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#kkhongkong2015

The 3rd edition of the #kk travel series is on Hong Kong (my birthday present thanks to K!) and our 5 days trip was approximately 5% Disneyland, 10% sightseeing, 15% shopping, and 70% FOOD of course.

Breakfast

The legendary scrambled eggs from Australia Dairy Company (澳洲牛奶公司) are a must on every Hong Kong trip and while I’m a huge fan, K is an even bigger fan of the silky smooth scrambled eggs from Capital Cafe (華星冰室). We also ordered the crispy buns from the latter but I think Tsui Wah (翠華餐廳) does it better. Egg tarts are another must (yes, I have a lot of “must eat!” in Hong Kong ha)! I always go to Honolulu Coffee Shop (檀島咖啡餅店) in Central for perfect flaky egg tarts (as good as Lord Stow’s Bakery 安德魯餅店!) and then a street away is Tai Cheong Bakery (泰昌餅家) which sells traditional shortcrust egg tarts (albeit a commercialized chain now). To wash them down, a cup of ice cold “pantyhose” milk tea (絲襪奶茶) from Lan Fang Yuen (蘭芳園) is the only answer! We also went to Tim Ho Wan (添好运) for their consistently good dim sum (and I still refused to go to the outlets in Singapore) and for some Instagram-worthy pics, we sought out Chau Kee (周記點心) for the *drum roll* French toast with salted egg and yam lava! Check out the videos!

Our best finds are definitely the peanut butter croissants from Urban Bakery! Filled with generous PB, the croissants made with imported A.O.C. graded ingredients were buttery, crispy and divine even when eaten cold (we know, because we brought them to Disneyland for lunch). The salted egg “liu sha” croissant was fab too but still not as impressive as PB. We love love love the PB one so much that we went back on our last day just to pack some for our flight home.

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Breakfast

To take a break from greasy dim sum and fattening milk tea, we spent a relaxing morning at the Mandarin Grill + Bar, which has retained its Michelin star for the sixth year running. The breakfast menu was typically western with plenty of eggs (Benedict, Florentine, Royal and even a luxurious Caviar version), pancakes and healthy choices such as oat porridge and bircher muesli – exactly what we were looking for. K’s Full English breakfast had a scrumptious selection of scrambled eggs, black pudding, Rhug Estate bacon, sausage and portobello mushroom while my tamago-ish omelette with smoked salmon and avocado was pretty satisfying too. The most unique item on the menu was “Air Yogurt” – think yogurt in espuma form. The foam was so light and pairing it with mango, blueberry and strawberry felt like eating whipped cream with fruits, lovely.

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Desserts

Like Taipei, I enjoyed the desserts in Hong Kong very much! For green tea soft serve, only two places are worth our precious calories: Via Tokyo and Sweets House Cha Cha. The former has been highly raved in the blogosphere and rightly so! My first encounter with Via Tokyo was in 2014 and I was thrilled to be back again, this time for more of the texturally perfect matcha affogato and royal milk tea soft serve. Cha Cha’s texture or flavour may not match up to Via Tokyo but their intense black sesame sauce drizzled on top of the soft serve cemented its place in my heart. Just take my money, you two! Small Potato Ice Creamery‘s deep purple soft serve made an eye-catching pic on Instagram but was a tad underwhelming due to the weak flavour. Lab Made (first liquid nitrogen ice cream parlor in Hong Kong) and Oddies Foodies (tiny shop but wonderful creations) were average-nice, not good enough for a second visit. Smile Yogurt is a different story though – the frozen yogurt soft serve has a texture that can rival ice cream, so creamy and milky! Our DIY parfait had all good stuff – froyo, brownies, nuts, chocolate sauce, delicious! For cakes and tarts, note down Cha-no-wa (茶之環) for the softest matcha (yes, matcha again!) roll everrrrr and 2/3 Dolci if hand-made pistachio tart filled with pistachio sponge, dark chocolate, more pistachio paste and 100% pistachio cream sounds like heaven to you!

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Michelin – Cantonese

We had our first proper lunch at two Michelin-starred T’ang Court after checking in and it was nothing short of “wow”. Lavish furnishings aside, the masterpieces in this chi-chi restaurant are clearly the authentic Cantonese culinary dishes. We tried three items from the “T’ang Court Award Winning Dishes” menu – stir-fried fresh lobster with spring onions, red onions and shallots (三蔥爆龍蝦); pan-fried cod fillet with preserved bean paste sauce with cod fish taro puffs (火焰蜂巢銀鱈魚); and stir-fried diced Wagyu beef with spring onion and wasabi (芥末香蔥爆和牛柳粒). What can I say other than excellent, excellent, and excellent?! Superbly fresh seafood and K single-handedly polished off the plate of expertly stir-fried-till-tender Wagyu beef. The lobster was surprisingly tasty despite the simple execution; no wonder it clinched the “Best of the Best Culinary Award – Gold with Distinction Award” for T’ang Court, bravo! Don’t leave without trying the soups though – they are the hallmarks of a true Cantonese restaurant. Ladies, you will go crazy over the braised imperial bird’s nest with crab meat and crab roe; extremely nourishing and the crab roe added a touch of sinful decadence to the bowl of warm, hearty “soup”. I approve!

