Sunday, May 31, 2009

Quest for Food @ Lamma Island & TST

After several days of non-stop raining, it is time to get out of the house and get some fresh air (or at least what 's left of that in Hong Kong). My friend invited me for a little outing to Lamma Island and I accepted without much hesitation. The following blog focuses on the food aspect of my trip and if you are interested in my outing highlights (ie: a cat on a leash?!) , check out my other blog @

It was my first time to Lamma Island and i have heard alot about its hiking trails and seafood; but we were not very certain about the quality of the seafood so we decided to go there and check it out first. We started out trip from the Yung Shue Wan (榕樹灣) towards the direction of Sok Kwu Wan (索罟灣). About 15 - 20 mins into the walk, we came by a dessert hut famous for its Tofu Fa.

(1) Kin Hing Tofu Dessert (建興亞婆豆腐花)

This place is famous for its tofu fa but seriously, I really don't see why. In my humble opinion, a good tofu fa requires the following elements: (1) a rich soya taste (2) good texture (smooth but firm as well) (3) a good syrup plus yellow powder sugar. The only element I can find from the tofu fa is the smoothness, that was it. Very light soya taste but strong burnt taste likely a result from the lack of stirring during the cooking process. Also, it was so "liquid" like jello with too much water. I could not even finish the whole thing. Maybe it was just this time that the tofu fa was not up to standard but a single failure of inconsistency is enough for me to have such harsh words. I had better tofu fa all over HK, for example, Tang Dynasty (唐朝) in TST even though it does not offer the yellow sugar powder (make sure you order the bucket one).


(2) Concerto Inn (浪濤軒)

As we moved along, we passed by the beach Hung Shing Yeh Wan (洪聖爺灣) where we stopped for a little break at a beach side restaurant named Concerto Inn (浪濤軒). Nothing really special about their drinks but the so-called Singaporean Satay Chicken was pretty good. It was a nice little break overlooking the beach. I did not copy down the address but you will find this place for sure because there is only one major path from Yung Shue Wan (榕樹灣) to Sok Kwu Wan (索罟灣).


(3) Herboland 香草原

After a 45 mins break we continued our walk. Just before we were heading away from the beach, we saw something surprising, something we rarely see in Hong Kong. We saw a little plantation with a cozy hut where people relax and have tea.

By the end of the walk / hike, we passed by the many seafood restaurants but we left Lamma Island without trying the famous seafood because (1) it was pretty early when we finished the walk and there was nothing else to walk around when we reached Sok Kwu Wan (索罟灣); and (2) I really hated those restaurants staffs coming up to your face literally to solicit their seafood and blah blah blah. It was annoying and just pissed me off. So instead of staying there for dinner, we decided to head back to TST to eat Indian at Chung King Mansions (重慶大廈).


(4) Khyber Pass (咖喱王)

[note: they are all called 咖喱王 there, so the address is important !]
Good that we know our way otherwise it would be a while before we can find Block E. It was my first time here and the place seems cozy enough and of a typical Indian restaurant at Chung King Mansions. It is a bit ghetto but it is as expected so can't really compliant. The first thing I ordered was a glass of Mango Lassi to cure my thirst. We were Nan bread fans so we called both Cheese Nan and also plain Nan. The Cheese Nan was nice but more cheese would be even better. It can be served without anything but itself as a starter if you want. In order to accompany the plain Nan, we ordered the Lamb Masala (med spiciness) and a Fish Madras (little spiciness). The lamb was surprisingly tender while the fish was surprisingly hard. The two dishes were of two different types of curry. The Masala is more like spicy gravy paste while the Madras is the tpyical yellow curry. I personally prefer the Madras curry because it is less spicy but I found the Masala's aftertaste richer, a good match with the Nan.

In addition to Nan, I am also a big fan of Indian Style Basmati Rice (3 colours rice) because I think it goes really well with curry. The Basmati Rice here were cooked with chicken oil which certainly enhanced its flavor. For some reason the grain they used was the shorter kind. Overall it was alright. It was a very fulfilling day indeed. The only negative thing I can think of is that even after exercising / sweating for the whole day, not only did I not lose any weight, I might have gained some from the dinner !!!

Khyber Pass (咖喱王)
Block E, 7/F, Chung King Mansions
Tel: 2739 1177

Friday, May 29, 2009

PALA Italian Restaurant & Bar

If it wasn't for my friend's reminder, I almost did not realize that Baci in LKF has changed to PALA a few months ago. Tonight we gave it a try. Its neon-lighted name on the building's wall is actually quite visible from afar and I am really surprised I did not notice it even when I had dinner earlier this week at Thai Lemongrass right across form it. We had a table on the 2nd floor near the window which was nice. However, the first thing I wanted to comment on was the seat because it was not very comfortable. Maybe it was just my chair (covered by a red chair cover) but the cushion part I was sitting on seemed a bit too soft that the frame is feeling against my "rear end". (Maybe it was due to my "rear end"?) Anyhow, we ordered a bottle of red wine while we were reading through the menu(s): one for a la carte and one for set dinners. We did not really pay much attention to the set dinners so we just studied the a la carte menu while having some breads.

