Posts tagged “Central

Liberty Private Works – Hurry before he becomes the next big thing

Update:

I had an email from LPW to confirm that the kitchen will continue to operate after the Exchange Square restaurant/bar opens.  Thank the lord.

Review:

A complete stranger felt compelled to tell me about the fabulous meal he’d had at a new chef’s table back in September 09. I was at a gallery preview of some rather self-indulgent black and white, semi-porno photograhs and this chap was the most interesting thing about the whole affair.

Unfortunately I was about to go deep field for a few months and so have only just had the opportunity to go to Liberty Private Works.  And thank the lord I did!  Renovation work is already underway in a space in Exchange Square and chef Makoto Ono is not sure whether he’s going to be able to keep Liberty operating as well as the new mega-resto.

On to the experience:

Food:  Set menu, which suits me perfectly.  I’m a busy, harassed bee and have to make far to many decisions every day already, so the mental overload that occurs when I have to then tackle the choosing of what I want to shove down my gullet sometimes diminishes the whole experience of enjoying my food.  I’d much prefer to leave it in the capable hands of a trained master, and believe me, Makoto Ono is that.

Unpretentious, well-executed, super-tasty, pleasingly surprising, playful food. He looks proper pleased when you like his food, when you appreciate his taste and texture combos. The guy and his team are genuinely and seriously good.

What did we have? Home-cured gravlax, plumptious scallops, beautiful beef, local sea bass, asparagus, fruit compote, tomato jelly, all sorts, and all beautifully balanced.

Drink:  Doesn’t get better than this. They do have a wine-list and bar, but you can bring your own wine and don’t have to pay corkage!  Bloomin’ marvelous.

As it was gorgeous boy’s birthday, I snaffled a bottle of Ruinart Rose champagne (HK$498 and maybe the best widely available punk out there folks) and a wonderfully good value Torbreck Woodcutters 2006 Shiraz (HK$288) into the restaurant earlier in the day – some of his favourite vinos and perfect choices for an eclectic 6 course meal.

My wonderful Coutt’s concierge had these put by at Rare&Fine Wines on the edge of Queen’s Road West, so I just swooped in, was strong-armed (!@*&?) into a swift tasting of some lovely New Zealand wines and then barreled off down the road to deposit them at LPW pre-meal, with boyf none the wiser. Brilliant party trick that. Many brownie points garnered and lovely to get one over on “He-Who-Usually-Stores-Surprises-Up-His-Sleeve”.

BTW – I do highly recommend Rare&Fine Wines – check em out.

Ambience & Service: Usually I would review these two aspects separately, but because the only people you interact with are the team of Makato Ono and his sidekicks Albert and Claire, I have to consider them together. Liberty Private Works is super small and intimate. The space is maybe 400 sq-ft in total. That’s it: 14 bar stools, bar area/kitchen, team of 3 chefs and a blackboard.

The chefs are respectful, sweet, attentive, easy-going, bloody talented, happy to chat and tell you exactly what you’re getting. Makoto even started doing the washing up whilst waiting for the actual washer-uppers to arrive – and I don’t think he was indicating that it was time for us to leave, I think he just has pride in his kitchen and isn’t worried about getting stuck in.

Just a really chilled, welcoming, happy atmosphere of people making good food and other people enjoying that food. We were a real mixed bunched that evening. Me and the boy, another HK couple, a gweilo/HK business foursome, and an HK/mainland business six-some. Nice.

Hope I’m not boring you with the gushing praise…Anyhow, more good news to come.

Cost: $620 per person. Jeez, you could go to most outlets in So-Lo and spend that on three courses. I would have paid double. Couple that with the $0 corkage and it’s worth the 3 storey climb.

Location: 3F, 12 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong. (Opp California Fitness). Tel +852 5186 3282. email: info@libertypw.com

Liberty’s future is uncertain my dear readers.  The night we went Ono-sama told us that they’d swung the first sledgehammer of the renovation of Aria.  Yes, this chef who left Beijing because our Northern Friends still aren’t quite able to let go of historical umbrage and shunned his Japanese restaurant (woop woop HK’s gain), has the backing to take over a large, prime piece of banker/lawyer territory in Exchange Square.  And, whilst I agree that this town could do with a restaurant that crafts its French onion soup over an 8 hour period, and that knows how to produce a decent Caesar salad (both stated aims), I can’t help crying into my bubbly and raising my hands and eyes to the sky in exhortation that this surely isn’t the only ambition of the man? In Hong Kong. At the moment. Ono is one seriously hot property.

Readers: Dine with him before he hits the big time and you potentially lose him to soup and salad.

Makato Ono: Do not sit back and drown in a vat of HK mediocrity: let the 5* hotels concentrate on comfort food. You sir, need to keep pushing the envelope.

40 Gough – not quite Lot 10

Review:

I’ve known that 40 Gough in NoHo has been super popular for lunch for years now, but haven’t been for ages.  As I had such a good lunch at Lot 10 across the street a couple of weeks ago I thought I’d do a compare and contrast, so went for lunch at 40 a couple of days ago.

Food: Hmm. Really just a bit crap (gosh I’m all eloquence today!).

To start, I had a papaya salad which was half a ripe papaya with the seeds removed with some slightly over-done dressed prawns within. It was as odd as it sounds:  ripe papaya doesn’t really work in a salad, especially when it’s not dressed in anyway nor cut into morsels you can eat with the other salad ingredients. Clumsy.

My companion had a Caesar salad which consisted of  maybe two ripped up Romaine leaves, a slosh of dressing which had hardly brushed up against an anchovy and a couple of filings of parmesan, all spread out in a single layer on a dinner plate. Clumsy.

For his main, my dining partner had a rack of lamb which was underdone and over-salted, and I had a half-raw, half spring chicken.  So, clumsy and potentially dangerous.

The accompaniment on the side of the plate was a splodge of garlic mash with one broccoli and one cauliflower floret wedged therein, and four whole, cooked, unseasoned cherry tomatoes placed on top, (which just weed juice onto your plate and didn’t go with the rest of the veggies). V strange, and definitely clumsy, and lazy as each main course had the same accompaniment.

(There is also an odd twist that they serve you slices of garlic bread before you begin – bit baffling).

Ambience: You can’t fault the decor, location. It’s clean, white and smart. It’s small but they don’t ram the tables in and there are a few outside.  It’s a great spot.

