Saturday, March 24, 2007

Three on the Bunch

A new place worth mentioning:

Cheap, chill and perfect post-shopping hangout. Perfect for tired feet and tired cards. If the mood takes you, downstairs are a cat cafe (Chococat Café), and a manga store.

Chicken Caesar - not bad, but if fake crunchy bacon bits annoy you avoid it. Ingredients are fresh, although I didn't expect 'grilled chicken' to be panfried chicken. Oh well. Didn't taste too bad.

Take it as contemporary soy-sauce western in a comfortably decked out space with decent views of Kowloon.
(This photo courtesy of

Three on the Bunch
5/F Parmanand House
51-52 Haiphong Road (corner Lock Road)
Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong
Tel: 2739 3982

Localization of the palate (as well as my brain) - Three coffees

Work is driving me nuts, but fortunately in this world, there are restaurants and their trusty accomplice, food, that provide either a source of relaxation (when the eatery and company are good) or of release (when it's bad and I can rant on and on and on about it).

As usual, I've been having lots of coffee, but I've been trying to make each cuppa more worthwhile than merely feeding my addiction by having them in different places. None warrant a return trip (except KK merely because of its proximity to work...!)

Sad but true (L-R): A HK$40 mediocre latte from Sit n Read Cafe; passable caffe latte from Caffé Habitu, the self-proclaimed expert in coffee; an unexpectedly decent coffee from KK while I sat until I wanted to re-enter the fluro-glow jailhouse that they try to call an office.

Sit n Read Café
3/F 506 Lockhart Road
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong

Caffé Habitu (multiple locations)
G/F Hutchison House
Hong Kong

Krispy Kreme (multiple locations)
B/F Times Square
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Crossing Shenzhen

As you may or may not know, the vibrant city of Shenzhen ("vibrant" is a very polite way of saying loud, crowded, with not much regard for the law by 99% of its inhabitants) is a short train ride away from Hong Kong. I go quite often, not to join my fellow womenfolk to buy replica handbags, but to eat.

Shenzhen is a peculiar place, thirty years ago it was just another scruffy village, but now, it's been crowned a "Special Economic Zone" which basically means it's been flooded with all kinds of business and has a bubbling, gushing economy, fueled as much by multinationals as sketchy massage parlours.

Wages here are much higher, so restaurants have been able to attract excellent chefs from all over the country, meaning you can pretty much find very decent food from any province in China.

This weekend, we tried a place serving Chao Zhou (or Chiu Chow) food. Chao Zhou is in Southern China, close to a river (Pearl River?) so there's lots of seafood (or shall I say, river-food?). They're famous for their cold/room-temp tapas-like dishes that we call 打冷 (da2 leng3) in Chinese, such as cold crab. As with most Chao Zhou restaurants, they had a counter up front to display/serve these small dishes, as well as 'samples' of hot pot dishes. They also have a small menu for staples (e.g. rice, noodles) and vegetables.

As you can see, presentation isn't exactly their forte.

Stir fried gai larn (aka Chinese broccolli) with salt-preserved fish. The vegies were more thinly sliced than usual, allowing the stalks to cook at around the same time as the leaves. So crisp you can feel the fierceness of the wok (in Chinese it's called 鍋氣).

Lamb hot pot with dried herbs. Lamb and these medicinal herbs are supposed to have a warming effect on the body, hence perfect for winter. Dishes like these make me wonder what kind of lamb they use - because these little morcels get simmered and simmered and simmered and yet remain tender and juicy all the way.

The much less appetizing interiors

The next morning, we went and had yum cha at the notorious Dan Gui Xuan in Lo Wu Commercial Centre (huge, shabby mall, replicas galore). It's almost impossible to get a seat here without waiting and hassling the servicepeople for at least half an hour. The food is pretty good - not excellent, but it's the best bet by far if you've got a shopping day planned in this maze of a mall. Service is sloppy, but their taro (purple) and egg yolk & custard buns (white) can probably help calm you down when the tea just fails to arrive hot.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Wyndham Week - Finds, Frog Face Fish, Dragon-i

Not much time to write about each of these, so just a brief summary. I happened to visit three places on the same stretch of Wyndham Street a week (or was it two?) ago. All were decent.

Finds isn't new, and it's success in the competitive LKF/Soho area has its décor, drinks and, believe it or not, food, to thank. The food is best described as Scandinavian and is reasonably priced for the district. Mains are about HKD250 and it's located in the swanky Hotel LKF, which also houses the hip Azure that I mentioned earlier.

Frog Face Fish is a newcomer to the Wyndham scene serving seafood/fish. Prices are slightly less than Finds, making it even more hip-pocket friendly given that they serve marine life. The menu is quite small, and some items weren't available (why? season? newly opened?), although they did have some specials. Somehow I think the lack of menu items were to force people to get the specials. Cheeky.

Dragon-i is no stranger to the clubbers amongst us, but ever been there for a dim-sum lunch? The space is actually quite suited for a chill yum cha session, and while the food isn't excellent, it's decent, and you can eat your heart out at lunch for only HKD128 and enjoy an elevated view of the buzzing soon-to-be-all-restaurant street.

2/F LKF Tower
33 Wyndham St
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2522 9318

Frog Face Fish
G/F 43-55 Wyndham St
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2869 8535