Posts tagged “best

Albert Adrià in Beijing – make haste to request a reservation

Thanks to following Beijing Boyce, it has come to my attention that Albert Adrià of elBulli will be coming to Beijing with a team of chefs at the end of October.

Now that promises to be a culinary event of awesome proportions – hang the fact that elBulli have Michelin stars coming out of their ears, they have been voted the best restaurant in the world for the past 4 years.

Here are all the deets -but be warned, in the email I was sent from the organiser, he said they’d received 4000 emails just last week alone, so as space is limited I’d get your booking requests in smartish (although it’s not clear if it’s first come first serve).

BTW, the first two events are based on the restaurant’s cook books.

About the event:

Spain’s elBulli has been awarded the title of the World’s Best Restaurant by the prestigious Restaurant Magazine for the past four years, as well as in 2002. Led by manager Juli Solder; Chef Albert Adrià, the “ideologist” of elBulli; and Chef Ferran Adrià, frequently noted as the best chef in the world, elBullli offers the most sought-after dining tables in the world.

This October, celebrating the astounding impact these two culinary craftsmen and their restaurant have had on both Spain’s and the world’s cuisines, Albert Adrià will visit Beijing with his team of chefs to host four unforgettable gastronomic events.

Presenting book and DVD presentations, master classes, Q&A sessions, and meets and greets, together with a final guest-chef dinner, Albert Adrià, ”ideologist” of elBulli in Beijing, will be a must for industry professionals and passionate foodies alike.

A day at elBulli

Wednesday 28th October 688rmb per person NETT

VIP tables 11,888rmb for 10pax NETT

Events starts at 6:30pm

Natura

Thursday 29th October 688rmb per person NETT

VIP tables 11,888rmb for 10pax NETT

Events starts at 6:30pm

Brian McKenna and Da Dong dinner, Albert Adria guest of honour

Friday 30th October 888rmb per person NETT

Event starts at 6:30pm

A day at elBulli and natura combined 1,200rmb per person NETT

A day at elBulli and natura combined 22,000rmb per table of 10pax NETT

A day at elBulli, natura and Brian McKenna/Da Dong dinner combined 1,900rmb per person NETT

A day at elBulli, natura and Brian McKenna/Da Dong dinner combined 30,000rmb per table of 10pax NETT

If you are interested in any of the events please send an email to adriabeijing@room-bmk.com.

Reservations: This extraordinary event will no doubt be highly coveted and there are strictly limited places.

To attend, please lodge your reseration request at adriabeijing@room-bmk.com before 18 October 2009.

All requests will be answered on Monday 19th October, and due to expected huge demand we cannot guarantee spaces to everyone.

-END-

So there you have it.  I only count three events, so not sure what the fourth unmentioned one is.  Good luck to anyone wanting to go and I look forward to hearing how it comes off.

Unfortunately I am going to on a mission in North Africa over that week, and won’t be able to attend – so I’m a little gutted as I won’t be going to Spain in the foreseeable.
Here are all the deets – but be warned, in the email I was sent from the organisers, they said they’d received 4000 emails about this last week alone, so as space is limited, I’d get your booking requests in smartish:
About the event.

Villa Amistà, Verona – Byblos owner has created a ludicrously good hotel.

