Friday, March 30, 2012


The Pun really is getting quite exciting with more and more international restaurants cropping up. I've had my eye on Memo's for the past month now ever since I noticed the new restaurant front close to the Chicken Man on High Street. Their opening kept getting delayed but finally they're up and running and I had the chance to try out their dinner one Saturday evening. Unfortunately, I put off blogging about Memo's for a while now so my memory is kinda hazy on this meal. What I do remember though is that the food was pretty darn good and Elvis serenading in the background made the meal all the more enjoyable - though I'm sure some may be bothered by the cheesiness of it all :P

interior was very homey

free complimentary bread with delicious olive paste

jamon & calamari salad ($115)

This salad tasted super fresh with perfectly grilled calamari, crisp lettuce, and ripe, juicy tomatoes. The Spanish jamon was just a tad too salty for me, but would probably be perfect for cured meat lovers. I thought the portion was pretty decent for the price.

prosciutto pizza ($138)

This looked absolutely gorgeous when it came out and I couldn't wait to dig in to my favourite classic pairing of parma ham, rocket and mozzarella. They were very generous with the ingredients and the rocket perfectly balanced out the strong flavours of the ham. The only thing I thought could be improved was the pizza base which I felt was just a tad too crispy.

lasagne ($108)

This was one of their Chefs Specials and rightly so. It was cheesy, meaty, saucy - everything a good lasagne should be! I wolfed down my first portion in heaped spoonfuls and couldn't help getting more despite how stuffed I was already. It's pretty comparable to the lasagne at Grappa's which I also really enjoy, though this one was slightly more meaty with less pasta.

We didn't have room for dessert but I'd definitely like to try their tiramisu and their Croatian pancakes (the chef's mother's recipe - it's interesting that this Italian restaurant has a Croatian chef). They do lunch sets as well which change daily and are priced at $88 for a soup/salad, main and dessert of the day.

#62 High Street,
Sai Ying Pun

Sunday, March 18, 2012

one-thirtyone revisited

When I visited one-thirtyone for dinner last year, I was pretty certain that it was the best meal I've had in Hong Kong. ..While I've literally been counting down the days until I had a chance to revisit (Countdown Timer Pro makes it very easy on iPhones), when my lunch date finally arrived I have to say I was a little nervous. I guess it's like a second date after the first one goes seamlessly. Little idiosyncrasies might pop up that you never noticed before. Or you take a closer look and realise you're just not attracted in that way. The bottom line is, all your raised expectations from the perfect first date come crashing back down and you feel worse off and more cheated than before.

That's how apprehensive I felt about my second visit to one-thirtyone. I was realllyyy hoping that the second date would not be a dealbreaker. Luckily, all my expectations were met and I'm happy to say that one-thirtyone remains solidly at the top of my favorite restaurants list :)

We were fortunate enough to book a table on the same day as a dog party! There must've been at least 15 dogs running around the yard causing havoc while their owners sipped champagne and took pictures. I managed to snap a few too (though I definitely didn't have the same calibre of camera as everyone else at the party :P)

This is the owner's doberman Broccoli. He was actually adopted (I can't imagine why anyone would abandon a doberman) but he was surprisingly well behaved! Gorgeous.

One of the owner's other adopted dogs. I think this is a French bulldog? He looks like he's serious about guarding his territory.

There were 3 greyhounds (all quite young) who were adorable in their doggy sweaters and looked perpetually terrified. But my favourite was the husky in the background. He was gorgeous with his thick double coat, and looked so elegant and athletic running around the yard. It was funny how he took no notice of the other dogs and ran around doing his own thing. I guess he's above all that ;)

This dog came with two retrievers and they all had cute bandana's around their necks :) I liked him the most though 'cause of his auburn hair. Not too sure what breed he is.

