others, and the thought of learning about them excites me!) In any case, the bread was warm and delicious especially with a bit of butter. Apparently, the two butters provided were of different kinds, one was salted and one was plain and they were distinguished by the tip of the butter pyramid.

(1) Chilled Eggplant with Tomato Sorbet
We started of the meal with this wonderful soup. The tomato sorbet actually went really went with the chilled eggplant to my surprised, an extremely refreshing item to start off the meal! I guess I don't have to mention about the presentation right? It was wow and WOW!

(2) Warm Duck Foie Gras des Landes Lemon Macaroon, Candied Citrus Peel and Badian Anise
Definitely not a common combination to have macaroon with foie gras but never pre-judge anything by its look because the citrus flavors matched the foie gras very well! The contrasting texture was another interesting combination which stimulated my taste bud along with the flavors!

(3) Corvina Fillet Fennel Aroma, Green Asparagus Panache and Olive Oil Emulsion
Instead of sea bass, corvina fillet was used. The corvina fillet was not as flaky as sea bass but equally delicious and cooked just right. But I personally preferred the sea bass. The asparagus
was great as expected, sweet but also carried traces of lemon flavors.

(4) Cheese Platter
I am a big fan of cheese but I have much to learn about it. The cheese was handled by restaurant manager Jeremy and he described each cheese in details of which I am still digesting. In clockwise, it was Race Rove and Olive Oil, Selle sur Cher, Comte 4 Years Old and Fourme d'Ambert. This is as far as I can go in describing the cheese with my limited knowledge, for a more informative review on the cheese (and the wine we had), check out Peech's entry on this. But one thing for sure, I may soon be addicted to cheese from now on!

(5) Tropical Coconut Express Sable Breton and Coriander Jelly, Granny Smith Apple Sorbet
The presentation was again very impressive once again! This dessert was actually very light and the coconut mousse was not too sweet as well. Did I mention I really love its presentation?

(6) Something strawberry
I did not have the chance to take down the name of this dessert because I was in awe when it was being served. Benny who served us tried to explain this strawberry dessert but apparently it was a complicated dessert with over 10 different ingredients and multiple steps involved. I just know that if I weren't dining at Caprice (ie: fine dining establishment), I might attempt to clean out the sauce which was just right in terms of flavors, not too sour and not too sweet. The various layers of the dessert gave it contrasting texture which made you wanting more!

(7) Concentrated Orange Jelly
The flavors of the orange jelly was very intense but delightful and refreshing at the same time. sometimes I find it hard to come up with words to describe the reaction to great flavors, I guess maybe a simple YUM, WOW or YUMMMMMY would do the trick?

  • A wonderful experience! Really made me want to give culinary school a try! (or start with more home cooking ...)
  • Tropical Coconut Express Sable Breton and Coriander Jelly, Granny Smith Apple Sorbet - a light but refreshing dessert!
  • Chilled Eggplant with Tomato Sorbet - presentation, presentation, refreshing and interesting use of tomato sorbet.
  • More dishes for demonstration would be great :) (am I being too greedy?)
Avg Spending: Thanks to WOM Guide's invitation, it was a complimentary meal.

Related Post: Caprice - A Journey into the land of Cheese!

Four Seasons Hotel,
8 Finance Street, Central
Tel: 3196-8888

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