Review:
I’m going to resist the temptation to post lots of photos of this hotel, and would recommend that you don’t look at the website too deeply (or at all) before you book, leave it as a surprise…
To have somewhere like the Villa Amistà sprung on you after a particularly long and harrowing journey, is disconcerting to say the least. Our concierge service had booked us in earlier that same day after we could only find one rather depressing hotel on Lake Garda that was open in February, and had suggested that Verona was our best bet.
We were told the hotel was in a refurbed villa, and housed a large collection of modern art. What she should have said was, “I’m booking you into this hotel – it’s completely bonkers, but trust me, you’ll love it.”
It’s as if a madman had got control of the Hadron Collider and decided to see what happens when he placed a 15th century Italian villa complete with contents, a bunch of paints and a hiccuping Murano glass blower inside and thrown the switch. The result is startling.
I must admit that when I first walked in, drained and jaded from the schlep from Milan via Garda (many times via Garda in fact, but let us not revisit dark times), I did think “Holy Crap, what the f**k has our lifestyle manager done to us? This place is preposterous.”
To say that it houses a collection of art is an understatement, it is in it’s entirety one carefully constructed installation piece. It’s vibrant, irreverent and whimsical, but there is also a strong vein of elegance running throughout. Dino Facchini owner of Byblos houses a big chunk of his personal art collection here, and he uses the villa to showcase all the pieces of his Byblos Casa operation, so you can walk out with an armchair if it takes your fancy.
Rooms: We stayed on the lobby level of the villa which is the only level that has balconies. These are the best rooms, and they were bloody gigantic. I understand that the standard rooms are rather snug, so would suggest spending the money to bypass these. The bathrooms are some of the best I’ve experienced. All white, with proper lighting so that girls can actually apply their makeup properly (wish other hotels would cotton on to this).
Public areas: The public areas of the hotel are fascinating, every nook and cranny has some weird or wonderful piece of furniture or art. Most of the 15th century style ceilings are intricately painted, there are gorgeous salons to lounge about in, beautiful gardens, a lovely pool and a spa.
Restaurant/Bar: There is a great bar and a wonderful restaurant.  I have no idea why the Restaurant Atelier doesn’t have even one Michelin star. It was miles better than the 2* Il Desco we went to in Verona one night, and the sommelier was fantastic. He introduced us to Ripasso which sees the unpressed grape skins that go into making the wonderful Amarones, added to the already blended and fermented Valpollicella wine to finish it off. This process adds body and character to the simple Valpollicella – and the results are hugely successful. I always buy them now as it’s cheaper and lighter than Amarone.
Service: Really wonderful. During the black hours of being lost in the northern Italian industrial hinterland, they actually sent a car to look for us (how Italian is that? Incredibly chivalrous, but completely illogical). They have shuttle-buses to take you in and out of Verona whenever you need, and they provide faultless hospitality.
Price: I remember we paid around €300 for one of the best rooms in the house in February, and they seem to do lots of specials and promotions at different times of year, including around opera season. Fantastic that it is open year-round.
Location: via Cedrare, 78, 37020 Corrubbio di Negarine (Verona) – Italy. Tel +39 045 6855555, reservation@byblosarthotel.com. Corrubbio is just under 10km from the centre of old Verona.
We loved the hotel. It was completely bonkers, and service and food were truly excellent. Just make sure that you have a map and good directions as it’s a bitch to find. Fortunately there were lots of prostitutes on the outskirts of Verona who we could ask for directions !@?$*
Before we ended up in Verona we had decided that we wanted to stop off at the lakes on our way to Venice, but nothing was open at this time of year. I’m so pleased we went there, as the old town is beautiful, the restaurants are world-class and it’s slap bang in the middle of a wine producing region. I’d definitely go back.

Review:

I’m going to resist the temptation to post lots of photos of this hotel, and would recommend that you don’t look at the website too deeply (or at all) before you book, leave it as a surprise…

villa_amista_caustic_candyTo have somewhere like the Villa Amistà sprung on you after a particularly long and harrowing journey, is disconcerting to say the least. Our concierge service had booked us in earlier that same day after we could only find one rather depressing hotel on Lake Garda that was open in February, and had suggested that Verona was our best bet.

We were told the hotel was in a refurbed villa, and housed a large collection of modern art. What she should have said was, “I’m booking you into this hotel – it’s completely bonkers, but trust me, you’ll love it.”

It’s as if a madman had got control of the Hadron Collider and decided to see what happens when he placed a 15th century Italian villa complete with contents, a bunch of paints and a hiccuping Murano glass blower inside and thrown the switch. The result is startling.

I must admit that when I first walked in, drained and jaded from the schlep from Milan via Garda (many times via Garda in fact, but let us not dwell on the dark moments of our lives), I did think “Holy Crap, what the f**k has our lifestyle manager done to us? This place is preposterous.”

To say that it houses a collection of art is an understatement, it is in it’s entirety, one carefully constructed installation piece. It’s vibrant, irreverent and whimsical, but there is also a strong vein of elegance running throughout. Dino Facchini, the owner of Byblos, houses a big chunk of his personal art collection here, and he uses the villa to showcase all the pieces of his Byblos Casa operation, so you can walk out with an armchair if it takes your fancy.

villa_amista_caustic—candy1Rooms: We stayed on the lobby level of the villa which is the only floor that has balconies. These are the best rooms, and they were bloody gigantic. I understand that the standard rooms are rather snug, so would suggest spending the money to bypass these. The bathrooms are some of the best I’ve experienced. All white, with proper lighting so that girls can actually apply their makeup easily, (wish other hotels would cotton on to this).

