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Showing posts with label Hong Kong holiday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hong Kong holiday. Show all posts

Monday, February 4, 2013

Revisited: L’ Atelier de Joel Robuchon @ HK.

What makes a great restaurant I have asked myself over and over.  Ingredients?  Skill?  Creativity?  Sitting in a 2 starred restaurant just two days ago, I ate food that was of many sorts.  Delicious, normal and even boring.  Yet even the most boring of dishes did not feel lacking in ingredients, skill or creativity.  Nevertheless, time and time over, one restaurant have seemed to maintain their standards.  Starting with a two star reputation on my first visit and now the proud holder of its  final third star, L’ Atelier de Joel Robuchon has been a magnificent dining experience.  
The start is a clean entrance to the restaurant where you are greeted by your hostess, brought to your sit and offered bottled water. But do not fret, you have a choice of tap too. The waiter then takes over and explains the meal and various dining experiences for this night.
When you are finished with the orders, out comes the best bread basket I have eaten.  Ever.
This was the bread basket for 3.  Your are spoilt for choices.  Easily, most diners at L’ Atelier have been quoted saying that they feel a need to finish it, but are worried about the coming courses.  Indeed you should.  Easily there are over 5 types of bread.  Maybe 6 or even 7.   If you are a bread fan, you would be sold.  But more importantly, there is something for everyone.  My favorites of the lot were the twists, croissants and the fruity roll.   It was simply sublime for something no penny is paid for.
Amuse bouche was a little parmesan biscuit with tomato and ham accompanied by a shot glass filled with a cream of artichoke with ginger and carrot.  Something so small yet so much impact.  The light parmesan biscuit was really airy with a delicious slice of ham and some tomato.  Imagine a biscuit and ham from the cold platter but a 3 starred version with a lot of substance and ingredients :)!
The combination for me was spot on.  It was still that lovely creamy taste!  That slices of carrot did not do too much but the hint of ginger throughout the cream was a pleasant surprise for some like me who did not like ginger.   But something about the warm chestnut soup I had earlier in 2012 makes me crave for that more.
For the soup course:
Corn veloute, beef jelly and caviar.  This was a decadent little bugger.  To be honest, I hated corn soups until now.  In fact, I never understood how does one enjoy corn in any soup! Even in the Chinese ones as the corn tend to overpower everything.  But in this case, the corn flavor was really subtle.  Something typical in cold soups where the taste of the main ingredient tend to be less intense but slowly picks up in flavors over ones tongue.  The beef jelly was a great addition to the soup as it slowly melted to the heat in your mouth.  Caviar, pop corn and little croutons were textural wonders for this little soup! A great surprise! 
The little darling got a little more posh with her starter.
Chicken broth, black truffles, parmesan net served with a side of black truffle toastie. Seriously.  Who serves black truffle puree in toast.  This was really yummy.  I could not help myself but dig into the little darling’s soup.  It was yummy.  One can really get  a good feel of flavor and aroma of the black truffles in there.  Sort of makes an ordinary experience into a gourmet one.  Nice!