Service: Service was fine. Friendly and couteous.

Price: Set lunch price varies with the main course you choose, but ranges from $118 to about $140 I think, so it’s not expensive.

Location: Opposite Lot 10 on the corner of Gough St and Shing Hing Terrace.  Lovely location, quiet, off street, and once again you are always entertained by the shuttlecock guys who seem to play every lunch time. Tel 2851 8498. 40 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong.

I can only imagine that Gough 40 is so busy for lunch because of the location. Lot 10 opposite is (surprisingly) cheaper and the food is streets ahead, (although maybe 40 has to be more expensive at lunchtime because it certainly struggles for dinner custom). I was definitely underwhelmed and although I was impressed with the service and ambience, the food is just too poor for a return trip.

I was going to class this Mama/Huhu but can’t because of the food. The main point of a restaurant is to serve decent food, not to look nice and have good service, so Caustic it is I’m afraid.

Lot 10 – Tiny and Tasty in NoHo

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the inspiration to commit paws to typewriter is difficult to catch – but having looted the wine corner, I’m now armed with a large glass of a rather wonderful Argiano Brunello, and if that doesn’t inspire me – then shoot me now (well when I’ve finished drinking it…)

Right – on to Lot 10.

Review:

Thanks to a couple of comments posted to Caustic Candy, and a scour of Chowhound I decided to give this much ignored (by me, deliberately) little bolt hole a try.

I don’t know why it’s never made me want to give it a go – I’ve seen it for years, and walked by it hundreds of times, but I suppose I’ve been rather tired of “French” restaurants in HK. I know it’s not fashionable, but I just don’t (or didn’t in the case of Plats) think places like La Bouteille, Plats or Le Blanc were really any good (too much dodgy foie gras and low quali steaks), so when I saw Lot 10 open during that gold rush of private kitchen styley establishments I just wasn’t interested (Lot 10 has apparently changed hands since those early 2005 days but who’d have known?)

*Of course the shining example of private kitchen’s for me used to be Frank Ching’s Tribute when it was on Cochrane Street, but that may have been something to do with the wonderful evenings I spent there with some friends of his, where we used to ransack his kitchen after-hours and he’d let us taste all his latest creations. The sooner he’s up and running again the better – Go Frank!

And so to supper:

Food:  French inspired, locally sourced fish where possible, local produce used where possible – yes, yes, yes.  This is what we want Hong Kong.

Companion had French onion soup to start – very good, tasty stock base.

For mains, I had the crispy pork shoulder on a bed of lentils.  For those of you who like bbq pork neck at Thai restaurants, this pork shoulder had a similar texture – incredibly tender with slightly crispy edges. And Oh My Lord the Lentils!  If you think lentils are for hippies, too Robert Carrier 70′s or only fit for dal, then you are very wrong – Lot 10′s lentils were a revelation. They were so subtly seasoned and spiced, they were wonderful (how geeky is that?!).

My wonderful (and in no way erstwhile) dining companion had a steak with a macaroni gratin  - steak was good quality: a well cooked slab of flesh. Macaroni gratin added a very light accompaniment, but was a bit too oot of the ordinary and not a winning combo for either of us – but hey, worth a try.

We did though have lettuce with peas and bacon (grrr, yum, yum) and duck fat roasted potatoes (almost…almost…as good as my own), so overall the food was very well received.

Drinks: Reasonable and well thought out wine list.  We had a very decent Torbreck for around $400.

Ambience: A bolt hole. There are only 3-4 tables downstairs (and it’s a push past the kitchen to sidle into the washrooms). A couple of tables outside on Shing Hing Terrace, and another larger room good for private parties hidden upstairs. Clean lines, white linen, white walls (slightly small tables and chairs, but then it’s a slightly small restaurant).

Service: Quiet and competent service.

Price: We paid around $1200 for a meal for 2.  Mains were around $250 on average. Food was quality, and wine a good price, so I think good value for the experience. Will return.

Location: On corner of Gough St and Shin Hing Terrace, so nice and quiet.  34 Gough Street (NoHo), Central, Hong Kong. Tel 2155 9210.

UPDATE:

Went for lunch last week and had a lovely meal.

Just $98 for two courses + tea or coffee – fantastic value.

I had home cured gravlax and a local caught snapper, grilled which were both very good, and my companion had a good sized, tasty Caesar salad and a very decent steak.  We sat outside on the street terrace and were thoroughly entertained by the guys playing shuttlecock (Jianzi in Mando, not sure what the Canto is), one of whom must have been about 80 and was the very definition of spry.

A perfect break from the office in the middle of the day, and such good value for money (we even succumbed to sharing a chocolate pot for desert for $30 extra – delish). Will become a regular haunt.

Sevva – Rude and Useless

Review:

So far, I haven’t been tempted to eat at Sevva, but I have been there a few times for drinks.

I’ve always been severely disappointed by their service and after my last visit have decided that I really hope no one ever invites me for a drink there again, as I’ll just have to decline.

I know well enough by now to sit at the bar if you actually want to have any kind of consistent access to service staff, but when I was there a few days ago, I was shoulder barged by the floor manager twice when I was sitting on the bar stool. They themselves had placed it next to their till and he managed this even though there was plenty of room around it.

The bar was almost empty, and yet I also had to contend with his loud ordering about of staff which he decided to do when he was standing right next to me. Why he couldn’t have done this even a few steps away I have no idea.  I originally thought he was a customer, considering he didn’t apologise for molesting me, and only later realised he was staff when he was ordering the waiters about.

Next we come to price. Most cocktails are $120, plus service, which is a fairly hefty price, but the cocktails are good and I appreciate the location is plum and they want to attract a certain crowd.  However, that crowd don’t expect to be served smashed up Dorritos with their cocktails, nor have to pay for a glass of water.  The vast majority of bars now in HK have got their head around the idea that as it’s brutally hot here for most of the year, some customers could do with a glass of water to rehydrate before they plunge into the martinis.  It’s common courtesy and a nice touch to give them a glass of without charge. If even the scraggiest Dai Pai can give you a glass water FOC, why the buggery-boo can’t a supposedly refined establishment like Sevva?

The rude and perfunctory way in which my request and subsequent questioning of this situation was handled has made me never want to set foot in there again. Money grabbing a-holes, and that’s all there is to it.

