Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lung King Heen 龍景軒 - Hong Kong



I managed to squeeze in a reservation on short notice at Lung King Heen (龍景軒), a 3 michelin star restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel during my recent short stay in Hong Kong. The place was ideal because it overlooked the harbour and was just a short ferry ride away from my hotel.








The Place

I have to admit. The Four Seasons Hong Kong exuded unparallelled class but I wasn't quite taken with Lung King Heen's decor. Floor to ceiling windows provided a view of the Hong Kong Harbour and heavy leather bound chairs made for comfortable seating. However, the shiny curvatures on the ceiling were a little too ostentatious for my liking. I also noticed that they actually made the effort to iron each and every table cloth before setting the cutlery. That's honestly a first for me.




Steamed Lobster & Scallop Dumpling

If you were expecting a basket of 3 or 4 pieces of dumpling, you would be disappointed. It's 1 piece per order. But its huge. A thick slice of scallop sitting atop a crunchy, succulent piece of lobster and topped with a prawn, all wrapped up in a light green, mildly chewy skin - Good! But try not to eat it in one mouthful or the fishiness could prove to be a little overwhelming.



Baked Whole Abalone Puff

You get 1 piece per order for the abalone puff as well. In case you were wondering if the whole tart is filled with abalone, the answer is no. There is diced chicken mixed in with it but overall, the tart was excellent. The abalone provided a mild chewy texture with a nice savoury aftertaste while the chicken broke the monotony of just chewing on the abalone. And of course the tart completed the picture with its crusty shell imbued with an oven baked, buttery goodness.



Steamed Rice Rolls with BBQ Pork & Preserved Vegetables

One of the yardsticks of good dim sum, the chee cheong fun or 猪肠粉 had silky semi translucent skin that layered the sizable BBQ pork pieces with the preserved vegetables and drenched in mildly salty soy sauce. I liked the crunchy texture from the vegetables coupled with the chewy texture of the pork. Only gripe I had was that there were just too many layers, which made the whole rice roll a lot chunkier than I would have liked it to be.



Baked BBQ Pork Buns with Pine Nuts

This wasn't the usual BBQ pork buns that I was used to in Singapore. It was actually 菠蘿包 with a nice, sweet crusty top and lots of delectable BBQ pork filling that wouldn't drastically increase your sugar level. And in case you get bored with only eating pork, the buns have onion shreds in it as well for a mild deviation in taste and texture. I personally thought the pine nuts were great as well .



Lung King Heen Lobster Fried Rice

Bursting with wok hei with a muted peppery notes, this namesake fried rice came with a generous serving of lobster and moist rice grains. Bring a huge appetite for carbohydrates.



Lung King Heen Roast Chicken

Another namesake dish and an excellent one at that. Unbelievably crisp skin coupled with tender meat that oozed juices with every bite. The mildly sourish dipping sauce helped cut through the slightly excessive oil and greatly alleviated any nausea one might have from taking in too much oil.



Baked Portuguese Milk Custard Tartlets

Each tartlet came in bite sized portions with flaky pastry and a quivery smooth custard center that didn't come across as too sweet. Very good way to end off the meal if I may say. But the waiting time for this is 20 minutes so place your orders early if you are in a rush.



Complimentary Dessert

Even though we were already bursting at the seams with the plethora of wonderful food, our wait staff urged us to try this complimentary "signature" dessert. And I'm glad we did. The wolfberries had a grape like texture and when eaten with the chilled, quivery jelly, made for an interesting nibble. The cracker/peanut candy like pastry (for lack of a better word) in the middle of the plate gave the impression that it was really sticky but was unexpectedly fluffy and melt in your mouth!



Bill

We enjoyed our lunch immensely and at about 921 HKD or about $150 SGD, well worth the price. Service was decent but hardly befitting a 3 michelin star restaurant in my humble opinion. Our lunch stretched past the 2 hr mark and I'll definitely be happy to return, this time with an early reservation for window side seats of course.


Ambience:7.5/10
Service:7/10
Food:8.5/10
Value for money:7/10

Overall:7.5/10

Address: 4th Floor, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong

Contact: (852) 3196-8880

Opening Hours:

Lunch
Sundays and public holidays
11:30 am – 3:00 pm

Monday to Saturday
12:00 noon – 2:30 pm

Dinner
Daily 6:00 pm – 10:30 pm

Website: http://www.fourseasons.com/hongkong/dining/lung_king_heen

Monday, October 24, 2011

Esmirada - A Pictorial

Restaurant week was in town and a couple of us decided to give Esmirada a shot (it was one of the few remaining restaurants that weren't fully booked) as they had a quirky plate smashing routine every evening.










Overall dinner quality was average and priced at almost $50/pax ($35++ for the set menu and another $7++ for the Sangria during happy hour). However, wait time for the food was simply atrocious. 2 of my table guests had to wait a cool 45mins before any entrees were even served and they had to pester the wait staff at least 3 times. As for the plate smashing ritual, it was more dangerous than anything. The huge table beside us went bonkers and continued smashing plates like there was no tomorrow. And yours truly almost got nicked in the foot by an airborne plate fragment. Definitely not cool.


Address: #01-29 Orchard Hotel

Contact: 6735 3476

Opening Hours:

Sun–Thu: 12noon –10.30pm

Fri–Sat: 12noon – 11pm

Website: http://www.esmirada.com/esmirada/esmirada-orchard.html

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mortons VIII



I decided to do something different during the recent F1 weekend. Instead of keeping miles away from the epicenter, I braved restrictive roads and major inconveniences to dine at Mortons, which had a special lunch seating only during this annual weekend.