After working up an appetite outside, we were brought to our table in the house where we hungrily devoured the bread basket:

The bread is delicious here - I especially enjoyed the rye - and I like that it comes with hot stones underneath to keep it warm throughout our meal. Unfortunately, they didn't give us the cranberry sauce that we had on our last visit which was so deliciously sweet.

salmon - scottish.charcoal.ikura

Our first course was also my favourite of the meal. It reminded me of Amber at the Landmark Mandarin - their tasmanian confit salmon also comes encased in smoke and was coincidentally also my favourite course out of their tasting menu! Once the cover is removed, you get this lovely smokiness that smells sooo good. The salmon had a remarkably creamy texture and really just melted in your mouth. I loved the ikura on top and the bits of lobster underneath in the salad. It was just a perfect party in my mouth ;)

scallop and lobster bisque

The scallop came beautifully sculpted in the shape of a rose. I was really impressed by how intricate it was.

chef caith pouring the lobster bisque

rich creamy bisque!

The flavours and texture of this were spot on. The bisque was really thick and creamy, and seasoned to perfection. At first I thought the scallop itself was a slightly strange texture (perhaps too raw for me) but it grew on me (or just slowly cooked in the hot soup :P) and by my last piece I was wishing I had more!


Chef Caith described this as his Alice-in-Wonderland. It did look really whimsical and I liked the asymmetry. I thought it was quite amusing that he said those black dots were swamps to get stuck in! :) The US prime beef was really tender and juicy (though the cut on the right was definitely more succulent). I loved the sauce it came with and the truffle that was sprinkled on top. I do have to make a special mention of the potato in the middle of the plate. It seems strange to wax lyrical about a potato but that potato was unbelievable. I don't know how it was that delicious but it had this luscious buttery smooth taste that was enhanced by whatever goodness goes into an organic, locally grown potato. Out of this world :)

pineapple sorbet

I actually found this palette cleanser as yummy as the actual dessert! :P It was really refreshing after all that meat and I enjoyed the crumbs at the bottom.


Our dessert came as breakfast because naturally everyone loves breakfast! I think this might have been the most creative dish I've ever eaten and the presentation blew me away. The egg was made out of mango (for the yolk) and a coconut pancake (for the egg white). The minute you pierced the "yolk" with your fork, it burst out lovely gooey liquid just like a real egg! I really liked it with the pancake - both of which were quite light. On the right hand side is a mini brioche, lightly cameralised on the top. It's meant to be eaten with the "butter" which was actually sauternes ice cream! This was my favourite part of the dessert plate. I love sauternes wine (a French dessert wine) and it is even yummier in ice cream form! Finally, there's a few "coco pops" and crackles in the pot at the back, accompanied by some homemade yoghurt, and the "sausage" was chestnut puree. The yoghurt and cocopops were fun to eat but I wasn't a fan of the sausage. The chestnut puree was a little too strong and thick for my liking.

All in all, this was a delicious lunch in a beautiful setting and I had just as much fun and excitement the second time round. While signing his guestbook again, I found my previous entry on 5 November 2011. Brought back such good memories :) It's only taken me four months to come back and I'm already thinking of my next visit!

I'd highly recommend everyone to try this restaurant at least once, though bookings are hard to come by. Lunches are $600 per person (4-courses) and probably more worth it than the dinners which are now $1200. (6-courses).

One-thirty one
131 Tseng Tau Village
Shap Sze Heung
New Territories

(I'd advise taking a $30 cab from Ma On Shan)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


While I'm not a big fan of yakitori, I've been pretty curious about Yardbird given the hype surrounding the restaurant and its ex-Zuma chef (not to mention everything I've heard about the well-groomed waiters). I'm generally pretty skeptical when it comes to celebrity restaurants and usually go in with the mindset that things are gonna be disappointingly overrated. While I was seated straightaway, having arrived just before 7 to miss the crowds, I immediately felt a headache coming on with the obnoxiously loud music pumping away on their poor acoustics - one of my biggest pet peeves in terms of restaurant trends. It was impossible to have a conversation and it felt like they were just trying too hard to be hip and trendy... I immediately thought how right I was to be skeptical, though I suppose I shouldn't expect any less given the last few times I've eaten at Zuma the music was equally as loud...