Location: Top Floor Prince’s Building, Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong.

Mrs Jones, Central – a bit mama/huhu

Review:

Popped along for lunch at the new Mrs Jones restaurant at the top of Pottinger St a few days ago.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Concept Creations venues so far as their service has generally been really good and friendly. However, I have to say that lunch was a bit horsey horsey tiger tiger and that’s forced me to invent a new category on my blog, (hit and miss to the those not in on the Mando reference).

Food: Italian. My companion and I opted for a 3 course set lunch.

We both had salads to begin with, which were let down by the overcooked mush of carrots, and an indifferent mix of leaves and Parma ham.

My pasta main was disappointing, primarily because it was bog-standard bought pasta – literally the farfalle I buy down at the supermarket.

Now, I think that’s a bit of a cop out. Fresh pasta using organic flour would be cheaper to make than buying mass produced dried stuff, and definitely less expensive than some of the very good quality dried pastas, and is super easy to make – so why serve your customers the boring bought stuff, when you can make a selling point out of having fresh, organic pasta instead?

My companion’s main course on the other hand was very tasty – Chicken with olive mash and a creamy mushroom sauce.

What absolutely saved my meal though was the stunning lime curd tart for dessert.  Fresh from the oven. This was a stroke of genius.

Perfect light pastry, a warm delicately textured and flavoured lime filling and a really good vanilla custard creme on the side that was a great accompaniment. No holding back here – it was superb.

Drinks: Didn’t have a look at the wine list, so can’t comment on that.

Ambience: This venue has always been a nice space, the decor is warm and inviting, and the seats comfortable.  It is however a bit rough around the edges.

There is paint peeling off the walls at the entrance for example, and that just confuses me – is this a new restaurant, or are they just using the space to see if this concept works before redecorating? I don’t know, but again this makes me think they have a bit of a lackadaisical attitude to this venture.

Service: The service was very friendly and attentive, although the restaurant was not busy – if it had been, then the one waiter may have been overstretched.

Cost: $98 for a three course set lunch in Central is good value.

Location: Entrance is at the top of Pottinger Street just down from Wyndham St, where Soda used to be. Upper Basement, Harilela House, 79 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: 25228118

Overall, I consider the glitches I encountered as teething problems and would definitely go back for lunch in a few weeks time.

Between the two of us, exactly half the dishes were definite misses and half were definite hits, so it would be churlish to not give them another go.

However, at the moment my vote of Caustic or Candy is to be withheld, and instead I must create a new category – mama/huhu.

马马虎虎 – ma ma hu hu; (Horsey Horsey Tiger Tiger) definition is so-so, hit and miss, passable, careless.


Da Ping Huo – Food is good, but is it Caustic or Candy?

Review:

Now that I have rediscovered my hearty, homely, more informal Sichuan favourite San Xi Lou (I lost it for two years, when it closed as Man Jiang Hong in CWB and became San Xi Lou in Central), I no longer have to brave Madame Wong’s end-of-service party trick quite so often – which is a relief.

dapinghuo_causticcandy

You see, I think Madame Wong’s genuine Sichuan food at Da Ping Huo is really very good. The decor is stylish and I think her husband and front-of-house manager is also very adept at what he does, and is a knowledgeable and friendly man.

However, some of the notes Madame hits when she emerges from the kitchen to sing Sichuan Opera at the end of the evening, hit me like a sonic weapon, making my lips curl back, blood drip from my eyes and the wax melt in my ears.

They pierce my skull and reach deep into the most primitive medullas of my brain, squeezing them in a fist of steel. I have to grip the table edge with all my might so that I don’t appall everyone by stuffing my fingers in my ears and screaming for her to shut up.

Maybe I’m part canine and the notes she hits are to me like a dog whistle is to man’s best friend.

Suffice to say, that I think Da Ping Huo might experience more repeat business if the singing was only on certain nights of the week, and therefore avoidable.  It makes the joint feel a bit themed, and it does put me off going as often as I’d like to, (or maybe this is a ruse so they don’t have to change the menu too often, as they know that most people wouldn’t be able to stand the operatics more than once a month…)

Anyhew, on to the food.

Food: As natives of Sichuan, the owners do put on an authentic meal, (my friend from Chengdu rates the food highly). You are fed what Madame Wong wants to feed you. You have about 8 courses in total. The menu is well balanced, combining some deeply spicy-hot dishes that leave your nose streaming and you drinking beer by the gallon, with more delicate ones, and then some in between.

The food is truly delicious, artistically presented and so far is the most elegantly executed Sichuan cuisine I have found in Hong Kong.

However, I have to say that I’m pretty sure, give or take a couple of dishes, I have had the same menu each time I have visited. I’d love to know what other people’s experiences have been, but I do think they could mix it up a bit more. Let me know…

Drinks: the usual beer, teas and soft drinks etc, but a couple of interesting additions like plum wine (which I’ve been led to believe takes the sting off the chilli a bit).

Service: Service is good, Mr Wang introduces each dish which is helpful, and waiters are efficient and subtle.

Ambience:  Mr Wang is an artist and so the whole restaurant is very stylish. The backdrop is minimalist so that his own works stand out displayed around the walls. It’s a chic, industrial, minimalist vibe. All good, in fact, until Madame Wong comes out to shatter your eardrums.

The first time I heard her, it was fine. I let it go because the concept of the chef coming out to show you their other talents and entertain you is lovely. But by the second or third time, it really is too, too much, especially as, much like the menu not changing, she hasn’t changed her tune once either (how about a spot of Elvis or Doris Day next time?).

Price: Can’t remember the exact price at the moment, and no one’s answering the phone down there. It’s a good value meal – less than HK$300 for the food, so with drinks and service it ends up around $400-$500 depending on how thirsty you are or what you’re thirsty for.

Location: GF, 49 Hollywood Road, Central. (Slightly tricky to find, entrance is on Graham Street which is the little alley shooting down the hill at the junction of Lyndhurst Terrace and Hollywood Road). Tel: 2559-1317. It is always a good idea to book ahead. There are two strict sittings per night.

Da Ping Huo, is great for taking out-of-town guests and tourists, as the food is real good, the decor stylish and the experience out of the ordinary. But I myself can’t go more than 2 or 3 times a year simply because of the singing and the menu not changing.

