Posts tagged “Lantau

Sunday evening bliss – Sham Shek Tsuen

Hong Kong corners:

I’m feeling all bucolic at the moment. I think it’s spending more time on Lantau with the cows that’s doing it.

Sunset and low tide in Sham Wat Bay

I’ve always been slightly reticent to reveal my favourite “secret” places in Hong Kong in case more people decide to descend, but I’ve realised that very few civilians can be bothered to or have time to investigate the furthest reaches of our nobbly territory, so I’m going to start sharing, (albeit I’m still not going to give you my most favourite places for now, we’re going to start small).

Tucked down in one of the most hidden corners of Lantau is Sham Shek Tsuen and Sham Wat Bay.

If you ever walk between Tai O and Tung Chung (a highly recommended, easy walk around the coast, through some fantastic villages), then you will come to Sham Wat which is below the Big Buddha.

There are a couple of little eateries, and the locals are just super lovely.  The muddy bay is chock full with oysters, mussels, cockles and crabs, and the village is known for its oyster omelettes and dried seaweed.

A beautiful corner of Hong Kong, where you can sit with a can of beer, dangle your legs over the sea wall and watch the sun slip below the horizon into the sea and the locals harvesting their seafood. Chill-mc-chillin.

The villagers insisted on giving us lots of fruit from their orchards.

The best way to get there (as most of you don’t have a Lantau permit) is actually to do it as part of the walk to or from Tai O, or by bike if you’ve got legs of steel.

But if you fancy a last beer after a day on the beaches of South Lantau then the only way to go is by taxi, and get ready for a pretty hairy ride up and down the Sham Wat Road.

Call taxis on 2984 1328 or 2984 1268. Be persistent, taxis can be wildly difficult to get through to here.

Mau Kee: Would you like some insanity with your soup madam?

Review:

Crikey Moses! I didn’t sleep for two nights after I ate at Mau Kee in Pui O, South Lantau. As you can probably tell, I finally had a weekend in Lantau last week, and it was after my visit to Dai Long Wan, and discovered the Island Club that my hiking partner and I finally found ourselves in Pui O just in time for an early dinner last Sunday.  It had been a beautiful day, one of those that makes you wonder in amazement (but praying it stays that way) why you’d only seen 4 other groups of people out on the trails of this wonderful island.

Food: A mind boggling menu. Everything from chicken a la king, steak and chips through chicken and sweetcorn soup, to salt & pepper squid. We opted for Cantonese and had chicken and sweetcorn soup which came with a garnish of diced savaloy (enough for 12 and I was praying it was corn starch that had given it the consistency of snot), beef and celery – (very tasty, but super salty), chicken with chilli and peppers (tasty and hot),  and some Yangchow fried rice (tasty).

Flash forward one hour and I was itching like a mofo, and sweating buckets. Flash forward another 6 hours and I still couldn’t get to sleep properly. Flash forward another 3 hours and I had the most horrendous nightmare I have ever had that actually made me so distraught I couldn’t go back to sleep and made me start shaking when I told my boyfriend about it.

Boyfriend also complained about disturbed sleep. So, me thinks, maybe a soupcon too much MSG…

Ambience: Village restaurant, everything you would expect: noisy, TV’s blaring, people shouting, bamboo chairs, i.e. the usual, (The only slight issue I had was with the dog that they allowed customers to bring in and wander up to diners.  Somehow if it’s an outdoor restaurant I have no issue with this, but indoors?  I just think it’s a bit rough).

Service: Staff were friendly and attentive, no issues there.

Price: Decent price, what you’d expect. Dishes from $20 to $70 ish.

Location: Opposite the first bus stop that you get to when you are properly in the village of Pui O from the direction of Mui Wo, Lantau, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2984 1151

I tell you what, if you are sensitive to MSG, this little restaurant is definitely not a destination for you. Holy Bloody Moly it was a full-on 36 hour trip! I thought the drugs were bad but MSG is a whole different ball game. Mau Kee? Never.Ever.Again.

Island Club – replacement for Frog & Toad on Lantau?

Of course nothing could replace the Frog & Toad on Lantau, it was a unique institution. But, I am interested to see that The Island Club has now been set up in Chi Ma Wan’s Dai Long Wan village.  I met the very nice Shirley Chan on a reconnaissance trip last weekend,  and discovered not only an organic veggie farm, but also her Island Club.

