Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fung Lum Restaurant 楓林小館

Believe it or not, it was my first return to this restaurant in about ... 20 years, 2 whole decades, but when I stepped into the place, I felt like a kid again because everything seemed to remain unchanged and yes I actually remember how the interior looked! Fung Lum is one of the few remaining old school Cantonese restaurant in town and my visit this evening was for my best friend's birthday celebration.

As I said, the decor remained pretty much the same over the years but it was this old school decor that gave this place the charm. One thing worth mentioning was that the dishes arrived at a good pace, unlike many Chinese restaurants which would serve the dishes almost all at once. It was also mentioned in the Michelin 2010 Hong Kong guide as well that the pacing of dishes were good here.

First came the Fried Salt Pepper Shrimp which was great! It was salty but in a delicious way. The batter was very thin as if there were none and the shrimps were quite fresh.

I usually would lick the outer skin for flavor and go straight to peeling the shell out but for this particular dish here, I had to lick the outer shell repeatedly til it was CLEAN because I don't want any to go to waste!

The Deep Fried Tofu was decent with the center being very silky smooth; however no surprises.

The Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs was a delightful surprise. The pork was tender but the best was the sauce. While the sauce was rich and intense in flavors, it did not give out the overly sour and vinegary taste and scent. Sometimes the scent / smell of the food is as important as how it actually tastes because it can be quite different in my opinion.

Steam fish might seem easy but it is pretty hard to get it right with the timing. The soy sauce and hot oil that is to be pour on top is another crucial yet often neglected element of a good steamed fish dish. The one being served here was good with the meat on the slightly chewy side giving a great sensation on every bite.

Black bean paste is in the bottom of the favorite food lists so it was only natural that I ate only a small portion of this Black Bean Paste Crab. The whole plate was so clean not long after it was served so that can be an indication of its taste and popularity I guess.

Whenever possible, I would order chicken by the whole as in one whole chicken instead of half portion because I really don't know when the half was being made. For all I know it can the the second half from an order 30 mins ago. Since we have more than 6 people this evening, perfect time to order Deep Fried Whole Chicken. It was good with very crispy and crunchy skin and the meat was not too dry even for the chicken breast. Thumbs up!

The Shrimp Paste Lettuce in Hot Claypot was rather disappointing. There were too much water, too moist and too soft, it should have been sizzling, at least the way how most places serve it.

Baked Sago Pudding with Lotus seed Paste is one of my favorite Chinese desserts. Most places that offer this usually require advance ordering because it would take quite some time to prepare I think.

Flavor was a bit light (sweetness wise) even for the lotus seed paste and the texture was rather tough / firm. But it satisfied my sweet craving nonetheless.

  • Old-School decor with surprisingly politely and friendly service
  • Good pacing of the dishes
  • Fried Salt Pepper Shrimp - salty but in an addictive way
  • Shrimp Paste Lettuce in Hot Claypot - too watery!
  • Baked Sago Pudding with Lotus seed Paste - texture was a bit too tough / firm
Avg Spending: HKD 200 - 300 per person

Fung Lum Restaurant 楓林小館
45-47 Tsuen Nam Road,, Tai Wai
Tel: +852 2692 1175

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Thursday, February 25, 2010


Those who frequent the Central and Sheung Wan area must have heard of the establishment Bonheur which serves upscale French cuisine at relatively reasonable price or perhaps you like to call it fine dinging at affordable prices or whatever you like to call it. Many friends of mine and many from the foodie community recommended me to come pay a visit and so I did with my friend M in celebration of my birthday. However, either we have overly high expectation or simply it did not live up to what we have been told.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hong Kong University Alumni Association 香港大學校友會

This place is one of my favorites and most frequented Chinese restaurant in the Central area. The chef here used to work in Luk Yu Tea House and hence the similar dishes being offered but at around 20% less in terms of price. It was one of the colder days in November this very evening and a few of us wanted something hearty, simple and warm, the best suggestion I had in mind was Hot Clay Pot Rice!

(1) Chinese Soup with Pig's Lung + Almond 杏汁白肺湯
One of my favorite soups of all time! Pig's lungs are very tough to clean nd prepare to my knowledge and so better eat outside than attempt it at home. It wasn't as creamy as I hoped but it was good, it put a smile on my face after the first sip.

