Saturday, April 28, 2007

Another Solitary Lunch

Yesterday smartly-dressed office workers and ladies who lunch gave me the once-over when I entered Cafe Des Artistes in Lan Kwai Fong. Not that they have a dress code or anything, but I was in my summer best- spaghetti-strap top, capris and slippers! Plus I was all alone. Anyway I didn't care and set my butt on a corner table. I wanted to try their braised Wagyu beef cheek, simmered for hours in a red wine-rich sauce with potatoes, carrots and cubes of chewy bacon. It was served on hot plate with turned green and yellow zucchini, baby turnip, broccoli and snow peas set on a splash of jus.

For starters I had their fish soup served with grated parmesan and rouille (olive oil, breadcrumbs, garlic). I placed some cheese and rouille in the soup, and used the rest of the garlicky mustard yellow rouille on the crisp tiny baguette slices that came with the soup. I thought the soup would be chunky and thick, but it was slightly watery and came with no chunks of anything- more broth than soup, really. I was disappointed and thought about ordering the endive salad with citrus fruits and honey dressing but I was starting to get full. A bread basket came while I was halfway through my soup. There were 3 kinds of bread, 2 slightly too sweet and all 3 not as warm or fresh as I would have wanted.

I was starting to regret my decision to spend lunch here when the beef dish arrived, set in a white soup bowl and concealed by a golden brown, crumbly, thin pastry sheet dotted with poppy seeds. Intrepid me was poised to shatter this delicate sheet with my fork and as soon as I broke the surface the hot, fragrant steam billowed out. I inhaled deeply then dug in. The beef is meltingly tender, and slides like silk on the tongue. Rarely can you swallow a chunk of beef without chewing but it is a possibility here. I broke off pieces of bread -the one that wasn't sweet, and dipped it in the sauce. Was this proper or not? Again I didn't care. The sauce was there, the bread was there, a spoon wasn't. So what's a girl to do? Enjoy her meal any way she can.

Washed down with a glass of plain water, my entire bill came out to HKD 379.50. Expensive for lunch, yes. And I could've done without the soup. I highy recommend the beef cheek though. But share it. And order their other regional specials like the cassoulet and snails.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Makes me want to do these right away:

catch the next flight out to France!
buy the books!
cook the dishes!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


From a Word Mac file of mine: a list of HK eateries, some venerable, distinguished and multi-awarded; some in unknown alleys with no pedigree to speak of. I've already checked many items off this list, and yet it grows. So much food, so little time.
Here are the ones I haven't tried.


Grissini – Grand Hyatt
One Harbour Road – Grand Hyatt
Niccholinis- Conrad
Gaddis- Peninsula
Felix- Peninsula
Mo Bar- Mandarin Landmark (Burgers)
Pierre Gagnaire- Mandarin Landmark
Chinnery- Mandarin Landmark
Felix- Peninsula
The Pizzeria- Kowloon Hotel
JW’S California- Marriott
Nobu – Intercon
Spoon – Intercon
Amber – Mandarin Landmark
The Steak House - Intercon
Angelini – Kowloon Shangri-La
Inagiku- 4 Seasons

Habibi/Habibi Café
Marouche- Cochrane Street 25418282

Shui Hu Ju
American Peking
Taste of Beijing
Kung Tak Lam – CWB
Lei Garden Resto
Xiao Nan Guo – Times Square
Peking Duck
Ning Po – LKF 25230648
Dong Lai Shun – Regal Hotel
Spring Deer – Mody Road
Fook Lam Moon
Hei Kee – Crabs, Wan Chai
Fishball – 80-82 Old Main Street Aberdeen
HK Old Resto – Miramar 27221812
Kau Kee 21 Gough St. – beef brisket
Yu Sin – 98 Ivy St. Tai Kok Tsui 36202660 (Three Knife Fish, Soups)
Mala – 35 Peel St. 28181236 (Rendang beef curry, Hainan Rice)
Sang Kee Congee – 7-9 Burd St. Sheung Wan 25411099 (Chick congee)
Peking Resto – 227 Nathan Road Yau Ma Tei 27351316
Wang Fu Beijing Dumpling – 98 Wellington St. (Veg dumplings in hot and sour soup)
Boat Dweller Fish Balls – 135 Belcher St. Kennedy Town
Wing Cheung Resto – 2 King Kwong St. Happy Valley (roast meats)
Yun Fu – Basement 43-55 Wyndham 21168855
Under Bridge Spicy Crab- 414 Jaffe Road and 401-402 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai 28346818 28931289
Wu Kong Shanghainese – Food Forum Times Square (shredded chix with bean curd sheets, lion’s head meatball)
Dim Sum – 63 Sing Woo Road Happy Valley 28348893
Lin Heung Tea House – 160 Wellington 25444556
Yung Yuen – 53 Belcher St. Kennedy Town 28557738