Dai Long Wan has a lovely beach and although has no road access it’s actually very straightforward to get to – either walking a quick 25mins from Chi Ma Wan prison, by 20min kaido from Cheung Chau, or by junk.  It’s not really on the junk trip radar anymore, but the Island Club will provide you with all sorts of watersports equipment, bbqs and booze.  Either $350 or $450 per person for all the food and booze you can tuck away  (including those lovely organic veggies), I think it would make an awesome stop off for a lazy weekend beach party. Certainly of more interest than the hideous Stoep on Cheung Sha.

We carried on round the coast to Sea Ranch for a bit of a gander.  Fantastic walk, really pretty path from Chi Ma Wan Prison all the way to Sea Ranch, but Oh My God!  What a horrible canker on the bottom of Lantau that former “luxury” resort is.  It’s post-apocalyptic, it’s rotten, it’s spine-chilling frankly.  Broken windows, broken blinds, desiccated pot-plants left out for years on balconies, one house had a bunch of weird statues of 4ft tall african tribesman standing outside their front door – oddness. A couple of the flats/houses are lived in and there are 24hour guards, but it really feels like hell descended and just ate everyone up.  Shpooky. We ran away ‘toot sweet’.

Anyway: Click here for all the contact details and how to get there.

Eddie’s – Still Clinging On…

Update  21.5.10:…or not.

A post was seen on a Lantau community page with a lot of kitchen equipment for sale very recently from Eddie’s. Maybe it’s all over.  I think a case of decent food, wrong venue, wrong location. If anyone knows get in touch.

Review:

Well, Eddie’s is still hanging on there in Tong Fuk.  My original review way back when I started blogging last summer provoked a tornado (i.e. windy but brief) of localised reaction, including some unrepeatable opinions which even made me blush – unfortunately for you my dear readers, I have some kind of moral conscience and so decided not to publish the comments as it would have started an even bigger s**tstorm.

Anyhew, I found myself deciding to give Eddie’s another go a few weeks back and we had a very good meal of fish and chips. Admittedly both were under-seasoned, but that’s easily corrected at table, so not a biggy.  The fish was really very good.  Big, luscious slabs of meaty, perfectly flaky fish, and although I’m a breaded rather than battered fan, the batter was nicely crispy and not doughy and cloying at all.

The portions were a very generous size as was the side-salad accompaniment.

The service was better if still a little amateur, but this time it was endearing and friendly rather than rude and frustrating, so that’s a step in the right direction.

I still think Eddie’s would do better business out of Tong Fuk.  I think they should have grabbed the Thai restaurant’s space next to The Stoep when that came up for rent renewal a few months back.  The Stoep is a dreadful restaurant and Eddie’s seafood/sustainable theme would be perfect for junk trippers and the quality starved natives of that village.

And one final point – Eddie’s you’ve got to change your website from being Flash based, and take down the notice in the news section that “due to unforeseen circumstances” you can only open on weekends for dinner.  Re-brand poppet!  Call Eddie’s the best Weekend Dining Retreat in Lantau. You could claim that like many Lantau residents you go there at weekends to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and your stressful weekday job… Positives chaps, not negatives, (I don’t know why I feel it necessary to give you advice, but I just think you are still getting this thing wrong).

Your site architecture at the moment means that search engines can’t find you.  If I were you, I’d use WordPress, Joomla or Expression Engine to host your website – free, and so easy to use that you don’t need to pay anyone for design and developing.  That way, my reviews won’t come so close to the top of the searches, which I’m sure would be a great relief!

Location: 17B Tong Fuk Village, South Lantau, Hong Kong. Tel: 2980- 2636

“The Turkish” – homestyling in Mui Wo, Lantau.

Review:

Went to The Turkish a couple of nights ago (real name Bahce Turkish).  No idea why I don’t go there more often, as it serves seriously good food.

Food:  Well….it’s Turkish.  Very home cooking feel, well presented. Fresh ingredients, with the impression  that everything is lovingly prepared.  All the dips and sauces are fresh made, and they roll dolmas neater than Cheech rolls joints.

Very tasty marinated lamb and chicken, and the special eggplant dip is so smoky and sweet you won’t want to eat normal baba ghanoush ever again. The haloumi was great as well.  Not squeaky and hard, but served with gerkins and dill, it was really good.

Drinks: wide selection of fresh teas, coffee and soft drinks. Couple of beers on tap and the rest in bottles.

Ambience: Simple, sturdy, and has tables outside which is a boon.  Emphasis is on food not decor, and you’d be nuts to spend a bunch of cash on that kind of thing in Lantau, as you will never make your money back.

Service:  lovely service. Humble, friendly, efficient and thoughtful (shame they don’t take over the Stoep!)

Price: Dinner  was $350 for two, and they don’t charge service, so it was a pleasure to leave a big tip.  We shared a mixed mezze, a separate halloumi dish and a lamb kebab, and it that was far and away enough between two of us.  Good value for the quality of the food and the service.

