Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hong Kong - Tuk Tuk Thai

Lemon grass chicken

Restaurant Name : Tuk Tuk Thai
Location : G/F 30 Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong

Rating : 2 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $70 / person (set lunch menu)

Summary : For a restaurant located in Central / Soho area, paying HK $70 for a set lunch that includes a drink is quite a bargain.  On the day of visit, the soup was winter melon soup with bits of ground pork, which was passable as a set lunch soup.  The lemon grass chicken was just so-so...  while the chicken was cooked well - still tender and juicy - there wasn't much lemon grass flavour or taste in the chicken...  Overall, I would only go to Tuk Tuk Thai for lunch if I wanted a quick and cheap meal...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hong Kong - Corner Kitchen Cafe

Juicy burger

English breakfast

Restaurant Name : Corner Kitchen Cafe
Location : G/F 226 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Rating : 1 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $150 / person (with non-alcoholic drinks)

Summary : The 1 Marylicious Stars rating is based on the English Breakfast... Since I am a huge brunch/eggs person, the English Breakfast at Corner Kitchen Cafe definitely did not hit the sweet spot for me...  the toast is just a plain white bread (there were no options for sourdough or whole grain / wheat); the mushroom and the grilled tomato were so bland that they were not worth eating; the sausages were so tiny and lacked flavour...  the only saving grace might have been the sunny side-up eggs, since the egg yolks were still runny, which is a good thing...  Although, the guy at the counter who took my order should have asked me how I wanted my eggs, cos I usually prefer scrambled eggs...  So yeah, I would never order the English Breakfast again at Corner Kitchen Cafe... Their lunch/dinner dishes are better... read my review here

When I visited Corner Kitchen Cafe on Friday, I saw that they also serve brunch, so I had wanted to come back to try out them, so when GL and I decided to meet up for lunch on Saturday, I thought we could come to Corner Kitchen Cafe.

Unfortunately for me, the English Breakfast at Corner Kitchen cafe was not good at all...

However, GL thought that their Juicy Burger was quite good, and he would even rate the burger around 3.5 Marylicious Stars.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hong Kong - Corner Kitchen Cafe

Street view of Corner Kitchen Cafe

Balinese fish wrap

Roasted salmon with watercress salad
and mashed dill-potato and beetroot

Restaurant Name : Corner Kitchen Cafe
Location : G/F 226 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Rating : 3 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $170 / person (with non-alcoholic drink)

Summary : The 3 Marylicious Stars rating is based on the roasted salmon dish.  While the salmon itself was slightly overcooked, the overall dish was very good.  The presentation was delight to look at, with all the different colors and the slightly roasted lemon slice as garnish, which gave the dish a rustic feel.  The spicy flavour of the watercress salad is counter-balanced by the mashed beetroot.  Since I am a huge grilled salmon fan, this is definitely a dish I would come back for!  Although next time I'll ask them not to overcook the salmon ^_*

Since Kalena and I were both working at home on Friday, we decided to meet up for lunch.  While deciding where to go, Kalena suggested that we try Corner Kitchen Cafe...  At first, I was a bit hesitant, because the cafe is located in Sheung Wan, which meant that it was a 5-10 min walk away, and in the blistering heat, it wouldn't be a pleasant walk...  But, since Kalena usually has good recommendations, I was happy, albeit reluctantly, to give it a try ^_*

And, I am happy that I ventured to Corner Kitchen Cafe for lunch!

This is a quaint cafe that is located right across the street from the Hollywood Road Park (I had no idea there was a park on Hollywood Road...)  And the upstairs dining area is dotted with lounge chairs / sofas, and a communal dining table.  It looks like a place for a chilled out afternoon, sipping coffee / hot chocolate, while reading a book...

2nd floor dining area

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hong Kong - 7080 Korean BBQ


LA style Kalbi


Kimchi pancake

daikon with wasabi appetizer

Tofu appetizer

Restaurant Name : 7080 Korean BBQ
Location : 2/F Circle Tower, 28 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Rating : 4 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $250 / person (without alcoholic drinks)

Summary : The meat at 7080 were perfectly marinated, not too salty, yet still very flavourful, and all the meat were tender, almost melt in the mouth tender.  Even the free appetizers (daikon and tofu) were very tasty.  The one slightly less perfect dish was the kimchi pancake, where there was slightly too much batter.  Overall, I would definitely come back to this Korean BBQ place!

