Monday, March 30, 2009

Not-new and noted

I think it's kinda nice that the restaurant everyone's buzzing about isn't spanking new. True, it's a reopening and they've gotten themselves some new hot chefs, and it's the Balthazar people, but it just seems like there hasn't been one of these 'revivals' for some time, and despite the usual A-list/so-hot-right-now bullcrap, it's a nice break from 100% new restaurants, or ex-barber shops, liquor stores etc. trend. Or maybe I'm just giving in to all the PR...

Minetta Tavern
via Food & Wine
via NYMag

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Hi, e_ting (e_ting).

Necia Wilden (NeciaW) is now following your updates on Twitter.

Check out Necia Wilden's profile here:


Hi, e_ting (e_ting).

Gourmet Traveller (GourmetTweets) is now following your updates on Twitter.

Check out Gourmet Traveller's profile here:


Wow, really? I am officially addicted to Twitter.

What happens when the chef isn't around

Whether the chef is at their restaurant is an important question to ask at most non-Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong, because consistency is a HUGE issue.

The folks are currently loving Tuscany by H, which led me to the perimeter of Lan Kwai Fong on a Sevens night (something I would usually avoid at all costs. Side note - I actually went to LKF 2 times over the Sevens long weekend which is crazy - I had't been to LKF in yonks - but the trip on Friday was just to the relatively quiet Lei Dou. Glad I didn't go on Saturday, must've been heaving). Mom asked whether Harlan was there when she called to book - was told maybe, which means no. We confirmed this with the service staff when we arrived and I was a little uncomfortable, but am happy to report that there was no such need. The food was as good as previous visits, when Harlan was around.

White asparagus special - I didn't find the asparagus itself that amazing - a couple stalks were a bit woody at the end (just a little, no biggie) - the scallops (super fresh with that amazing sea-sweetness) and poached egg (thick, gooey yolk) were excellent though.

Mom's entree (appetizer, whatever) - parma salad. Salty, elastic, not too thin, not too thick.

Seafood soup - probably my favourite thing on the menu at Tuscany by H. (Dad's entree, Mom's main - yes, it is big enough to be a main unless you're starving).

Entree-sized (still very generous) home-made spaghetti with olives, capers, tomato etc. Fine comfort food - I like.

Dad's main - slow braised wagyu beef cheek. Looks strangely like a sea cucumber, or just a big doodah of poo (sorry) - but actually awfully soft. You don't even need a knife - the meat gives with the tiniest bit of pressure, leaving soft strands like pulled pork.

Creme brulee (vanilla and orange, I think). A very weeny teeny little too custardy/eggy for my liking, but good nonetheless.

Fantastic chocolate cake - that's the actual name, and yes, it lived up to it. Basically a warm choc cake with a molten centre, with Fior di Latte semifreddo. Also love that the fruit isn't a second thought - not a mere garnish, but a delightful mini fruit salad.

I can't stress enough how important consistency is for restaurants. At least from this experience, it seems that Tuscany's got the hang of it. I still don't get why it wasn't even mentioned in the Michelin guide, tsk tsk. I hope my beloved (and 2-starred, ahem) Amber will be able to achieve this asap too - or perhaps they have, but it's such a pricey risk to take - see, they've already scarred me for life. Listen up restaurateurs, you don't want to be plagued by inconsistency if you're charging upwards of HK$400 a main course...

Tuscany by H
58-62 D'Aguilar St (cnr Lan Kwai Fong)
Hong Kong
+852 2522 9798

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's the Four Seasons, yo

Just came across this press release from the Four Seasons Shanghai, announcing the arrival of their new exec sous chef Eren Guryel. So PR spiels usually take the form of boringly exaggerated paragraphs about nothing ("We are delighted to announce the arrival of our 50th indoor plant to celebrate the hotel's 50th anniversary as a modern facility with flushable toilets"). But this one, well, it wasn't as dull, but was weirdly tryhard. I quote:

"Fresh from Four Seasons Hotel Boston, Massachusetts in the US, Eren just can’t wait to sink his teeth in [emphasis added] and soak up his new life in the Far East."

