Musings of a bon vivant in Hong Kong


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Frango Piri Piri Foraging

Say piri-piri or peri-peri, and most brains would instantly go NANDO’S! If you’re Brit, the love for Nando’s chicken, ‘slaw, spicy rice and chips is intense and not to be underestimated. Let’s not forget the phrase “Cheeky Nando’s” which caused confusion of epic proportions for Americans and snowballed into many of us having to painfully explain the meaning/ talk extensively about our Nando’s obsession.

But why Hong Kong, why no Nando’s?! My friends’ and my cries have not been heard- how rude, but before you hop onto a plane to Singapore or Malaysia for your piri-piri fix, thankfully there is somewhere in HK that serves that most delicious spicy- sweet marinated chicken. Flaming Frango on Staunton Street, Soho, is probably the closest thing to Nando’s we’re going to get and aside from their classic piri-piri chicken and sides, they have now expanded their menu to include new appetisers, burgers and wraps. frango-main-ftcei_landscape

Flaming Frango is fairly compact inside, and the walls are a flaming red to match the name. There is an upstairs seating area, so don’t be alarmed if you walk in and wonder about space. Once settled, you can start with one of their cocktails like their refreshing Lychee and Lemongrass Colada, or you can get stuck right into the food. Their ‘Frango’ – ‘chicken’ in Portuguese, is marinated in their house-made piri-piri sauce for 24 hours and is obviously the main ingredient in most of their dishes.

I’d personally go straight for their house specials which involves their piri­-piri chicken in various portion sizes, with a selection of sides you can add on. For 1/4 chicken with two sides it is $138, 1/2 chicken plus two sides is $198 and whole chicken with four sides is $360.  They also have three home-made sauces- mint and coriander (really like this one), spicy and very hot. Whatever floats your boat! It would be perfect if they had a garlic sauce much like the one Nando’s serves.

For small bites, we tried the chicken and mushroom croquettes, which were little morsels of minced chicken and mushrooms served with pirioli, Portobello mushroom strips, piri-piri prawns and Halloumi cheese sticks. Of the four, the Portobello mushroom strips were the favourite- addictive, crisp mushroom slices which tasted even better in their pirioli sauce. The grilled prawns were juicy and cooked well but lacked in presentation, looking like two lonely, lost crustaceans on the plate. However, the real surprise was the Halloumi cheese stick…and not in the best way. They were alarmingly tiny; with each pan-grilled thumb-sized rectangle of halloumi topped with half a cherry tomato, my friend and I hardly thought the dish was worth a whopping $78!

Piri Piri Prawns

Piri Piri Prawns

Halloumi cheese sticks

Halloumi cheese sticks

Portobello Mushroom Strips

Portobello Mushroom Strips

Moving onto mains, we tried their new Sweet and Spicy chicken burger ($158) topped with pineapple and cheese and served with fries and coleslaw. I’m not a fan of non-classic burgers to be honest, and I found the chicken, whilst succulent, didn’t really do it for me in a burger form, especially with a pineapple slice inside. My friend however, rather enjoyed it (according to him pineapple slices in burgers are the best- sorry, I have to disagree), so I suppose one man’s pineapple, is another man’s poison. The fries were fantastic; those I demolished fairly swiftly and would happily have eaten another plate.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

To end, we were served their house special of half a piri-piri chicken with their sauce selection and this was on point- meaty, succulent and tender meat.

Piri Piri Chicken

Piri Piri Chicken

Flaming Frango does well with their piri-piri chicken, and it definitely helps to fill the void left by Nando’s. Price-wise, I’d say their house specials are worth it, but I do question the price of some of the other dishes. Service is haphazard and the air-con or lack thereof the night we went, made it difficult to fully enjoy our dinner, especially in the heat we’ve been experiencing lately. Work those kinks out, and I think Flaming Frango is a good place for a cheeky Nando’s substitute.

Chopstixfix rating: 3/5

Flaming Frango, G/F, 36B Staunton Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong/Tel: +852 2899 2244/  www.facebook.com/flamingfrango

This tasting was by kind invitation. 


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Meat Sweats at Butchers Club Deli

I have been in some pretty epic meat comas in my life, but one particular meal gave me proper meat sweats. The Butchers Club Deli in Aberdeen is the second product of The Butchers Club which first landed on our shores in April 2013 in Tin Wan, Aberdeen as HK’s only dry-ageing specialist and a multi-purpose venue- butcher’s, private dining room and cooking class space. The Butchers Club Deli along with the newly established Butchers Club Burgers, serves the growing number of hungry carnivores in HK who are now a little more savvy about their beef.