For the darling, she did not deviate from what she had during her trip here before.
Black cod fillet with smooth daikon cream and olive oil.  The fish for starters were  cooked to perfection.  Flake by flake it fell apart.  However, the daikon cream albeit being smooth was a bit of a turn off for me.  It had a bitter aftertaste which the waiter say is typical.   For me, that is the difference of whether it was cooked well or not.  I have eaten daikon and every time it turns out bitter, it is sad when one insist that it is the natural way it should be.  Maybe a pre boil? This could have been an awesome eat!
My main presented before me again, looked very artsy.  Pork flap with greens and other edible leaves.  My expectation was something rather tough.  Perhaps somewhere around the ear haha.  Ear flap lols. I have never eaten flap meat before.  But this was just spectacularly moist.  And its accompaniment the mash (bottom pic) was legendary.  Obviously butter was a big player in this delicious mash but hey! Once in a while!
Who says mash cannot be brought to a whole new level!?  One of L’ Atelier’s bragging rights.
The little darling’s final course was something I recommended to her based on my liking.  She happily went with it. 
Kagoshima beef and foie gras burger with lightly caramelized bell peppers.  If you thought the wagyu sliders at Merrywell was good.  This was even better.  It was reach creamy and woah!  The perfect fast food meal.  Really a once in a life time thing considering how rich this was.  In fact, if you read one of my post about how I have eaten various foie gras which went from dry to creamy to rich.  On a scale of 0-100. This was 101.  See the post on Sage here.  In fact, when the little darling tried to press in down, the foie gras literally smashed into a puree.  It was a class act.  Shoe string chips were crisp but it was no killer side.  But hey?  Burger and chips are probably the marriage in the world! Nom nom nom nom!
My final course was the lobster risotto!  Lobster flesh was succulent being cooked just right.  Risotto sauce carried a decently strong flavor like a bisque.  But thicker.  As an avid fan of most shell fish, this was slurps!  The risotto was silky, each piece still separated not like some really bad ones that turned out gluggy.   Another thumbs up! Picture will come up once the little darling sends it over :)!
Last bit of the night were the desserts which I will let the pictures do the talking :)!!
The Chestnut which was part of my dinner set menu.
The Pear which was darling’s choice for the night.
The Apple which was my dining companion’s choice.
The final complementary course of the night besides the amuse bouche and bread were the  Petit Fours.  Small oven creations from the Robuchon kitchen are another magical part of the evening.  Faultless.
At the end of the night, I cannot thank L’ Atelier enough for being a great host once again.  Plate by plate each put together so meticulously with the emphasis on perfection.  I could barely fault with anything except the daikon cream that darling had with the black cod.  Otherwise, this meal was great.  However though, my dining companions who were not the keenest of fine dining found a few dishes to strong for their palate.  One such instance was the sea urchin with lobster jelly which was way too strong in seafood flavor.  I had a taste of it myself and found that it was a little heavy on the heavy side.
A meal at Robuchon like mine cost approximately $HKD780 while if you picked 4 individual dishes including a dessert, that would set you back approximately $HKD1000.  This really is no small sum of money.  On the streets, great feed start as low as $HKD30.  Not everyone likes fine dining and would compare it to being able to eat tones of street food.  Some like it, some hate it.  With a hate mentality like that, it is hard for one to appreciate the finesse revolving around effort of one putting together a plate of art with the hands of many.  Nevertheless, the few decadent meals every year does not revolve around the need for luxury, but rather a treat.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

HK Trip Final: Old Spice.

Time to wrap up the last part of my trip to Hong Kong.  To help ensure a smooth transition from holiday to reality, we made sure that our trip would have covered as much of this small country as we can to avoid regrets that is.  Being said that this country isn’t all that big, it really shouldn’t be too hard to visit most of the places within a week. That is unless you’re too caught up with shopping ahah.  To finish off the last day in Hong Kong, we had a choice of either visiting Macau or Lama Island.  But a trip to Macau is quite ripoff and having heard there isn’t much to do, there really wasn’t a point for the ladies to suffer a 1 hour boat ride considering they both suffer from sea sickness.  So Lama Island it was.  Just had to take a train to central before getting on to the jetty for a 20 minute boat ride.  It was quite short really and my sister was already dying ahaha. 

Just got off the boat @ the Lama Island Jetty.  The architecture is pretty well aged in Lama Island.  Loved how there would be mosses growing on the buildings.  There was also a certain effect on how the houses were positioned as if they were arranged on terraces to especially provide this “effect”.  This place is really a good change of environment when you’ve been in the concrete jungle for too long.  Sometimes in the city all you see is metal framed boxes that really just get you nauseous especially with loud mouth people everywhere, 360 degrees.

Lots of bicycles just outside the jetty.  Most of the roads here are no more than 3 metres wide.  Obviously there won’t be any cars here at all.  But there were some other pests that looked like an ATV “pick-up” truck version.  They were roaming all over like stray dogs. SO annoying.  But I guess they didn’t have much of a choice considering they were upgrading the infrastructure on the island.  Then there were this three ladies sitting by the jetty showing their fine fishing artistry.  Approx 1 small fish every 10 seconds. @@!

