Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Viva Espana!

Hollywood Rd/Wyndham Street trawlers will know that the 'nothing special' Mink bar has been turned into a tapas place. As far as I know, it's still under the same (Aussie) owners and I must admit, I'm quite liking Mink #2. Its actual name is Tapeo, and it's doing a great job as one of the SAR's first tapas places. The food is good, mostly cooked to order and you can perch on the bar that surrounds the open kitchen, watching it all happen.

Tapas is probably a 'has-been' trend in most of the western world, and as the number of places claiming to serve these small plates increased, the quality has tended to go the opposite way. Before you knew it, even the village pub was serving last night's leftovers on saucers and calling them tapas - hence my cynicism when Tapeo first opened in HK. "Tapas is so over," I told my boss when he told me about it, but the promise (or possibility) of chorizo is always hard to resist, and I wasn't disappointed.

We had fried squid, chopped duck liver with egg (sunny side up, so the yolk gets all runny... mm...), various cold cuts and a frittata/omlette thing with roasted bell peppers. The last was probably the most disappointing - didn't really taste of anything, texture was mushy and boring, but everything else was very well done, particularly the liver with egg that had a perfectly golden/deep orange yolk and cooked to be runny, but slightly thick - excellent with bread.

It's easy to get overly excited and over-order, as the dishes aren't actually that little (perhaps the size of 2 saucers), so take a deep breath and order slowly, as it does add up. Or, bring a few more friends so you can try everything :)

15-19 Hollywood Rd
+852 3171 1989

Gasp! Tuscany by H missed by Michelin!?

Let me begin by apologising for this slew of Michelin posts - all I can say is that it's a huge thing for us on this little peck of land, so you'll just have to forgive me.

I think I've looked 50 times. Between Tsui Hang Village and Tycoon Hotpot there is no Tuscany by H.

Why/how could they have missed this? Harlan's and H One, which are no longer under Harlan's ownership btw, are in, and they do food that is far less enjoyable than Tuscany, plus Tuscany is in Central, Lan Kwai Fong, to be exact, which is on many a visitor's trail.

Oh well, guess that just means less tourists!

Aspasia, in my opinion one of the most underrated restaurants in Hong Kong, did actually make it into the guide, though in a secretly selfish way I didn't want it to be. Good thing though that it's on Kowloon side, where average visitors wouldn't go unless they're here for longer - I suspect only dedicated and confident foodie visitors will go the distance, which is fine by me - after all, you can't deny a restaurant of its business.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Michelin Hong Kong & Macao, revisited with commentary

The long-awaited, quasi-mythical Michelin has arrived in HK and planted seeds of controversy!

Here's the list for HK and my 2 cents, for what it's worth (probably precisely 2 cents)

Lung King Heen - the most controversial of all. If LKH can get three stars, why not T'ang Court, Spring Moon, or Yan Toh Heen etc?
Amber - agreed, see my thoughts. In my mind, probably one of the best restaurants in HK
Bo Innovation - never been, because the chef (they call him the "demon chef") seemed
too eclectic and expensive for what he offered
Caprice - can't say I agree, but I know many people like it. My thoughts here
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon - guess I agree, but I still like Amber better!
Shang Palace - one of my fave dim sum places, but 2* is a bit excessive!
Summer Palace - Shang's HK-side equivalent
T’ang Court - one of HK's top Chinese restos, better than LKH, which got 3*.

Fook Lam Moon - old school
Forum - old school abalone place - I don't find it that impressive
Hutong - gimme a break! I love the lamb's ribs they do, but seriously, there are places that do it better in BJ for 1/5 the price. Remember, the stars apply globally!
Lei Garden (IFC) - I haven't been in ages, and it's only good if you've pre-booked all
the good dishes. Also, I hear the one at Elements is now the best, and the Wan Chai one is also much praised by local foodies
Lei Garden (Tsim Sha Tsui) - given Michelin's penchant for pretty restaurants, I'm
surprised (from a decor point of view) that they chose this unremarkable basement
bunker! But food is good here.
Ming Court - very glad they made it onto the list. My favourite old-school Canto
Petrus - yep, agree.
Regal Palace - never been! But I can't believe even the Regal got a star and the Pen
Shanghai Garden - used to be one of my fave restaurants, nowadays quality varies.
A Maxim's resto
The Golden Leaf
The Square - what the?! Another Maxim's, even within the group there are better outlets
Tim’s Kitchen - never been for dinner; lunch is sloppy
Yung Kee - they just had to be there, didn't they? It's good I guess, but to me, not
the same calibre as Ming Court
The Macao List:

Robuchon a Galera - yup, agree.

Tim's Kitchen

Imperial Court (MGM)
Ying (Crown)
The Eight (Lisboa)
Tung Yee Heen (Mandarin Oriental)

Haven't been to any Macao ones except Robuchon, but isn't it funny that they're all hotel restaurants, apart from Tim's?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Michelin Hong Kong Announced!

Weird list though...

via Bloomberg

Restaurants awarded three stars are:
Lung King Heen
Robuchon a Galera

Restaurants awarded two stars are:
Bo Innovation
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Shang Palace
Summer Palace
T’ang Court

Restaurants awarded one star are:
Fook Lam Moon
Lei Garden (IFC)
Lei Garden (Tsim Sha Tsui)
Ming Court
Regal Palace
Shanghai Garden
The Golden Leaf
The Square
Tim’s Kitchen
Yung Kee