Butchers Club Deli

Butchers Club Deli

There’s nothing I love more than loft spaces in industrial buildings, and the Deli’s location on Wong Chuk Hang Road is ab fab. It is actually in partnership with ED1TUS, a men’s luxury fashion and lifestyle showroom and together they take up the entire 16th and top floor of the dodgy looking Shui Ki Industrial building, reminiscent of the kind of space Sarah Michelle Gellar and her crew got their knickers in a twist in, in IKWYDLS (that’s I Know What You Did Last Summer– yes I’m old). That being said, once you’ve got over the uneasiness of riding in an old lift that has seen better days, the behemoth 7,0oo sq ft space, of which the Deli takes up 3,000, greets you. A large dining area, private dining room for maximum 14 diners, big kitchen, dry-ageing room, deli counter, wine cellar AND an enormous rooftop which gives you a lovely view of Aberdeen does make one feel like hauling ass and moving over to get in on this space action. There’s also a Harley Davidson motorbike randomly parked inside. Manly stuff. Owner Jonathan Glover must be grinning like mad about this venue, especially as the 7,000 sq ft rooftop will eventually become a herb garden with BBQ and can accommodate up to 500 people on top of the 300 person capacity downstairs.Butchers Club Deli Butchers Club Deli

View from the rooftop

View from the rooftop

If a bus ride and a change of scenery is up your alley, then the Deli can offer you a great lunch from 12-5.30pm daily. By night however, the place becomes an extension of the private dining room of The Butchers Club in Tin Wan where it’s all about the dry-aged beef. If you are a keen cook and want to entertain in the comfort of your home, you can select a 7-10kg piece of rib eye or sirloin Black Angus beef and wait for it to be dry-aged by the Butchers Club folks for 30-45 days and hey presto, you have your own dry-aged steak.

The night of epic meat sweats was by kind invitation and the tasting preparations had begun early with me sensibly deciding to have a bigger breakfast and a light snack for lunch. I should have worn my stretchy pants that day, rookie error. We were able to try most of the items on the lunch menu plus the steak which is only offered in the evenings as part of a set menu, as is seen at Tin Wan branch.  (For your information, the steaks at dinner are usually sold by the primal- the whole piece, not by the steak, so the price will depend on the weight of the primal.)

We eased in with a Caesar’s Salad. “Salad?!” I hear you cry. Ahh, but this came with lovely thick-cuts of grilled bacon, the kind of bacon which I wish came with my All Day Breakfasts in HK as opposed to the measly, shrivelled rashers. The rye croutons, bacon and anchovies is a delicious, salty medley of textures and a carnivore’s idea  of a veggie dish.

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

The Butchers Board – a stupendous, glorious looking selection of artisanal cured meats, cheese, pickles and breads is apparently for two to share, but I’m pretty sure I could pack this baby away on my own. That night we had corned beef, ham hock terrine (this was terrific), homemade sausages (less of an impact on my palate) and salami which miraculously kept appearing on my fork- I have no control over my hand, it’s like a nervous tick. Could do with more pickles though, but that’s just a gherkin/pickle fiend talking.

The Butchers Board

The Butchers Board

The next item, well, can only be described as SOUL DESTROYINGLY GOOD. The Deli Poutine with duck fat fries, homestyle gravy, pastrami and aged cheddar just destroyed us. Destroyed our stomachs that is. We all loved it so much that we nearly forgot we had several dishes to plow through after. I blame the poutine for the mega food coma that ensued. The duck fat fries were omnomnomnom– no words. Thick-cut, crisp outside, fluffy potato on the inside, thick gravy, cheesy goodness and of course, pastrami to make this a Butchers twist. This may not be a legit poutine, but ahhh who cares. We bantered a bit with Exec Chef Aarik where he said that the poutine was practically a salad dish because of the sprinkling of parsley. I’m not about to argue with a chef.

The Deli Poutine

The Deli Poutine

Bellies swelling, we welcomed the NY Style Corned Beef Deli Sandwich on rye bread, served with crisps. This sandwich was positively ginormous. The corned beef was of a similar quality to the salt beef I know and love so well from the UK. I also liked the quirky way of serving the sandwich with Burts British Potato Chips.