Thankfully as I’ve found San Xi Lou, my Sichuan experiences now balance in Hong Kong, and so once again I can look forward to going to Da Ping Huo, in the knowledge that I have another really enjoyable Sichuan restaurant to satisfy my chilli lust on a more regular basis.

San Xi Lou, Central. Lip tingling, tongue twanging Sichuan.

Review:

I am a stupid gweimui.

I used to go to a Sichuan restaurant in Causeway Bay, on the first floor of a building on the corner of Hennesey and Percival, but it didn’t have an English name. It was ludicrous hot, very reasonably priced, had monthly beer bucket specials and was just fun, fun, fun.

So, when it closed about two and a half years ago, I was at a bit of a loss. Filled with sadness, I started hunting for a replacement, and have never been totally satisfied with what I have found.

Yesterday, through the holy power of t’internet and Google translate, I discovered that said restaurant had reopened under a different name (and telephone number…*!$%!) in Mid-Levels.  Coda Plaza to be exact.  Two years ago it opened and two bloody years it took me to discover that. What a noddy!

The new restaurant is called San Xi Lou, (and the old one was called Man Jiang Hong), and such is my fondness for their old restaurant, that I went there straight away for supper, and I can tell you my little chickadees – I was not disappointed.

Food: Big menu, lots of quintessential Sichuan dishes, lots of chilli, lots of hot, lots of cold, good collection of soups too.

It starts off well when they bring you pickles (for free: Hunan Garden…) that can blow the top of your head off. Gets you right in da mood.

Stalwart of Sichuan dining, chicken with dry chilli and pepper (or stupid gweilo chicken as it’s more fondly known by me) San Xi Lou style, is a fully interactive experience.

You have to dig for those nuggets of chicken through mounds of dry chilli and sichuan pepper. Oo, the fights that have taken place to try and find the last bits of chicken, the satisfaction of gnawing round the bones, the sweetness of the cashew nuts and the freshness of the coriander. Just delicious. As soon as my lips began to tingle from the hua jiao, my mind was at peace – certain dishes evoke big, happy memories, and for me this is one of my favourite.

lip tingling, tongue twanging stuff
lip tingling, tongue twanging stuff

Let’s not get carried away though. This is not the most elegant Sichuan cuisine you can find in Hong Kong. It’s a bit greasy (well in fact some of the dishes are just huge buckets of produce stewed in oil), but I suppose it’s even more authentic because of this. I certainly haven’t come out of a Sichuan restaurant in Chengdu without a great, red, oily stain around my chops.

What it is though, is solid Sichuan – silly hot, tasty and fresh.

Drink: Decent selection of beer, lots of good teas (we had a very delicate ginseng oolong yesterday), the usual soft drinks and juices (although no drinking yoghurt to calm the stomach), and a selection of wines – still can’t wrap my head around the idea of red and white wine with spicy, super robust flavours. I think the only wine that might possibly go with Sichuan is a good biscuity Champagne (but then I might have to wear my sunglasses at the table just to complete the ludicrous visual of that idea…)

Service: Efficient, friendly – good service. The level of English varies by waiter, so for non-Canto or Mando speakers double check your order.

Ambience: Understated. Brown and earthy shades – lots of carved wooden panels, straight backed, wooden chairs (but with cushions) and booths. Nothing slick or fashionable. Thick carpet, so the noise is dampened.  It was busy and there was a real mix of Hongkees, Mandarin speakers and gweilos.

Price: We paid HK$450 for two, including tea and beer, which we thought was good value. The food was very tasty, the portions large, the service efficient, and the surroundings comfortable.

Location: 7th Floor, Coda Plaza, 51 Garden Road, Central. Tel: 2838 8811

Open: 11am-11pm every day (they also do dim sum lunch and hot pot. Last orders at 10pm)

So there you have it – if you need a break from Madame Wong’s operatics at Da Ping Huo (I love the food, but I go less than I want to because a couple of her notes made my ears bleed) then San Xi Lou is a really good option.

And who needs more than two Sichuan restaurants in Hong Kong? One is elegant and sophisticated in both cuisine and decor, the other is robust and unpretentious.

That’s Sichuans sorted then.

UPDATE:

Took some first time visitors to HK to San Xi Lou last week (28th Dec 09)and they loved it.  They really like spicy food but had never had Sichuan before, they were delighted by all the different flavours.  Much brownie points for me…

Hunan Garden, Central: A 60′s Psychedelic Torture Chamber

Review:

Continuing in my quest to find a good Sichuan restaurant in Hong Kong I have widened the scope to also include Hunanese establishments.

I took myself to Hunan Garden in Exchange Square last week, and having made the connection only now that it’s a Maxim’s restaurant, I’m even more baffled by the decor and ambience.

I probably wouldn’t go back to this branch, but would try the outlet in Causeway Bay instead as it looks like it might be a bit gentler on the eyes and ears.

Ambience: On entry, the first thing that strikes you is that the restaurant looks very dated and tired.

On striking out for your table, you are visually assaulted by both the garish, over-patterned carpet that swims before your eyes, and the violent pink table cloths, as well as being aurally assaulted by the piercing piping of a Chinese oboe player.

So eyes squinted, teeth gritted we made our way to the back of the room, enduring this psychedelic torture which was strangely reminiscent of the Ipcress File.

Once seated, we were presented with about 12 different menus of specials, seasonal dishes, signature dishes, michelin guide suggestions, and rather annoyingly a complex menu from HSBC of pick and mix dishes that when ordered in certain combinations, gave you different discounts…

…At least this is what I could gather having been thoroughly cowed and bamboozled. Menu overkill is just plain irritating, I felt like frisbeeing them across the room.

Having spent the next 15 minutes scrutinising the menus (apart from the HSBC one out of principle), we plumped for a good mix – a couple of signature dishes, which were the minced chicken soup and the fish with yellow bean; hot, shredded potato; stir-fried bitter gourd; stir-fried beef with onions; and stupid-gweilo chicken a.k.a chicken with dry chilli, garlic and sichuan pepper.

Now that we had ordered, we were able to take a bit more of a look around, and thankfully the oboe player had swapped his instrument for an erhu which was positively soothing in comparison. The decor is rubbish -

1) Patched carpets using cuttings from a slightly different pattern.

2) Colour scheme – pink, green, red, brown, grey, gold.

