Posts tagged “Wanchai

Thai Farmers’ Restaurant – Wanchai

Reivew:

There were four of us for supper last night in Wanchai, and we fancied showing our new friends the delights of Thai Hut.

As previously explained, there are only a tiny number of seats there since the Po-leece stopped them from setting up tables outside, so you do take your chances.  Unfortunately, last night  we were unlucky, as there was an old gweilo dude slumped on a stool taking up 3 precious seats, chin on chest, snoring drunkenly away (it was only 11pm), so we had to find an alternative.

That’s how we ended up at Thai Farmers’ restaurant across the way on Lockhart Road, sandwiched between The Bell Inn (which seems to have become the pub of the moment for all the International School kids) and some low dive strip-joint.

Food: All the usual Thai staples. Large menu, pretty much as home-style as Thai Hut. Everything we had was very tasty, although not quite as punch-your-lights-out hot as Thai’s usually like for themselves.  Portions were very generous, and the dips they provided with the pork neck and spring rolls were really good, as were those items themselves.

Drinks:  Standard drinks list for Wanchai – beer, canned softs, a few juices. Cheap and cheerful.

Ambience:  Very simple. Love the bold tablecloths. It’s a little shoebox of a place with seating for not more than 30, clean and simple, if a little rough around the edges.  The only others in the restaurant were a Thai couple, one of whom was a decidedly pre-op lady-boy, in desperate need of a stylist.

Service:  The food came quick, and the staff were friendly and attentive.

Price: We spent just over $400 for four of us, and we were only drinking soft drinks.  We had 6 dishes plus rice. So, really rather good value!

Location: G/F King Tao Building 98 Lockhart Road Wanchai Hong Kong. Tel 2520 6607. Almost opposite Agave.

I hadn’t been to this restaurant for years, and was really wondering why after this meal. Chili Club, which is actually almost upstairs from this place, and  seems to be so popular still after all these years, despite having zero ambience and mass produced tasting fare is a poor second to Thai Farmers’. This little restaurant has more authentic food, a more intimate atmosphere and is great value for money.

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.

Dynasty Restaurant- great for Dim Sum business lunch

Review:

When I worked in Wanchai, we would always go for special occasions and take visiting colleagues and clients for Dim Sum lunch at Dynasty in the Renaissance Harbour View hotel. I think it’s a Cantonese restaurant at night, but I’ve never been.

This was our expenses lunch venue of choice!

hkghv_phototour06

Food: Dim Sum dur. Beautifully executed with a wide-ranging menu. The right mix of richness, freshness, textures and flavours. Top quality vinegars/soy and chilli sauces. Crisp seafood and crunchy vegetables.

I often come out of a dim sum lunch with my mouth feeling claggy, and the dishes have been a bit mushy, mealy or greasy. Here, the dim sum is somehow best described as precise. Really, really good.  My favourite place for dim sum so far in HK.

Drinks:  I’ve only ever had tea with lunch, but they have a lovely menu for this – a big range of top quali infusions.

Ambience:  Such a stunning dining room. I love it. It’s 2 stories high, with humungous floor to ceiling windows looking down the harbour to Lei Yue Mun and beyond, completely bathed in light.

The tables are set incredibly wide apart so it is the ultimate place for a business lunch. Nobody can overhear you no matter how large your group.

The beautiful porcelain tableware is specially commissioned (I always want to steal it cos you can’t buy it anywhere), and the flatware is is terribly ornate too. The carpets are so deep it’s a danger to walk too quickly in your Giuseppe Zanottis. What with the soaring ceilings and shag pile all noise is mopped up, so all you end up hearing is a background of reverential murmuring as though you are in some high church of dim sum worship.

Service:  Impeccable.

Price: $200-$300 per person for lunch.

Location: 3/F,Renaissance Harbour View Hotel,1,Harbour Road, Wan Chai. Booking for lunch is recommended, as it’s a popular joint. Tel: 28028888

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.

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.

Cafe de Laos, Bangkok – Bring me my sossidge.

Review:

If you haven’t been to Laos, then you really should.  It is a beautiful, simple, spiritual place with awesomely hot food, and one particular dish that I will kill for – Laos sausage (the very good ones in Thai Hut in Wanchai, still pale in comparison to the real thing).

Laos

If you need some more convincing then the next time you’re in Bangkok go try the food.  There are a few Laotian/Isaan restaurants in BKK, the most well known one being Vientiane Kitchen.  We were put off this one by the concierge and the fact that they have a band and dancing, which isn’t really my bag, so instead we went for Cafe de Laos.

Cafe de Laos

Food: Very tasty food.  Laos sausage-tastic.  These are rustic, garlicky slightly fermented sausages served with fresh coriander leaves, slices of chili and peanuts.  Bloody love them.  The beer marinated pork neck and  jungle curry were also really good. Quite a lot of interesting dishes with more of a bent towards river fish and shellfish rather than seafood as Laos is landlocked, so flavours are quite delicate.  DO tell them that you eat food hot like they do, otherwise they will tone down on the chillis for sure, thinking that you are a useless nancy farang.