IMG_5342 It didn’t take long for us to feel hungry!  We were looking for food and started looking around the restaurants near the jetty and let me tell you its a fckin rip off!  But at times like this I somewhat felt like succumbing to their ridiculous pricing.  O well, at least my mom had her principles right.  280HKD for 2 miserable mantis prawns lol.  And just because this is an island, it doesn’t mean the seafood is fresh. It’s shit FYI.  So we headed towards a beach area to see what we could find. Walked through all the small lanes which really feels so nice for some reason :S! Am I a village boy? omg.  Walked for like err 2-3km and we finally reach the beach but there wasn’t any seafood barbecue happening because we didn’t know they only have it at night unless you’ve booked beforehand!

The beach!

However, although the restaurant did not have decent meals for us, they did have something else :)!
The cheapest and smoothest tau foo fa mmmmm! It was like err 6hkd or 7hkd per bowl.  Really cheap as I remember the one @ the Buddha statue was at least 10! Put some cane sugar powder and yumms!!

Walked around Lama Island for awhile and we didn’t really know where our destination was.  Just pretty much walked where the roads would take us. And by the time we know it, we were kinda lost.  But dad and I just kept on walking while mom and sister panicked a little ahah.  Walk through to some lanes which we saw large machines putting large rocks by the shore to prevent additional erosion.
Wicked machines!  Imagine them suddenly transforming into those big badass robot in Transformers!  Probably sink Lama Island hehe!

I didn’t get too many pictures of this trip to Lama Island.  There wasn’t really much to take truth to be said.  Not to mention the weather was cloudy with cool moisture streaming in from China.  This place however has a good environment to get absorbed into for awhile ahah.  After walking for a super long time, we headed back to the jetty for a rip off meal which was crap! O well.  Learnt our lesson :P!!  We headed back to central to check out my jeans @ Harvey Nichols but disappointingly there weren’t any.  HK is too Japanese inspired.  I don’t see those low-key cult European brands in HK!  A bit disappointing but it’s fine.  Now that I’m back in Perth I can indulge in denims I want! Ksubi? Nudie? hmmm.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hunger by the Harbour: HIP Katsu @ Harbour City.

After travelling all about Mongkok following the guide book, my sister and I finally decided its time to do something not visiting.  While my parents headed back to the hotel to get some rest, my sister and I headed over to Harbour City to do more shopping :D!  Pretty happy with my shopping bag although I only spent about 25% of what I would have like to spend during my trip to HK.  Tommy Hilfigher was having some pretty sick sales as well as Polo By Ralph Lauren, hmm some really premium brands like Seven for All Mankind were having sales as well. Hmm I think Diesel was on sale as well.  Sister got a pair of jeans from there.  The jeans at Sevens were rather disappointing considering the promotion the media gives it.  Saw a guy trying on a pair of Sevens which were disgustingly similar to what Obama wore in some event that gave him bad publicity the next day as the press compared the jeans to “granny pants” ahah.  Along the way we also stopped by a massive I.T shop in Tsim Sha Tsui where I was looking at the clothes that they had. NBHD is a whopping 5000 HKD a pair. 1 word, SICK.  But I like my jeans raw untouched unworn untorn.  So yeah, I’m gonna get more Nudies! We were famished and the stores started to shut their doors about 8.  With my sister close to hitting her gastric limit, we were careful to have something asap.  There aren’t many food stall in the mall and one of it was HIP Katsu.  We got a number and waited for awhile before being guided by the captain to our seats. (that’s after me questioning why the waiting numbers are rolling back! Bitch!)

I was takened back by the prices on the menu really.  A bloody katsu for 130HKD? ohh ok @@ Its like 20+ aud Or 65 ringgit.  Damn!!  Luckily there was this other set menu which seems fairly prices @ 150HKD per person!  Not sure whether to consider ourselves lucky or not but yeah, take a look;

For starters, Miso, pickled radish, Chawan Mushi, and salad.

After that our mains took about 20-30 minutes to come so I waited an got myself a few more pictures!

The chef carefully preparing the crepes
And from our seats at the bar we had some view which was nothing to shout a bout for sure.

The view of Central.  These are the few picture worth noticing ahah.

And jeng jeng jeng, the food started pouring in one by one;
Thinly sliced beef with udon in Japanese Curry soup base.  I liked this because it tasted good but there wasn’t really a “wow” factor in this.

If presentation was everything, then this tasting platter of the menu really quite makes the mark. Its well presented, everything looks so neat on one plate.

