Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Caprice, Hong Kong

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On our previous visit to Four Seasons Hong Kong, we had a great time at one of it's 3 Michelin starred restaurant, Lung King Heen. This time round, we decided to do a post valentines day weekend lunch at its other 3 Michelin starred restaurant, Caprice. 

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The Place & View From Our Table

Advance reservations are highly recommended, especially if you are looking to get a table by the window. Even though I had called about a month prior, the window seats were all taken and it was by sheer luck that someone cancelled their reservation and we were slotted in. So what do the window tables offer? Well, a breathtaking view (sorta) of the Hong Kong harbour through full length windows. But don't let the view take away any of the interior's lustre - beautifully designed to invoke a sense of grandeur befitting royalty with plush leather seats and grand chandeliers, the place is really in a league of its own.

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Complimentary Bread

The complimentary bread was no great shakes but good for a bite or two to stave off the imminent hunger.

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Amuse Bouche

A platter of delicately flavoured bites to start off our meal, just as we were finishing off our bread.

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French Bean Salad, Duck Breast, Foie Gras & Garlic Croutons in Merlot Vinaigrette

A bunch of french beans wrapped in a slice of duck breast and topped with small pieces of foie gras terrine. First bite, the duck taste was evident together with the mild sweetness from the french bean. And as the chewing continued, the taste of foie gras slowly flittered in. Simple yet nice.

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Alaskan King Crab Cake, Broccoli Mousseline & Marinated Vegetables

The Alaskan king crab cake was almost cylindrical in shape and had a sweet, beautiful crustacean taste to it. Served alongside was a light as air and creamy broccoli mousse, which made for the perfect accompaniment. Top marks for presentation and taste!

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Stuffed Guinea Fowl with Lobster, Organic Spelt & Aromatic Tarragon in Natural Jus

Tender fowl meat coupled with a Brittany lobster center on a bed of nutty organic spelt (high in fibre and protein) - a most delectable pairing! The sweetness of the lobster complemented the mild gaminess of the guinea fowl and the au jus enhanced that flavour. Only small issue I had was that I found 2 husks in the spelt and I'm not sure the addition of husks was intentional on the part of the restaurant.

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Iberico Pluma Pork & Cauliflower Gratin in Curry Sauce

Tender iberico shoulder meat belying a mildly salty, curry aftertaste sans the spiciness. Served with a bowl of cauliflower gratin that came across as light yet creamy. I like how the use of various vibrantly coloured vegetables add to the visual appeal of this dish.

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Petit Fours

 Just before dessert came the petit fours, which was prettily presented on a tray like compartment. I especially took to the strawberry macaron for its freshly tart yet sweet flavour though I did feel that the shell could be a little less chewy. The chocolate with mandarin orange wasn't my cup of tea as I couldn't quite reconcile the taste of mandarin orange with milk chocolate. But a novel idea (especially for Chinese New Year) nonetheless.

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Chocolate Fondant of Coffee & Cappuccino Ice Cream

This chocolate fondant dessert proved to be that tiny blip in an otherwise unblemished lunch experience. Viscous chocolate and coffee center with a less than appealing, soft exterior. Coffee sheets, chocolate soil and smooth cappuccino ice cream rounded up the dish. Overall still a very respectable dessert but just falling short of expectations.

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Millefeuille of Pecan Nut, Salted Caramel & Pear, Gianduja Ice Cream

The millefeuille was an instant favourite (with yours truly). Crisp puff pastry with salted caramel cream and pear bits sandwiched between and topped with sweet pear slices and 2 pecan nuts. Add a scoop of irresistible gianduja (chocolate & hazelnut) ice cream and you have a dessert that hits all the right notes (for me at least) without coming across as too sweet or nauseating. 

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Complimentary Sweets

And our meal ended off with home made sweets courtesy of the house. That's honestly a first for me and I really liked the sweets, which alternated between tasting really great and getting stuck onto my teeth. Just remember to consume them as soon as you get them. I made the mistake of putting one in my pocket for an extended period of time and it came out of the ordeal really soft due to body heat.