Public areas: The public areas of the hotel are fascinating, every nook and cranny has some weird or wonderful piece of furniture or art. Most of the 15th century style ceilings are intricately painted, there are gorgeous salons to lounge about in, beautiful gardens, a lovely pool and a spa.

Restaurant/Bar: There is a great bar and a wonderful restaurant.  I have no idea why the Restaurant Atelier doesn’t have even one Michelin star. It was obviously better than the 2* Il Desco we went to in Verona one night, and the sommelier was fantastic. He introduced us to Ripasso which sees the unpressed grape skins that go into making the wonderful Amarones, added to the already blended and fermented Valpollicella wine to finish it off. This process adds body and character to the simple Valpollicella – and the results are hugely successful. I regularly buy Ripasso now as it’s cheaper and lighter than Amarone.

Service: Really wonderful. During the black hours of being lost in the northern Italian industrial hinterland, they actually sent a car to look for us (how Italian is that? Incredibly chivalrous, but completely illogical). They have shuttle-buses to take you in and out of Verona whenever you need, and they provide faultless hospitality.

Price: I remember we paid around €300 for one of the best rooms in the house in February, and they seem to do lots of specials and promotions at different times of year, including around opera season. Fantastic that it is open year-round.

Location: Via Cedrare, 78, 37020 Corrubbio di Negarine (Verona) – Italy. Tel +39 045 6855555, reservation@byblosarthotel.com. Corrubbio is just under 10km from the centre of old Verona.

We loved the hotel. It was completely bonkers, and the service and food were truly excellent. Just make sure that you have a map and good directions as it’s a bitch to find. Fortunately there were lots of prostitutes on the outskirts of Verona who we could ask for directions !@?$*

Before we ended up in Verona we had decided that we wanted to stop off at the lakes on our way to Venice, but nothing was open at this time of year. I’m so pleased we went to Verona instead, as the old town is beautiful, the restaurants are world-class and it’s slap bang in the middle of a wine producing region – i.e. ticks all my holiday boxes really!

Curry Buffet Lunch – Conrad takes top marks for food.

Review:

There are many options for curry buffet lunch on Hong Kong Island, I must have tried at least 10, but there are old favourites that I go back to time and again.

After a truly good meal yesterday at the Conrad my trusty companion, and long-time Indian restaurant guide (originally from Bangalore), and I have decided that it’s hands down the best for food.

conrad lobby hk

Phot from the Conrad's website (at night...)

Food: Winning factor numero un, is that they have a dosa chef at the head of the buffet constantly primed to take your order.

Winning factor numero deux, is that the head chef at the moment is from Kerala, so the food has a definite southern India bent, but this also means that the dishes are generally lighter in texture than those made by North Indian chefs, so you feel more than able to continue your work day afterwards.

It’s easy to go veggie or carnivorous, there are lots of salads and fresh made pickles and chutneys and you get the added bonus of the Conrad’s pastry chefs whipping up dessert.

Yesterday, amongst other things including 2 dosa, I had the most mouth-watering lemon pilau rice flavoured with kaffir lime leaves, and a beautiful dhal, which on the face of it you would think is easy to master, but the flavours and textures were perfect. It’s not often that simple dishes of rice and lentils make you actually stop eating and discuss the food.

Drinks: What you’d predict at a 5* hotel, plus they do really good chai.

Service:  5* Conrad, so exactly what you’d expect from such an establishment.

Ambience: The buffet takes place in the Lobby Lounge which is a very pleasant, light-filled environment. Mind-bogglingly, the buffet is rarely very busy, so it’s a very good place to go for business lunch, especially as the tables are wide apart.

Only marginal inconvenience for me is eating from coffee table height. Not being able to get your legs under the table makes for slightly uncomfortable dining for girls as you can’t really sit there legs akimbo, so you are always twisting slightly to eat.

Price: $250 +10% service.  Now, this is a good deal more expensive than a lot of the other curry lunches in town, but it is well worth treating yourself once in a while.

Location: Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong. Tel: 852-2521-3838

Mayfair – Eating, Sleeping, Shopping, Drinking

I can’t find anywhere better to be based in London when I’m visiting than Mayfair.

It’s quiet, it’s got great restaurants, it’s easy to get to from the stations I use – Paddington and Marylebone, it’s on the right side of town for Heathrow, it’s close to the best shops and it’s slap bang in the centre of all the other boroughs I have to go to to visit friends.