Let me begin with my friend's orders. Started with a mushroom soup with truffle concentrate and followed by a home made Pappardelle marinated duck and porcini mushroom. If you are not familiar with Pappardelle, it is a kind of fettuccine but larger and a lot broader.

I did not try the soup or the home made Pappardelle myself so I cannot really comment of them. I might come back later to try their set dinners or lunches. I will certainly try the Pappardelle because it looks yummy.

As for myself, I ordered the pan-fried goose liver and apricot with port wine sauce to start and followed by the rack of lamb with porcini risotto, glazed figs & roasted garlic. This was the first time I tried to mix goose liver with apricot and it was interesting. Actually I should say it is pretty good. Goose liver often gives you a very fatty taste but the apricot balanced it pretty well. Some would serve it with apple but I think apricot was a nice pick too. It would be even better if the goose liver was warmer. (Maybe I spent too much time trying to take a better picture?)

I like my lamb or beef medium-rare and they did a fairly good job with that. I have to say though, the portion was not as generous as I had hoped but the fatty goose liver as starter did a good job in filling half my stomach full already. Overall, the lamb was fair and no big surprises. What I did not expect was that I liked the porcini risotto very much. The risotto itself was well prepared with a creamy texture while not too "gummy" or sticky. Also, the use of porcini mushroom was very good and that's why I have to try their porcini Pappardelle next time. Try to have the roasted garlic together with the lamb, not a bad combination.

How can a nice and relaxing meal go without dessert right? I ordered a Napoleon pastry with vanilla cream and mango. It was like a mille-feuille without the custard, but the layers of puff pastry were too thick and a bit too hard for my liking. On the plus side, there were big chunks of sweet mango inside this "mango mille-feuille." One thing I like to stress was their great services. Very attentive and friendly. A big plus for me !

  • Great Service + Very cozy and modern deco
  • porcini risotto - very well prepared
  • pan-fried goose liver and apricot with port wine sauce - interesting use of apricot
  • Napoleon pastry with vanilla cream and mango - puff layer a bit too thick and firm but the fact that the custard was not too sweet was a plus.

Avg Spending
: HKD 200 - 300 per person

PALA Italian Restaurant & Bar
2/F & 3/F, 1 Lan Kwai Fong, Central,
Tel: (852) 2890 6380

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sky Lounge @ Sheraton

It has been a while since the last time I came here for drinks. I think the last time I was here was a month ago on a Sunday afternoon for brunch at the Oyster & Wine Bar located on the same floor. I will do another review later on the brunch because I am pretty sure I will go again in the near future. Anyhow, Sky Lounge is a very good place to just sit and have good chats with friends over a few glasses of wines. Many come here for the amazing view which overlooks Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. The view is pretty amazing at night when it is not as foggy and gloomy like tonight after the heavy rain all night long. A very good (perhaps romantic?) option for couples who want to enjoy the night with a view. Tonight I came here with two friends. Please pardon the quality of the pictures because I took it with my mobile phone.

Sky Lounge is the first in Hong Kong to introduce the Enomatic Wine Dispensing System. Tastings in LKF followed shortly after with even more choices. However, Sky Lounge's atmosphere alone is by far better. For some reasons, perhaps due to certain promotions, many of the red wines are from Spain and they don't have any Pinot Noir which I like. I tried various red, white and a very very sweet desert wine. I have a feeling that this place is getting more popular because there were crowds standing around the machines all the time and the place was still pretty full when we left around 1am. My suggestion is to come during week nights and on a less gloomy night if you want to enjoy a few drinks quietly with our other half or friends while overlooking the Victoria Harbour.

Sky Lounge
18/F, Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers
20 Nathan Road , Kowloon
Hong Kong, China
Phone: (852) 2369 1111

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thai Lemongrass

Thai Lemongrass is one of the many restaurants located in LFK under the management of the Lan Kwai Fong Entertainment group. Although the Thai decor at this place cannot be considered as traditional, the stone sculptures and the wood moldings are doing a good job at making me feel like I am in Thailand. I usually come here for lunch for its set lunches so this is the first time having dinner here. Arrived around 730pm and the place was pretty empty so windows seats were not a problem. Just to be safe, my friend and I decided to order some common / traditional dishes.