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Michelin – French

Within a year since its opening, Upper Modern Bistro had gained its first Michelin Star. The dinner menu comprises familiar French bistro dishes, French tapas and also more elaborate haute cuisine with an Asian twist using fresh ingredients from all over the world. We started with lush Brittany oysters dressed with ponzu marinade; tender octopus and boiled potato salad with mustard vinaigrette; a trio of tuna, crab and salmon bruschetta; mini veal burgers with mushroom purée that’s one of the signatures at Upper Modern Bistro; average mushroom soup with beaufort cheese; my main of crispy sole with crab meat and smoked eel (I was already full by then but couldn’t resist finishing the lightly breaded fillets); K’s main of French pigeon with shiitake and mustard seeds (his first pigeon!); and ended with desserts of “Upper Choc” – love the chocolate sorbet! – and pistachio barre with green apple sorbet and popcorn. Affordable prices, generous portions and attentive service; now I can understand why is the restaurant packed to the brim on a weekend night!

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Michelin – French

We did a day trip to Macau and took the opportunity to lunch at The Tasting Room (御膳房) housed at City of Dreams integrated resort (casino!). There’s a direct shuttle bus from Macau Ferry Terminal so finding our way to the opulent restaurant was easy. Winning the Michelin star three years in a row, The Tasting Room redefines fine dining with utmost attention to details and using seasonal ingredients to deliver dishes presented so beautifully that I have to remind myself that a chef plated our food, not an artist. A refreshing crab salad with tomato water jelly, avocado mousse and Bloody Mary sorbet whetted our appetites for more and we were not disappointed. The smoked egg with ibérico ham and comté cheese sauce was served with a flourish (not unlike Jaan) and my favourite was the contemporary style French onion soup – “deconstructed” with a piquant scoop of onion ice cream! I left almost all the slow cooked turbot untouched as it was tough while K hit the jackpot with his Kobe beef, cheeks and sirloin with quince and saffron, so envious! Luckily dessert was a dream – chocolate banana mille feuille with all sorts of crunchy smooth textures and paired with cocoa sorbet. I must say, this was my most memorable meal of the trip!

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Tapas Bar

No-reservations 22 Ships has become one of Hong Kong hottest tables since opening in October 2012 and being a fan of Chef Jason Atherton, I was anxious to check out the eclectic menu of modern tapas, served in a buzzy yet relaxed setting. It was difficult to choose from the menu because I wanted to try so many of the creative-sounding tapas which Chef Atherton apparently describes as “representing the modern face of dining”. The one dish which struck me as “this is the one” was the mishmash of cauliflower, mushroom, parsley and walnut pesto. Omg, that was soooo good and flavourful, and it is exactly the type of dish a veggie-hater should try and be converted. I swear, not being melodramatic here. K raved about the Berkshire pork and foie gras burgers as much as I gushed over the cauliflower ha. By comparison, the scallop ceviche with yuzu and roast cod with capers, anchovy and lemon were not as exciting on the palate, though they were tasty too. We only had enough stomach space for one dessert (sadly) and picked the correct one – peanut butter, condensed milk, banana, outstanding.

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British

Opened in May 2014, Aberdeen Street Social is the other brainchild of Chef Atherton (told you I’m a fan girl ha) and located in hipster SoHo within PMQ. Branding itself as a “social” venue, the restaurant has two levels – downstairs is a bar-cum-bistro for casual dining (this is where we got our hands on the huge-ass fresh lobster roll with fries) and upstairs offers a more intimate dining experience of modern British cuisine. Our 3-course lunch felt kind of safe – chewy octopus with basil sauce, caper berries and dehydrated tomato; sea bass with quinoa, curry and sour cream; roasted turbot with Morecambe bay brown shrimps and samphire; JAAL 75% (Pollen in Singapore has a variation of this too!) with chocolate ganache and madras curry banana ice cream… I know it’s not fair to compare, but I can’t help myself – 22 Ships gets my vote!

