Posts tagged “Lan Kwai Fong

Cul de Sac – One of the best burgers in HK? Bo****ks.

Review:

And whilst I’m on the subject of the pustulating canker on the arse-end of Lan Kwai Fong that is Rat Alley – why, oh why do so many usually sane people keep telling me that Cul de Sac serves one of the best burgers in town? And that their poutine is a revelation?

After so much insistence I did try both once and, in bamboozled exasperation, I had to inform the poor mite who had dragged me there that the burger was quite possibly the worst I’d had to endure since a pit-stop at a burger-van on the A14 outside Kettering nearly 20 years ago.

Thin, grey, mealy and tasteless – both burger and bun.

And well, the poutine was just a flabby, greasy mess.

Next time you throw caution to the wind and indulge in so many jelly shots at Al’s Diner that at 2am you are actually peeing green and finding it difficult to focus, just pop to the 7/11 or the kebab shop for your fix, instead of drunkenly insisting to your cohorts they are about to experience an awesome taste sensation if they will only accompany you round the corner and up the hill instead.

Get a grip. You are wrong.

Rat Alley, LKF – there’s a new reason it’s called that…

Review and an open letter to Uncle Alan:

So when I first arrived in Hong Kong I understood that we called the place of much cheapness that was Wing Wah Lane “Rat Alley”, simply because of the rats – and believe me there were many.

I lived in Lan Kwai Fong for a couple of years on what used to be the wonderfully quiet Wo On Lane (that backs onto Wing Wah), and we used to fight pitched battles with the wily creatures on late night returns home.

More recently, Rat Alley has earned its sobriquet for a wholly different reason – the restauranteurs are the rats now, charging crazy prices for the slop they call food and serve in their establishments.

Yes, I know that the landlords will be blamed for putting up the rent – but Christ – you’re probably in the most lucrative entertainment district in Asia bar Rappongi Hills!

I’m sure there are all sorts of bar owners who would love to pay top dollar for some of that commercial space, and we’d actually have a truly pedestrian friendly piece of LKF Magaluf to hang out in. Sling a roof across that space, add some sort of ventilation and you could have an awesome year-round courtyard.

I used to have a soft spot for the crazy chap who owns Good Luck Thai (and seemed either to be preternaturally cheerful, or just perpetually pissed), but now I understand that he runs most of the establishments on that strip so competition is diminishing, and I’m not quite so enamoured as I was before.

The only reason I went recently was that some poor tourist idiot had heard it was a good place for al fresco dining and was already there by the time I’d arrived to meet him.

It’s time those restaurants went bust, and we got some proper venues in there, or that the LCSD had a moment of inspiration and set up a proper food night-market à la Singapore.

Actually, scrap that. Can you even begin to imagine the monstrosity that would be an LCSD produced “authentic” night market?

Come on Mr Zeman – if you can afford to set up LKF in Chengdu, why don’t you go the whole hog in HK and grab a hold of Wing Wah Lane too and deliver all those poor tourist saps from their misery?

Considering summer hats

Working out which shops I need to visit when next in London.

I love wandering around St James and Mayfair poking around the likes of Berreta, Swaine Adeney Brigg, Trevor Philip, and Turnbull & Asser etc but I haven’t been to the hatter’s Lock & Co – which I consider a massive oversight now I’ve been introduced.

It wasn’t until the England cricketer Matthew Hoggard commandeered the hat of my dear friend during a rather raucous night in Lan Kwai Fong, that I had even heard of these historic and august milliners.

They’ve been in the same location since 1676 so not sure how I’ve managed to miss them at 6 St James’ Street all these years.

Rather disappointingly they have far more hats for boys than girls, but I’m currently deciding between the three below.  You can order online, but I’m not sure I’d risk buying before I know which style suits best.

Lock & Co Hats

Frankly, I think it would be sensible to get the robust and versatile folding Panama (centre) considering how clumsy I am, but I think for HK cruising and clubbing (daytime you understand, not going to be wearing it to M1NT of an evening, I’m not Mary J Blige…)  it really ought to be the St Lucia with the narrower brim (far right).

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.