Monday, December 27, 2010

December Desserts!

Winter's my favourite season - I love the feeling of coming in from the cold and de-thawing with a mug of hot chocolate, my blanket, and a large supply of chick flicks :) Whenever winter rolls around, it also means I have an excuse to binge on desserts! You can always hide the excess fat under cute peacoats and long trenchs ;)

Here's a round-up of the yummiest dessert and goodies I've had this past month:

selection of Sift mini-cakes, gingerbread cookies, and macarons :D

sift chocolate cake (the three closest to the camera) and the ispahan were my favourite

so I had to re-visit the real dessert bar
signature sift chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream :)

All this Sift reminded me of my birthday last year where my friend was sweet enough to arrange a huge Ispahan birthday cake!! It was pretty spectacular and almost tasted like Pierre Herme's. How I miss Paris!

sift Ispahan - raspberry, lychee, and rose buttercream macaron.

mandarin oriental's opera cake. always a winner!

a crazy dessert platter at Zuma. loved the gelato at the top :)

zuma's molten chocolate cake.

this is by far the best chocolate cake i've ever had. served warm, the chocolate oozed out the minute i sunk my fork in. i see why people always complement Zuma's pastry chef - he's an absolute genius! i wanted to return just for this dessert and will definitely be back for their Saturday Sake brunch :) i think it was so popular they had to take it off their menu so that some of the other desserts got a chance, but you can still ask them to make it for you!

do not share.

thomas trillion's rosenana. this was so much fun to break into!

slightly clearer picture at home. isn't it stunning? :)

thomas trillion's marron. also beautifully presented.
i'd love to try their mille feuille next time

christmas hamper!

love the huge pannetone and rosey apples

all my favourite british cookies! from oliver's the delicatessen

bourbon creams, custard creams, jam sandwich creams, and milk digestives <3

of course the requisite christmas log cake

and to round it all off... like I said, I love my hot chocolate!

Happy holidays!

Sift Dessert Bar
G/F, 46 Graham Street, Central
Tel: (852) 2530-4288

5/F, The Landmark
15 Queen's Road Central
Tel: (852) 3657-6388

Thomas Trillion
G/F, 17 Wing Hing Street, Tin Hau
Tel: (852) 2806-0332

Monday, November 29, 2010


I've been wanting to check out Amber for a while now, especially after it was awarded Best Restaurant of the Year in Time Out's 2010 Dining Awards. The descriptions I've read about it - "the best dining experience in the city", "a heaveanly explosion of flavours", "orgasmic" - pretty much sealed the deal.

I was lucky enough to visit last Saturday, a perfect reward after my Equity & Trusts exam. We ordered the degustation menu (8 courses). Unfortunately, the photos I took were on my phone so they don't quite capture how beautiful the presentation was. But hopefully you'll get the general picture :)

We started off with a selection from their bread basket - sampled the mini baguette and the sourdough crisps. I tend to judge a restaurant by the bread it serves and Amber kind of disappointed me. The sourdough crisps were good but the baguette was served cold and I had to douse it in olive oil before it was chewable. (Luckily the olive oil was amazing - I googled it and apparently it's Chateau d'Estoublon. If I had a bottle of this, I wouldn't mind eating salads so much!)

Next up was a selection of amuses-bouche:

foie gras lollipop with raspberry coating

I actually don't like foie gras much so I refrained from trying this, though my friend wasn't a fan.

pumpkin soup

This soup was really good! It smelt a bit overpowering when it came but after mixing, the taste was actually milder than I expected and very creamy :) Made me miss thanksgiving and pumpkin pie.

There was also an Iberian Pork Croquette which was my favourite of the three. It was a perfect burst-in-your-mouth experience! Unfortunately, the picture I took with my phone came out far too dark :(

Appetizers -

hokkaido sea urchin in lobster jello - served with crispy seaweed

One small complaint about the service, though otherwise excellent, was that I did have trouble understanding their explanations of the food. I had to ask the waiters a number of times to repeat what they had said, until I finally gave up and just enjoyed the meal!