NY Style Corned Beef Deli Sandwich

NY Style Corned Beef Deli Sandwich

Their Dry-aged Steak, Ale and Wild Mushroom Pie, served with duck fat chips was excellent and hearty. The beef was chunky, succulent and the stew flavour robust and rich. Possibly one of the best pies I have had in HK to date.

Dry-aged Steak, Ale and Wild Mushroom Pie

Dry-aged Steak, Ale and Wild Mushroom Pie

The only dish that I can say was a tad disappointing was the Fish and Chips with mushy peas and tartar sauce. Whilst I could easily say this is due to it being the only non-meat dish, I do think the batter is what let this down that evening. The barramundi was cooked perfectly but the batter was sadly soggy in places and detracted from the overall taste. Those duck fries made another appearance though, so not all was lost!

Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips

The pièce de résistance  was the 90-day dry-aged Australian steak, cooked to medium-rare perfection and served with an array of condiments, with the most popular being the chimichurri, though I was quite partial to the Béarnaise and gravy. The beef had an intense flavour and was just sublimely tender. We were all stuffed to the rafters so two of us got to spirit away steak leftovers (I had a steak salad with my leftovers the day after, which was incredible).

90-day dry-aged Australian steak

90-day dry-aged Australian steak

90-day dry-aged Australian steak

Condiment selection

Condiment selection

At this point, the meat sweats were starting and my regret at not wearing stretchy pants was building. But, we had two desserts left- the Chocolate brownie cake and the Homestyle apple crumble pie with cheddar cheese. The chocolate brownie cake was rich but not dense and a delightful sweet end to our meat fest. The apple crumble pie was unusual as it had surprise chunks of cheddar cheese, which, frankly speaking, did very little for the dessert except confuse my taste-buds, though I concede the savoury/sweet contrast was interesting. But the crumble itself was good.

Chocolate Brownie Cake and Apple Crumble with Cheddar

Chocolate Brownie Cake and Apple Crumble with Cheddar

And there it is,epic meat sweats chronicled. I literally had to hold my belly on my way home and sat on my sofa at home for 3 hours, stock still, watching crap TV to digest.

My thoughts on the Butchers Club Deli? Bloody brilliant. I loved it. Loved the meat, loved the fries, loved the space. Prices are reasonable at lunch with starters between $70-80 and mains $120-140. Yes, it may be on Wong Chuk Hang Road, but I think the meat is well-worth the trek. If you can’t be bothered to go that far and burgers are your thing, then it’s just lucky their latest venue is in Wan Chai. I’ll be visiting very soon, watch this space.

Chopstixfix rating: 4/5

$$-$$$$$$$$$$ (Lunch prices) 

The Butchers Club Deli, 16/F, Shui Ki Industrial Building, 18 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong, 2884 0768

www.butchersclub.com.hk

This was by kind invitation- many thanks to The Butchers Club.


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Putting on a Funky Shou

Fu Lu Shou- Good Fortune, Prosperity and Longevity- has been open a little over a month and I have already been three times, something of a record for me when it comes to new establishments. And all because the place is just so darn funky. Two things to mention that make this my new go-to spot for laid-back cool- a fab rooftop terrace and rather yummy cocktails. Ping Lam, the brainchild behind the Nail Library, has successfully turned her attention from beautifying hands and feet to feeding people, and its all about bringing in old skool Western Chinese from her childhood in Australia.  Their motto is “Eat. Drink. And Be Prosperous”; I can do the first two, just hoping that one day Fu Lu Shou magically makes it rain when I next visit. I wish.

Eat, Drink And Be Prosperous

Eat, Drink And Be Prosperous

Fu Lu Shou is ensconced in a rather dodgy looking old building on Hollywood Road by the escalators and takes over the space formerly occupied by TBLS. The only way to get inside is to know the door code which changes every Tuesday. The code, the well-hidden location, plus the jittery old lift, add to the Fu Lu Shou atmosphere and make you feel like you’re in on a little secret. I loved it. Once you emerge on the top floor, you are greeted by a lovely rooftop bar and small, casual indoor dining area and an open kitchen. The bar is made up entirely of mahjong tiles which I was quite fascinated by, and inside, the look is completed by their motto emblazoned on the wall.  The real beauty is the outdoor terrace which is bedecked with inviting, comfy sofas, cushioned swing seats and a huge mural of a couple of happy, old Chinese scholars and one holding a cocktail!