Gloria and I had wanted meet up with some other friends for dinner, and finally decided on going to Korean BBQ.  I was kinda worried that the BBQ would leave a strong smell on my clothes and hair, however, to my surprise, I did not stink like BBQ meat after the meal!  I think it was due to the space-looking air-suction ducts ^_*  

Our table, full of dishes...

When you look across the entire dining area, with all the suction ducts, the entire space looks kinda weird...  but, at least the suction ducts really work!

Overview of the dining area

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hong Kong - The Woods

Venue Name : The Woods
Location : 17 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong

Rating : 3 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $150 / drink

Summary : Stylish and relaxing atmosphere for a casual drink with friends.  However, the drinks are kind of hit-or-miss...  The classic old-fashion had strong enough alcohol content, while the pinot-noir with bourbon drink tasted like fruit juice...

Hong Kong - NOM

Beef Meatballs

Pull-Pork Meatballs

Truffle Pizza


Restaurant Name : NOM (Not Only Meatballs)
Location : 1-5 Elgin Street, Soho, Hong Kong

Rating : 3 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $500 / person (with a few alcoholic drinks)

Summary : Even though the restaurant is supposed to be famous for their meatballs, we all agreed that the highlight of the meal were the non-meatball items...  When the waitress delivered our thin-crust pizza, we could immediately smell the aromatic truffle, and the taste was equally enticing.  Similarly, the sliders tasted as delicious as they looked - the patty was still juicy and with sufficient flavour.  While the overall dining experience did not have a "wow" factor, this place is still above average.

Since Juliette had been traveling and also entertaining her mom, who was visiting from New Zealand, I hadn't met up with her for quite a while, so we decided to catch up and try a new restaurant.  Given that NOM is located literally across the street from my apartment, we decided to give this place a try.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, we were given the choice of sitting at the "lounge" section, with low chairs and table...  we thought it might not be so comfortable to eat dinner at, so we decided to move to the "bar" section with high chairs and table.  What we didn't anticipate was a LARGE group of friends gathering around the bar section who were throwing a surprise birthday party for a friend, so the volume at the bar section became so loud that we couldn't even hear each other even though Juliette and I were practically talking into each others' ears!  Luckily, this large group eventually moved to the "dining" section and brought their noise and celebration with them ^_*

Once we were left in peace and quiet to enjoy our dinner, the food started showing up.  First were the meatball dishes, and even though NOM was supposed to be known for their meatballs, I was not so impressed with the 2 meatball dishes...  while the beef meatball was tender, there were not so much flavour...  and the pull-pork meatball was basically bland... 

The pizza and the sliders, on the other hand, were quite good.  The truffle on the pizza was aromatic and tasty, and the beef patty in the slider was juicy.

Even though I usually don't eat carb/starch for dinner, I was very happy devouring the pizza and slider at NOM.

I would probably go back to NOM again for drinks (the aperol spritz was yum!) and an order of the sliders ^_^  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hong Kong - Bloom

Grilled bone marrow

Collard greens with applewood bacon & garlic

Beetroot salad - preserved kumquat

Grilled steak

Carrot-miso grilled black cod with sweet potato tempura

Valrhona chocolate souffle cake

Restaurant Name : Bloom
Location : 5/F Hotel LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong

Rating : 4 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $800 / person (3-course dinner with wine)

Summary : The overall dining experience was very pleasant at Bloom, starting from the attentive and pleasant service, the flavourful dishes, and the cool and stylish ambience.  While the bone marrow starter and the collar green side dish lacked a bit of "wow factor", all the other dishes were worthy of praises, especially the black cod dish, which was intense in flavour and cooked to perfection.

