Sunday, July 28, 2013

Law Fu Kee (羅富記粥麵專家)- Hong Kong

Featured in a Honkie magazine wonton noodle soup and congee place that had opened for 50 years. And so, we decided to go and see how it is. Law Fu Kee (羅富記粥麵專家) is in Central and luckily, it wasn't too hard to find. As it was quite early in the morning, we didn't have to wait to be seated.
Law Fu Kee
We decided to order their wonton noodle soup and their sliced fish congee with chinese donut. Like all these places, you have to order in a snap (nil thinking time) but as a result, the food comes really quickly too. The wonton noodle soup was pretty good. Chewy and tasty noodles with small fresh delicious wontons. And the congee looked impressive. It was silky smooth on the top layer which, when eaten with crunchy chinese donuts, was a definite treat. Funnily enough, near the bottom of the congee bowl, the congee got a bit watery and less silky smooth...
wonton noodle soup

sliced fish congee
chinese donuts
So it's not a bad joint for a quick local bite. The congee starts off being really delicious but unfortunately, the awesomeness fades as you scrape the bowl.

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money -8.5/10
Overall - 29/40

Law Fu Kee (羅富記粥麵專家)
Ground Floor, 142 Queen's Road 
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 543 3881

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tsim Chai Kee - Hong Kong

Yes, we were after more wonton noodle soup. There's two pretty famous wonton noodle places opposite each other in Central but to solve our decision-making dilemma, Mak's Noodles was undergoing renovations, Tsim Chai Kee was our lunch place.

Like a lot of Chinese places, you really don't get more than 5 seconds to decide what to eat. Hence, whilst under pressure, we quickly ordered a house specialty wonton noodle soup each and their seasonal vegetables which happens to be tong choi with fermented bean curd paste (my favourite!!!).

Wonton noodle soup

Tong Choi with fermented beancurd
Their wonton noodle soup is noticeably bigger (and cheaper) than their michelin starred equivalent restaurants. The noodles were perfectly cooked and the wontons? Crazily massive and filled with more prawns than pork. WOW - really really delicious wontons! Yes, as some others have commented, the soup is a bit cloudier than some others, but it didn't take from it's tastiness :)

Food - 9/10
Service - 5/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 9/10
Overall - 29/40

Tsim Chai Kee
98 Wellington Street
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 28506471

Monday, July 22, 2013

Awfully Chocolate - Hong Kong

I love Häagen-Dazs but I also love Awfully Chocolate. To me, both shops are awesome for icecream but Awfully chocolate is also awesome for cake. They have a big range of delicious looking chocolate cakes but for this day, I decided to go for the chocolate tart instead.

Super glossy finished chocolate which is super rich and absolutely smooth and deliciousness, all that chocolate was encased in a crumbly yet amazing tart shell. To die for!!!

Can't wait to go back to try all their varieties of cakes! :)

Awfully Chocolate

Friday, July 19, 2013

Manpuku - Kingsford

We were around the area and so we decided to drop by a newishly opened ramen joint - Manpuku, in Kingsford. We hadn't been around the uni area lately and were surprised at all the new restaurants and cafes opened. Nonetheless, we had decided to pay Manpuku a visit and hence, that's were we went.

Walking into the ramen place, we were met with a really really LOUD "irrashaimase". And this loudness was somewhat thundering throughout the night. We spent quite a while deciding on which ramen to eat but lastly, I opted for the Manpuku Black ($13.90) whereas hubby opted for the ramen with the longest name.
Hubby's super long named ramen "Kono Deaini Kanshashite Aijou to Jonetsu Komete isshoukennmei Tukutta Ochirano Icchan Sukina Manpuku shiawase Ramen" ($12.90) is a blend of pork soup mixed by the workers at the store (or so the lovely girl behind the counter explained). She said that it's still soy and pork bone based and supposedly super yummy and flavoursome. She did not lie! It was absolutely deliciousness!!! Noodles perfectly cooked, and soaked up the thick tasty broth. YUM~
super long named ramen - $12.90
My Manpuku Black ($13.90), is essentially a garlicy flavoured soy based pork soup. It was zOMG heaps YUMness too!!! The broth thick and delicious. We get TWO pieces of seaweed which I was super happy about. It was really really filling because of the thickness of the broth. But if I had two stomachs, I would definitely want two bowls of this!