Merry scholars

Merry scholars

Mahjong tiled bar

Mahjong tiled bar

The first time I went it was at the kind invitation of the awesome Rach from Through the Looking Glass and a merry group of us got stuck into the inventive cocktails and mocktails which are all worth trying and utterly delish. Firm cocktail favourites from my three visits are the Joh Sun, “Good Morning Hong Kong”- a feisty concoction of lemon-flavoured vodka, lemongrass syrup, lemon juice, ginger juice, lime and chilli- it certainly woke me up after one tiring day and their Haam Ling Chut “Salty Lemon”  which is a mix of Angostura Reserva 3 Yr Old White Rum, Salted Lemon, Salted Lemon Juice, Preserved Mandarin, Mint, Fever-Tree Lemonade & Fever-Tree Tonic. As someone who really loves the classic haam ling chut from cha chaan tengs, theirs was a lively, alcoholic version that went down a little too nicely! I enjoyed their mocktails too; all refreshing and fruity, especially their Yum Cha made with Chinese tea, homemade red date tea, lemon juice, passionfruit and elderflower syrup which is served in those gorgeous classic Chinese mugs with lids.

Yum Cha

Yum Cha

Joh Sun!

Joh Sun!

But what about the food? It’s NOT authentic first of all, but that’s the point and half the charm. It’s a cheeky and fun medley of Australian, UK and North American westernised Chinese food that owner Ping, wanted to capture and remember from her native Oz.  Ping was very quick to state that Fu Lu Shou is ‘not food-centric’ nor meant to be Michelin-star, the dishes are simply there to be enjoyed with the drinks and not to be taken seriously. In other words, chill out, pig out and smile. Ping clearly has a fab eye for detail as all the dishes came on those amazing melamine retro Chinese plates which I fondly remember eating off from as a child. The plates were shipped all the way from Paris no less- dedication!

Any food item termed ‘Big Arse’ has got to be good. By Big Arse, they are referring to the Ozzie extreme version of the siu mai and this momma was massive when it came as part of the mixed sampler plate. This tasted great, but we especially liked their prawn toast which was deliciously thick and crisp.

Mixed appetizer sample and Big Arse siu mai

Mixed appetizer sample and Big Arse siu mai

The Chicken and Sweet Corn ‘Egg Drop’ soup was soothing for the soul and was just the right consistency.

Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup

Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup

We sampled a variety of mains starting with the Beef in Black Bean Sauce. The sauce was slightly too heavy and intense on the salty black bean for me and should be accompanied by some rice. The Boss’ Honey Prawns’ light, sweet batter was nicely done and the prawns plump to bite into and the Sweet and Sour Pork was also a solid dish. The real crowd pleasers were the Deep Fried Tofu in Spicy Salt which were so addictive- I couldn’t stop piling the chili salt and pepper onto my rice, and the Kung Pao Chicken which was full of flavour and kick as well. For carbs you can go for anyone of the chow meins, though we were served the vegetable version to end the savouries.

Deep Fried Tofu in Spicy Salt

Deep Fried Tofu in Spicy Salt

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

Vegetable Chow Mein

Vegetable Chow Mein

Beef in Black Bean Sauce

Beef in Black Bean Sauce

Boss' Honey Prawns

Boss’ Honey Prawns

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork

For dessert we tucked into a properly old-skool banana split with ice-cream AND an umbrella- yummy! We also enjoyed the banana fritters and the sticky toffee apples which we dunked into ice water with glee to solidify the toffee.

Banana fritters

Banana fritters

Sticky Toffee Apple

Sticky Toffee Apple

Dunking Time

Dunking Time

Banana Split

Banana Split

If you want a fun night out with delicious drinks and a great rooftop to enjoy the HK ambience, make Fu Lu Shou a regular hang-out. It doesn’t serve authentic Chinese food, but it sure does do a brilliant take on ‘non-authentic’ Chinese grub to make bananas like me nostalgic. I do recommend booking in advance and remember to check the door code or you’ll be stuck outside on Hollywood Road.