Luckily for Yardbird, their food is pretty damn good.

breast with wasabi and soysauce ($38 per skewer)

This was quite tender and juicy, and you could tell they used top quality chicken. I really enjoyed the wasabi kick in the sauce as well.

maitake mushroom ($120)

This dish was under their "Smaller" section but we weren't quite expecting THAT small for the price. While it was pretty tasty - I enjoyed the use of sudachi which gave it a nice citrusy flavour - it wasn't all that surprising.

chicken meatballs ($42 per skewer)

This was the highlight of my meal! It was sooo delicious and full of flavour. It comes with this sauce of egg yolk and Japanese tare sauce (kind of similar to teriyaki sauce) which you mix together to get a nice thick dip for your meat. I took a photo of the egg too but unfortunately, my iPhone has been acting up recently so I lost three photos from this meal...

pork belly ponzu ($42)

This was one of their specials and while it was pretty interesting with the ponzu sauce (almost tasted like marmalade!), the pork belly was a little tougher than I would've liked.

rib sancho ($38)

Again this was a little tough and not one of my favourites.

chicken oysters ($42 per skewer)

This was probably my second favourite thing we sampled. Chicken oysters are often considered the most tender and flavourful part of the chicken, and these ones didn't disappoint. They were perfectly juicy with just a hint of salt and a squeeze of lemon. The skin that was left on them also made for perfect chicken oil flavour hehe. I already want more!

We also ordered chicken wings and a skewer of fillet with yuzu miso, both of which somehow weren't saved on my phone camera. The total bill came up to just under $600 for two (no service charge included) and we both left feeling pretty satiated.

I would suggest giving it a try - for the most part, I was quite impressed by the quality of the skewers we got. However, I won't be rushing back anytime soon. It's pretty pricey as far as grilled meats go (plus $68 for a bottle of water!), and the food just wasn't as innovative as I was expecting.

33-35 Bridges Street

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cafe Causette Mini Burgers

From now until 25th March, Cafe Causette at the Mandarin Oriental is dishing up five mini burgers for the irresistible price of $88 from 7-9pm. After sampling the five, you're invited to pick your favourite and the two burgers with the most votes will be placed on their regular menu (in big sizes of course!)

I arrived a bit early so was wandering around Prince's building and found myself in Oliver's. I was so excited to find my favourite juice from the States:

odwalla juice ($29)

This was my go-to drink whenever I got sick in Boston. I swear, you get better within the hour! It's packed with 1500% of the vitamin C you'd need for a day and it's oh so yummy :) Check out all the goodness in each bottle:

So if any of you are missing Odwalla, head on over to Oliver's and satisfy that craving :) Too bad they only stock two flavours - Strawberry C-monster and Odwalla OJ. It'd be great if they carried the smoothies and Odwalla bars but maybe that's just me being greedy.

We got to Mandarin and ordered two servings of the mini burgers. Lucky they brought out complimentary bread because the burgers were tiny!

cheese bread!

This was delicious! It came piping hot out the oven and had a lovely cheesy crust and super soft innards. Doused in the sour cream and chives dressing, I was in heaven. I don't know how anyone could do the Atkins diet!

mini burgers ($88)

These mini burgers are part of MO's "pulled meat" series. From top to bottom:
  1. braised pulled pork culottes - kentucky bbq sauce, XO mayo
  2. slow-cooked short rib pulled beef - kansas city rib sauce, bone marrow mayo
  3. stewed pulled lamb shoulder - east texas bbq sauce, mustard mayo
  4. confit corn-fed pulled chicken leg - north carolina bbq sauce, hot pepper mayo
  5. pork belly - kimchi, freshly shucked oysters
To be honest, the burgers pretty much tasted the same to me. Perhaps it's because there was so much sauce and bun, and very little meat. And really, who can tell the difference between kentucky, kansas city, and east texas bbq sauce?! I wasn't a fan of the bun either - it wasn't grilled and tasted just like a normal sandwich bun. If I had to pick, I'd say the braised pulled pork and the short rib pulled beef were probably my top choices but I really wasn't too impressed with any of them, especially the pork belly with oysters. But hopefully these glitches are just to do with the mini-size of the burgers?