Interior & Special Menu

As mentioned in my previous entry on Mortons, windows had been installed to allow for natural light to flood in, radiating the traditionally sombre main dining area. And what better time to see the place in a different light than in the afternoon, over a leisurely and decadent lunch?



Onion Loaf

We carved out a small section of the delicious onion loaf for consumption and doggy bagged the remainder. Goes very well with chilled, smooth butter.



Caesar Salad

Fresh crunchy greens homogeneously tossed in classic caesar dressing and topped with fresh tasting croutons that didn't reek of rancid oil. Huge bowl so try to share.



Lobster Bisque

The lobster bisque had a nice smoothness to it without coming across as too rich or creamy. The brandy taste is quite distinguishable so if you don't really like alcohol, you probably shouldn't order this. I applaud the freshness of the lobster but moan the measly portions (it's just 1 small piece of lobster). After all, it is $34.50++ a bowl.



Spinach with Mushroom

Our mandatory greens for the meal. Plentiful mushrooms and spinach. So plentiful that we got sick of eating mushrooms after that. Good for 2-3 pax.



Chicken Christopher

Coated with a layer of egg and pan fried till a golden brown, the chicken christopher was actually quite tasty, especially when dipped in the creamy yellowish sauce that came across as light with a mild garlicky flavour. However too much of the chicken can be quite a nauseating affair. Read. Share it.




Fillet Mignon

It's been a while since I've had steak at Mortons, opting instead to go for their burger (standards have dropped!) during my last couple of visits. And I'm glad I decided to order my favourite cut this time round - the fillet mignon. Done up to a perfect medium rare yet a little charred on the outside, the meat was excellent - juicy and full of natural sweetness. What more can I ask for? Well, maybe seconds?




Morton's Hot Chocolate Cake

Luscious warm chocolate oozing out from a break in the crust and paired with a nice chilly scoop of vanilla ice cream made for a wonderful end to the meal.



Bill

As with any meal at Mortons, you can expect prices to be in excess of $100/pax, even for lunch. However, $246 for 2 pax was reasonable in my humble opinion and I'll definitely be happy to drop by again, be it for lunch or dinner. One thing to note though. The quality of food did seem better during lunch probably due to the lack of crowds so do lunch if possible.


Ambience:7.5/10
Service:8/10
Food:8/10
Value for money:7/10
Overall:7.5/10

Address: 4th Storey, Mandarin Oriental Singapore

Contact: 6339-3740

Opening Hours:

Bar
Monday - Saturday 5pm - 11pm
Sunday 5pm - 10pm

Dining Room
Monday - Saturday 5:30pm - 11pm
Sunday 5pm - 10pm

Website: http://www.mortons.com/singapore/

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Botan II - A Pictorial








Address: #01-01, 36 Pekin Street

Contact: 6536-4404

Opening Hours: Daily 11:30-22:00

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Pizzeria Mozza



And we finally got a table at the highlyy sought after and much talked about Pizzeria Mozza after calling in almost a month in advance for reservations. Yet we were relegated to a most uncomfortable table in the pizzeria where seating was tight and with the POS (point of sale) system right behind us (or me to be more specific).




Interior & Cutlery Set

Conversation was almost non existent with shouting the preferred method of communication. Simply put, you had to shout about the din to have someone sitting a mere 2 metres away to actually hear you. I attribute that to the ridiculously loud pipe music. For crying out loud, I'm in a pizzeria, not a bar and I definitely don't appreciate literally yelling at people and being yelled at to get a conversation going. And with the whole place trying to do their part for the environment by saving on electricity bills, the whole place had the pub vibe going for them. But wait.. isn't it suppose to be a pizzeria?




Wings Diavola & Chicken Liver Bruschetta

I skipped the appetisers as I wasn't in the mood for chicken liver or wings.



Potato Pizza

Egg, Bacon, Yukon Gold Potato & Bermuda Onions. Potatoes on a pizza? Double serving of carbohydrates? Seriously? But to give it credit, it was actually very decent as a whole. A hand full of toppings that synced well together on a thin and crisp yet chewy crust that gave my jaws a good workout (what do they put in there?!) .



Guanciale Pizza

Egg, Guanciale, Bitter Greens & Bagna Cauda. I've actually never tried guanciale (dried meat from pork cheeks) or bagna cauda (an Italian dip made from garlic, anchovies, olive oil and butter) and after tasting what this pizza had to offer, I am still clueless as to how both are suppose to taste like. Reason being, the bitter greens dominated my palate. And the whole pizza tended towards the "grassy" side. Most of us gave up after a slice each.



Meat Lover Pizza

Bacon, salami, fennel sausage, pancetta, tomato & mozzarella. With all the meat, I was hoping that this pizza would be a blast. But unfortunately, the converse turned out to be true. Very salty would probably be a good way to start off the description and the taste from the salami muscled its way in, overpowering virtually everything else. So essentially what you get is very salty salami on a bed of crisp but tough dough.



Bill

5 pax, $158. With 2 out of 3 of our pizzas almost hitting the $40 mark and not matching up in terms of quality and quantity, I'll definitely be hard pressed to find a reason to return. We were so disappointed that we didn't even bother ordering desserts. And the ambience definitely didn't help. This place is seriously over hyped in my humble opinion. Better pizzas at a more wallet friendly price can be found elsewhere.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:5.5/10 (I'm not a fan of noisy and cramp environments)
Service:7/10
Food:6/10
Value for money:5.5/10

Overall:6/10

Address: #B1-42/46, Marina Bay Sands

Contact: 6688 8522

Opening Hours: Daily: Noon - Midnight

Website: http://www.pizzeriamozza.com/Singapore/home.cfm