3) Materials – marble/granite, varnished wood, lacquer, frosted glass, chromed partition frames, pearlescent wallpaper, crappy cardboardy white/grey ceiling tiles.

All the varnish, polished stone, glass and lacquer throws back so much reflected light that the whole impression is just jarring and awful when coupled with the colour scheme used.

This is why I’m so surprised to find it’s a Maxims.  They have some fantastically designed restaurants, and this one is the pits.  It’s so huge that if they did decide to redecorate they needn’t even close the whole place, they could redo in halves. Anyway. Onward to the food.

Food: We enjoyed the food, all of it was good apart from the fish with yellow bean which was slathered in so much sauce it made me nauseous after a couple of bites.

It is actually a very badly thought out dish, as there is nothing to cut through the cloying sauce. Lovely piece of fish, and the yellow bean paste is tasty enough, but together it’s an unbalanced mess – I would avoid.

The chicken came in large, boneless hunks (not quite enough chilli for me, but as I got a Sichuan pepper berry caught in one of my sinus tubes, this provided enough entertainment, numbness and eye-watering for one night), the shredded potato with peppers and chilli was beautifully cooked and not greasy, the bitter gourd was cold and crisp and super bitter, and the beef was tender and tasty.

Service: Service was fine.  Efficient and discreet.

Price: We spent $550 for two which we thought was verging on expensive for the whole experience. Note that we did only drink tea.

Location: 1F, The Forum, Exchange Square, Central, Hong Kong.  I would definitely suggest trying the Times Square outlet (13th Floor) over this venue though.

I would choose Peking Garden (another Maxim’s restaurant) over Hunan Garden 9 times out of 10, the food is comparable (in fact I would say that Peking Garden is slightly better) and I can just about satisfy my craving for chilli there.  Maybe I’ll change my mind when I’ve been to Times Square.

Oh well, the hunt for the ultimate Sichuan continues…

Update: I have found my old favourite Sichuan restaurant.  It was called Man Jiang Hong in CWB and then moved to Central and changed it’s name and number !*@%. It’s San Xi Lou in Coda Plaza. Review here.

Indian Lunch Buffets – 7.5 to chose from HK side.

Reviews:

The Curry lunch buffets of Hong Kong Island, in some kind of order of preference.

1) The Conrad (see here for full review)

Every weekday is curry lunch day at the Conrad Hotel.  The reason this is my favourite buffet is that they have a chef on continual duty making dosas.

They have a good mix of veggie and meat curries and it’s top notch food. Plus if you like dessert there is a choice of about 10.

As ever in a top hotel like The Conrad the service is very good, the only slight bother is the low tables which means that you can end up with indigestion unless you remember to sit up properly!

Price: HK$250 + 10%. Expensive but worth it.

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

2) Khana Khazana (see here for full review)

KK does a very reasonable buffet lunch, totally veggie and usually have dosa as part of the deal. If it’s not dosa then it’s either idlis or some kind of puri. Either way, it’s nice to have something a bit different.

Price: HK$88. Super reasonable, and very tasty.

Location: 1F, Dannies House, 20 Luard Road, Wanchai. Entrance is on Jaffe Road though. Tel: 2520 5308

3) Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

Wednesday is curry lunch at the Yacht Club. If you can find someone with a membership then this is very good value (ha, of course it is, the member has to pay!). Always bustling on this day and the spread is very comprehensive, although they don’t have dosa. The Yacht Club is one of the most unstuffy clubs in Hong Kong and has a lovely restaurant and terrace. Service is very good too.

Price: HK$105.  Good value for the quality, service and environment.

Location: Kellet Island, Causeway Bay. Tel: 2832 2817

4) IRC - Indian Recreation Club (rather odd website…)

Most people probably know the IRC best as the location of The Tent at the Rugby Sevens. You don’t have to be a member to have lunch, you can buy vouchers at the reception on the way in.

Whilst not a buffet, I’ve included it here as it’s cheap and cheerful for lunch. If the weather isn’t too hot then sitting outside on the patio, gazing out across the grass pitches in this haven of quiet in Causeway Bay is a great way to break up a hectic day in the office. They also do a mean samosa.

Price: Lunch costs between HK$50 and $100 a head.

Location: 63 Caroline Hill Road, So Kon Po (opposite Hong Kong Stadium). Tel 2576 1673

5) Jashan

Jashan is a bit hit and miss, but when I’ve been for lunch it’s been very good. It’s been a couple of evening meals where I’ve had some snags (uncooked meat in curries type of issues). Any Indian restaurant that doesn’t serve dosa every day immediately slips off my favourites list, but if I was in Central I’d give definitely go to Jashan for lunch once in a while. It has a wide variety of dishes, and serves various puris every day. If I didn’t have to eat in Central then I would go to one of the restaurants above.

Price: HK$98.

Location: 1F, 23 Hollywood Road, Central. Tel: 3105 5300

6) Tandoor.

I more often go to Tandoor for supper than lunch, and even then not very often. I’m not a fan of Central’s curry houses, preferring Wanchai and of course my fave – Southern India Club Mess in Chungking Mansions. The food is good here, I’m just not a big fan of the venue as it has too many tables for the space, especially when the customers are shuttling too and fro to the buffet.

Price: HK$118

Location: 1F Lyndhurst Tower, 1 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central. Tel: 3105 5300

7) Curry Pot

In the lunch buffet rankings, Curry Pot doesn’t stack up against the restaurants above. I find the Curry Pot’s fare more akin to British curry restaurants, i.e. a bit heavy handed.

Price: HK$88.

Location: 1/F., 68-70 Lockhart Road, Wanchai. Tel: 2865 6099

As I haven’t been to Viceroy in Wanchi since it morphed into Duetto, I can’t include it here.  If the chefs and the concept is the same though, it’s definitely worth a look-see, and at $88 is again very reasonable.

Classified – beware the cheese room on your way out of M1NT

Review:

I’ve lost count now of the number of times I’ve stumbled out of M1NT ruined on Ruinart and decided what I really, really want is 1/2 a pound of cheese, some quince jam and a tin of duck confit.

general cheese, not classified cheese

general cheese, not classified cheese

Fortunately, it has been a very long time since I discovered the fruits of such a mission lying ravaged in the fridge whilst groping for my morning grapefruit with no recollection of the actual purchasing process, and thankfully, have only woken up once to discover beluga caviar smeared into my counter tops.