Manpuku Black - $13.90
If I'm in this area, I would definitely come back for another bowl of noodles :)

Food - 9/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 31/40

482 Anzac Parade
NSW 2032
Tel: (02) 9662 1236

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bo Innovation - Hong Kong

I believe that we've had one of the most epic meals at Bo Innovation self-labelled 'X'treme Chinese Cuisine'. The two michelin starred, san pellogrino ranked no.90 in the world, restaurant did not have to be an expensive affair... but it did turn out to be. They have three different menus (of different prices) but as we know the dessert chef, he booked up onto the chef's table with the most exquisite ingredients. The restaurant is 'X'treme' as the head chef (Alvin) claims to be the devil chef, and his sous chef is the ghost chef... which in chinese, makes it 魔鬼 chef... which I guess gives them a free pass to play with the food and ingredients as they wish.

First off, we were served with 'house bread' of the chinese kind. Instead of normal bread rolls and baguettes, we get the honky version of the egg waffle (雞蛋仔) with a twist of course! Inside the egg waffle are oysters, cheese and shallots. Crispy and light but super tasty! Some other tables wanted this to take home after the meal too!
egg waffle
 The first palate cleanser was the Mao Tai Sour. This was the strong Chinese liquor with a heap of lime juice and foamed up, served in a traditional cup which makes you look up at the heavens as you drink it. It was nicely soured and not too alcoholy - which was good :)
Mou tai sour

The first official food dish was actually one of my favourites. A twist on the honky style crispy taro dumpling that you would get at a yum cha place. Have to say, with a smoked quail egg, a heap of caviar and gold foil on it, it was one of the craziest crispy taro dumplings I've had. The egg yolk was runny, the taro crispy and the caviour a savoury deliciousness when you eat it all in one bite. Yup - taro dumpling on steroids.
crispy taro dumpling with caviar

The next course was very presentable. Two clear spoons with compressed cucumber, cured mackerel, sesame and 'chinkiang' vinegar atop a rose perfume smokey container. Yes - it is just for show. The foam and the smoke and the everything! Tasty though.
cured mackerel with rose
Hubby loved their play on tradition 'dan dan noodles'. All the elements were there but changed into different textures. The eggs noodles were crispified and coated with chili pepper and pine nuts, adding a bit of spice with the crunchiness. Under the noodles were piles of ikura (salmon roe), sea urchin and squid. Bits of green apple cubes were about along with a foam of preserved chinese mustard (榨菜).

dan dan noodles

The scallop dish was also yum. Large hokkaido scallops were plated with Shanghainese "jolo"sauce, crispy woba (which are Shanghainese rice crisps) and sugar snap peas which my friend claims that he spends hours and hours peeling out.
scallops with jolo and pea

Hubby also loved the next course which was abalone cooked in butter and stock for 6 hours. The abalone was really tender and full of flavour and sat on a bed of al-dente 7 years aged acquerello rice. Accompanying all this were cubed of yellow chicken stock which was full rich and tasty.
abalone with rice

The molecular 'xiao long bao' (steamed pork bun) is one of their signature dishes. It has all the flavours of a xiao long bao but it was just a small liquid sphere of broth which exploded in your mouth. The flavour explosion was quite spectacular and mind-blowing.
molecular xiao long bao
The next course was hitting one of my nemesis - the Tomato. And the tomato it was! It was tomato cooked THREE ways! One was tomato shrunk in 'pat chun' chinese vinegar, cured for hours and hours til all the flavour was intensified. The middle was a small slice of tomato with fermented chinese olives ('lam kok'). The last one, which bought along with it really strong flavours, was the marshmellow of tomato - made from the consomme of tomato - crazy concentrated!
the 'Tomato'

The black truffle "chian dan chee" was also spectacular! 'Chian Dan Chee" literally translates to 'spam egg sandwich' and is a classic dish for honkies.  Of course, they had to put their own spin on this classic honky dish. The spam was dehydrated to a thing crispiness, the scambled eggs were crazy fluffy and cooked in truffle oil, and the toast was buttered and rich. To top it all was a huge pile of shaved black truffle (apparently originating from Tasmania). Yup - could eat this one for breakfast everyday!
truffle chian dan chee

I have to say that I don't remember the next dish much. Perfectly cooked red fish with yunnan ham (a super prized and expensive Chinese ham), mandarin peel, potato, and a dehydrated slice of shiitake mushrooms. An onion puree was poured over it all to round up all the flavour.
red fish with yunnan ham and shitake
We had the foie gras next. This was super duper delish! Soft and creamy and really flavoursome. It came with a dehydrated slice of mui choi (梅菜) and a mui choi icecream . Who would have thought that the sweetness of the mui choi went so well with the sweetness of the foie gras?
foie gras

