The final bubble of our Champagne Cantonese Seafood Spectacular was no disappointment, albeit had to walk in large footsteps after the wine of the night! Served in big bowl Chardonnay glasses to allow the nose to flourish.
Powerful aromas of citrus and flowers with pleasant yeastiness.
Dramatic statement initially on the palate develops into a more elegant, yet slightly short, finish. A winner from A to Z and excellent QPR.
Sunday morning – or was it afternoon – came fast and furious without any of the Hollywood glamour. Whew, we were exhausted. With that in mind and a determined desire to avoid the little people (aka kids) usually scuttling about good eateries on Sundays, we raided the fridge and wine cellar at home. Thanks to Oisix, we munched on some succulent, sashimi-grade salmon, fresh vegetables, lightly baked potatoes/onions/peppers and OMYG noodles. We, of course, washed down these victuals with a 2010 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru.
Sippin’ ’n snackin’ at home does not suck!
Day 7: A bitza this, a bitza that
We embarked late morning for Wanchai, a district on Hong Kong Island with a bitza this, a bitza that…always fun!
Desiring, hoping and praying for exceptional Mexican fare, we parachuted into Verde Mar. A self-proclaimed oasis of all things yummy Mexican, we found Verde Mar to be, well, average at best. Somewhat soggy nachos, doughy burritos and nary a bottle of Mexican wine on the list (yes, Mexico has some good wine), the only positive light was the friendly service. Alas, our search for exceptional, heck just good Mexican food, continues…
Not to be deterred and far from full, we decided to try the teeny little Japanese noodle shop known as Kamitora Ramen. Happy we were with very good ramen. Not delirious, but reasonably satisfied. We would not go out of our way for their ramen – the flavours did not soak into the noodles as desired – but we would not seek out other such shops if in the vicinity and yearning for a fix.
Still seeking a little more to end the snackin’ part of the day, we popped into 22 Ships. We have been before. We probably will not go again. The food was good, but not enthralling. The service was curt as the kitchen was closing in 30+ minutes. The chefs were busy cooking food for the staff and offered little time to answer our questions regarding some of the dishes. The glasses of wine were served with a huff… Sorry, folks, but a tapas bar with snooty staff and disengaged chefs is, well, unworthy of our praise…albeit the Padron Peppers were yummy!
A favourite dish for us is “Dan-Dan Mian” – a bowl of spicy Sichuan noodles. We heard of some outstanding versions of the Southwestern China speciality being served up in Hung Hum, a fairly popular residential district in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Off we were to seek out all things Sichuan!
We started at Wing Lai Yuen 詠藜園 to sample their “Dan-Dan Mian” along with several other Sichuan staples. Hmmm…yet again, another disappointment wrought by the Cantonese aversion to spicy anything. Bad? Nope. OK? Yes. Great? We booked our flights to Chengdu the next day. Let’s just say we will not be going back.
Seeking something more credible for our palate’s spicy-quest, we stumbled upon a hole-in-the-wall called Yunnan Guizhou & Sichuan Noodle 唯一雲貴川風味. Cheap as chips, littered with students and awaiting the annual cleaning, we faced a sceptical waitress when demanding the spiciest of noodles available in the joint. We did not get the top-echelon – local people often mistake the colours of our faces to mean we do not understand Cantonese – but settled for a more than satisfying, tasty palate-burn. We shall return. We shall achieve spicy Nirvana. So let it be written…
Sai Ying Pun is a district in the Western part of Hong Kong. It has blossomed over the last few years into a somewhat trendy alternative to Central, Lan Kwai Fong and SOHO…and, dare we include K-Town?
We have visited quite a few eateries in the district before so we conducted some research to ensure no replication of the past good, bad and ugly.
Arriving just before 5pm at La Viola, we were pleased to be greeted by friendly faces offering us much desired, and exceedingly well-priced, glasses of Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay from Veneto. We cannot say top-shelf sips, but certainly acceptable for happy hour. We enjoyed the somewhat dainty hustle ’n bustle of the local neighbourhood with the backdrop of two “lovers” having quite a boisterous, four-letter “discussion”…ah, culture!
Happy and hungry – if not somewhat entertained by the scenery – we set-off on foot to Fish School. From the ceviche to the crudo to the lobster popcorn to the Threadfin rice to the more than a few glasses/bottles of wine to the friendly and engaging service…we were impressed. A winning combination in a light and breezy atmosphere ended four hours later with our Uber chariot whisking us home to peaceful and stuffed oblivion.
We enjoyed a slow Thursday culminating in dinner at The Hong Kong Jockey Club Beas River Horseshoe Grill. As we live just a stone’s throw away from this oasis in the middle of nowhere Sheung Shui, we occasionally pop-in for some excellent “Le Gout de France” dishes prepared by Chef Ellis along with sampling the wines of the month, which happened to be the new “club private labels”. The food was classical French prepared and served near perfectly. Kudos to Chef Ellis who continues to meet our and exceed others’ expectations! The 2014 Maison Foucher, Les Monts Damnes, Sancerre and 2012 Chateau Grand Peyrou, Grand Cru, Saint-Emillion, well, did not over-impress. Just OK-Lah.