Mayfair, London

Whilst I love the size of the rooms and the service at the Mandarin Oriental, Knightsbridge to me is a cultural wasteland compared to Mayfair. I love walking in London and so staying in Mayfair gives me the freedom to investigate all the nooks and crannies of Old London (St James, The Mall, Haymarket, Westminster, Picadilly etc) whilst giving me access to Bond Street, Saville Row, Jermyn Street and Burlington Gardens etc as well as Oxford Street and beyond. Give me Selfridges over Harrods any day of the week, and if I need food hampers then I’ll go to Fortnum’s thank you.

Hotels: If you are going to stay in a hotel then use Claridges. Comfy beds, great service, wonderful art-deco bathrooms. Breakfast in The Foyer is very special, one of the only hotels on earth I bother to descend to break my fast.  The Dorchester is just tooooo damn Chintzy and the Hilton, well it’s the Hilton so is bloody ugly (even the suites) and also the bars are so full of hookers you’d think you were in Shanghai in the 90′s.

Clubs: Check your club memberships. Many club’s in Hong Kong have good reciprocal arrangements in London, and a lot of them have accommodation. I often stay at the Naval Club (far right on the photo montage) on Hill Street. It’s not too stuffy (at least I’m allowed through the door in jeans). Rooms are adequate, it’s homely and quiet, and most importantly it’s £150 for a double room (and if you are a whore for celebrity spotting, Guy Ritchie’s Punchbowl pub is about 40m away from the front door).

All these places let me store my winter wardrobe and ski-gear with them for months at a time, which makes my luggage so much lighter. Got to love good service.

Restaurants:

Cecconi’s at 5A Burlington Gardens for lunch, and for post-shopping gathering of thoughts.

The Wolesley at 160 Piccadilly for breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea and dinner.

Kaya at 42 Albermarle Street, for when you need a hit of honest Korean food.

Le Boudin Blanc (should have a Michelin star) in Shepherds Market: for a long, long lunch or dinner. Fantastic wine list. One of my favourite restaurants in London and my favourite dessert – a red berry vanilla cream shortbread effort which is yum.

Claridges on Brook Street: Gordon Ramsey‘s Michelin star restaurant for dinner – not sure what it’s like now, but used to be very good. Claridge’s Bar is fun for lunch – great seasonal bites like fresh alaskan crab cocktails, pates on toast, goujons etc super posh pub food really!

The Square on Bruton Street, (Michelin Star) one of my boyf’s favourite restaurants, I’ve never been, but I trust his palette even more than my own.

Wiltons on Jermyn Street, hugely old restaurant, famous for oysters and other seafood, wonderfully trad.

If you are after High Tea, then head to the hotels, I’d advise Brown’s or Claridges. Avoid the Ritz like you would the pig bug.

Of course China Tang has recently opened in the Dorch, but I’m not swayed to give it a go yet, I can eat at the China Club here in HK, so why bother over there.  My favourite Chinese restaurant in London at the moment is Hunan. But that’s for a different post as it’s in Pimlico…

Drinks:

The Donovan Bar in Browns on Abermarle Street  serves really good cocktails

Polo Bar in the Westbury Hotel on Curzon street. Great cocktail list, good early evening people-spotting mash up of tourists, theatregoers and business folks. Useful place to catch a taxi at night (you can finish your one-for-the-road in the bar and the bellboys will come find you when your taxi has arriven).

The American Bar at the Stafford Hotel in St James Place. Good for a secret tete-a-tete. Great drinks, tiny bar, good burger. Beloved by Yanks and hidden away.

Good old-school pubs: The Punchbowl on Farm Street, The Audley on Mount Street (can get very full and boisterous people after work), The Red Lion on Waverton Street (tiny, old, hidden, good place for a pint and a relax). All have good draft ale.

Clubbing:

If you like clubbing, there are a variety of places to go and splash cash including tabloid favourites: Mahiki, Cuckoo Club, Jalouse, etc (as you can tell this isn’t my scene…) but if you like gambling, then I highly recommend 50 St James as one of the more salubrious places to lose a few grand at the tables, (or gawp at the Essex lovelies earlier in the evening at the bar downstairs, I always forget how blonde, inflated and orange these girls have become).