We also ordered a side of fries (for $58) which were alright but I'd prefer McDonald's fries dipped in strawberry milkshake :P

Considering it's only $88, do check it out for yourselves. Who knows, maybe it's just my taste buds that are off!

Cafe Causette
M/F, Mandarin Oriental
5 Connaught Road Central

Monday, March 12, 2012

Le Velo and Hatching Dinosaurs :)

Craving a light and healthy Saturday lunch, I found myself at Le Velo. I've walked past this cafe a number of times but never went in considering my go-to sandwich place (Pret) is so close by. Luckily, the sandwiches at Le Velo are pretty decent and left me feeling happily satiated :)

I went for the turkey and pesto sandwich with chunks of avocado (yum!)

I initially wanted to get a panini but as they were already out by the time we arrived at 1:30, I opted for a baguette sandwich. The bread at Le Velo is freshly baked on site and I've heard good things about it. However, my baguette itself was not what I expected. A good baguette is slightly moist and chewy on the inside, but with a nice crusty exterior. This baguette had none of the above. It was really soft, almost like a bread roll, and you can see from the picture that it was hardly crusty. Luckily, the ingredients tasted fresh and they gave ample amounts of avocado which makes any sandwich better :)

The chicken and pineapple sandwich fared much better. The foccacia bread was delicious, especially with all the herbs at the top. Some of the chicken pieces were a bit tough but the majority were nice and juicy and paired perfectly with the pineapple chunks. Far better than the quality of sandwiches at Subway! We also got a packet of ranch-flavoured Kettle chips mmm :)

I washed everything down with a steaming mug of Horlicks! Why does it always taste soo much better in restaurants than at home?!

The service was pretty minimal though I wasn't expecting too much from a small cafe like this. At first the chicken sandwich came in a baguette although we had ordered it on the foccacia and they looked decidedly reluctant to change it for us... However, I did appreciate that they give you free water and lots of magazines to browse. I'll be back for their $40 burgers!


Some other random stuff that's been filling my belly:

I absolutely love Quaker instant oatmeal so imagine my excitement when I found Quaker Oatmeal Dinosaur Eggs!! In brown sugar no less (my favourite!)

So this is the oatmeal before hot water is added. You can see all the little dinosaur eggs all ready to be hatched :)

And once you add the hot water and start stirring, the dinosaurs hatch!! Soo cute! The dinosaurs are edible (basically just sugar) and lots of fun to eat (though I was slightly disappointed that they didn't become 4-foot T-rexes!). I guess Quaker's had to do something to get the kids interested with the likes of Lucky Charms and Alpha-Bits cereal on the market. They even have fun dinosaur jokes on each packet :) Oh how easily I succumb to child marketing.

This was a random dessert plate I got from Roll (they've now opened a shop on Stanley Street in Central). I sampled their brownie, a chestnut roll, mango roll, and a chicky macaron. The brownie was really hard. The rolls were alright but tasted like something out of Maxim's. The macaron was not good. All in all, quite passable. Apparently this new Roll also serves dinner sets which is a bit strange - pizzas and pastas and the like.

And finally, strange US gum I found in 7-11 the other day. Key lime pie and mint chocolate chip!??!?!

Le Velo
G/F Beautiful Group Tower
74-77 Connaught Road, Central

G/F Granville Mansion
41 C-D Granville Road
Tsim Sha Tsui