While reading through the menu, we were served with a dish of fried prawn chips which were pretty good in terms of taste. We tried not to finish them because they were rather filling. The menu wasn't long so it didn't take us long finalize our orders. For appetizer, we ordered a Platter to Share (Tom Sum Rub 自選拼盤) with 3 items, namely Prawn Cakes (Tod Mun Koog 炸蝦餅), Sliced Pork (Kor Moo Yang 燒豬頸肉 ) and Mango and Avocado Rice Paper Roll (Pau Pia Sod 芒果牛油梨紙米卷). Among the 3 items, the Rice Paper Roll was pretty good because it is rather refreshing. However, the Slicked Pork was cold and I suspect it has been grilled for a while sitting in the kitchen waiting to be served. The Prawn Cakes were fair but the outer layer was rather too chewy for my liking.

For our second dish, we ordered a Salad with grilled beef tenderloin in Thai herbs sauce (Yam Neur San 炭燒泰式牛柳沙律). If you are not a spicy person, don't be too greedy on the sauce. Other than that the citrus flavor were refreshing and I liked it. One thing we noted was that the restaurant was pretty generous on the beef.

Next come the Pad Thai (鮮蝦炒金邊粉). Nothing really special about this dish but it was really hot as in straight out from the "wok." I like my food hot when it should be. It is hard to get his dish wrong in a Thai restaurant and this place did a fairly good job with the sauce and just the right amount of bean sprouts to enhance the overall texture. I will certainly come here again for dinner to try other dishes such as curry and fried soft shell crab which looked very tasty from other people's tables.

Thai Lemongrass
3/F, California Tower,
30-32 D'Aguilar Street,
Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2905 1688

Monday, May 25, 2009

ANTIQUE Patisserie & Fine Chocolates

I have been to this boutique cake shop on Lyndhurst Terrace often enough over the past year to consider it an ideal hideaway for me to kill time in the evening before dinner appointments nearby. This evening was no difference especially with today's rainy weather, there was just nowhere worth going. I call it a hideaway because it is rather difficult to find a quiet and peaceful café near that area where you can just sit and stay away from the noisy traffics outside. Other alternatives? Of course! Try Starbucks or Pacific Coffee Company nearby which are usually packed with people who are either (1) seemingly studying with their ipods on while typing frantically on their ever tiny laptops replying instant messages with a grin, or (2) explaining to a 20-something young couples across the table about their financial futures or retirement objectives which I personally considered very private matters.

Antique uses the Victorian décor theme for its tea room with fireplace along the wall. Based on my observations, most customers would opt for the Victoria style sofa instead of the normal tables they offer. They do look very comfortable but both the coffee table and sofa are a bit too low in height for my liking. It is rather difficult to reach for my drink or eat my cake. Anyhow, it has been raining for the past few days including today so I opted for something bright and colorful this time, something I haven’t tried before.

I ordered the cake Spring Time and a pot of Blue Mountain tea. The tea is light in nature but it has a very subtle vanilla aroma to it which I am not too fond of myself. But if you are a fan of vanilla, give it a try. As for the cake, I picked Spring Time because of its name and colors. It is the combination of different colored mini macaroons on top on the chocolate coating that attracted my attention.

As for the cake itself, the thick chocolate crust base is rather difficult to break away with a simple fork, but once you broke free of it you are in, you find a yellow custard in the center which I think its lemon flavor because of its citrus taste. The taste and texture of mixing the chocolate coating / syrup with the lemon custard insider (along with abit of the very hard chocolate crust) was rather refreshing I think. The mini macaroons are less chewy and less rich compared with those of original size. Try to eat it with the mini macaroons as well for a different texture. My other favorites from Antique are the Earl Grey Mousse and for cheesecake lovers, the Signature Cheesecake.

Shop 2, G/F Oriental Crystal Commerical Building
46 Lyndhurst Terrace
Tel: 852-2542-2816

Jusco Department Store
Ground Floor.
Tel: 852-2907-2908

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Human Necessity

According to my friend's theory on basic human necessity, in order to survive, there are only two things we need: Sex and Food. One requires food to survive and sex to reproduce. It is as simple as that and I have to agree with him. Think about it and see if you agree or not.

While both sex and food are equally important to our well being, it is very difficult to evaluate which is better or more enjoyable. Sex can be delicious at times and good food can be quite addictive. You can be your judge on this one but based on matter of frequency, I think in most cases food is the winner.

That is why I think the topic on food would be more interesting. By starting this blog, I hope to share with you my love of food and other dolce vita experiences. Sometimes eating is more than just filling up your stomach, it is an experience to enjoy even if you dine by yourself.

"A meal can be an erotic experience in itself" - Alex Comfort

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