What I have recently discovered though, is that I am not the only idiot to succumb to Classified’s late night temptations. A recent house-guest from the UK left a little note for me one morning telling me to help myself to the cheese in the fridge, but not to wake him unless he hadn’t surfaced by 3pm.

I’m sure there are more of you out there.  Own up!

I’ve never been a regular user of Classified’s café, although it seems popular enough (and they can also do you private dinner parties in their wine storeroom), but I do quite often run down there when I’m off to a dinner or house party to buy vino and other treats.  No one is ever going to peeved that you turned up with a tub of olives, a few slices of Serrano ham or some pâté de foie gras to go with the Pomerol you just bought them. It’s a great little deli for naughty treats.

But, it is their dim and musty cheese room that captivates me. It takes me about half an hour usually to buy un plateau de fromage, as it takes that long for me to try every single one.  Staff are most accommodating and suitably knowledgeable, and the only thing I would add to their inventory is Belazu’s Smoked Chilli Jelly which is the ideal accompaniment to hard cheeses, rather than quince jelly which, when I’m not pie-eyed, I actually believe is a particularly pointless preserve.

Take note HKTB – it’s speciality shops like Classified that will help Hong Kong to one day deserve the epithet of Asia’s World City (brr, sends a shiver down my spine just writing that…), not geegaw shops stuffed with the gimcrackery of solid gold loos.

So next time you are in NoHo and have had a few to drink, satisfy that urge for a hearty kebab with a platter of cheese instead.

Location: 108 Hollywood Road, Central. Tel: 2525 3454

Yun Fu, Wyndham St – Hypothermic and Disappointed of Hong Kong

Review:

I have been to Yun Fu twice now, once as a couple, and more recently as a table of eight.

Both times I have been disappointed with the overall experience, and have now lost interest in going back, which is a shame.

Food: Northern and Western Chinese food (read that as more Sichuan/Yunnan than Xinjiang).  The menu sounds amazing, and there are many dishes you want to try. The food just doesn’t quite hit the mark though for me, which is really annoying. The menu promises so much, but the food doesn’t manage to deliver on that potential.

Drinks: Long, expensive drinks/cocktails/wine list.

Ambience: OK, this is what tips this restaurant into my caustic category:

If you dine in the main restaurant you first of all pass through this long and mysterious tunnel past lots of small private rooms, which frankly look cramped, but I’m sure are better than sitting in the restaurant.  You then emerge into what can only be described as a large, dingy, cold, dungeon.

They keep the lighting so far down and the air-con so nipple-freezing cold that you cannot actually see or concentrate on your food. However, if you get the wrong seat you will have to endure one of their laser focused light bulbs grinding into your retinas like a gestapo interrogation lamp.

The stone slab flooring and the right angle wooden chairs with no padding, means you end up with dining noise being reverberated around the whole place, each scraping chair leg sending a nails-on-blackboard shiver through your skull and aching sitting-bones after just 20 mins (It looks great in the website, but that’s not what it’s like in real life).

All in all it really is like being in a medieval jail.

Service: I haven’t really noticed the service, which must mean it is fine, although I do remember being brought a warm Tsingtao on my first visit which is a big black mark in my book.

Price: Frankly it’s expensive for an experience that leaves you hypothermic and bruised. Expect to spend around $1000 for two people.

Location: Basement, 43-45 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong. +852 2116 8855. Just about next door to the LKF Hotel, opp bars like Privé and Wagyu.

If the ambience was different, I might have a different opinion about the food, and maybe if you have one of the private rooms it’s better, but as it is, when you are having to eat just to keep yourself from slipping into a hypothermic coma, there isn’t a lot of functioning brain left to enjoy the meal.

Song – good place for a quiet, relaxing lunch in Noho

Review:

For supper Song could be considered a little pricey, so there are other Vietnamese restaurants that come further up my list than here. However, for lunch it has a very reasonable buffet, and it’s a lovely spot to duck out of the mayhem if you’re having a hellish day with Kevin in accounts.

Food: Bit more of a modern Vietnamese feel rather than simply serving the old favourites.  There isn’t a huge choice on the buffet, but I quite like that – sometimes too much choice involves the wasting of too much time and brain power. They don’t put huge platters of food out, so it’s never flacid or stale, in fact they replenish quickly and often. All in all, it’s good, fresh, crisp, well thought out fare.

Drinks: Good drinks list, lots of interesting teas and juices which is great at lunchtime, plus a range of Vietnamese beers and a wine list.

Ambience: This is a small restaurant, but it looks out onto a wee public park that is stuffed with greenery, so it’s very relaxing during the day – it’s down a little alley off Hollywood Road, so you feel like it’s a bit of a secret oasis.

The main reason I don’t come here at night is that when it’s dark outside, the venue feels pokey and cluttered when it’s busy, plus you lose the beauty of the location – I haven’t been for supper for many years, but lunch there regularly.

Service: I’ve never seen it chokka at lunch time which again is one of the reasons I like to come, and the service has always been discreet and efficient.

Price: Lunch buffet is $98 + service, so it’s good value for the quality of the food and the overall experience.

Location: Basement, 75 Hollywood Rd, Central, Hong Kong. Tel 2559 0997. If you are walking west along along Hollywood then it’s the first little alleyway after Peel St, turn back if you get to Aberdeen St. There is a Red sign overhead when you reach the alley so look for it.

L16 Cafe & Bar – Like dining in a public toilet.

Review:

L16 Hong Kong Park review

L16 has an enviable location bang in the middle of Hong Kong Park.  You’d have thought that if someone could work out how to keep the mozzies at bay, this would be THE prime location in Admiralty/Central for a proper pukka restaurant/bar – sadly not.

I recently went for a late lunch here on a Sunday because I’d been walking through the parks and was hot and bothered. First off I had to move from table to table to find the location that reeked least of toilet (this isn’t a one off, I’ve moved outside before for drinks because of this issue). Really, really unpleasant especially when you realise that the toilets and the kitchen are in one central block in the middle of the room, but I was in need of air-con having to choose between eau de urine or heat-stroke.

Food: Thai.  Bog standard menu, nothing special, nothing bad, middle of the road cheap fare.