Fai Kee – Po O Toi Pier Sai Kung 27199129 (fried octopus, sashimi)
Chuen Kee – 53 Hoi pong st. Sai Kung 32861779

Imperial Kitchen – CWB 25772018
Avenue Joffre- CWB 28826001
YunYan Szhechuan – Miramar 23750800
Green Willow – CWB 28816669]
Peach Resto – Wan CHai 21100363
Lung King Heen – 4 Seasons Hotel
Dong Lai Shun – Regal Hotel

Gaia – Sheung Wan 21678200
Aqua Roma
Tuscany By H 25218116
Aspasia- 1/F Luxe Manor, 39 Kimberley Road TST 37638800
Peccato – Elgin St.
Cecconi’s Cantina- Elgin St.

Sae Culinary
Kun – Cheerful Court 1-5 Shing Ping St. Happy Valley 28933917
Koi Sushi – 25378332
Kiyotaki – 13 Gough St. 28771772
Asian Ghetto- Jap Ramen 30 Tai Wong St. Wan Chai 23383498
Nishimura – Marco Polo HK 27356899
Chura – Unit A B1 The Toy House, 100 Canton Road TST
31058950 (okinawan cuisine)

Xi Yan – 25756966 3/F Hang Wai Comm’l Bldg 231-233 Q. Road East, Wan Chai
Yellow Door- 28586555
Chez Les Copains – 117 Pak Sha Wan, Sai Kung 22431918
Wo Tai Ju – B5 9?F Kingston Bldg. 2-4 Kingston St. CWB (Thai and Jap)
Alcove- 55 Peel St. 29759788

Chang Won
Jin Luo Buo- CWB 28953986
Secret Garden

Little Sheep – 463 Lockhart Road, CWB 28938318
Tao Heung Seafood Hotpot – 338 Hennessy Road 28383097

Robuchon – Landmark 21669000
Café Des Artistse
Gough 40
Goccia – 21678181 (devil pizza)
Ingredients- 25445133 23 Wing Fung St. Wan Chai
The Verandah
Orange Tree
Peak Café Bar
Harmony Café –CWB
Lawry’s – 29072218
Pearl at The Peak
Percy’s- 68 Catchick St. Kennedy Town 28551882
Green T. House- Cyberport
Agnes B. – Leighton Road, CWB 25772718
Agura- 13/F Henry House, 42 Yun Ping Road, CWB 25042929 (Jap-Italian)
Bricolage- 62 Hollywood Road 25421991 (duck confit)
The Press Room
Cococabana – Deep Water Bay 28122226
Armani Restaurant- Chater House

TRU- 25256700
O Sip Hah – 36223222 Old Bailey St.
Wong Chun Chun Thai – 442 Prince Edward Road, Kowloon 27160099 (tom yum)
Chili Club
Noble House- 73 Wellington St. (Tom Yum)

Masala- Sheung Wan 25819777
Katong Laksa – Sheung Wan 25434008
Woodlands – 61 Mody Road TST 23693718
Gaylord – 1/F Ashley Center 23-25 Ashley Road TST 23761001 (North Indian)
Sangeet – 17-23 Minden avenue TST 23675619
Indonesian 1868 – 28 Leighton Road, CWB 25779981 (ox tongue stew and rendang beef)