I didn't think I liked sea urchin, having only ever eaten it in random Japanese restaurants where the uni was sub-par. However, this dish completely changed my perception. It was creamy, super fresh, and topped with a generous amount of caviar and a gold leaf. The epitome of decadence! Loved the presentation. The seaweed waffles were overly salty though.

tasmanian salmon confit, then smoked

Surprisingly one of the highlights! I loved how you could see the smoke rise when it was brought to the table. Rather theatrical ;) The crust was great - I think it was something like seaweed breadcrumbs? Salmon was perfectly smoked and sooo tender.

normandy diver scallops

Unfortunately, I didn't like this dish. The sauce was a bit too sweet and overpowering - tasted almost like cha siu sauce! And I've eaten better scallops.

Mains -

langoustine & foie gras - steamed with mushrooms

Yummy! I think this might actually be the first time I've tried langoustine. Definitely my favourite of the two mains.

kagoshima wagyu beef

Hm... this was okay. Cooked to the medium rare I requested but nothing blew me away. Definitely would not pay $1388 for the dish alone.

Dessert :)

blood orange segments, preserved skin & rosemary, prepared with greek yoghurt as a vacherin 'coque'

I had to poach that description from Amber's menu because I couldn't for the life of me catch what my waiter was trying to say. This was my favourite dish!!! We were encouraged to smash it so we could scoop up all the flavours in one go. I personally think the smashed version looks better:

Absolutely delicious! The minute I tasted it, it felt like Christmas. Maybe it was something about the colours, the slight undertones of peppermint, the fact that it kinda sparkles in your mouth! Put a huge smile on my face. I've never had anything quite like it.

85% chocolate souffle with cacao sorbet

This didn't blow me away to be honest. It was quite ordinary, though I liked the addition of the rum anglaise poured in. Also disliked the sorbet, though my friend happily polished it off for me. Maybe I was too excited by the previous dessert that this one was a bit of a let down.

All in all, I did enjoy my meal at Amber. The ambiance was great and I loved the interior design. It wasn't over-the-top extravagant but instead elegant, spacious, and perfect for intimate meals. The service was excellent (despite the earlier comment), and they were always on hand to replace my hot water pot when it turned lukewarm :) Some of the dishes were outstanding - extremely creative both in terms of the taste and composition. I left feeling happy and well taken care of. And I'm still dreaming about my Christmas dessert.

7/F, The Landmark Mandarin
15 Queen's Road Central
Tel: +852 2132-0066

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pizzeria La Gondola

I noticed this tiny pizzeria one afternoon while out strolling after a lazy Sunday brunch at the Press Room. It looked quaint, authentic, and made me almost feel like I was in Europe with the alfresco dining. The pizzas coming out were gorgeous and it quickly moved up to the top of my must-try restaurants.

Last night I finally had the opportunity to check out La Gondola on Mee Lun St, Central. There are only three tables (though there are a few counter seats too) and we were lucky enough to take the last one. The owner was really friendly and helpful with his recommendations. We got to chatting and he told us he's worked all over Europe - Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain.. as well as in the most far-flung regions like Africa! La Gondola is his first sole venture, which opened only 6 weeks ago. Business seems to be picking up though and judging by the taste of his food, he'll definitely need to be expanding soon!

store front - completely unassuming. i loved the atmosphere! though Stroll Bar was seriously pumping next door :P

the menu - reasonable prices, especially for the portion size! they also have a selection of gelato and homemade tiramisu for dessert.

we were going to order 2 pizzas but realising that was a bit over-ambitious for two people, settled on a salad and pizza. turned out to be the perfect choice because this mozzarella salad was heavenly! super fresh and I love the olive oil they use.

it came with a huge dome of focaccia which we probably shouldn't have polished off because this was in store:

proscuitto pizza - tomato sauce, mozzarella, proscuitto, rocket, olives, parmagano and oregano.