Ambience: They rely totally on their location and the surrounding greenery to detract from the fact this place is in massively bad repair.  Sit outside and you are attacked by mozzies, but other than that it’s a pleasant place to be. Sit inside and you are faced with tatty menus, chipped chairs, tables with the laminate peeling off, stained floors and the underlying bouquet of privvies.

Service: We waited a long time for both food and drinks even though there were very few people in the restaurant.  Dishes came at very long intervals so you had almost finished one of your mains before the next one appeared, so not great.

Cost: It’s reasonably priced considering you are in the centre of the park and the quality of food is decidedly average.  You’d be pissed if you had to pay more.

Location: Close to the Pacific Place end of Hong Kong Park in Admiralty.

This is such a shame.  Props that they are making the venue accessible to all pockets in such a popular tourist spot, but come on!  If a place like Nha Trang on Wellington Street in Central and in CC Wu Building on Queen’s Road East, Wanchai can make tasty, interesting, quality food at very reasonable prices, in a smart and clean venue, what is the excuse of these fools in Hong Kong Park?

If you have to go, just go for a glass of vino and sit outside, that way you remain oblivious of its massive failings.

Bloody dreadful – it needs new management and new vision.

Double Happiness – One of the good restaurants in SoHo…

Review:

Double Happiness is tiny.  Many an evening has ended in frustration when it’s full, I’m starving, and I’m left wracking my brains about where else I can get tasty East Asian food in SoHo that’s not going to set me back a packet and where I don’t have to traipse up and down the hill in my Botega Venettas (I sometimes live in in Sai Ying Pun, so Soho is on the way home from work otherwise I would rarely go for dinner – I have a love/hate relationship with Soho, I think it’s filled with braying, short-term-expat-swill for the most part, and the bulk of restaurants are over-priced, but there are a few really decent bars and restaurants – for example my other favourite pub 1911 is on on Staunton Street. But enough! that’s a whole other post).

This cafe serves super tasty home-style, mainland rather than Canto Chinese, and does so at reasonable prices.

Food: Mainland Chinese with a few Italian/French additions, which I must admit I haven’t been drawn to myself. They make a mean Sichuan prawns, delicious green jade bamboo shoots, awesome chicken with black beans, and rocking soups made with stocks that have been lovingly tended for days by the taste.

Drinks: Inneresting list of teas and other hot and cold juices, basic range of beers.

Ambience: Red, red, more red. Stuffed with all sorts of nicknacks with the Double Happiness character on them, I’m always tempted to grab the old-school oversize matchbox and run away – it would look perfick on my kitchen shelving.  It’s cute, it’s tiny. It’s got small, hard wooden chairs and narrow tables, so it’s always a bit of balancing act not least for my arse, but also to keep all the dishes on the table as we tend to order a lot.

Service: Family feel, very swift and pleasant.  Unfortunately for buffoons like myself who speak almost no Canto I’ve got no insight into the background of the restaurant/the eclectic mix on the menu as the guys don’t speak a massive amount of English either.

Cost: Reasonable. It’s not cheapest of cheap, but definitely good value for money in Soho. Dinner for 2 comes in at between $170 to $250 per head, my advice is to get a crew together and go gangbusters as the portions are big and there are so many items on the menu you will want to try.

Location: 48 Staunton Street, Central, on the part of the street that’s further on from where Elgin Street veers steeply off to the left. 2549 1862

Open: Monday to Saturday lunch through dinner. Sunday dinner only. Jesus Hongkees work hard.

Peking Garden – good for non-Canto Chinese food

13 March 2012

Due to a decision to rate any restaurant that serves sharks fin as caustic from now on, Peking Garden changes from SuperCandy to Caustic.

Review:

Since my favourite Sichuan restaurant closed in Causeway Bay -and it took me two years to find that it had just moved to Central (San Xi Lou) – I always struggled to find a suitable alternative when I’m not in the mood for Canto. Peking Garden became an interim venue of choice. Embarrassingly it was a friend from visiting from the UK who first suggested we go!

Peking Garden

It’s a bit more posh that I would usually choose for an everyday supper, but it’s very stylish, well decorated, comfortable and they bring out special chaps to make noodles for entertainment (so thin they can pass through the eye of a darning needle as they like to demonstrate to the oos and ahs of the assembled tourists).

I likey.

Food: Northern Chinese, got some heat and spice in there, serves one of the best Peking ducks in HK (leaves Quanjude spinning in the dust, thank god it’s closed in Wanchai), dan dan noodles, and a great hot and sour soup (in fact all their soups are tip top). Good menu (if you ignore the shark’s fin section). Food is very well executed: clean and crisp.

Drinks: Lots of tea options, beers and a pretty extensive wine list (I still haven’t moved off beer with Chinese food).

Service:  It’s a bit abrupt, but then so it is in most Chinese restaurants.  Food comes pretty swiftly though so no complaints there. Boys usually appreciate the lovely receptionists who wear skirts slashed to the hip joint…

Ambience:  It’s actually quite sumptuous.  Try and get a table in the main room which is on the left as you walk in, it’s got super high ceilings so coupled with the thick carpets it’s less noisy and the tables are much further apart from the room at the back. Resist the temptation to steal the crockery, it’s really pretty stuff.  I like to bring guests to HK here, everyone seems to enjoy it.

Price:  Good value for such surroundings. The thing about this restaurant is that you can spend as little or as much as you like.  We can go in for supper for two and spend $150 a head, or we can go in and spend $400 a head, the price of dishes varies that much – obviously much better with large groups though so you can get loads of dishes. I’ve always wondered why Chinese restaurants don’t serve two different sizes of all dishes so that smaller groups can order more stuff – I’m sure people would end up spending more money.

Location:  Very convenient, in the basement of Alexandra House on Chater Road. The MTR exit spits you out almost straight into it. Shop B1, Basement 1, Alexandra House, Central. Tel. +852 2526 6456.

Open:  Lunch and dinner every day.

Think there is now a branch in Pacific Place as well if I noted correctly as I ran past the other day.  It’s a Maxim’s joint so makes sense for it to be, I think there are 3 or 4 in total around HK.

M1NT, Hong Kong – like it despite myself.

Despite myself, I like M1NT – I abhor Dragon-i (except for dim sum)and all these other velvet rope clubs.  M1NT’s always laid back early on, with a really chilled vibe.