Shopping:

As I live in duty free Hong Kong, what I look for when I go abroad is the things I can’t get here. So that usually means, top quality, handmade goods from small retailers, or at the other end – stocking up in Top Shop.  And of course books. Hong Kong is so utterly rubbish at bookshops.

If it’s style, class and built to last that you desire, then the shops around Mayfair are for you.

Jermyn Street and around St James are stuffed with some fantastic shops.

Swaine Adeney Brigg is the place you need to go for umbrellas, canes and walking sticks (?!) in particular, and they have recently updated their luggage to include some really good pieces, previously they were over-trad.

Turnball and Asser sells the best silk ties in the world.  They also have good off the shelf shirts if you are in a hurry (for bespoke we use London designs, but HK tailors). Everything else is a bit too old fashioned for my taste, but they rock at ties.

Beretta apart from it’s truly magnificent guns which are well worth a browse, Beretta has great hats, gloves, coats etc based on hunting and outdoor pursuits. Top quali with beautiful Italian design and materials (both girls & boys).

Lock & Co Good hats.

Alfred Dunhill this used to be Dunhill’s flagship store, not sure if it still is. Was a great place for boys to get a shave or a haircut.  The barber used to be very good, but I’m not sure if they still have that service anymore – that’s not very helpful is it?!

Churches and John Lobb are both here for men’s shoes – very trad. Berluti are far superior if you want a bit of an edge.

Geo F Trumpers – gentleman barber, also chiropodist and sells all a boy could ever want for his shaving and pruning needs. Super old school, wouldn’t trust them on a hair cut if you are under 60…

Paxton & Whitfield – great deli, especially cheese – have immense range of pickles and condiments to go with them.

Trevor Philip & Sons - fascinating store of seriously impressive antique scientific and horological pieces, as well as all sorts of globes and marine models. Love it.

Berry Bros. & Rudd One of the oldest shops in London, and well worth a snoop even if you aren’t buying. One of the UK’s leading wine merchants, they have a very popular cellar plan that helps you build up a stock of wine for the future, constructed either for drinking or investment – and of course as they have an outlet in HK you can always buy up in London but arrange for it to arrive in HK, circumventing all logistic/customs issues.

Richard Caplin – one of the best Leica specialists in London (the other is The Classic Camera in Pied Bull Yard opposite the British Museum), great range of cameras – new and second hand, lenses and binoculars. Also stocks ricoh cameras and all sorts of film and accessories. Always check HK before you go though if you are after second hand or limited edition cameras to see if they are cheaper.

Piccadilly:

Piccadilly is stuffed with book shops.  The biggest by far being Waterstones, but for me the best is Hatchards which has been going since the end of the 18th Century. Very well thought out stock, brilliant nook and cranny configuration, all ancient oak panels and uneven, creaking floorboards.

Fortnum & Mason‘s is also on Piccadilly for all your foodie gift needs, as well as having a pretty decent selection of cook books (as do both Hatchards and Waterstones). Tea and Cake at Fortnums is OK, it’s gone a bit café for my liking – if you want proper English High Tea go to Browns, or Claridges or probably even the Wolseley.

Burlington Arcade: Links Piccadilly with Burlington Gardens. If you like antique jewellery and watches this is the place for you (I love old Rolexes and The Vintage Watch Company has a huge windowful). Also has Macintosh and Globetrotter, Laduree (Parisian macaroons to overdose on), Pickett (very trad) leathergoods, Villebrequin etc.

Saville Row, Burlington Gardens etc:

Berluti on Conduit Street. Beautiful shop. Tragically only makes men’s shoes, but they are, to my mind, the best in the world. Beautifully hand crafted, totally stylish, after sales service is amazing, and great shops to sit in and lounge whilst the boy gets on shopping. They also cost a fortune, so you can then buy something guilt free to balance his splurging.

Saville Row.  Really depends on what style suit you want, as all the tailors have their own specific style and detailing. My boy likes Mark Stephen Marengo in particular (bit of a newcomer here) but it’s really about the materials and the detailing you want. Get a recommendation or be willing to spend some time investigating.

Art – Mayfair is packed with galleries, (Sotheby’s HQ is on New Bond Street). It’s well worth just nosing around Dover, Abermale, Old Burlington, Grafton and the Bonds Streets etc as there are all sorts of galleries to suit all tastes.

Bond Streets (Old and New).