So the next time you are round the corner from Four Seasons in Shanghai, be sure to pop in and say ‘hi’ cause [emphasis added] this is one guy in white jacket that bears the hallmarks of a true chef."

Sorry, this is just too bizarre, especially coming from the Four Seasons...

...and shouldn't there be an apostrophe before "cause"?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

e*ting the world wishlist

Imaginary round the world eating trip of places I haven't tried before...

Krua Apsorn, Bangkok
Corton, New York
Cutler & Co., Melbourne
Abracadabra, Istanbul
Ma, Berlin
The Fat Duck, Berkshire

This by no means represents all the good places in the word I have yet to try - think of it as a Post-it of what I've been reading about recently...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Vin d'Hong Kong - The SAR has a winery?!

Yep, you read it right. Hong Kong has a winery. I could hardly believe my eyes when I read about 8th Estate.

Basically what they do is buy grapes from all over the world (as Hong Kong does with everything else, from wagyu to tomatoes) and make the wine here, or in Ap Lei Chau to be precise.

All that's kinda cool, except one thing - "Custom Wines" - and I quote from their website:

"our clients will have the privilege of closely working with our wine master to produce a truly unique and personal wine. This private blend can be customized even further with a personal designer label."

Sigh. That sounds so dumb, and again, so Hong Kong. I bet all the narcissistic trust fund babies were jumping with joy when they heard this one. Here, darling, have a glass of this. Isn't it just great? It's a Chianti, I made it with my own hands. Oh yes, I know, I had to get, like, five laser microdermabrasion paraffin whitening treatments to get all that grape skin colouring off my hands...

Sorry, forgot that we should be celebrating - Hong Kong has it's own winery, yay! Skepticism aside, I would actually be interested in trying some - check their website for tasting dates.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Dxkota Primx scandal

[edited several times 17 April 2009 as I was doing a crash course on defamation in HK law...]

As you can see from the first comment of this post, I am apparently legally liable for Dxkota Primx's loss of business. Honestly I don't think a blog with less than 400 viewers on a good month will do any good/bad if you were a good restaurant, but to avoid further complications I have deleted the email from changed some parts of the email from ex-chef Adxm Levxn for now. It is with much regret that I do this, but unfortunately I don't have enough dough to hire me some lawyers.

If you're scared of bloggers, it probably means you're not doing your job well enough.

Nuff said.


The following email from Adxm Levxn, ex-Exec Chef at Dxkota Primx was forwarded to me recently.

Dodgy stuff going on in the restaurant business? Well, that wouldn't be new. But isn't it scary to think that what you're eating isn't what you think you're eating? Food for thought indeed.

[email deleted, sorry, being a coward I know]

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hong Kong Classics - Mandarin Grill

I'm a sucker for classics, especially in the form of Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong (not to be confused with the Landmark Mandarin, which, apart from Amber and a fabulous spa, doesn't have too much going for it).

Put me in an F&B outlet in the Mandarin any day and I know I won't be disappointed. True, I might not be surprised, but it gives me that that 'I know what I'm getting and I know it's going to be tip-top' comfort. Which I guess is what I mean by a classic.

For my birthday I chose to revisit such a classic - the Mandarin Grill. I hadn't been since the hotel was renovated a few years back, and I loved it instantly. The glassed-in kitchen, the low-lit, clubby atmosphere, the floor to ceiling windows looking out into not the cliched, though beautiful harbour view, but a quintessential Central view - the legislative council, the HSBC building - it all says, this is Hong Kong, and you're in the thick of it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Breaking news! Fourth Floor brings it down a notch

Just in from Eat Drink Hong Kong:

"5 March Fourth Floor's new Spring dinner menu at $380pp has 4 courses with a choice of each course."

Dinner for hkd$380 at the omg-I'm-so-hi-so Fourth Floor? Whoa, sign of the times, darling.