Drinks: They serve Beer Lao which is always a bonus.  They even have a wine list, although I’m not really up for pairing Laos food with wine yet.  Beer is perfect for me!

Ambience: Restaurant is in an old colonial house, and it’s pleasant enough, but the main ground floor room where we ate was rather bright and lacked any vibe at all, which is a shame because the food is very good.  There is also a lot of wood and tiles, so very little material that damps down noise.  You do feel a bit like you are in a National Trust tea-room in the UK.

Service: Service was a little slow, and fortunately for us they actually forgot one dish which was fine as we were stuffed.

Price: Very reasonable, can’t remember exactly, but it was very good value for the quality of food.

Location: In Silom, 16 Silom Road Soi 19. Tel +662 6352 3389

There are a few more Laos and Isaan restaurants in Bangkok which I would try over going back to this restaurant, simply because I believe there must be somewhere with better ambience.  Can’t fault the food though.

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.

Khana Khazana – Veggie Indian

Review

Very good Veggie Indian on the Island opp Delaney’s in Wanchai.  Good Thali’s and a very reasonably priced buffet lunch, usually with free flowing dosas which really rocks my boat.

If I ever open a lunch restaurant it is going to be a hole in the wall called Dosa to Go, because I just can’t believe that more people don’t go potty for these fab “pankcakes” either in London or Hong Kong.

Since this place was taken over from the guys who used to own it (ie Brantos) you can even have a beer.

This is definitely a good food at good prices kind of a venue.

khana khazana

Food: Real mix of southern indian cuisine, as well as bombay style snacks etc.  Do have the dhal Makani, the masala dosa, and the bagan batha, and I also love the different puris and idlis. Yum, Yum, Yum.

Ambience: Nothing special, but clean with dark wooden pillars and panelling, comfy chairs, big TVs on the wall so usually you can watch what’s going on in the cricket if there’s a big match on.

Service: swift and friendly

Price: Very decent price. Full dinner with drinks and so much food they have to roll you out the door, is about $200 per head inc service. Buffet lunch not much more than half that.

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

Open: 7 days a week, lunch and dinner.

Website: www.khanakhazana.hk

Bo Innovation – unique in Hong Kong

Review

Ah – a special occasion at last, and so to Bo Innovation.

I’d seen this restaurant when it was in Central near the FCC, but the one time I went to go I picked the day after the damn place had shut before moving to Wanchai behind The Pawn.

Then, I saw it on Bourdain and knew I had to go – I hadn’t realised that it was all this molecular stuff that Demon Chef was up to, and for those who put any store by the Michelin guide in HK, this restaurant thoroughly deseves it’s rating. It’s difficult to really pigeon-hole this restaurant.  It’s not Chinese, but I wouldn’t class it as fusion either. It’s just really unusual and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Bo Innovation

Sat at the chef’s table and had the tasting menu, the stand-outs for me were:

Uni with dan dan noodles.  Really, really good, and the uni was super fresh.

Toro with foie gras powder and freeze dried raspberry – this really is a piece de resistance the toro was just melt in your mouth stuff, and then the foie gras powder added another rich rounded taste, coupled with the lovely berry tartness from the raspberry.  Don’t knock it til you try it.  Sublime.

Peat Shoot Cappucino with “har mi” crouton.  Just really sweet and lovely

causticcandy_bo_innovation

Molecular xiao long bao and lap mei fan.  The xiao long bao was so clever.  A little bubble of stock that tasted just like the dim sum should.

Cod with black bean, honey and pickled bak choy: The quality of the cod was fantastic.  The best black cod I’ve ever had (BH agreed)

Duck char siu, with foie gras.  Again super quality ingredients, amazingly tasty.

Wagyu fat choi hotpot:  this was wagyu beef cheek, done like a true french pot au feu, breathtakingly simple with the clearest of stock, the sweetest of veg beautifully al dente and the fat in the cheek had turned to jelly which made it positively orgasmic.  Truly a masterpiece.

causticcandy_bo_innovation1

Dessert – had 3 or four little deserts  - all fun/molecular and tiny.

So basically 8 out of the 10 courses were stella, and the other couple were still very good.

We washed all this down with a bottle of pink Ruinart champagne which surprisingly worked really well with the entire menu, give it a go.

Price: Dinner was $1080 each for the menu so with champagne, service and tip I spent exactly $4000.  Worth every penny, would go once a week if I had the cash.

Ambience: fantastic experience sitting chatting to Demon Chef and his workers, great space with high roof and an outside terrace.  Upbeat vibe because the kitchen is open and people are excited about the food.

Location: 2F, J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, Wanchai (same building as The Pawn and Ovo Lounge, but entrance round the corner). Website

If you are a foodie you have to go to this restaurant – no other home grown Hongkee chef is doing this in the territory.