During the week people come here to chat, so they keep the music low til 11pm and folks just get on and do their thing, there’s no preening or flirting or ostentation, it’s actually really pleasant.

The biggest bee in my bonnet about HK bars is that I can’t hear myself think, let alone talk, and I get more and more uncomfortable and frustrated the louder and busier bars get. That’s probably why I like M1NT over other places.

Post 11pm, it gets louder, drunk and boisterous people arrive and a lot of the time the tunes really are mid 90s (but that’s my era, so I don’t care), but it’s always still a nice vibe.  There’s usually room to move, daft idiots to watch on the dance-floor, the service is really good, the waitresses are lovely and the bartenders are shit hot, plus they serve my favourite champagne – Ruinart Blanc de Blanc.

I’m just hoping that the main Chihuahua stays away from Hong Kong and doesn’t meddle so that this agreeable hiatus can continue indefinitely.

Location: 108 Hollywood Road, Central. Tel: 2980 3737

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.

Kiyotaki – One of my favourite Japanese

Update: 24.5.10

Went to Kiyotaki for the first time in a year today and it was stupendous.

Chef served us halibut sashimi for the first time and it was utterly buttery – quite the texture sensation.

He’d also been out fishing that day off Lamma with his friends who were all propped up at the bar, and he tempur-ed the little fishes they’d caught and they were lip-samckingly good – crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside: just like an armadillo…

I also admit to giving a very unladylike little grunt of ecstasy when I got my chops round the toro sashimi.  Splendid. Do go. It’s well worth.

Review

Compact and bijou mostyn!

Yeung Chi Wang who owns and runs this restaurant is lovely.  He is as smiley as a laughing buddha, and makes me happy whenever I go in his restaurant.  I know that he is Hongky, but I think that he spent a long time in Japan.  I may be wrong, next time I go I’ll check further.

When you walk in the door just tell chef to feed you and he’ll bring you what’s best that day.   He has a great range of sake, shouju and beer, and beware of getting too in the swing of things otherwise you’ll end up having a lock-in with the staff on a school night.

Food:  Very good seafood.  In the top 95% of quality in Hong Kong for Japanese restaurants I would posit. He has great yellowtail, fantastic horse mackeral, toro so melty it will make you want to cry. His sushi and sashimi presentation and portion sizes are spot on and obviously uses fresh wasabi. He also does  yakatori, noodles, salads etc. and it is always worth asking if he has his special tofu from Japan.  Have it deep fried with bonito flakes and miso etc. It’s grey-green inside and is bloody lovely.

Drinks: Choose your own sake pot and away you go.  Very decent sake assortment and lots of beers and teas.

Ambience: Front room stuff this, can’t really seat more than 20 people or so, but chef will reorganise the entire table and screen arrangement to suit your party.  Can sit at the bar as well and chat with the workers.  Small wooden chairs, so not great if you are generously proportioned, but the food is so damn good you won’t notice the discomfit.

Service: Chef rules, his staff are attentive and service is swift.  Make sure you invite chef to partake of your beer or sake and he’ll reciprocate the generosity.

Price:  Kiyotaki is quite pricey, the quality of the ingredients is so high that you have to expect to pay for it. We usually don’t get out for less than HK$1200 all in for two people, but it is fantastic food with such lovely service that it’s well worth the price.  I would always choose to go here over the branded restaurants of Nobu and Zuma (tired of Asian-Confusion anyone?).

Location:  At 13 Gough Street in Noho, Central, 2877-1772.

Open: 6 days a week, lunch and dinner. Sunday dinner only.

Dakota Prime/Opus Grill – same sorry restaurant?

Update 21.5.10:  Hmm, just come across a new opening “Opus Grill” which is in exactly the same location as Dakota Prime. Does this mean purely a new name and a bit of a redesign, with the same sorry service and management or something wholly different? If anyone knows, do please drop a comment by, I’d love to know that’s it’s gone tits up for all the reasons I gave below. It certainly didn’t get into the Michelin or Miele guides, so maybe they have decided on a rethink and rebrand…

Review:

Never publicly state your intention to be a Michelin starred restaurant and then provide the worst table service in the whole of Hong Kong. Dakota is a pretty new (opened late winter 2009) steak restaurant slap bang in the middle of Lan Kwai Fong, charging bull market prices.

Is this in fact Cova Coffee?
Is this in fact Cova Coffee?

This is quite possibly one of the most overpriced meals I’ve ever partooken in. There are many ways to review a restaurant, I think the most pertinent for Dakota is by timeline.

Consider:

7:30-7:33 Arrive at restaurant, seated promptly, given a cocktail and wine list.  Look about, decide it’s got all the ambience of an upscale mall restaurant – in fact now I think about it, it’s very Cova Coffee…

7:33-8:00 Catch-up with friends as we haven’t seen them for ages, and finally realise that no-one’s been over to ask us what we want to drink, nor have they brought us a food menu. Peruse wine list and laugh heartily about the preposterous and try-hard selection.

8:00 Catch waiter’s eye. Waiter comes over. Order a cocktail each and ask for the menu.

8:04 Menus arrive.

8:15 Haul waiter over to ask where the drinks are and tell him we are ready to order. He tells us he is only a drinks waiter so we have to wait for a food waiter.

8:25 Haul waiter over again to ask where our drinks are and that we still haven’t had our food order taken.

8:33 Drinks arrive.

8:45 The right waiter comes to take our food order – over an hour after we had arrived. Out of 4 diners, only 2 order a starter.

9:10 Starters arrive.  We order a bottle of wine.

9:13 Amuse bouche arrives for all of us (after the starters…?)

9:15 Bread basket arrives (after the starters and the amuse bouche…?)

9:30 Finish starters

10:00 3 main courses arrive

10:05 Last main course arrives.

Leave restaurant at 10:50 after main courses to go somewhere else for coffee and dessert!

7:30 to 10:50 to get through one aperitif, starters and a main course? With the pleasure of paying HK$1000 per head? Never again. You deserve to go bankrupt you incompetent, arrogant fools.

Outrageously overpriced for what it is.  You would go to the Mandarin Grill or the Intercon in a heartbeat over this place, and receive fantastic service in better surroundings.  Hell, I’d go to the Gallery in Lantau and have a good steak for a fraction of the cost.

Makes my blood boil again thinking about it.

One concession – the morel mushroom sauce was very tasty.