With everything we've had so far, the lobster became like just another dish. Still, being a precious ingredient, it did excel in flavours when combined with a sichuan chili hollandiase sauce. The lobster came with a chinese leek dumpling and bits of charred corn. The shell-fishy broth was also deliciousness. Well-rounded flavours but not as stand-out-ish as some other courses we've had so far.

lobster with spicy hollandaise sauce
The next course was a play on the Taiwanese beef noodles. They definitely upped the ante with this one with super marbled beef and a crazy flavoursome and tender truffle infused beef tendon in an aromatic consumme. Instead of normal noodles, there were two 'squares' of specially made noodles - one of chinese chive (was green ish) and the other made of daikon raddish (white and spotty ish). YUM!
Taiwanese beef noodle soup
Dessert time was next. The first dessert was a lemon curd cake with a 'baijiu' (白酒) jelly. It was served with a hazelnut chocolate crumble, caramel and a banana yoghurt. Those who know me know that I don't do banana. And this yoghurt was done sooo well, it was soooo full of banana flavour that I had to avoid it like the plague.
lemon curd cake with banana yoghurt

The coffee souffle was a bit better. Freshly whipped up and freshly baked, the coffee souffle was served with chestnut icecream and caramelised water chestnut. Our friend dished this up to us with extreme care.
coffee souffle with chestnut icecream

our friend pouring the syrup on

Being our friend, he shouted us an interesting complementary dish - the 'sex on the beach'. Created by accident by their sous chef, it was a condom shaped jelly with a condensed milky substance in it. The jelly was absolutely tasteless but was had the texture of that thin latexy stuff. Ugh. The used condom was sitting ontop a bed of 'sand' which was sichuan peppered digestive biscuit crumbs, giving it a bit of spice. The sand covered this strawberry jam thing... I guess that's for flavour?
'sex on the beach'
Last but not least was the 'petit fours'. Our dessert chef friend had spent ages inventing this from the Chinese traditional 'eight treasure tea'. (our friend, by the way, is now heading to the Fat Duck and will no longer be at Bo... for a while at least). The eight treasure tea (八宝茶) is made from 8 chinese ingredients said to be Empress Dowager Cixi's secret recipe for beauty, longevity and youthfulness.

The 8 desserts are as follows:
- There was a coconut sphere (molecular gastronomied) sweetened with dragon eye syrup.
- My hubby's favourite steamed sponge cake flavoured with osmanthus.
- Macaron which was rose flavoured, with a lychee and white chocolate filling.
- A chocolate and sticky rice dumpling with lotus seed.
- Chocolate truffle with mandarin peel.
- A marshmellow with crazy red date flavour.
- A tian jin pear crystal bun with blue cheese and wolfberry - an interesting combination.
- And last but not least, one of my favourites of the lot - a chrysanthemum creme brulee.

Of course, there's also the actual 8 treasure tea that went with it all!
8 treasure tea
It was an extravagant meal. Amazing YES! But I think we have to steer clear of epic degustations for a while! (for the sake of our stomachs and our wallets).

We have to say a massive thank you to our friend for serving us a crazily fantastic meal! And best of luck for him at the Fat Duck!!!

Food - 9.5/10
Service - 9.5/10
Ambiance - 9/10
Value for money - 8.5/10
Overall - 36.5/40

Bo Innovation
J Residence  60 Johnston Rd, 
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2850 8371

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Din Tai Fung - Hong Kong

The Din Tai Fung in HK is a Michelin Starred restaurant. So when we felt like dumplings in the middle of TST, we couldn't resist but to give it a try. As it was already past the usual lunch hour when we got hungry, and so we didn't have to wait long to be seated.