This was definitely my kind of pizza - better than 208 and Paisano's (and I loved both of those). It was thin-crust, not too heavy on the sauce, the parmagano and rocket were lovely and fresh... and the happiest part? I could easily fold it up to take big mouthfuls of deliciousness! :D

We ended our meal with scoops of gelato - he got vanilla, I had lemon. It was nice and refreshing, though I'll definitely be back to try their tiramisu. And the Siciliana pizza which was highly recommended by the owner for anyone who likes a bit of a kick!

This pizzeria is an amazing find, so get there quick before it becomes too busy! They also do free delivery within the area.

Pizzeria La Gondola
4, Mee Lun St., Central
Tel: +852 2581-9555

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I know this blog is meant to be about eating in Hong Kong ... but I had such amazing food on my trip to Australia that HK restaurants will have to take the backseat. Next post will be local, promise :)

I visited both Sydney and Melbourne, armed with a number of recommendations from numerous foodbloggers. These were my favourites (note the lack of anything remotely resembling fine dining :P they were all basically hole-in-the-wall restaurants):

harry's cafe de wheels

chicken & mushroom pie, doused in gravy!

This was perhaps the best pie I've ever had - though I guess Hong Kong pies aren't much of a competition. There were huge chunks of chicken and they even used fresh mushrooms! Not bad for a meal from a cart!

The following night, we trekked to Chinatown to check out Mamak. There was already a queue forming at 5:30pm! It's been a while since I've visited Singapore so I was craving this food. I was particularly excited to see how good it fared in Australia considering the sizeable Malaysian population there.

queuing up...

nasi goreng - love the fried shallots on top

teh tarik, as good as any in S'pore! had to order seconds!

roti canai in metal plates! crispy on the outside, super fluffy inside

chicken & beef satay. actually the highlight of my meal, particularly the amazing homemade peanut sauce!

dessert - sweet roti with a dollop of vanilla ice cream

I had heard a lot about Becasse, an award-winning, up-scale restaurant in Sydney. However, I was more attracted to the casual cafe they opened (plan b by becasse) next door.

wagyu beef burger

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the burger itself but this is plan b's famous 600-day grass fed wagyu beef burger! At only $10 AUD, it was great value and simply delicious - the fillings included caramelised onions, beetroots and vintage cheddar cheese. But the meat was definitely the highlight! Juicy, succulent, thick thick patty :)

Finally, this was brunch in a small cafe in Melbourne. Forget what it's called (that's how unassuming it was) but everything was organic and super fresh.

eggs florentine. simply divine.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Beijing Redux

Yesterday I started off my morning with freshly made 粢饭 and piping hot 豆浆. It brought me back to memories of breakfasts in Beijing, where I spent a good five months attempting to improve my Mandarin and instead came back with just a very full belly. I miss my life there - early morning bike rides to school, cramming for exams at ten years cafe, ridiculously cheep beer gardens and Wednesday ladies nights! But what I miss most are these three things:

1. 烤鸭!! Especially 大董's version where the ducks are leaner but still meltingly succulent. Far better than the famed 全聚德 which always left me feeling slightly sick.

love the duck chopsticks holders :)


forget what this was but it was yummy!

...not a great photo of the kaoya but too eager to eat!

2. 包子饺子 from this unassuming shop in wudaokou.

old school

bao zi! :)

jiao zi! :)

shao mai!

enjoying all 3!

3. Hatsune! Okay, it's strange that a Japanese restaurant is one of the things I miss most about Beijing but where can you find such creative rolls in Hong Kong?? They should open a branch here!

the interior of the Sanlitun branch. pretty eh?

sashimi platter was so-so...but the rolls...

er... tuna... topped with unagi... i suppose? yummy!

"butterfly roll" - tempura shrimp, snow crab, avocado, and unagi

didn't get a chance to take a photo before everyone dug in... but this was the ultimate indulgence "pimp-my-roll" (avocado, soft shell crab, topped with salmon and albacore and unagi sauce)

my favourite the "south beach roll" - fresh scallops, spicy tuna and cucumber topped with torched maguro, unagi sauce and sesame)

very satisfied :D