Chopstixfix rating: 4/5

$$$-$$$$$$$$$$

Fu Lu Shou, 7/F, 31 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2336 8812

 https://www.facebook.com/FuLuShouHK


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A Comforting Lunch at Comfort

Most of my friends work in Central, so if ever I want to meet up for lunch, we either have to wing it (meetings/deadlines/projects/a*sehole bosses depending) or engage in complicated Whatsapping messaging to work out if they can risk  committing to a time and booking something in advance to avoid rush hour crush and disappointment. My friends are just as food obsessed as I am and are always asking, ” Is there anywhere new you want to try?” I like to think they are being nice as they say they are ‘helping me out’ as a food blogger. Hmmm. (Joking, love you guys :P)

One lunchtime excursion, my friend R and I decided to go to Comfort by Harlan Goldstein. This had been on my list of places to try for a while but the Food Gods have been sending me elsewhere for the last few months. So when R said the magic words, “You HAVE to try the Mac’n’cheese”,  Food Gods’ itinerary be damned, I had to hotfoot it down there toute suite.

Comfort

Comfort

Harlan Goldstein’s other establishment Gold and now newly opened Sushi To, will appeal to those looking for a classier, finer dining experience, but Comfort offers meals for us mere mortals- more affordable and simpler, like the Armani Exchange to Armani.

Cool lights

Cool lights

At first glance at the menu, I liked what I saw. Dishes are split into various categories such as Something Small, Something Green, Something Raw, Pizza and Pita and Comfort Dishes. Being only two of us, and with an hour window, we didn’t want to be too greedy nor did we want to send R into a food coma at her desk.Comfort

Obviously we only had one goal. Mac & Cheese. I naturally assumed, being a staple, comfort dish, that it would be on the normal a la carte. But, it seems that I assumed wrong. The waitress had to whip out the Daily Specials menu where “Kick Ass Mac & Cheese Is Back” was emblazoned in the middle. Well, this is just silly, I thought. Why on earth have something so KICK ASS as a Daily Special. Just put it on the main menu so we can gorge on it everyday!

Kick Ass Mac and Cheese

Kick Ass Mac and Cheese

And it was damn good. Gooey, cheesy, rich, with a beautiful breadcrumb crusting on top and a smack of black truffle aroma in the face. This dish is death for the lactose-intolerant. Thank goodness I got over my dairy allergy years ago. Whoop. I loved the surprise nuggets of Argentina pork sausage buried in the cheese, which gave it even more savoury deliciousness. This was definitely one of the best Mac and Cheese dishes I have had in Hong Kong.

Gooey deliciousness

Gooey deliciousness

Aside from the Mac & Cheese, we decided to order the Field Greens with Mango, Pear and Tomatoes which was light and refreshing and the Black Truffle, Taleggio and Sausage Pizza for more truffle, more cheese and more sausage. This was the dinkiest, cutest, little pizza I had ever seen and the ingredients so prettily scattered atop the dough. The pizza itself was quite excellent. The sausage was flavourful and the dough soft and pillowy to bite into.

Black truffle, Taleggio and Sausage Pizza

Black truffle, Taleggio and Sausage Pizza

Field Greens with Mango, Pear and Tomato

Field Greens with Mango, Pear and Tomato

To end a rather carb-heavy meal, we thought, why not send ourselves over the edge and order the Old School Apple Crumble with Vanilla ice-cream. This really hit the spot and we both appreciated how they had achieved a good pie to crumble ratio. The apple wasn’t too tart and the crumble did not go soggy as it does all too quickly in some versions. I smothered each mouthful with vanilla sauce and ice-cream and was left truly satisfied.

Old School Apple Crumble

Old School Apple Crumble

The service is smooth and friendly, the atmosphere fun and I feel that Harlan has done a great job introducing a cheaper option without compromising on the quality of the food. Comfort 100% comforted my stomach that day.

Chopstixfix rating: 4/5

 

$$-$$$$$$$$$$

Harlan Goldstein’s Comfort,  5/F Grand Progress Building, 15-16 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong Tel: 852 2521-8638 Email: dine@comfort-dining.hk


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Fish & Meat- Delicious Simplicity

For all our mod cons and modern living, humans are really uncomplicated creatures at heart, and this is becoming more evident with food trends. These days we are exploring the benefits of a more pared down diet and going back to basics, with nutritious yet simple cooking. Maximal Concepts, with their ever-growing empire, (Brickhouse, Blue Butcher and now Mott32) are doing just that, with their restaurant Fish & Meat. Their philosophy is to provide rustic, honest cooking, sourcing the freshest farm-to-table ingredients. As the name implies, the menu is replete with fish and meat and is split into small and large plates for sharing amongst friends, farmhouse, family style.