When Elvin contacted me earlier this week to let me know that he will be in Hong Kong for a short lay-over and would love to catch up over dinner, I started searching for a suitable venue, knowing that his favorite restaurant in Hong Kong is Robuchon.... so, yeah, no pressure at all to find a place that would be up to par... ^_*

In order to make sure I find the most suitable place, I turned to Annalala for some suggestions, as she is my trusty foodie buddy!  One of the places that Annalala recommended was Seasons by Olivier E, since the chef used to work at Robuchon...  Unfortunately, Seasons was fully booked on Saturday night... boo!!!

So, after hours of brainstorming and web searching, I finally decided on Bloom, since I've been there once before and remembered the experience was on the positive side.

And, fortunately, both Elvin and I were not disappointed!

Elvin even made the comment that the steak he ordered might even be better than the steaks he grill himself, and he thinks his steaks are pretty good ^_*

The beetroot salad was tangy and sweet, and I was pleasantly surprised at the presentation, since I expected the beetroot to be the normal dark purplish red color, but the lighter color beetroot (which turned out to be preserved kumquat) was delicious with just enough tang.  Yum!

The grilled cod was the highlight for sure!  The fish was juicy and the glaze on the fish was slightly sweet and savoury at the same time and with just the right amount of flavour. ^_^  Even the sweet potato tempura was perfectly done, where the batter was not too thick and the taste was not oily.

Even though I wanted (or more importantly, needed) to cut down on my sugar in take, I couldn't resist the temptation of the chocolate souffle cake...  And, I was glad that we ordered the cake to share!!!  It was definitely the perfect ending to an already delicious dinner ^_^

Apart from the yummy dinner, it is always great catching up with Elvin and share a few laughs ^_^ 

Hong Kong - GoGyo

Shiro ramen (original tonkotsu soup)

Aka ramen

Tanrei shio ramen (chicken broth)

Restaurant Name : Gogyo
Location : Shop 3020, Podium Level 3, IFC Mall, Central, Hong Kong

Rating : 3 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $110 / person (without alcohol)

Summary : The tonkotsu soup was intense in flavour, yet not oily or thick in texture.  For someone like me who prefers a strong, intense ramen soup base, this was a great combination, where I can enjoy the yummy flavour, without feeling the "fat"!  The noodles were cooked slightly too soft, but it was still not too soggy, and the char-siu was also flavourful without the "fat" ^_^  Overall, this ramen place might just become one of my favorites in Hong Kong!

On Saturday, Ninzy, SoleioSa and I, decided to watch a documentary of Taiwan called "Beyond Beauty : Taiwan from Above"... while I had received some not-so-positive feedback regarding this documentary, I actually quite liked the movie and would recommend people who are from Taiwan, or have some sort of connection to Taiwan, to watch the documentary.  I definitely gained a higher level of appreciation and love for the beautiful island.

Before the movie, Kalena also joined us for a quick lunch, and since Kalena and I arrived at IFC a bit earlier than the others, we roamed around looking for a lunch place.  When we came across Gogyo, I was actually a bit hesitant at first, because there had been another ramen place at the exact same location, and it was not so good...

Luckily, the ramen at Gogyo turned out much better than I expected!

At first, the bowl of ramen looked small, and very plain, so I was still quite skeptical about the taste...  Once I drank the tonkotsu broth of the Shiro ramen I ordered, I was VERY pleasantly surprised!  The broth was flavourful, with intense pork bone taste, yet the broth was not heavy with lots of oil, so the broth was a delight to drink.  Then, the char-siu was a thin slice of meat, but it also had a nice and clean taste to it.  The one slight downside for me was the noodle - it was slightly overcooked for me...

Overall, I am glad that Kalena and I decided to give Gogyo a try, because now I've found another ramen shop that I would frequent (when I am "allowed" to load up on carbs, that is ^_*)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hong Kong - Catalunya

Ham, cheese and truffle "Bikini"

Estrellados with chrizo

Suckling pig tapa

Jamon iberico croquette

Restaurant Name : Catalunya
Location : G/F Guardian House Morrison Hill, 32 Oi Kwan Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Rating : 3 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $500 / person (with wine)

Summary : While the food is good, there were no real "wow" factors from any of the dishes...  For a restaurant located in HK, Catalunya definitely is considered spacious, meaning diners can actually enjoy their dinner without unintentionally overhearing the conversation from next table...  Also, the ambience inside Catalunya is quite dark, so this is probably a good place to take a date to ^_*