Location: Mui Wo Centre, Lantau Island. Tel: +852 2984 0221, very close to the 7/11 opposite the bus station.

By far the best restaurant in Mui Wo.  There are a couple of tasty canto places, but they don’t show as much care and attention to their food as this.

Eddie’s Tong Fuk – Doomed to fail?

Review

I don’t like to be mean about restaurants that are so obviously struggling to stay afloat  - but Eddie’s is a lesson in eateries doomed to fail.

The litany of mistakes/complaints in no particular order.

1) Not opening when you say you are going to be open.  We have tried to frequent your restaurant for dinner on at least 3 occasions (not Mondays)  but you were closed

2) Naming your restaurant Eddie’s and then there not being a patron/Eddie in sight.  There is a western chef here, we have glimpsed him the couple of times we have been able to enter, but as soon as we come in, he disappears into the darkness beyond.  Is he Eddie we wonder, and why won’t he come and say hi?

3) Staff don’t engage with you.  Both times we have been the wait staff hardly dared say a word and waited silently, table side, with pencil poised until we ordered. It adds to the British-rest-home-in-Worthing-day-room feeling about the whole place.

4) Menu is confused.  Its part fine dining, part gastropub, part seafood.

5) Soho prices and Soho quality food – which frankly is not value for money in Lantau.

6) Never, never start wiping the table around me when I am reading a newspaper and I am the only person in the whole restaurant.  Why the f**k are you bothering me?  Speak up boy?!

7) If you are open at the weekend from breakfast through lunchtime, why do you stop serving breakfast at midday? And even refuse to cook it up for the 1 set of customers in your restaurant at 12:45, who are locals of Lantau and might therefore become regulars?  Are you trying to go bankrupt?  SERVE AN ALL DAY BREAKFAST!!!!

8) If you open at 6pm but there are some people standing outside your restaurant at 5:40 who want to come in after a long day at the beach, don’t leave them standing outside whilst you blithely finish putting the bloody forks out, let them in to order a nice cool beer.  Don’t be rude, and more importantly don’t turn your nose up at custom.

9) Don’t open a restaurant in a village of about 250 people, with a similar cuisine to another restaurant 20yards down the road.  Why split the market when you could have opened a different style of restaurant?

As almost local Lantausters, we feel a responsibility to support a new business in our little community and we have tried, but if you are going to continually get it wrong and not learn from your mistakes then what do you expect but to be regularly empty?

Change or die.

What does work:

1) Your breakfasts at the weekend are very good value for money.  Why not make them available all day but just charge more for them from 12pm?

Not a lot else…

UPDATE:

Just received a mailer from Eddies and now we know who Eddie is and what their concept is which is actually quite interesting not just organic but also sustainable – seems that other people fancied an all-day-breakfast too.  Have to go back and try again!

Welcome to Eddie’s!

Introducing our new menu……

Due to popular demand we now serve all day breakfasts so you no longer
have to wait for the weekends to scare away that hangover!!! In the
twilight zone thanks to jet-lag? No problem – we will serve your Full
English whenever you want. No need to set the alarm!
(This is sounding somewhat as if we are open weekday mornings, which we
aren’t but watch this space…)
Our a la carte menu has been designed to offer a wide variety of choice in
keeping with our ethics, using organic meats and sustainable seafood. For
further information on how we choose our products and why, please check
out our website www.eddies.com.hk or speak to any member of staff.

We trust that you will enjoy your dining experience at Eddie’s.

Many have been wondering whether Eddie is the chef, the owner, or an
imaginary friend…
He is our namesake – our companion and would be our doorman cum maitre d,
if he wasn’t a hairy Jack Russell dog. He is however pleased to be
relieved of this duty, in the interests of hygiene. This enables him to
languish at home with his concubines while we cook.

UPDATE 2:

Had fish and chips at Eddie’s a couple of weeks ago, and the experience was much better. Read an update here.

The Balcony – Finally somewhere to chill in Tai O

Review

View from The Balcony

Tai O is in desperate need of some cool.  I love this place, it’s a travesty that after the fire the locals weren’t allowed to rebuild all their stilt-houses.  Let’s all just pray to each of our gods that the Government doesn’t go ahead with its “Authentic Fishing Village” redevelopment project after the Old Police Station is finally turned into a hotel.

It IS an effing authentic fishing village you idiots!?  Have you been to Fishermen’s Wharf in Macau?  It’s horrific and more importantly completely deserted.