Fish & Meat

Fish & Meat

F&M F&M

The first time I went was in a large group to make the most of sharing as many plates as we possibly could. Whisperings amongst friends who had already paid a visit told me a fair number of their small plates were worth checking out. The Sea Urchin Bruschetta with lardo di colonnata may not be to everyone’s taste, depending on your fondness for sea urchin, but there was no denying their freshness. I love lardo di colonnata and the fatty flavours lent themselves well to the dish, countering the strong sea urchin. The fresh burrata with grilled Australian yellow plums was good and satisfied our cheese cravings, though the price was a little eye-popping at $180. I’m not quite sure what they coated the crispy whitebait in or what they put in their aioli, but this basket of tiny fish could put someone into food rehab, i.e. ridiculously moreish.

 Sea Urchin Bruschetta

Sea Urchin Bruschetta

Fresh burrata

Fresh burrata

Crispy whitebait

Crispy whitebait

The pan-fried baby Spanish octopus with white bean puree , garlic, parsley and chilli was met with mass approval. I particularly enjoyed the contrast of the crispy exterior of the octopus against the tender meat. The white bean puree was lovely but I would have been happier if the garlic and chilli flavours were little more dominant. The Californian artichokes ‘Barigoule’ with  Black Label Galloni Prosciutto and Mustard Vinaigrette was possibly the most disappointing of all the dishes we had, mostly due to the price and what we actually got. At $170, there really was not very much to look at apart from a meagre sprig of leaves and a couple of artichoke halves topped with two shreds of prosciutto. But all was not lost as the soft duck egg raviolo with ricotta cream, burnt sage butter and pecorino was a winner. Who can resist a burst of golden egg yolk from a secretive, innocent-looking pasta spaceship? None of us it seemed, as we all attacked the cheesy, gooey goodness with gusto.

Soft duck egg raviolo

Soft duck egg raviolo

Pan-fried baby octopus

Pan-fried baby octopus

Californian artichokes ‘Barigoule’ with  Black Label Galloni Prosciutto

Californian artichokes ‘Barigoule’ with Black Label Galloni Prosciutto

Next up, two hand-ground Dutch veal and pork meatballs with melting fontina cheese and a pepperoni sauce eyeballed us. Let’s just say, cutting each meatball into quarters doesn’t exactly cut the mustard. I’m definitely having a plate of those to myself one day. At this point, it was rather difficult to fit in anymore than one main dish X 2 for our group of 8, so we settled for the Slow-cooked Spanish Tereul pork belly porchetta , Italian fennel sausage and apple marmalade. This was ridiculous. Ridiculously good I mean. Tender, bursting with flavour and the apple marmalade was genius. But, there was something even better. And this will sound strange as it is a side dish, but, the sweet-corn polenta. Strike me down with a feather, if this wasn’t the best side dish I have ever tasted. This was definitely a magical dish as we had to order this twice during our meal. I can’t really describe it, but it was comfort epitomised.

Dutch veal and pork meatballs

Dutch veal and pork meatballs

 Slow-cooked Spanish Tereul pork belly porchetta

Slow-cooked Spanish Tereul pork belly porchetta

Sweetcorn polenta

Sweetcorn polenta

Do leave some room for dessert, or at the very least, room for the Sicilian lemon tart with clotted cream which I enjoyed the most. There was a good balance of citrus tang and sweetness with a lovely crumbly pastry base. The deconstructed, whipped mascarpone cheesecake with raspberry shortbread crumble was yummy but almost too light. I couldn’t help but think of the crumbs from Crumbs! Chocolate fans will enjoy the Chocolate Lava Cake with Salted Caramel and Vanilla ice-cream, where flavours lovingly hopped from salty to sweet in every mouthful.

Lemon tart

Lemon tart

Chocolate lava cake

Chocolate lava cake

Mascarpone cheesecake

Mascarpone cheesecake

Lunch is a simpler, more laid-back affair with a pared-down selection of small and large plates. By kind invitation I had a lovely lunch one afternoon and was introduced to the new lunch menu. A couple of the starters from the dinner menu are kept, including the moreish crispy whitebait, but we tried the new addition Crab and Jalapeno crostinis with frisee salad. It is a plain looking dish, but the taste has more colour owning to a fiery kick from the jalapeno. They are quite generous with their crab which is piled high atop the crostinis and is a rather refreshing seafood meaty starter to get the tastebuds going.