Upon closer inspection:
I just love scallops.  Have a scallop with a small slice of mushroom and celery. Wow really nice aha.  Maybe I’m just a sucker for scallops ahha

Baked Oyster was well errr ahah ONE TO EACH OWN. I personally don’t like this fancy shell thingyy.  But I did scoop the cheese of the oyster.  When I asked my sister how did it taste, she said “OK”.  So then I kindly offered her the oyster and she said “Just because I said it was OK doesn’t mean I like it”. HAAHAHAHA fakkkkkkkkk

Lastly was this crispy pork from the USA. You heard me people the USA.  That is why this whole HIP Katsu thing is so pricy. But I have to be honest, I don’t like the USA.  They f*ck up the Reds, the World Economy, the Harmony, err what else did they NOT f*ck up?

Dessert was jelly with red bean paste.  Quite nice even though it was a bit too sweet!

All in all my dining experience here was nothing to shout about.  If this restaurant was supposed to specialise in serving Katsu as its name suggests, then I have to insist that this place is a failure.  Akira-san @ Kanta does his katsu at half the price, and doube the serving.

I’d go back to Kanta anytime rather than this place.


Monday, January 11, 2010

HK Trip Pt. 4: Olden day treasure preserved!

This is the next post which continues to narrate my trip to HK during Christmas!  It’s been four days since I first touch down and it feels that my time here is shortening.  But that is no illusion as I’m only 3 days from heading back to Malaysia and later, back to Australia.  Oh the reluctance is such a common feel..!!!

Breakfast was the Western Buffet served by the hotel but my sister was so ever diffident in eating the hotel food so she slept in until it was about 11 a.m.  We woke her up and headed to one of the small Chinese Coffee shop for a light meal.
Some dumplings!

Glutinous rice wrapped with lotus leaf.  It had a real fancy name in Chinese which translates into something like “multiple layered king wrapped glutinous rice” which really suits it once you’re tucked into the rice.  You get chicken wings, waxed meat, minced meat, sliced meat and oh my gawd the variety is amazing!

Mom wasn’t feeling very well that day.  Not sure whether she ate or not.  I think this noodle soup with fish ball is hers.  The food in this place is really cheap and good at the same time.  Good bang per buck!

After that we decided once and for all the be obedient and follow the tour book to visit the nearby tourist attractions in Mongkok.  We didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves and go to far since mom had gastric flu.  The weather dipped to the low tens in the middle of our trip in HK.  Mom probably wasn’t ready to deal with the cold!  We headed to this very popular temple which was supposed to have been here for AGES.  O well at least it claims to be so.
I only got a picture of the outside because there was this large sign which says no one can miss saying NO TAKING PHOTOS! Suckerrssss! But my sister smartly placed her Iphone as if sms-ing to then take a couple of shots. Should be on Facebook.

After that I saw something which made me very happy despite all the gloom in the atmosphere!! :D
Now this doesn’t make much sense does it? It just some shop lot for goodness sake.  Not when you look into its current history.  This building hosts a two-story cafe called  Mido Cafe.   Why is this place cool? Well I took this from TIME  “much beloved by art directors for its well preserved '60s interior”!  This place is often featured in movies and dramas ;-)

How it looks inside:
Look at the tiles, look at the windows, look at the sits.  It all looks too familiar when I cross the images with the TVB dramas ahah.
After snooping all around Mongkok, it was time to chill and it was raining anyways.  We couldn’t really go anywhere!
Oh yea babehhh! You know you want one.  It’s all over the place and it’s all so yummy! Never gotten so addicted to this drink in Perth.  But I seem to get addicted depending on the culture I’m in.  Like how I downed coconuts in Bangkok. That was love.  And it was delish!

Lovely French toast which differs significantly from the other ones I had around HK, Msia and Perth.  This was plain egg whipped into a fluffy liquid before having bread dipped in it and kadoooooooooooosh! Boiling oil.  No peanut butter in this one.  Yet it was yummi-licious!

After having chilled for an hour or so, the weather settled down and we headed off to the jade market which was super dull.  Nothing to see at all :S! And later on we walked about some market in Mongkok. 

Night time to be blogged @ some other time!  Too tired already!