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Japanese

I like Kishoku. Named 樂 in Chinese, the “joys” of Kishoku came in the form of kaiseki-style Japanese dishes for us. Seated at the sushi bar (best seats in the house!), we were suitably impressed by the chef who fed us so well with his carefully crafted sashimi and sushi. The omakase menu changes frequently depending on what’s the freshest on the day and what you see here may not be what you get – maguro coated with white sesame miso sauce; creamy crab meat mixed with crab roe; snapper sashimi interestingly paired with a sweet plum; aburi mackerel with sesame, ginger and perilla leaf; uni in shell topped with negitoro and ikura (this was the bomb, must eat!!); a thick chunk of chutoro temaki sans rice (chef and I are in agreement that the best hand rolls come with no rice ha); cooked snapper with eggplant; grilled tachiuo hairtail fish that has an amazing texture like soft anago; tomato, fig and corn salad with tangy apply jelly; and an assortment of sushi from live clam and otoro to aburi black cod and tuna tendon. Oishii!! *happy sigh*

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Organic

I imagine Locofama will fit in well in Singapore, since we have so many hipster cafes and restaurants these days. But one difference will be its tagline – “Making Healthy Hip”. Yup, located at the up and coming Sai Ying Pun neighbourhood, Locofama proudly serves organic nutritional bites all day. Designed with the health conscious in mind, their menu has options for every diner, from vegan and dairy-free to nut-free, and pescetarian (me!). It even has the carb-free dishes for those on the latest food fad – paleo diet! We had dinner here after a heavy lunch so were very happy with our healthy meal. The black truffle crab dip served with corn chips was rich and heavenly; quinoa, avocado and kale salad was nothing to write home about; miso-marinated salmon fillet with a side of mashed cauliflower “potato” and cherry tomato confit was not too bad but it was the carb-free cauliflower risotto that floored me. Instead of using rice, this “risotto” is made entirely with finely chopped cauliflower florets, so smart! Topped with an organic runny egg, it was one exceptional dish which I won’t forget anytime soon!

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Breakfast

Australia Dairy Company (澳洲牛奶公司)
G/F, 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan
佐敦白加士街47-49號地下

Capital Café (華星冰室)
Shop B1, G/F, Kwong Sang Hong Building, 6 Heard Street, Wan Chai
灣仔克街6號廣生行大廈地下B1號舖

Honolulu Coffee Shop (檀島咖啡餅店)
176-178 Hennessy Rd, Central
灣仔軒尼詩道176-178號地下及閣樓

Tai Cheong Bakery (泰昌餅家)
35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
中環擺花街35號地下

Lan Fang Yuen (蘭芳園)
2 Gage Street, Central
中環結志街2號

Tim Ho Wan 添好運點心專門店
Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, IFC Mall), Central
中環香港站12A鋪(IFC地庫一層)

Chau Kee (周記點心)
西環西營盤水街東利大厦地下H1號舖

Urban Bakery
Room 322, 3/F, The Landmark, 12-16 Des Voeux Road Central, Central
中環德輔道中12-16號置地廣場3樓322號舖

Mandarin Grill + Bar
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 5 Connaught Rd, Central
中環干諾道中5號香港文華東方酒店

Desserts

Via Tokyo
Shop nos. 1A-1B, G/F., Leishun Court, 106-126 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay
銅鑼灣禮頓道106-126號禮信大廈地下1A-1B號舖

Sweets House Cha Cha
city’super, 3/F, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
尖沙咀廣東道17號海港城3樓city’super內

Small Potato Ice Creamery
G/F, 28-30 Haven Street, Causeway Bay
銅鑼灣希雲街28-30號地下

Lab Made
Shop 42, G/F, Miramar Shopping Centre, 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
尖沙嘴分店地址:九龍尖沙嘴彌敦道132號美麗華商場地下42號舖

Smile Yogurt & Dessert Bar
K11: Unit G32-33, G/F, K11, 18 Hanoi road, Tsim Sha Tsui,Kowloon
尖沙咀河內道18號K11購物藝術館地下G32-33號舖

Cha-no-wa (茶之環)
B1, City’super, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
銅鑼灣勿地臣街1號時代廣場B1 City’super

2/3 Dolci
Shop 1, 1/F Manning House, 38-48 Queen’s Road Central, Central
中環皇后大道中38-48號萬年大廈1樓1號舖

Michelin – Cantonese

T’ang Court
The Langham Hong Kong, No.8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
尖沙咀北京道8號香港朗廷酒店1樓

Michelin – French

Upper Modern Bistro
6-14 Upper Station St, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
上環差館上街6-14號地舖

The Tasting Room (御膳房)
Level 3, Crown Towers, City of Dreams, Macau
路氹城連貫公路新濠天地皇冠度假酒店3樓

Tapas Bar

22 Ships
22 Ship Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong
灣仔船街22號地下

British

Aberdeen Street Social
PMQ, Ground Floor, JPC, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central
中環鴨巴甸街35號PMQ元創方JPC地下

Japanese

Kishoku (楽壽司)
5th floor, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay
銅鑼灣耀華街38號大腳板中心5樓

Organic

Locofama
G/F, 9-13 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun, Western District
西環西營盤福壽里9-13號地舖

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Pistachio and raspberry croissant on the menu, who wouldn’t want to try that?!