Crab and Jalapeno crostinis

Crab and Jalapeno crostinis

For mains, we opted for the hand-ground veal and pork meatball baguette with mozzarella, pesto and tomato sauce, the slow-cooked Spanish Tereul pork belly porchetta ciabatta with pork and fennel sausage stuffing and gremolata (both a clever lunch variation of their dinner counterparts) and their saffron risotto with crispy sea bream, scallops, squid and prawn.

Spanish Teruel pork belly ciabatta

Spanish Teruel pork belly ciabatta

Saffron risotto

Saffron risotto

Veal and pork meatball baguette

Veal and pork meatball baguette

The baguette and ciabatta were toasty perfection, and extremely satisfying for lunch. The pork belly was still deliciously tender and I loved the gremolata which made this dish pop with more flavour. The meat was almost reminiscent of Bee Cheng Hiang’s BBQ meat! The risotto was also excellent- creamy, but not too rich with fresh seafood ingredients. This was a hearty, warming and aromatic dish.

To end we had the amazing Chocolate Pot, which, even as a non-chocoholic, this was sublime. A heady medley of salty chocolate, nutty, praline, biscuit heaven.

More Chocolate pot

More Chocolate pot

Chocolate pot

Chocolate pot

Maximal Concepts have done it again with their magical food know-how and have, I think, successfully delivered their concept. The food is honest, simply done without skimping on technique and the service is quite smooth. Ambiance is fun and as the menu is designed for sharing, make sure you come with more than one person so you can graze happily through the menu. The price per person will vary depending on a) greed b) which items you choose as some are not that price-friendly c) how many people there are.

Chopstixfix rating: 4/5

$$$-$$$$$$$$$$

Fish and Meat  2/F, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, Tel: 2565 6788 

Many thanks to Maximal Concepts for the kind lunch invitation. 


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Aberdeen Street Ascension

It doesn’t take a genius to work out where this latest restaurant is. It does however, take some sturdy thigh muscles to trek up this street to reach it, a street which usually induces a wrinkling of my nose whenever I need to walk up it. However, for the love of a pretty outdoor terrace, cool decor, (think gigantic bottles of tequila- fake unfortunately, and contemporary art) and a chance to eat away from the madding crowd, Aberdeen Street could become a few people’s new favourite haunt.

Aberdeen Street

Aberdeen Street

 By kind invitation, my friend and I went to check it out one evening a couple of weeks back and after sweating like a pig from our mini-hike, declined the offer to sit on the terrace for fear of ending up like a puddle, reminiscent of Senator Kelly in the first X-men film *geek moment*. After taking up a table near the front, we got a good look at the sweet, compact space decked out in sea blue and tan hues. A bar area and the giant tequila bottles are the decorative features and creates a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere.IMG_7347 IMG_7331 IMG_7333

The menu is quite extensive and has a good selection of starters, salads, meats and sharing plates. Croquettes are always so enticing, probably because they are so easy to eat and pop-in-your-mouth parcels of fun when done well, and their Vegetarian croquettes of rice balls with carrots and mushrooms were a tasty start. Up next were a dozen Australian oysters which were fresh, fleshy and filling but I would say go easy on the oysters and get a half dozen if you intend to eat more and there’s only two of you!

Vegetarian croquettes

Vegetarian croquettes

Australian oysters

Australian oysters

Aberdeen Street highly recommends their monster Soho salads which are all quaintly named after various streets in Soho. The Old Bailey Street salad intrigued us with its various ingredients- chilli prawn, red and green peppers, Feta cheese, cucumber, watermelon and lettuce. It was crisp, light and our chosen dressing, the ‘Aberdeen Street’ vinaigrette did not drown out the refreshing watermelon.

Old Bailey Street salad

Old Bailey Street salad

The Meat Touch was quite the show-stopper and definitely encourages parties to embrace the ‘Sharing Spirit’ that it is labelled under on the menu. Grilled back ribs, mini beef burgers made with grilled steak tartare, foie gras rècme brûlée, cornichons, pate de campagne, cold cuts and sauteed potatoes fill the eyes before the stomach. The ribs were disappointing, overly grilled and so were tough to pull apart from the bone. The mini burgers were rather nice, but I wasn’t sure about the patties being made from steak tartare specifically, as I couldn’t tell the difference between that and a normal patty. The foie gras creme brulee was smooth and delicious with cornichons and the extremely moreish potatoes.IMG_7358 IMG_7359

The Meat Touch

The Meat Touch

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To end we had their vanilla Crème brûlée which would have been good if it weren’t for the too charred caramelised sugar on top which left half of my mouthfuls with a burnt aftertaste. The custard itself was pleasantly sweet but this could have been executed far better.