Finally we get on to the ladies. This is where all the big designer shops are from Prada and Hermes through LV and Loro Piano. You’ve got Asprey (great architecture, go and have a nose), Cartier, Bulgari, Chanel etc as well as Jimmy Choo, Pringle, Armani, Mulberry and Smythson (fab for travel wallets and note books). There are a whole host of other high and mid end girl shops – plus a wealth of art galleries and other shops in between. At the top of New Bond Street you hit Oxford Street and if you turn left you are then in striking distance of the only shop you really need on that horrific thoroughfare – Selfridges.

And I’m spent!

If you like architecture, a bit of history and walking rather than taxis/tubes etc, then Mayfair is a perfect place to base yourself for a stay in the UK capital.

Best hole in the wall – Thai Hut, Wanchai

Review:

Thai Hut is always there when you need it – they have seen me at my office best and at my Wanchai worst. I can go at lunchtime for a quick $35 lunch-box of curry and rice, at supper for pad ka prao, tom yum gai, and a papaya salad, and at kicking out time for a Laos sausage, chicken satay, or deep-fried chicken skin.

Caustic Candy Thai Hut Wanchai

The Hong Kong fun police have stopped the snackery from setting up tables and stools outside which is frustrating, so as it’s a tiny spot you have to cross your fingers and hope there is some free bottom space.  On the crossroads of Luard and Hennessy it is my favourite Wanchai people-watching joint – the hookers, the sailors, the conference goers, the mamasans, the tourists –  sit as near to the pavement as possible to goggle at the goings on.

Food: Homely thai fare.  Rock solid, hot as you can bear, caters to the Thai community in Wanchai so it’s proper stuff like.  You have to try a Laos style (or Isaan I suppose it might be here) sausage if you haven’t ever had one.  It is the “rustic” looking one with the big bits of garlic and fat.  Also, my favourite supper dish is the Pad Ka Prao  - steamed rice, minced meat and long beans, with chilli, basil, garlic etc, topped off with a fried egg.  Massively hot and yumtious.

Caustic Candy Thai Hut Wanchai Sausage

Drinks:  Great value for money as they sell beers and soft drinks in cans at basically 7/11 prices. Can also have lime sodas, iced lemon teas, lots of Thai favourites.

Ambience: Eclectic clientele, Thais (girls, boys and ladyboys) and people who know this place serves some of the best Thai food in town. You’re basically on the street, so it’s that Wanchai feeling all the way.

Service:  Always friendly, always quick, seems like the whole family are involved in some way.

Price: Cheapness. Rarely more than $100 per head if you have a mix of dishes to share and some drinks.  At lunch I struggle to spend more than $40 including a drink.

Location: Opposite Mes Amis in the same strip as Ebeneezers etc on corner of Luard and Hennessey Road, Wanchai. 2866 8528

Open:  Almost constantly.  Seems to close around 5am until brunch-ish.

Best Pub in Hong Kong – The Chinnery

Review

Some may disagree with me that The Chinnery in the Mando is a pub, but they are wrong.

The Chinnery

1) It serves pie

2) It serves soss an mash

3) It serves beer and ale in tankards

Honestly, the Chinnery is my all time favourite comfort location – always makes me feel at peace with the world.

Food: All their food is great, you can have a chicken makhani, pea and ham soup, steak pie, duck liver pate and toast, eggs benedict etc – it really has the most spot on menu, if it was in a bigger room it would be The Wolseley of HK.

Drinks:  Ale, beer, gunners in tankards too, lethal gin and tonics, very good Bloody Mary’s, and one of the largest collections of Single Malt in HK.

Service: Faultless.  Super efficient, very friendly, couldn’t be more accommodating – what the Mando is all about.

Ambience:  Chairs you could spend all day in.  Wood panelled with lots of original Chinnery’s which are beautiful. Low lit, proper old-school club styley.  Very banker at lunchtime, but always convivial atmos.  Sit at the bar if you are on your own and you’ll usually end up chatting with the person next to you.  Outside of lunchtime you feel as though you have found a secret that no one else knows. Always surprised that this place isn’t rammed all day!

Price: It’s not cheap – I usually end up spending $300 per head just for lunch, but the food is top-notch.

Location: 1st floor of the Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road, Central. 2522 0111

Open: Open from 11:30am til around 11:30pm Mon through Sat.  Lunch 11:30am-2:30pm (go early for lunch as you can’t book tables and it’s always busy at lunch time). Dinner 7:30-9:30pm.  Closed Sundays and public holidays.