STOOPPPP! It was too late, too late indeed! The waiter poked at the egg before I can stop him. My intended picture with the egg yolk floating in the center was ruined!!! Argh! The meat loaf of this Hot Clay Pot Rice with Minced Beef loaf/patty and Raw Eggs was good but texture wise a bit too ... tender? too chewy? bouncy? artificial? too much baking soda? ... I cannot find the right word to describe it but it was not what we expected ...

The same applied to the Steamed Minced Pork Patty with diced Squid 土魷剁肉餅 regarding the texture of the patty which was too ... gluey and Licorice like?? In any case the flavor was good and we finished to the last piece of it. :)

This Chicken and Taro casserole (Chinese style) was perfect to go with rice. Please be reminded that this dish is EXTREMELY filling! It was rather watery, should have been more creamy but flavor was good, not overly salty with rich taro taste in every bite. The three of us could not finish the whole thing because it was just too filling!

Now back to something more healthy and simple, Fish balls and tofu in soup 生菜魚滑豆腐煲. Nothing too surprise about this dish but the soup was heart warming and I just love all kinds of fish balls and meat balls. :)

I guess I need to return again soon to try other dishes again for a better experience especially their sweet and sour pork which is very good!

  • Chinese Soup with Pig's Lung + Almond 杏汁白肺湯 ... one of my all time favorite soups. Luk Yu Tea House does it better but pretty amazing here already.
  • Hot Clay Pot Rice with Minced Beef loaf/patty and Raw Eggs - it was enjoyable but the texture of the patty was just ... too artificial to me.
  • The texture of he meat patties
  • requires membership, have to be alumni of HK University
Avg Spending: HKD 100 - 200 per person

Hong Kong University Alumni Association 香港大學校友會
Room 101, Yip Fung Building,
2 D'Aguilar Street, LKF, Central
Tel: +852 2522 7968

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sup 1

Many of my recent write-ups are long overdue reviews and this one is the same. The meal in the review took place on the 1st Jan 2010. I have been to Sup 1 several times and I often return not just because of their food but for their cozy, unpretentious atmosphere as well as attentive services. I prefer the upstairs sittings because of the coziness; if you want to talk about secrets, make sure you specify where you want to sit.

The quality of their food is decent and fairly consistence over the past year or so which I considered very important. We started off with Salad Frisee with Bacon and Poached Eggs. It looked rather plain when served but after mixing the yolk with the rest of the salad it became rather tasty with the ham giving off the the right saltiness to it.

Compared with the previous salad, the Caesar Salad was rather plain and no surprises.

The ran out of Baguette so they provided us with toast instead to along with the Duck Liver Mousse served with Baguette. Flavor was alright but it was rather too tough to be called a mousse. It was rather hard to spread it over the toast.

I don't think I will order this special platter next time. (Pigeon Confit with Parma Ham, Stuffed Duck Neck with Duck Meat and Black Truffle Merguez (Beef & Lamb)) No surprises at all and most of the items were rather salty, flavors were too rich.

I only tried a sip of the Bouillabaisse and it was too rich and too intense for my liking. I am not really into bisque related soup so cannot provide my take on this soup. But I think it was too watery, should have been thicker.

The Angel Hair with King Prawn in Tomato Basil Sauce was alright especially its sauce. The pasta and the king prawns were a bit overcooked but still enjoyable. Aside from the fact that it was tough the de-shell the prawns, a fairly decent dish.

an overly creamy Carbonara with overcooked pasta. Flavor was very good but just too creamy!

A very simple Roasted Chicken with Bacon and Mushroom but a rather well prepared dish which I enjoyed. Tender and moist with good flavors. Make sure you place this order as soon as possible because it takes some time for the time prepare with their one and only oven (as informed).

The Duck Confit in Casserole Rice was like a crossover between French and Chinese cuisine with the rice prepared in a Chinese style clay pot. I liked it. The seasoned shredded duck meat together with the semi-sticky rice gave it a nice chewing texture on every bite. It was surprising flavorable as I was expecting it to be rather salty.

Desserts were another story, the pastry we order was rather tough to chew on or simply overly elastic in my opinion. Good that we bought our own desserts!!

Woohoo! Milktop Pudding to share! Yum O!