I did, and paid with wasted calories, sigh. Tough and chewy, heating it up did help slightly but barely. I figured any egg tarts off the streets in Hong Kong will have a flakier crust than this one did.

For the record, my favouritest croissant is Pierre Hermé’s ispahan croissant! Nothing else comes close still.

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LE SALON DE THÉ de Joël Robuchon
Shop 2045A, Podium Level 2
ifc mall, Hong Kong
(852) 2234 7422

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Hong Kong: Via Tokyo

20 mins queue for a waffle cup of milk, green tea and hojicha soft serve from Via Tokyo… Worth my time?

You betcha.

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Via Tokyo
Shop nos. 1A-1B, G/F Leishun Court
106-126 Leighton Road
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

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Godiva.

Soft serve.

No words needed.

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Godiva Chocolatier
IFC Mall
Shop 1029-30, Level One
1 Harbour View Street, Central, Hong Kong
(852)-2805 0518

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While my amateur palate can’t judge whether my meal at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong was worthy of 3 Michelin Stars, I have to say that it was an enjoyable one. They certainly did it right with the bread basket – a generous selection of mini croissant, brioche, baguette etc etc, served warm, baked in-house, and yes I had one whole basket to myself! Perks of dining alone, haha.

Then came a most dismal amuse bouche: some grilled vegetables, lettuce and avocado, big yawn. The default amuse bouche was a much more interesting chestnut soup with bacon and marshmallow pop (I eavesdropped) and it just goes to show how thoughtless the kitchen was in churning out amuse bouche for people with dietary preferences, sheesh. Come on, grilled eggplant and zucchini skewer (which even the culinary inept yours truly can make at home) at a 3 stars restaurant?

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Ignoring that pathetic start, everything went well thereafter. Starter of chilled cauliflower cream was deceptively light, as the incredibly umami lobster jelly gave a solid boost to the whole dish. Very very nice, and this was my favourite out of all!

LE CRABE
spiced alaska king crabmeat, lobster jelly, chilled cauliflower cream

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I thought I’d be wow-ed by roasted halibut since there’s everything I like on one plate: fish, broccoli, squid ink and coconut! But surprisingly, the flavours were rather muted.

LE FLÉTAN
roasted halibut, lemongrass oil, broccoli purée, squid ink farfalle, coconut cappuccino

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The signature hand-whipped mash potato was served with every main and it was so smooth and creamy! As a disclaimer, I don’t like mash potato in general (just useless carb filler imo) but this was too good to ignore. Can’t (and don’t want to) imagine the amount of butter that went in though.

POMMES PURÉE
mash potato

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I picked the safest choice for dessert: something chocolatey which I already knew I’d like haha. And I did! Wiped the whole plate clean, in fact. Tea/coffee and petit four were included and for HK$526 (approximately S$85), the 3 course set lunch (with lots of choices for each course) was excellent value for money! Highly recommended, period.

LE CHOCOLAT
dark chocolate mousse, raisins, salted caramel, rum ice cream

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L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Shop 315, 334 & 401 Landmark Atrium
Central, Hong Kong
(852) 2166 9000

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This is my last post on Hong Kong for the time being and it’s apt to end with a note on Xu Liu Shan (許留山) since no trip to Hong Kong is complete without one (or more) sweet stop there!

You won’t miss it, cuz they seem to be everywhere (it’s really not an exaggeration). Get the signature mango desserts, they are superb. And since I was feeling more orange than yellow that day, I love the payaya filled with coconut and bird’s nest! Niceeee.

49 Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

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I saw people queueing up at Pie & Tart Specialists so being kaypoh as usual, I went to take a look… And as expected, looking is never enough haha.

77 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

They’ve got the usual savoury chicken/beef pies blah blah blah, but I decided to try the milk tart since I’ve never had one before!

Mission accomplished!

 I was actually going to keep it for supper that night but when I was at Yee Shun, I couldn’t resist digging in while waiting for my hot ginger pudding to cool, heh.

The crust was so-so, but the filling was good! Love the semi liquid form in the middle, kinda feels like a “milk lava tart” (think molten chocolate cake). But it’s very very milky so go for it only if you love milky stuff. Or just want a calcium boost! 🙂

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