We ordered a Shanghainese appetiser of soy bean with preserved veges and bean curd noodles. It was absolutely deliciousness!!! I do understand that it's not to everyone's taste though.
soy bean preserved vegetables with bean curd noodles

After his Shanghainese trip, hubby raved on and on and on about this awesome truffle chicken soup he'd had at the Din Tai Fung in Shanghai. Hence, when we saw this on the menu here, we absolutely had to order it. It was very clear soup with a really intense chicken and truffle flavour. Intense much!
chicken and truffle soup
We also ordered two types of steamed buns. We ordered the pork and crab roe steamed pork buns and the melon with prawn dumplings. The dumpling skin on both were really thin and yet, malleable enough to not break under your chopsticks. Both dumplings were really tasty but in different ways. The crab roe one was really crabby-type sweetness but the melon one was subtly sweet. Both were yummy though :)
pork and crab roe dumplings

melon and prawn dumpling

melon and prawn dumpling
So this place was pretty good food-wise. No we didn't receive top-notch service and the bill took forever and a day to come but they still got the michelin star somehow. Wasn't too expensive for a good dumplings meal :)

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 30/40

Din Tai Fung
20 Canton Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2730 6928

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Australia Dairy Co (澳洲牛奶公司) - Hong Kong

We flew all the way to HK from Australia and one of the first things hubby wanted to eat was the Australia Dairy Co. We had tried to come here once on a previous HK trip but we had come on a Thursday - a day which they are conveniently closed. Anyway - we made it this time and after a relatively short cue, we were seated in the tiniest corner.

Once seated, you HAD to order right away... like, RIGHT AWAY. Under duress, 2 breakfast sets were ordered - both changing the fried eggs to scrambled because the scrambled eggs here are meant to be freaking amazing. And freaking amazing they were! The eggs were really really creamy (yes, a bit oily) but sooo soft and fluffy! The bread was thick cut and toasted to perfection.
thick cut toast with scrambled eggs
The breakfast set also comes with a ham macaroni soup. The soup was really really tasty, and I think a bit of eggy goodness is in it. I guess it must have some sort of MSG-like substance in it cos it was soooo addictively good.
ham and macaroni

Last but not least, our milk teas. In 100% humidity and 35 degree heat, a cold drink was definately necessary. The milk tea was really smooth and nicely strong in tea flavour.
iced milk tea
All up, it was a great breakfast. Satisfying, simple, yet crazy tasty and super super cheap (less than AU$4). Remember though, you NEED to know what you want to order the moment you sit down.

Food - 9/10
Service - 4/10
Ambiance - 5/10
Value for money - 9/10
Overall - 27/40

Australia Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司
G/F, 47-49 Parkes Street
Jordan, Hong Kong
(MTR Jordan Exit C2)
Opening hours : 7.30am-11pm (closed Thursday)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Vue de Monde (2) - Melbourne

Our previous visit to Vue de Monde had been mind-blowingly awesome. As such, when we were organising a last minute trip to Melbourne, we decided to see whether or not they had a dinner reservation available and to our luck, we were offered a 8.30pm seating on a Monday night.