1. Sai Kung
- Under The Pier
- Anthony’s Catch 27928474
- 131 27912684
- Scarecrow 27910888
2. Au Belge – Belgian 11 Old Bailey St. 25481818
3. Electric Road, Tin Hau
- Poppy’s 1 A Tsing Fung St. CWB
- The Fresh Soya Shop 74-48 Electric Road
- Te Se Kitchen 69 Electric Road (sweet dumplings)
- Tin Hau Laksa 81 Electric Road
- Shun Fung Noodle House 87 electric Road (Pork Chops)
4. Kin’s Kitchen – 9 Tsing Fung St. Tin Hau 25710913 (fried wonton skins with shredded duck meat)
5. Discovery Bay
- Hemingway’s 29878855 (Carribean, BBQ)
- Manta Ray 29872298 (seafood)
- Fagara 29876222 (Sichuan)
6. Ooh La La – Pui O Beach, Lantau

Commercial Break No. 1

Let's take a break from food-centered ramblings to take an irate look at HK weather.

gloomy, doomsday view from our window, April 24, 10:30 am

are the dark, Mordor clouds here to stay?

argh! big fat droplets of rain pouring down from angry skies

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bon Appetit!

I am currently reading Bon Appetit! Travels Through France with Knife, Fork and Corkscrew by Peter Mayle, author of A Year in Provence.

In one part of the book, he says that what distinguishes the French from other nationalities is their utter love of food; from the way it is grown, harvested, and prepared, to the way it is served and eventually partaken of. The French take a rapturous, sensual delight in food, and this is best witnessed during Sunday lunch, when everyone is leisurely perusing the menu, taking their sweet time and "...mentally tasting the dishes on offer. You can almost hear the flutter of taste buds."

I must have been French in my past life. When I read that passage I silently said, bingo! I always take my time in restaurants, visually imagining each and every dish, composing a picture in my mind, my taste buds emboldened, my senses on full alert, my heart racing as my salivary glands go on overdrive, seeking and longing that first bite, bursting with life and flavor.


Had a lovely dinner at Hutong (28th Floor, 1 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui), a glamorous Chinese restaurant rife in atmosphere and artistic food presentation, with stunning harbor views.

Hubby and I admired the decor, especially that of the restrooms, but we would be scared silly to look at ourselves in the mirror and "do our thing" if we had as dark and eerie a room in our own home.

Eye candy for me were the wooden trays, hand-painted bowls and lacquer servingware where the inventive dishes reposed.

To start with we had:
- poached cold drunken pigeon and crispy roast pigeon which little boy finished most of so we had to order again
followed by:
- crabmeat rolled in thinly-sliced radish, in one perfect row, with a black sesame dipping sauce. bland but refreshing
- mixed vegetable spring rolls, crisp and very tasty
- deep-fried battered eggplant with a minced prawn and lotus root filling, served with fresh minced garlic
- bamboo clams steeped in rose wine and chili sauce
then came the main courses:
- a boneless lamb rib, Hutong-style, fried to perfection and served with warm, thin pancakes, slices of leek and a garlic dipping sauce
- soft-shell crabs hiding like cowards under a fierce mountain of fried fiery hot Szechuan red peppers - beautiful to look at, served in a red wooden receptacle with handle
- roast pork ribs topped with fennel seeds
- squid sauteed with lofty sea urchin (uni)
- braised sea cucumbers wading in a rich brown sauce redolent with golden scallions and prawn roe
- Mandarin fish fillet smartly dressed in a heap of crunchy garlic
- chunky green asparagus stir-fried with salted yellow croaker
- steamed taro balls with prawn roe sauce
- eggwhite fried rice with spring onion

Some of us with adventurous tastebuds and possibly alcoholic tendencies tried the Jia Qing Tung Pao- one small lychee placed in a clay pot (like those for dipping sauces) where a heady, sweetish concoction of lychee liquor, gin and soda water is poured. An extraordinary way to sip one's alcohol.

The kids, little boy and his pretty friend, each ordered noodle soup with diced shrimp, but shared in the adult's fare as well. My son took one sip of my strawberry-lime shake and never let go of the glass. He seemed to be suffering from endless thirst so I ordered a peach shake for him but he turned his nose up at it. I should've known, he's a darn good actor for a 4 year old.

After dinner we all walked to Knutsford Terrace and ended the night canoodling with a vanilla souffle, molten chocolate cake, nougat parfait, apple crumble and pistachio creme brulee.