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The ambience was great, the service was great and most importantly, the food was great. All at a cost of HKD 1188 (~ SGD 188). A return is definitely on the cards, this time definitely for dinner.

Final Verdict:
Food: 8.5/10
Value for money: 8.5/10
Overall: 8.75/10

Address: Podium 6, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street (中環金融街8號香港四季酒店6樓)

Contact: (852) 3196-8860

Opening Hours: 

Lunch: 12pm - 230pm

Dinner: 6pm - 1030pm

Website: http://www.fourseasons.com/hongkong/dining/restaurants/caprice/

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chan Kan Kee Chiu Chow Restaurant 陳勤記鹵鵝飯店, Hong Kong

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Chan Kan Kee Chiu Chow Restaurant ( 陳勤記鹵鵝飯店) opened its doors in 1948 and is to date, the oldest Teochew restaurant in Hong Kong. Asia's richest man, Li Ka Shing, is said to be fan of this "Michelin Bib Gourmand" restaurant and its decades old (since 1948!) 滷水, in which it's famous goose is braised in. 

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The Place

For a shop with such a huge reputation, I had expected a shopfront comparable to that of Yung Kee but in reality, it is a pretty small outfit located about a 5 minute walk away from Sheung Wan station. Seats are limited and we were lucky to get the last remaining table when we dropped by at 530pm on a Saturday.

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Fried Kailan with Dried Sole Fish

A simple vegetable dish punctuated with that salty crispness of dried sole fish. A pity the kailan lacked wok hei but the generous servings of sole fish and the soft stems (which is rare in Singapore) more than made up for it. 

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Braised Intestines

Plump braised pig chitterlings served up on a bed of beancurd, how could I say no? Crisp along certain edges with a soft, juicy center - great if you can stand the "porkiness"!

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Famous Braised Goose Slices

And finally, the piece de resistance, Chan Kan Kee's famous braised goose. Thickly sliced pieces of mildly coarse meat immersed in a lightly salty gravy with hints of a rich embodiment - substantial and flavourful. Probably one of the the best goose meat I've had in a long long time. Portions are quite substantial so there's plenty for everyone (for the both of us at least).

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A satisfying dinner for 2 cost to the tune of SGD 50, which is pretty reasonable for the quality of food you get. There are currently only 2 outlets (1 in Sheung Wan, 1 in Wanchai) so do go early or be prepared to wait for a seat.

Final Verdict:
Food: 7/10 (8/10 for the braised goose)
Value for money: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Address: 1 Queen's Road West, Sheung Wan (上環皇后大道西11號地下), Hong Kong

Contact: 2858 0033

Opening Hours: Mon.-Sun. 11:00-22:00

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop 麥文記麵家, Hong Kong

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On our previous trip to Hong Kong some 2 months ago, we had planned to eat at Mak Man Kee but unfortunately, the place was closed when we dropped by. Luck was with us this time round even though it was only the seventh day of Chinese New Year and many Chinese restaurants are known for closing throughout the entire 15 days of CNY.

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The Place & Interior

This particular outlet that we went to is just a couple of units down from the famed Australia Dairy Co. Expect a sparsely furnished interior and cramp seating arrangements coupled with a touch of inflexibility in the menu. If you would like your wanton noodles to come with BBQ pork, tough luck. You'll just have to order 2 different bowls.

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Wanton Noodles

The noodles carried quite a bit of bite with minimal alkaline taste whilst the wantons were huge with crunchy prawns stuffed within.  Pretty good.

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BBQ Pork Noodles

The BBQ pork serving was generous (relative to the size of this dish) but I didn't think too much of the flavour and texture honestly. Lacking in any discernible BBQ flavour or fatty bits for that desired tenderness. Pretty average in my humble opinion. 

If my memory serves me correct, lunch cost us about 70 HKD (~ SGD 11.50), which is pretty reasonable by HK standards. But I will only be back for their wanton noodles.