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hong Kong - St Betty @ IFC

Main dining area

Savory layer with sandwiches

Scones with cream, strawberry jam and marmalade

Dessert layer

Scenic view of ICC 

Restaurant Name : St Betty
Location : Shop 2075, Podium Level Two, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong

Rating : 2 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $200 / person (without alcoholic drinks)

Summary : While the atmosphere is quite inviting and the view of the Victoria Habor is a great backdrop for the afternoon tea, the actual afternoon tea snacks were just so-so...  The bread for the savory sandwiches were a bit hard, the scones were a bit dry, and the desserts were a bit too sweet...  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hong Kong - Fu Lu Shou

The "big arse" dim sim

Deep fried tofu

Rusty Nails

Battered fish with corn and egg sauce

Vegetable with garlic

Fried Rice

Restaurant Name : Fu Lu Shou
Location : 7/F, 31 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong

Rating : 2 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : HK $250 / person (without alcoholic drinks)

Summary : While the atmosphere is funky and cool, I am not entirely sold on the food...  The flavor is definitely there, though just like most Chinese restaurants, the dishes are slightly too oily...  given the prices of the dishes, the overall rating is at 2 Marylicious Stars, since one could most likely get the same dishes at a cha-chaan-teng for about half the price...  So, based on this dining experience, I would only go back to Fu Lu Shou for their cocktails...

Since it had been quite some time since the last time I caught up with David and Kent for dinner, I organized to meet up with them and thought of trying out this newish place that Kamen and Neil introduced to me.  Coincidentally, Ah-Hong happened to be in HK this week, so she was able to join us for dinner as well.

When I arrived at the building, the guard at the entrance told me that the elevator was broken, which meant that I had to climb up 7 flights of stairs to get up to the restaurant!!!  Are you joking!?!?!  7 flights of stairs, in high heels, and in this crazy humid weather?!?!

If we didn't have a reservation already, I would NOT have bothered with the stairs at all...

As you could imagine, by the time I finally hauled myself up the 7 flights of stairs, I was exhausted, sweaty and not in the mood for small talks...  But, at least the air con in the restaurant was working properly...

After recovering from the "hike", we looked at the menu, and honestly speaking, nothing really popped out at me, as the selections really were more or less the usual suspects one would find at a typical "westernized" Chinese restaurant...  And given that all four of us are from Chinese background, where we grew up on Chinese food, the selection seemed quite limited...  In any case, we ordered the ones that were the least typical....

To our surprise, the food was actually quite tasty, even though a bit oily...  The chef was cooking right in front of us, in the open kitchen, so at least the food was made fresh.  

The "big arse dim sim" was huge indeed.  The pastry was thin enough and the filling had enough flavour.  The deep fried tofu was one of my favorite dishes from the night.  The batter was crispy and the tofu was still silky and soft.  
The "rusty nails" were basically beef strips with vegetables... it was slightly on the spicy side but also tasty.  The battered fish with egg and corn sauce is basically a very typical Hong Kong cha-chaan-teng dish, which I usually love.  In this case, the dish was not the best I've had...  As for the vegetable and fried rice, there were nothing "wow" about these dishes...

So, while I am happy to have tried the food at Fu Lu Shou, I will most likely just come back here for their drinks ^_^

Ah-Hong, Me, Kent and David

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hong Kong - Ana Sushi

Chicken skewers

Beef skewers

Tuna on rice crackers

Soft shell crab roll

Cucumber roll and spicy tuna roll

Restaurant Name : Ana Sushi
Location : 5/F, Kyoto Plaza, 491-499 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Rating : 3 Marylicious Stars
Price Range : Around HK $225 / person (without alcoholic drinks)

Summary : While we did not have any sashimi at this Japanese restaurant, the hot foods were actually the recommended dishes.  The skewers did have good flavor; however the texture of the meat of the beef skewers were too flaky, as if the meat had been injected with water...  other than that one exception, the other dishes we had were all yummy.  My favorite was the tuna on rice crackers