Our expectations for this dinner were high (due to our great experience last time). And despite being 8.30pm, hubby still opted to do the 10 course degustation. We were greeted warmly by our waiter who asked about our food preferences (of which there are various things I do not eat), and they tailored our amuse bouche and our degustation accordingly.
sticks and stones
Again, being playful with rocks and logs, our amuse bouches comprised of several things. We got chips again, which was much to our delight. It came with an awesome creamy and tasty macadamia dip. As I don't eat wallaby, a lone slice of wallaby meat was rolled on a salt block before carefully placed on the rock. Hubby said that it was tasty but in the chewy, textured kind of way. I got a herb gel in place of the wallaby which was tasty enough. The carrot with mussels and brown butter cream was deceivingly simple looking but amazing! Loads of flavours came in all at once with the humble carrot stick. Likewise, the marshmallow sprinkled with truffle and nuts was delicious! Sweet and savoury and chewy and soft and crunchy all at the same time. The smoked eel was a bit of dubious one... toffee-like substance coated the eel (most probably the white chocolate), then topped with caviar. It was really sweet, and the toffee got stuck to our teeth. 
chips with macadamia nut cream
salt cured wallaby
carrot with brown butter
truffled marshmellow
herbed gel
white chocolate eel
Amuse bouches over, our first course was the trout - or at least their play on a trout sandwich. Dehydrated powdered trout with breadcrumbs, egg cream and, fish roe and snowy wasabi - all plated nicely and all  played their different roles in offering the range of taste, flavours and textures. The powdery trout carried intense flavours and when eaten with the icy wasabi - it was YUM.
trout sandwich
You could smell our next course from a mile away. The Melbourne onion soup was boiled and scientifically dealt with a the table. Supposedly, the soup enters the top bulb, soaks in some more smoky and oniony flavours, before the flame goes off and the soup goes back down. Really though, the waiter admitted that it was just for the theatrical WOW value :P. It was sooooo intensely sweet and oniony.  with the intense broth was onions done a few different ways. Hubby loved it. I loved it too, initially anyway, until it just got a little too much.
melbourne onion soup
The next course was one of my favourites. It was simple looking but amazing! The marron was cooked perfectly - juicy and sweet, and when combined with the brown butter and pork floss?!?! Flavour explosion and then some. I could just lick up that brown butter and pork floss creamy combination.
marron with brown butter and pork floss
The bread basket again came with warming stones. The bread was crunchy on the outside and fluffy whiteness on the inside and was quite delectable when eaten with the creamy french butter.
bread with warming stones
delicious creamy butter
There was then a great big runny duck yolk with green beans, powdered peas, crunchy Parmesan crisps, apple discs and mint. The yolk broke into a nice gooey runniness.
duck yolk with pea, mint and apple
runny yolk :)
The palate cleanser was the same as last time - simple refreshing flavours of cucumber and pineapple sage with the theatrics of liquid nitrogen and the fun-ness of us crushing it all up. A good show, good fun and good taste all wrapped up in a simple package :)
palate cleanser
The barramundi and banana prawn was also mindblowingly awesome. Both seafoods were cooked perfectly. bits of foam here and there and a perfectly rolled slice of potato. There was a subtle hint of garlic flavour and I LOVED the purple cauliflower. who would have guessed that such powerful tastes can come in such small packages. this came with a super crunchy deep fried prawn legs with an intensely delicious and smooth brown butter blob. The dish was amazingness!
barramundi and prawn
deep fried prawn legs with brown butter
I don't eat lamb either and so, whilst hubby got a lamb dish, I received a fish course. Hubby's lamb was from Flinder's Island. There were two different bits of the lamb - one was supposedly yum and the other, also yum but crazily 'lamby' (ie. full of lamb/game meat flavour). My Striped Trumpeter was also good. It came with leek, oyster, kale and tarragon.
Flinders Island Lamb
Striped Trumpeter
The next course was also cooked at the table. With the portable barbeque brought over, I know that it was meant to be a piece of kangaroo meat, but due to the fact I also don't eat kangaroo, this became wagyu beef for us. The wagyu was accompanied with beetroot, saltbush, their house-made BBQ sauce (that thick yellowy paste that looks nothing like BBQ sauce) and truffle.
Wagyu Beef
We were a bit greedy and wanted the cheese course too (even though we were full). The cheese cart was rolled over and I opted for all cows milk cheeses whereas hubby went adventurous and got all goats/sheeps/ewe milk cheeses. I preferred mine. It came with yummy breads, condiments and delicious fresh honeycomb.
Cheese Cart
bread and condiments
assortment of cheeses
We received a spiced tea with a frozen milk blob before our official desserts arrived. I'm not a fan of cinnamon and this was very cinnamony (or some sort of spice that I disliked).
spiced tea
Dessert time came and it was close to midnight. I think that the staff were possibly feeling tired and fatigued by now. The first dessert was the while chocolate ganache swirl with rhubarb, ground chocolate and coffee iceream. The white chocolate swirl was really rich and creamy. The coffee icecream was also quite yum. There were little chocolate crunchy balls to add the texture :)
white chocolate ganache with rhubarb and coffee icecream
The last course of the night was the chocolate souffle with chocolate mouse and creme anglaise truffle. I think that as far as souffles go, it was not a bad one. Just that I'm not a super fan of souffles... Hubby liked it though! :)
chocolate souffle
Lastly, petit-fours and coffee. There was this ice cherry thing which was intensely frozen - like a frozen pop that doesn't really melt, lamington-looking cubes with really really smooth chocolate mousse innards and a drop of concentrated raspberry sauce, these 'one penny' copper looking coins which was actually really soft and gelatinous, and my favourite of the lot - the chocolate clam shells with olive oil. Amazingly sweet and savoury - much like a lightly salted chocolate.
By the end of the meal, it was past 12.30am. We received a doggy bag filled with next day's breakfast (a loaf of brioche, muesli, tea, cookies, honey) and were personally walked downstairs. 

Was it a great meal? Yes!
Would we return? Yes! But probably not any time too soon. It is quite costly afterall :)

Food - 9.5/10
Service - 9.5/10
Ambiance - 9.5/10
Value for money - 8.5/10
Overall - 36.5/40

Vue de Monde
Level 55, Rialto Building
525 Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9691 3888