Sunday, July 24, 2011


My desktop wallpaper's a picture of a gloriously juicy burger from Shake Shack which set about a month-long craving for burgers. I usually just end up going to BLT Burger but having heard numerous rave reviews of BurgerRoom, decided to give it a shot. We arrived at 2pm on Saturday and the place was packed, with a constant flow of people. Luckily we got a table at the countertop - probably even more spacious than the regular tables which were seriously cramped. The kitchen is also tiny though the three chefs inside seemed to manage alright. The food came relatively fast despite how overcrowded the restaurant was.

The classic burger (beef patty, tomatoes, lettuce, and their homemade sauce) costs $55 and you pay an extra $8 for cheese. You can also add $18 for a side of fries and a drink.

At first I thought the burgers were massive but then realised it's mainly because there's so much bun. The fries were pretty okay (I love thick-cut fries) but I wished we had opted for a side of curly fries instead! I miss Hardee's!!

The meat patty is pretty hefty, but once you get rid of some of the bun, the size is definitely manageable even for my stomach. The burger was super juicy (making it very hard to eat) but I definitely don't mind getting dirty for good food :) Definitely not for those on a diet, especially with their homemade sauce on top. Unfortunately, it wasn't spread too evenly so I had to add ketchup to parts of my burger - or it may just be a factor of their huge buns. I really enjoyed the meal and it comes at a very decent price.

They also have a wide selection of seafood burgers (scallop burger, lobster burger, soft shell crab burger, hiroshima oyster burger!??!?) which sound pretty interesting but next time I think I'll opt for the portobello cheese burger! Yum!

While it's not the fanciest of joints, it's exactly how a burger should be. Will definitely be back, though I only wish they'd change their burger buns.

7 Caroline Hill Road
Causeway Bay

Banana Popsicle

A friend showed me a picture of Nestle's peelable banana popsicles and I just had to try one for myself (purely for the novelty factor). Yay Asian innovation! It's sold at most 7-11's:

It doesn't look too appetizing when you first unwrap it, and not much like a banana at all.

I had a hard time peeling it - I later learnt that you're meant to take a bite off the top and then peel it with your mouth, but me being the messy girl I am tried to use my fingers and ended up with a very sticky mess... BUT look how much it resembles a banana!

Especially when you take a bite out of it:

Hm.. the biggest flaw with this popsicle is the fact that it doesn't taste like banana -_-" It's actually vanilla ice cream wrapped in a grape-like jelly. I love everything banana flavoured so it baffles me why someone would make a banana shaped popsicle and leave out the banana taste. Nevertheless, it was quite yummy (apart from the jelly which I always find too strange a consistency) and apparently quite nutritious being low in fat and sugar, and without artificial colouring. Hm, wonder why the grape flavoured jelly is yellow then...

Speaking of loving banana-flavoured snacks, dad just came back from Japan and brought home goodies, this one being my favourite:

tokyo banana

I love how meticulously wrapped Japanese goodies are :) Plus, each package comes with an individual moisture absorber to keep your cakes nice and fresh! I think there are eight per box.

Absolutely delicious! They're basically sponge cakes with banana-flavoured custard / cream inside. The cream isn't too overpowering in banana taste, and the cake is super light like chiffon. A perfect little snack.

Dad also brought back these which were were pretty to look at, but not as yummy:

hehe so cute

beautifully wrapped

Hehe adorable! I absolutely love Japanese snacks so if anyone's ever in Japan, please bring me back some more Tokyo Banana's!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Linguini Fini

I had an absolutely delicious meal at Linguini Fini the other night. I first heard about the restaurant while dining at 208. We got to talking to Chef Vinny (of Babbo fame) who told us of his imminent move to a new restaurant, in partnership with the duo behind Posto Pubblico. The way he described the new space - authentic homemade pastas infused with local flavours, only organic produce sourced from neighbour farms, a casual and creative space where he could really take free reign - all sounded like a recipe for an unforgettable meal! Not to mention how passionate he was about the concept. They also pride themselves in their nose-to-tail pork recipes i.e. no part is wasted! Just like traditional trattoria's :)

I have to say, I'm so glad he made the move because the whole dining experience here blew 208 away. The interior is stunning, with stencils by Hong Kong artists Start From Zero. If you walk down Tang Lung Street you can see a lot of their contributions to the street art scene:

It was a casual, relaxed, and rustic setting. Ideal. The waiting area is adorable with little Linguini Fini stools and a decent selection of wines and cocktails. I tried their prosecco cocktail which was deliciously sweet and made the wait much more bearable. (You can't make bookings and they won't seat you until your whole party arrives).

We were there solely for the pasta and wanted to try as much as possible. A friend of mine had told me that they have two serving sizes, but when we visited they had changed their menu to only include one. Luckily, we got to talking to Todd Darling (founder of Posto Pubblico and now this new venture) and he was super accommodating. He gave us lengthy recommendations, made sure to include homemade pancetta in our dishes which weren't available on the menu yet, and allowed us to order half portions so we could get a larger variety! Hospitality like that always makes a good meal great.

I was hungry when I arrived so helped myself to their complimentary bread, which luckily did not taste stale at all (unlike my recent experience at Red...).