Crème brûlée

Crème brûlée

Aberdeen Street has good service, the manager Morgan, is attentive and helpful and as mentioned, the ambience is laid-back and chilled. There is also a good brunch offering on the weekends with free-flow booze from 12pm to 3pm ($348), eggs done any way you like and ‘Total Recovery’ dishes for those hangovers. The food was a bit hit and miss, but I do think that with time this could become something worth making a visit to, even with that bloody steep climb.

 Chopstixfix rating: 3/5

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Aberdeen Street, UG/F King Ho Building, 41-49 Aberdeen Street, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2546 5833. contact@aberdeenstreet.com.hk

This was by kind invitation- thank you Aberdeen Street for having us!


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The Allure of Azure

When I first moved to Hong Kong, Azure was my go to place for drinks. I enjoyed the views and the outdoor balcony, especially as the floor-to-ceiling windows gave party-goers a fabulous panorama of our city’s skyline. One memorable night in 2009, Rihanna’s Umbrella was blaring at full volume whilst torrential rain poured and rivulets of water cascaded down the windows. It was quite the hypnotizing sight. Therefore, it was a slight surprise to learn that Azure actually serves food and a rather sophisticated menu at that. So it was into a rather different atmosphere that I strolled up Azure’s staircase from the contemporary laid-back lounge and bar to the restaurant.

Azure Restaurant Slash Bar

Azure Restaurant Slash Bar- photo from http://www.womguide.com

Settling into our seats with the soft glow of the lights and the blue hues surrounding us, we were handed the set menu, which at $468 per person, (and sweetly named ‘Cosy Autumn’) is quite reasonable for three courses including a coffee or tea, plus petit fours.

We had a choice of starters: either the Beetroot cured Salmon with baby squid and black ink sago crisp, or the Beef Consummé made with slow cooked oxtail. As there were two of us, we ordered one of each so we could try. But before the meal had officially begun, we had made ourselves half full with the complimentary bread and their frankly addictive basil and tomato flavoured butter. Presentation is not the be all and end all of a dish as the taste is the proof of the pudding, but the Beetroot cured Salmon had a rather flat presentation and did not really do much to whet the appetite. The salmon had slight hints of beetroot but the sago crisp failed to hit the spot. The Beef Consummé was more successful, with pieces of flavoursome oxtail to be found in the clear broth.

Beetroot cured Salmon with baby squid and black ink sago crisp,

Beetroot cured Salmon with baby squid and black ink sago crisp,

Beef Consummé

Beef Consummé

For mains we were treated to Roasted Chicken Breast with onion puree, crispy wonton skins and Chanterelle mushrooms. This was beautifully prepared and the puree was delicious. I liked the addition of the wonton skins as they added a lovely textural contrast.

Roasted Chicken Breast

Roasted Chicken Breast

We still had a little room left for a savoury dish, and opted for the pan-fried Foie Gras with homemade brioche with a truffle and sherry soaked raisin veloute from the a la carte. Given its price ($298), I was expecting a rather more generous portion. However, despite its diminutive size, it was well executed and the foie gras was seared to perfection.

Pan fried foie gras

Pan fried foie gras

The dessert from the set menu was a Bitter Chocolate with mandarin cream, baked white chocolate and mandarin sorbet. The dark chocolate was quite powerful and I could not eat it on its own, but this was balanced out against the citrus tang of the sorbet.

Bitter Chocolate with mandarin cream

Bitter Chocolate with mandarin cream

The trio of petit fours was a sweet end to the meal, and we enjoyed the macaroons and the mini profiteroles.

Petit fours

Petit fours

As the dinner drew to a close, the dining room was slowly being transformed into the after-hours club venue that I once frequented, and unfortunately this transformation did impact the service towards the end. That being said, Azure is a good spot to have an elegant, quiet dinner and then late night drinks if you choose to stay on.

Chopstixfix rating: 3/5

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Azure, 29 & 30/F, Hotel LKF by Rhombus, 33 Wyndham Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central. Tel: +852 3518 9330

You can also read this review on Sassy.