February 3, 2011

程班長台灣牛肉麵 Cheng Ban Zheung Taiwan Beef Noodle

After an unremarkable brunch, we had to get a mid-afternoon snack. We randomly walked into a tiny restaurant tucked in Causeway Bay that specializes in Taiwanese food.
We opted for the noodles with roasted beef and beef tendon (招牌紅燒半筋半肉麵). I haven't had Taiwanese beef noodle for a long time and this bowl really reminded me of how much I used to love this. I adored the springy, thick-cut noodles and the meat was flavourful. This definitely made up for my disappointing brunch.
程班長台灣牛肉麵 Cheng Ban Zheung Taiwan Beef Noodle

February 2, 2011

Brunch @ Toast Box

I was looking for a quick brunch before getting some serious shopping done. So I decided to stop by Toast Box, which is a chain restaurant and happened to look really busy. I figured that if it's packed, it can't be bad! Well, that was a big mistake.
Don't get me wrong, I love toast. A lot. But I'd rather just make toast myself at home. I felt that it would have been much better than what I had that day.
I got the traditional toast set, which came with a piece of toast with butter and condensed milk, two half-cooked eggs, and a cup of coffee. The thick slab of butter wasn't even melted in the toast, and I had to scoop some of it out because it was just too overwhelmingly fatty. They added way too much condensed milk in the coffee, and when I got to the bottom of it, it was sickeningly sweet. This was undoubtedly the worse meal of my Hong Kong trip. I later found out that the restaurant right next to the toast box was really good. If only I had walked a couple extra steps.

Guerlain Afternoon Tea @ Mo Bar

In December, Mo Bar offered a Guerlain Afternoon Tea special. For $325 HKD, you receive a Guerlain Christmas gift set and a glass of Ruinart champagne, in addition to the tea set. Desserts plus cosmetics make a winning combination in my books, so of course I was super excited to try it out. After all, this was my first afternoon tea experience! I had originally envisioned an elegant, demure setting for high tea. Instead, Mo Bar's ambiance was very modern, hip and seemed more appropriate for an after-work drink with your colleagues than high tea. But then again, the concept of high tea has now been popularized so much that everyone, rich or poor, can experience it. The space was also smaller than expected, but all in all the setting was comfortable.
I cannot drink for beans, and regretfully could not finish my glass of champagne... yes my face was bright red after consuming only half of this glass.
I was grossly disappointed when my tea set did not come in the traditional tiers of platters. Instead, they came in three plates. But then again, I don't think the tiered platter would have fit on Mo Bar's tiny tables. On the other hand, I adored the daintiness of the mini finger sandwiches and sweets. Although everything was in tiny portions, it amounted to quite a filling meal for me altogether.
From left to right: smoked salmon and daikon horseradish sandwich, vine tomato with arugula and balsamic glaze, spanner crab cake, porc confit and pickles cucumber quiche, puff pastry tartlet with roquefort and mulled pear. Honestly, the quality of the food was mediocre at best. I definitely preferred the savoury goods over the sweets,  but it was nothing outstanding. Presentation and cuteness makes up for everything else though. Out of these selections, my favourite was the smoked salmon sandwich. In retrospect, however, I can't recall tasting any horseradish.
From left to right: apple honey cinnamon strudel, zabaglione sponge cake, clementine and walnut macaron, passion mousse and white chocolate, caramel and hazelnut tartlet. Most of them were too sweet for my liking. The standout was the zabaglione sponge cake, because the shimmery topping was delightfully fluffy. I also loved the flecks of gold everywhere (as inspired by Guerlain's new cosmetic collection). I recall the strudel was overly dried, and that I couldn't taste any hazelnut in the tartlet. However, it was almost enough just to feast my eyes on these lovely bite-size desserts.
The ginger and plain scones with clotted cream and jams were rather ordinary. I think I left half of the plain scone unfinished. I also left the grapefruit jam untouched because I wasn't a fan of the fruit.
Cupcake buffet! I was super excited to see this, even though in reality, they only had three flavours. In addition to cupcakes, they also have two kinds of doughnuts and a panna cotta.
Of course, I had to sample a little of everything. The three types of cupcakes were raspberry, chocolate and lemon. They were all really sweet and wasn't soft enough. Out of the three, I liked the raspberry one the most, and that was the only one I finished. The chocolate one was just too overwhelmingly sweet. But the best of all was the berry panna cotta, which was creamy and delicious (and not sickeningly sweet).
I also took one of each doughnut: a chocolate one and one filled with jam. These were entirely unimpressive (the ones from Tim Hortons taste much better and fresher!). I left most of it uneaten.
Mo Bar also had a milk and white chocolate fondue station, with strawberries, pineapples and some sort of sweet bread for dipping.
My favourite was, of course, the white chocolate. But I think the fruit dips were much better than the doughnuts and cupcakes in general.

I ended off a delightful meal with a cup of strong coffee. I had to keep asking for more milk (which was served warm, thankfully). I think people go to high tea for the atmosphere and experience, but certainly not for the food! In the end, I had a very pleasant time, and I can't wait to go again! Next time, I shall be seeking for a more traditional afternoon tea setting.

February 1, 2011

和歌山 Wakayama Japanese Restaurant

My trip to Hong Kong starts off with a simple lunch at IFC mall. I was long due for some ramen so I decided to try this place out.
The lunch combo comes with an appetizer. We opted for the deep fried chicken. It was pretty good and I liked the salad that accompanied it.
For our main, we had the grilled pork ramen. The grilled pork was surprisingly flavourful and tender in texture. I also enjoyed the springy ramen quite a lot. The bowl was huge, but the actual portion was not that big. This is a rather pricey restaurant for ramen, but I didn't really have a lot of choice. Fortunately, better meals are to follow.
和歌山 Wakayama Japanese Restaurant


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