  • cozy atmosphere and good services
  • some interesting dishes like the duck confit casserole rice worth trying
  • roasted Chicken with Bacon and Mushroom, simple yet tasty
  • Desserts are not their strength
  • Carbonara too creamy
Avg Spending: HKD 200 - 300 per person

Sup 1
11 Gough Street, Central
Tel: +852 2522 5002

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Friday, February 19, 2010

ISOLA Bar & Grill (Revisited)

I believe in the exploration of culture through food but to truly do that, I think it requires quite a bit of traveling as well because it is the local settings and people that are the best teachers to guide you through the journey. Italian cuisine is one my favorites and my belief is that many Italian dishes are very hearty, homely, rich in flavors and best enjoyed at home or over casual settings. Italian fine dining is not really my thing for some reasons but many upscale Italian restaurants are opening in town recently. I guess it is just me and the strange belief of mine then.

During the weekend ISOLA offers a special Weekend Lunch Menu which included an option of Antipasti e insalate al banco (selection of appetizers and salads from the buffet). The selection was decent with plenty of greens, seafood and meats. My favorite was of course the couscous, couscous, couscous, couscous and more couscous!

For main, my cousin ordered the Tagliolini freschi alla pescatora (home made tagliolini with mixed seafood and cherry tomato sauce). He said it was al dente but flavor was a bit weak. Should have grabbed some from him to try myself!

I did not feel like pasta so instead ordered the Filetto di sofliola alla Riminese (fillet of sole with aromatic bread crumbs and vegetables). The fish was fresh, texture was tender with thin batter but the flavor was overly salty.

For dessert, it was buffet style again. The selection was fair but it was the view overlooking the harbor from the dessert section that impressed me most.

Among the dessert selection, it was the cute mini meringue tarts that made me smile. Although they were too sweet for my taste buds, they were perfect to end the meal with on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

  • View overlooking Victoria Harbor
  • Decent selection of appetizers and salads from the buffet
  • couscous and more couscous!
  • Filetto di sofliola alla Riminese (fillet of sole with aromatic bread crumbs and vegetables) - flavor too rich, too salty
  • Service was a bit slow, perhaps it was due to peak brunch hours
Avg Spending: HKD 200 - 300 per person

ISOLA Bar & Grill
Shop 3071-3075, 3/F
IFC Mall, Central
Tel: : 2383 8765

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

IR 1968 - Indonesian Restaurant 印尼餐廳

This review is another long overdue writeup. IR 1968 has been around for a long while but I never really had the drive to walk in and give it a try. Thanks to @coffeemeow @sporbo and @mochachocolata, my chance arrived and we came here for our little tweetup (twitter meetup)! @mochocolata and @Sporbo did most of the ordering since they are more familiar with the dishes while @coffeemeow and I were deciding which wine to order.

The food was alright in general, no surprises in my opinion but it was each other's company that made the meal a wonderful one! I am no expert in Indonesian food so please visit @mochachocolata blog for a detailed review on our visit.

Gado Gado - make sure you pour the sauce over and mix well before eating.

The satay looked weird on the little grilling stove with the candles inside. Taste wise they were rather weak.

I actually likes the perkedel jagung (sweet corn fritters) but as mentioned by @mochachocolata and @sporbo, this dish is a very simple dish that can be made at home very easily. I will give that a try soon. :)

A very decent dish of perkedel, I think I ate most of them ... ooops.

The lontong capgomeh we ordered was a platter of some sort and "longtong" translated to rice cakes. It was alright, many of the side dishes were items we ordered as well.

I enjoyed the beef rendang with the yellow rice we ordered along with it. Texture was good, rather chewy but the flavor was alright, perfect to go with rice.

I love ox tongue so the semur lidah (stewed ox tongue) was a dish that I finished to the last piece! It was soft enough and the sauce was a deep and rich.

The yellow rice (nasi kuning) was presented nicely and we cleaned up the whole dish!

There are not many Indonesian restaurants in Hong Kong to my understanding and I wish there can be more so to give me more opportunities to eat Indonesian dishes!

  • perkedel jagung (sweet corn fritters) & perkedel - simple yet perfect as snack in my opinion
  • Yellow Rice (nasi kuning) which was lightly flavored
  • semur lidah (stewed ox tongue) - very tender with a rich and deeply flavored sauce
  • satay - meat overcooked, sauce rather weak
  • beef rendang - rather chewy with rich flavors
Avg Spending: HKD 100 - 200 per person (without wine)

IR 1968 - Indonesian Restaurant 印尼餐廳
28 Leighton Rd, Causeway Bay
Tel: +852 2577 9981

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