Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pierre. Pierre Gagnaire in Hong Kong

In these past couple of trips to Hong Kong, my family and I have come back to the Mandarin Oriental.  This is sort of a nostalgic place for myself and my family.  This was the first hotel I stayed in when I first traveled to Hong Kong in the late 90s.  And, in its 50 year history, both my grandfather and mom are loyal MOHK (Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong) "fans".  So it's a special place for me as a third generation MOHK fan.  

One benefit in staying at a nice hotel is the access and proximity to the hotel's restaurants.  At a place like MOHK, you can't go wrong with any of them because they are all top notch.

Because of summer rains, we opted out of our dinner at Cataluyna and were more inclined to stay indoors and nearby.  With the help of the concierge (which is another fantastic perk of higher end hotels because of their professionalism and connections), we managed to get a table at the hotel's French restaurant.

Pierre.  As in Pierre Gagnaire's restaurant on the 25th floor of the MOHK.  After years of being spoiled in San Francisco, NYC, and Europe with rich meals from French chefs, I tend not to be inclined towards classic French cuisine.  But, this time, I was eager to check out Pierre because for this particular weekend Chef Gagniere himself was in town to introduce his Summer Tasting menu.  In fact, prior to ordering he came out to personally great all the tables.  At our table he graciously shook our hands and more than willingly accepted our request for a photo opp.  Such a nice guy!  And because of that, we proceeded to order his Summer Tasting Menu.

The tasting menu is not for the faint of heart.  And I mean that quite literally.  Wow, it's such a rich indulgence course after course.  I haven't felt that heavy after a meal in a long long time.  Classic French food...  If I were to order a few of the courses a la carte, the meal would have been easier to handle; but all 7 including the grand dessert was a feat.  I woke up the next morning feeling hungover from all that butter and cream.

The overall experience is a real indulgence.  You start the night with some amazing champagne paired with a fun display of amuse bouche courses across the table.  The individual dishes were all spectacular with the presentation and the execution.  But all together, with cream courses after butter courses after foie gras courses, was insanely rich.  If I were to come back, I would take it easy on my heart and go a la carte.

If you can't see the slide show here, check out my Flickr album: Pierre HK

Friday, July 26, 2013

Manhattan eating in Hong Kong at Michael White's Al Molo

If you're looking for a place to dine with a stunning view of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island, Ocean Terminal and it's connecting buildings (Gateway Arcade, etc) are an excellent option and the restaurant selection is becoming increasingly appealing.

Hong Kong, being one of the food capitals in Asia and the world, is also welcoming more and more foreign celebrity chefs.  Hailing from New York with refined Italian influence, Michael White brings his Al Molo.  Classic Italian cuisine with homemade pastas, pizzas, and signature entrees.  You really feel like you're in eating in Midtown Manhattan with food worthy of the address and the chef.

Two rounds of pizzas and a couple of his signature dishes proved that he's more than a celebrity chef, but a chef that knows good food and how to serve it well abroad.

If you can't see the slide show here, check out my Flickr album: Al Molo HK

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ippudo Ramen, Hong Kong

While I do love all kinds of foods and cuisines, I have my favorites.  Ramen is totally one of my favorites.

After strolling around Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong and touring the museums in that area, I ready for a late lunch.  When I'm by myself and looking for a place to eat, I tend to look for either cafes or ramen places.  Both are comfortable for lone diners.  Lately, ramen has been my craving.  So it was finally time to try out Ippudo Hong Kong.

Ippudo is a Japanese ramen chain from Fukuoka - the home of tonkotsu ramens.  It has several branches around Asia and a couple in New York City.  The reviews in NYC are always raving with the lines out of the door.

Does it live up to it's hype in Hong Kong?  Yes, it completely does.  This is a chain establishment that does not at all feel like a cheap chain establishment.  Milky, deep broth, chewy noodles, and a contemporary setting make a fantastic ramen experience.  There's additional toppings to order, such as vegetables or eggs, as well as an a la carte menu if you're hungry for more than just ramen.  Plus, the drinks selection with sakes and beers perfectly complement the ramen.  I can't wait to go back for more bowls.

If you can't see the slide show here, check out my Flickr album: Ippudo HK

Friday, July 19, 2013

A city break in Discovery Bay

When there's blue, sunny skies in Hong Kong, you have to enjoy the outdoors.  It can be a stroll through the city streets, a ride to see Buddha, a hike in the mountains, or a visit to the beach.

Discovery Bay is a great city getaway to enjoy the beach for an afternoon and some great food and drinks.  You can get there by ferry from Central or public bus.  Taxis and cars are not allowed within the Discovery Bay compound.  In fact, if you're a resident and want to drive around the only way to do so is with golf carts.  It's a totally different world from Central, and it's pretty refreshing.

Expats are dominant in Discovery Bay and that's reflective in the restaurant selection.  There's a range of Western cuisines to choose from, as well as a fun choice of bars.

After enjoying a couple of beers at the beach while taking in the sunset, my best friend and I were hungry.  And when we're hungry, we can totally eat.  So what could fulfill our grumbling stomachs?  German food.  Meat!  Berliner serves up some great pork knuckles and sausages.  The servings are large and satisfying.  Plus, the food goes perfectly with cold beers, cold German beers.  A perfect ending to the night.

And, to make the night even more special, Discovery Bay is so close to Disneyland HK that you can see and enjoy the nightly fireworks from the amusement park.

If you can't see the slideshow here, check out my Flickr album: Discovery Bay HK

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thai with a golf course view in Hong Kong

A trip to Hong Kong usually involves endless walking and eating around Central and Tsim Sha Tsui.  If there's enough time and stomach space, I usually venture out of Central and into Sheung Wan, Wan Chai, and Causeway Bay.  Basically sticking to the bubble of Hong Kong Island.  So when there's even more time and good company, it's refreshing to explore beyond HK Island.

Hong Kong International Airport proudly has a nine-hole golf course just 10 minutes away from the airport.  A free shuttle takes you there to enjoy the links and the clubhouse.  In the clubhouse sits a Thai restaurant, Erawan, which serves home-cooked Thai cuisine with a relaxing golf course view.  

The restaurant provides indoor seating when it's raining or too hot and outdoor seating when the weather is just right.  It's a peaceful and tasty escape from the bustle of the city.  Whether you're a golfer or an eater, this is a fun option for something completely different.

If you can't see the slide show check out my Flickr album: Thai Golf Course HK