The architecture in Tai O is fantastic and there are plenty of lovely little houses and shops that open onto the river. Why then is there only one Hongky, in this city full of entrepreneurs, smart enough to open a cafe?

Bless them for doing it at The Balcony though, as we had a lovely beer at sunset on a Sunday watching the wading birds and boatman winging about.  The hoards leave Tai O pretty early on Sundays as there aren’t many restaurants, no bars and the majority have a minimum of an hour’s journey to get home.  You get the place to yourself and it’s great.

You can have bar snacks to go with your drinks, which is always welcome after a long hike. The balcony itself only has room for 4-5 tables, and you sit on the wooden terrace staring through the slats into the river beneath.  Love the fact that each table comes with it’s own little gold-fish bowl too.

The owner is really friendly and you can buy history books on Tai O and other little crafty bits and bobs – Crikey it’s like Lamma minus the drug dealers!

Location:  The Balcony is over the swing bridge, past all the dried seafood shops, take a right when you hit the end of the street at Fuk Moon Lam restaurant, and then about another 100m or so on your right.  86 Kat Hing St, tel: 9153 7453

Super Cute!

The Stoep, Lantau – In need of a menu and attitude overhaul

Review

Right, so The Stoep used to be a another stalwart of the Lantau dining scene, a real gem, but over the last few years it’s gone really down hill.  They never have any specials, and they haven’t changed the menu in the 9 years I’ve been in Hong Kong.  How lazy is that?

Perhaps because of this, the service has also become incredibly slack.  It may be different at weekends when the junks come, but a restaurant on Lantau really survives on the locals turning up during the slow weeknights, and the service is pretty rubbish.

Blessed by a lovely beach-front location and an established reputation, you would think that the latest management team would be all over this opportunity, but unfortunately not.

Food: South African BBQ.  Steaks nowhere near as good as they used to be, chips, salad, kebabs, chicken – you get the picture.  They do make a lovely seed bread though…

Drinks: Decent wine list.

Ambience: Can be rammed with junk trippers and families at the weekend, so very informal, beachwear and flips styley.  During the week it’s usually dead, and would suggest asking them to put a table on the beach with candles and mozzie coils which creates a really lovely desert island vibe.

Service: Can be slow and fraught at weekends. Weeknights be prepared for your hosts to sit at a table and just call them over when you need something, best summed up as disinterested.

Price: Soho prices and the quality of the ingredients really doesn’t deserve the pricing.

Location: Lower Cheung Sha on the beach, 10 mins from Mui Wo by Taxi and 15 from Tung Chung, all the taxi drivers know it by name. Make sure your junk has a tender if you don’t want to swim as there is no jetty. Tel: 2980 2699

Open: Tues through Sunday, lunch all the way through dinner.

The Stoep is well past its sell-by date and is in desperate need of an attitude and menu overhaul. Place could be really good again, but is frankly disappointing.

The Gallery – Lantau Island

Review

Bless the Gallery.  Stalwart of Lantau, hasn’t changed a bit since I first ravenously chowed down on a burger back in ’97 after hiking over Sunset Peak.

Food: BBQ, Pizza and Tapas. Really high quali ingredients, meat and fish sourced from same suppliers as top hotels in HK like the Mando. Steaks and burgers are up there with the best of them, great tuna, big fat mussels and the fresh made pizzas are real goooood.  This restaurant is the only one in HK I order chips – fresh oven baked in olive oil. The owner, Dave, will even sacrifice a lamb and cook it for your party if you ask him in advance.

Drink: Lager/cider on tap, plus…… ale.  Hallelujah – Cornish Ale. Can’t stand that fizzy lager crap. Very decent wine list too, with very generous pouring portions by the glass.

Ambience: Super chill, beachy bar-bee, tin-roofed terrace with patio furniture, and inside bar if you need some aircon.  Can slob in your board shorts and flips.

Service: Sometimes patience is required if there are 3-4 tables ordering together.  With a kitchen the size of a postage stamp and only two people working in the whole place, service can be haphazard, but it’s always friendly and frankly what do expect in a little village in the back of beyond?  Food more than makes up for any wait.

Pricing: Drinks very reasonable.  Food is Soho prices (HK$125 for a burger with chips and salad or a 12″ pizza), so maybe you think expensive for Lantau, but the quality of the food is streets ahead of anything similar in Soho, so more than happy to pay those prices.  We think very good value.

Address: 26 Tong Fuk Village (opp the taxi rank), South Lantau, Hong Kong. 15 mins by cab from Mui Wo, 20 mins by cab from Tung Chung.

Tel: 2980-2582.

Open: Every evening cept Tuesday, plus lunch onwards on Sat and Sun.