Final Verdict:
Food: 7/10
Value for money: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Address: 51 Parkes Street (佐敦白加士街51號地下), Hong Kong

Contact: 2736-5561

Opening Hours: 12:00-00:30

Monday, April 08, 2013

Nathan Congee 佐敦粥麵家, Hong Kong

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Just across the street from our hotel's (Novotel Nathan Road) main entrance is a nondescript shop that sells a rather huge variety of porridge.Many positive reviews have been written about it but mindful of our experience at The Chairman, we were skeptical.

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The Interior

The place is nothing to shout about - cramp tables in a boxed up and noisy environment. Seats are also limited so you might have to share tables if the place gets really busy. Supper might be a good idea as the place opens daily from 730am to 11pm.

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Pork Ball Congee 爽滑肉丸粥 (29 HKD)

The pork ball congee was smooth without coming across as too watery or sticky. Meatballs were aplenty and full of bite and flavour. Nothing like a hot steaming bowl of porridge with crisp crullers to start off a chilly morning!

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Century Egg & Lean Meat Congee 皮蛋瘦肉粥 (29 HKD)

I'm not a big fan of century egg but this was pretty good as well. Generous servings of century egg and mildly salted lean meat made for a nice flavour and texture.

The crullers cost 8 HKD so total bill for the morning was 66 HKD (~11 SGD) which was pretty reasonable for the quantity and quality of food. Just don't expect great service.

Final Verdict:
Food: 7/10
Value for money: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Address: 11 Sai Kung Street, Hong Kong

Contact: 852-2771-4285

Opening Hours:730am - 11pm daily

Monday, April 01, 2013

The Chairman 大班樓, Hong Kong

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Feted as one of the best restaurants in Hong Kong by the worldwide media and boasting a solitary Michelin star, The Chairman (大班樓) was our choice for a weekend lunch. We had initially contemplated dinner but decided against it as the set lunch seemed to offer a similar menu at a much lower price point. As it turned out, set lunches weren't available on weekends and we were forced to order from the ala carte menu. So much for wanting to cut costs.

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Exterior & Interior

Opened in 2009, The Chairman is housed at the bottom of a seemingly dilapidated residential building along a quiet cul-de-sac and just across the road from the Central District Health Centre. But step in and white washed walls greet you, alongside a bar counter on the first floor. The second level offers more seating but even then, it's not plentiful by any measure and conversation tones have to be kept at a hush hush level as the area is really quite compact.

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The Chairman's Soy Sauce Chicken

One of the restaurant's signature dish, the soy sauce chicken was quite the contradiction - sweet yet salty at the same time, coupled with tender meat and lightly elastic skin. But to be honest, this was a little too salty for my liking so best eaten with rice.

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Steamed Fresh Flowery Crab with Aged ShaoXing Wine, Fragrant Chicken Oil & Flat Rice Noodles

The singular dish that has garnered rave reviews across a spectrum of worldwide media, the steamed flowery crab with aged shao xing wine (紹興花雕酒). I honestly am not a big fan of non de-shelled crab but this was fresh and relatively sweet. The rice noodles soaked up the 花雕酒 and provided a nice accompaniment to the crab. However, I did find the taste of the 花雕酒 way too bitter for my liking, so much so that we struggled to finish up the rice noodles. And at 720 HKD (~SGD 115) for this, I personally find it seriously overpriced.

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A less than filling lunch cost the 2 of us to the tune of 999 HKD (~SGD 160). Contrary to what the media has portrayed, I'm definitely not impressed with what The Chairman has to offer. Service was decent but definitely not 1 Michelin star standard. Ditto the food. So much for the hype.

Final Verdict:
Ambience: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Food: 6.5/10
Value for money: 3.5/10
Overall: 6/10

Address: No.18 Kau U Fong, Central, HK

Contact: 2555 2202

Opening Hours: Daily

Lunch: 12:00 - 15:00

Dinner: 18:00 - 23:00

Website: http://www.thechairmangroup.com/index.php?lang=enus