Friday, January 8, 2010

HK Trip Pt. 3: The Buddha.

After having used more than half the day wait and eat the best dim sum in HK, the trip continues again.  Today’s plan was to go to Ngong Ping to see the Big Buddha statue.  To get there was pretty damn tedious.  Had to take MRT all the way to central before switching to the  Tung Chung  line.  I think the trip to reach the end of the line was about 30-40 minutes already! But when we reached, jeng jeng jeng! Got one really big shopping mall right in front of us.  It turned out to be the place where the direct factory outlets were.  They were having massive sales. 

Anyways, from there we took a cable car which cost $107 for a return trip.  If you’d ask me I would have to say that the money paid was well spent!  The cable car isn’t as scary as the one in Genting where you can feel uneven change of speed and altitude.

The cable car journey to the tourism settlement located at the foothill of the big Buddha took us about 25 minutes.  The place had a nice old China Town feel you would get when you see those olden day TVB dramas.  But with closer attention to detail, you would realise it really isn’t so old skool after all.  They had Starbucks and Euro Restaurant. @@!  We didn’t get to chill at any of the cafe’s because we were a bit short on time.  We reached the place @ 4pm and the last cable car back to Central was @ 6.30!  We quickly climbed up the err 200 steps of stair which I saw m both the fat and fit looking people struggle to get up there.  What’s wrong with you people lol.  I’m supposed to be the fat one ahah.  But the flight of stairs was a breeze.  Smoked it without much effort.

Talk to the HAND!

Mom was quite happy to be there since she’s a fairly religious person.  Wonder how did she manage to bring up 2 very unreligious kids. ahahah.  We spend half an hour walking about the Buddha said our prayers because mom asked us to.  But oh well, with 2010 around the corner I believe we all have many things to ask for!  After that we headed back down.

Bye bye Mr Buddha!! :D

After we got down we weren’t ready to go home yet!! We stopped for dessert;
Yumm! Tau Fu Fa ahha.  In Hong Kong they have a small tub of orange powder which turns out to be sugar.  You can just add it to you soy bean thingyyy if it isn’t sweet enough.  Quite yummy even though I dislike the ginger syrup @@!

Snacksssssss! Just some sausages ahah.  I also had curry fish balls again. Oh shit seems like all the pictures are in wide mode @@ Forgot to change it back to the normal mode dammit!

On the way back.  Couldn’t get a decent shot with the insane wind rocking the cable car on the way home :(! And of course with the poor lighting, a hell of a lot more exposure is required. 

IMG_5274Dinner @ the mall was the a Teppanyaki place.  It was ok-ok only.  But definitely better than all those Teppanyaki fast-food outlet in Malaysia! I sooooo remember the bad experience I had at Mr Teppanyaki @ Sunway Pyramid where the food was gawddd! So disappointing!! Not to mention the horrible one located in the KLCC foodcourt! All so fail ahahah.  Every since those bad experience I would try to abstain from feasting on non-buffet Teppanyaki.  Truth to be said, Teppanyaki isn’t difficult! It’s just stir fried meat on a hot plate omg.  I think it is more of the cook’s attitude that made previous experience shitty.  The total “lack of interest + I’m getting paid RM5 an hour so shaddup.” Blehhhhh!

In the process of being cooked!

Felt super healthy that day.  Had this whole heap of bean sprouts + another heap of green vegetables!

After that sister and I went shopping but we didn’t buy anything because hmm we were feeling a bit undecided.  And since most outlets were DFOs, you can expect the clothes to be very messy with a night market kind of crowd.  A bit too insane for my liking!  About 10 something I went back to Mongkok to get some rest.  All the walking was getting into me already! But of course before sleeping sister and I got on the streets to pick up some supper lol.



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hype Put to Rest: Tim Ho Wan, the Best Dim Sum in HK? World?

While the best signifies a place only one can claim, it is funny how this little dim sum place which has been awarded 1 Michelin Star is claimed by the residents to be the best dim sum compared to the 3 Michelin Star one in Four Seasons Hotel.  Or maybe it is just the aunties and uncles. Nonetheless with journalists from all over the globe adding to the hype, the wait for the best dim sum was a catastrophe. Just try for yourself, get on Google and type Tim Ho Wan.  xD.  Major newspapers such as The Sydney Morning Herald had it featured in its travel section in one of the few weeks before X’mas.