Vivacious yellow with hints of green. Opens with floral notes that transitions to a powerful blend of citrus fruits on the nose. More than ready to sip now, but will likely develop into a different wine on the nose in the coming years.
The palate demonstrates the fantabulous vibrant balance we always find with SHL. One of our favourite white Bordeaux and a significantly good reason for the existence of Sauvignon Blanc 😉
November Birthday Month Celebrations Not For The Faint of Heart
It was a late, unseasonably warm October day in Hong Kong when we decided to research, plan and begin designing a slew of 30 November birthday month celebrations. Perhaps it was the weather? Or was it Bacchus aka Dionysus twisting our five senses? Or as Saint Thomas Aquinas opined in Summa Theologiae an inordinate desire of eating and drinking – gluttony?
Nay, pray tell, it simply reflected our wish to embark on a perilous, yet fab, culinary journey to include everything from simple sippin’ ’n snackin’ to decadent Michelin Star consumption…and everything in between.
Et voila, buckle up and prepare yourself for 30 days of pure debauchery…except for the occasional “break days” and daily workouts designed, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, to stave off losing The Battle of the Bulge!
Day 1: Roots
With our roots being well-entrenched in all Chinese cuisines, Hong Kong style, we trundled down the road to Yuen Long for a three hour culinary stroll.
Dress code exceedingly casual, we began with spicy Sun Kee Noodle Shop生記山西刀削麵. We love watching the “chef” slice the noodles from a large, cylindrical piece of dough directly into our plate before drowning the same with his proprietary bright red soup. If you push – and we are nothing if not good at pushing – the boss lady will happily serve up the spiciest of spicy noodles they can muster without local regulatory fines. Beware: your toilet will never forget you the next day!
We followed with a few dishes of dim sum (Har Gau, Siu Mai, Chuen Fun) at Big Belly Dim Sum Restaurant 大肚腩點心腸粉專門店. These lil luvlies are served as classical, bite size pieces, which ensures all the yumminess slathers down your throat rather than adorning your neck. Two people? No problem, two pieces. No need to battle over that third piece with your partner or fear the second delectable of four may cause you to explode. Perfect!
Ah, what would a birthday month celebration be without a visit to Fofo by El Willy? The answer is simple: it would be not!!! Our local foodie friends joined us for lunch. They noticed our table was the only one outfitted properly with cloth napkins…we think Fofo is too good for the paper towel option and we insist upon the real deal….we are sloppy. Our friends equally were shocked to receive “suggestions” (aka this is what you are eating today) from Chef Alex. We, of course, debated among ourselves regarding the wines settling quite happily on a cava, Catalunya white and Rioja red. Food to die for, service exceptional, sipping ’n snacking with Chef Alex and his team, perfection!
Our nearly four hour lunch inspired a stumble down the road to LQV (Les Quinzes Vins) in a little, less than sanitary side-street in Central. Gorgeous!!! Another wine-lover joined us – yippee, we could sip more – as we embarked across the Pyrenees to Burgundy where we were greeted by beautifully terroir driven whites and reds along with cheese platter and baked Camembert. Oooh lah lah…thanks, Jordan, as we have little memory of our Uber chariot whisking us back home later that evening!
We were invited to, and attended most graciously, the Kerry Wine Annual Portfolio Tasting – both “trade” and “retail” sessions as approximately 130 tipples were parading through the exquisite Ciak in the Kitchen. Master of Ceremonies “The Arrow” was, as usual, in good form as he whisked participants from France to New Zealand to California to England to…well, you get the drift. Ciak’s Graziano ensured we were sufficiently well-fed with mouth-watering bread and tasty cheese to soak up that which we did not spit. Was it 70 or 80 different wines, we sadly cannot honestly remember, but we can confirm safe arrival at home later in the evening.
Day 4: Little Thailand in Hong Kong
We engaged in some kidney and liver cleansing reflexology in the morning before an adventurous jaunt to “Little Thailand” in Kowloon City. Hong Kong has everything known to the five senses, particularly when seeking fantabulous food. However, Hong Kong also has a local palate that, generally, eschews spicy food, which often results in “dumbing-down” the dishes to ensure a steady flow of clientele. We find ourselves on the opposite side of the spectrum seeking to sweat profusely whenever embarking on a gastronomic visit to The Land of a Thousand Smiles. Alas, were were far from impressed as both Lung Jie (Peelong) Thai and Amporn Thai offered only a little to satisfy our longing for super-spicy Siam salaciousness. We shall return and continue our quest as “Little Thailand” in Kowloon City has no shortage of choices…we are confident one of them will rise to the occasion.
Day 5: A taste of nostalgia with Chef Umberto Bombana at Ciak in the Kitchen
We have known, enjoyed and watched with great admiration over the last two decades Chef Umberto Bombana’s ascent to the summit of the culinary world. A most humble rockstar with a Cheshire Cat like mischievous grin and unparalleled skill to make simple blossom into exceptional, Bombana always makes us happy. We joined the journey back to his hometown of Bergamo at Ciak in the Kitchen with a feisty group of local friends ready to experience those delicious dishes of Bombana’s early years. Nearly six hours later, tummies bursting at the seams and food merriment engulfing our very souls, we floundered into an Uber awaking only in time to flop on the couch at home. Bombana, quite simply, rocks!!!