Mom and I came about 10 am to join the already waiting queue when the restaurant had just started opening its doors to customer.  People from all races were in the queue! There was this guy which looked like Mika Hakkinen too ahah.

The insane line which is about 3 to 4  shops long.

As the shops were about to open, the waitress started passing out numbers so that the crowd would disperse. I was no. 22!!!  We waited for awhile until my dad and sister joined us to wait for the dim sum.  And after awhile a Caucasian family came with their translator and asked for a number. I think they got no.200+ HAHAHAHA! They’ll probably only come back @ night since this place is open till 10pm daily!

After waiting for more than an hour, the number was still stuck at no.11 because there was this family of 16 people still inside oh my gosh!! I was astounded when I found out about that family being in there… 16 people @@. O well my hungry tummy could no longer wait so we headed somewhere for a light meal:
Jeng Jeng Jeng.  Super Crispy Roast Pork :P  This place was nearby the dim sum restaurant so we just chilled there for awhile.

No idea what the name of the restaurant is.

Mongkok in B&W.

Even after the pork roast slices, I was still starving.  God my, the hypes fadinggg but as the number gains its paces towards no.22 I was getting stoked.  RWARrrrrrrrr and YESSSS we finally got in after 2 hours of wait @@!

The kitchen that makes all the food is very small.  I guess that is why they only serve 30 customers at any one time.  We ordered whatever that was featured in the newspaper reviews posted outside as well as some stuff we would normally have in a dim sum place as well.

My camera wouldn’t focus on the congee because it was so smooth there was almost no detail for the camera to work on =.=!

The glutinous rice which had lovely yummy well cooked rice which isn’t too soft or too hard. Loved it!

Char Siew Cheong Fun! Rice roll with BBQ pork.  The fillings were one of the best my sister says she has ever tasted.  For me I really liked how this place had me piling heaps of praise on the consistency within each of its dishes.  It really feels refined.

The beef ball did not feel hard to bite into neither was it soft! And I often shun from ordering this dish in most restaurants because the tangerine taste was often too strong :(!  But this one was just fine. Or maybe my hungry tummy locked out the fussiness in me ahah.

Dumplings? :S! Not really sure what this is.  It feels like “Gao Chi”.  But the fillings are totally different from the ones in Malaysia.

This one was FUNNY! Called it like King Siew Mai. But damn hell it tasted like the ones in Malaysia. So JUST this ONE dim sum is not in my good books.  Later in the trip we had another dim sum meal at the hotel, the Siew Mai was like this too =.=!

This Malai Kao?Kow? Ok its some kind of steam cake a Malaysian can find in the market for RM0.50 or more like 10 cents in AUD. lol.  Call it cheap call it market food but this place makes it wonderful.  Its just different, got to try to know.

Pan Fried Radish cake which is one of my favourite whenever I have dim sum! These were a tad different from the ones I would normally have because it has a pinch of bitterness in it.  My mom says they did not wash something of the radish or something like that.  Not quite sure.
This is chickennnnn feet! I liked the sauce but the meat wasn’t soft enough. HAha I remember not liking these when I was young and now hohohoho I’ll eat it if its ordered!

Simple Spring Rolls but I liked the filling.  The pro chef very carefully arranged the prawns in these :)! The colour of the spring rolls look good too right?

Lastly we had these little buns for dessert.  The pressure put on these little delight was massive considering the praises and words I read in articles and blogs. So how was it? Hmmmmmmm…
Hmmmmm….take a look at the filling first….
Haha I’m not telling.  Time to go Hong Kong to try it or if you’re already there, go get yourself one.  They do takeaways too! In fact I saw people buying boxes of it away.

Overall the hype of this restaurant being really good is true, but thinking of the long wait, really, it keeps me feeling unsettled.  I mean 2 hours for food is a bit of an overkill is it not?  But if I happen to pass by and its empty. I would definitely rate this place the hidden gem of Hong Kong. OFFICIALLY. But yea right, the chances of that happening is like having Perth snow.  Almost impossible.  This however shouldn’t deter food loving people from giving it a try.  At least once no?