We started off by getting four pastas:

sweetbread ravioli ($118)

The filling was pork jowl & sweetbread and porchetta. This was probably my least favourite dish of the night. I thought it could do with a bit more stuffing, though the sauce was really nice and I happily mopped it up with the bread.

spaghetti carbonara ($98)

Really good. It's made the traditional style using only raw eggs, cheese and fat - way better than the creamy counterpart you often see in Hong Kong restaurants. It was also chasiu flavoured and came with their homemade pancetta. I loved the pasta and the sauce, and found the Asian component really interesting, though I thought the meat was a tad too salty. Rest of the dish was a win though!

fazzoletti "nose to tail bolo" ($118)

Best dish of the night, we even ended up ordering another half portion of it afterwards (though it entailed paying a 30% premium!!) So so good. The ragu was made up of pork testa (head), veal, and oxtail ragu. It was served with nice shavings of parmigiano-reggiano on top, one of my favourite hard cheeses. Seriously, I see why this is their signature dish and can't believe how much we ate of it!

classic linguini fini pomodori ($88)

I think this is the first time I've ever had linguini fini - or heard of it to be honest. It's a thinner version of linguine, and is best served with fresh tomato based sauces. As the name of the restaurant suggests, it's also their signature pasta. It was cooked to a perfect al dente (as can be said about all the pastas we had that night) and was so fresh and simple and perfect. Apparently this type of pasta is really easy to over-cook so I'm impressed by how well-executed it was. The sauce was sooo good we polished it all off - perhaps testament to the locally sourced organic tomatoes they use. Didn't miss the meat at all.

After this first round we were so excited by everything we tried that we decided to get two more dishes. As mentioned earlier, we ordered another round of the fazzeletti and then opted for one of Todd's recommended dishes:

linguini fini shrimp diavola ($88)

This dish, along with the classic linguini fini, are both naturally infused and the flavours that come out are amazing. You could really taste the Asian hint of dried shrimp infused in the pasta (it was ground to powder), and there was a spicy kick to it which I couldn't help savouring after every bite. One of the most interesting pastas I've tried and it took a close second-place to the fazzeletti. (Always go with the recommendations!)

Unfortunately, we were so full by the end of the meal - 6 pasta dishes for 2 people does sound slightly excessive - that we couldn't order dessert. The next time I'm back though I'll definitely try the hot chocolate affogato or homemade gelato. Pastry chef Jack Chua has an impressive CV with previous stints at Nobu in London and Maison Boulud in Beijing. Having eaten at the latter a couple years back and being most impressed by the dessert, I can't wait to try some in Hong Kong!

All in all, it was a perfect experience. The service was impeccable, earning our waitress a well deserved 15% tip (the restaurant has a no service charge policy but judging by how great the service is, I'm sure their staff do very well). The ambiance was casual and so welcoming. Todd was one of the most hospitable owners I've met. And Chef Vinny is a culinary genius. Can't wait to be back!

NB: The prices quoted are for the full portions, we ended up paying about 2/3 of that for each half portion but the bill still only came up to $500 for two including drinks. Not bad!

Linguini Fini
1/F, The L Place
139 Queen's Road Central

Currently closed on Sundays

Monday, July 18, 2011

Restaurant Week: RED Bar + Restaurant

Not having an Amex card means you have to scramble for the few remaining dinner reservations available during Restaurant Week. Unfortunately, by the time it was open to non-Amex holders, there were only a handful of restaurants left to choose from. I had to settle with a Saturday dinner at RED. I was hoping it would be good as I've enjoyed a number of meals at its sister restaurant Pure. Plus, the dinner menu sounded pretty amazing on paper.

Again we shared the appetisers and main courses to get a bit more variety. (Picture quality not the best due to low lighting and using a blackberry...)

beef carpaccio

This was probably the highlight of my meal. It was served with parmesan, rocket leaves, and the most delicious fried capers. Real light and perfect for summer.

organic tomato & mozzarella salad

Unfortunately, this was very subpar. I was envisioning tomatoes and mozzarella balls, or at least thick slices of fresh mozzarella. Instead I got the above. I would've happily eaten that cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich, but definitely not in a salad.

homemade gnocchi

This looked really unappetising coming out haha. There was just sooo much sauce on top and while it was described as a bordelaise, I'm pretty sure they meant to say bolognese. It was super hearty and a huge portion. The gnocchi was cooked quite well, and had more of the chewy, dense consistency which is okay in small doses but after just five pieces I was done.

duck confit

This picture didn't come out great either but it's meant to be duck confit. Duck was way too dry and the skin not crispy at all. Oh how I miss confit de canard at Cafe du Marche in Paris... The mashed potatoes were quite alright with the lentils and port wine jus, but it's a pretty sad dish if you eat more of the sides than the actual meat itself...

apple & berry crumble with vanilla ice cream

Luckily you can't go too wrong with crumble and vanilla ice cream. The crumble was yummy, and you could taste all the fatty butter and sugar :)

diva chocolate cake

The diva chocolate cake doesn't come with ice cream so we added $28 for another scoop of vanilla. This cake was a fail. We had asked whether it was an actual cake and the waiter confirmed this. However, when it came it was just chocolate mousse. It was also waaaay too rich. I could only manage one small bite and usually I deal pretty well with chocolate!

All in all, it was definitely a forgettable meal. The only thing I really enjoyed was the carpaccio, which meant the last hour of the meal was a huge disappointment. Plus, they were playing cheesy 90s pop in the background at full volume. Not great for dinner conversation.

RED Bar + Restaurant
4/F Tower 2
IFC, Central

Friday, July 15, 2011

Restaurant Week: Bloom

I've been wanting to visit Bloom for a while now, especially considering how much I love the drinks at Lily. I had originally made reservations to check it out during Springalicious but something came up last minute. Luckily, Restaurant Week deals are even better and I quickly booked a table for two.

I had thought the lunch set was only 2-courses so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw cookies on the menu too!

We opted to share the two appetizers and mains so we could try a bit of everything. First up though was some delicious biscuits with butter :)

butter pot so cute


I wrote earlier about how much I enjoyed the biscuits at Popeye's. These ones are even better!! If I weren't saving room for my 3-course lunch, I would've definitely asked for another helping.

snapper ceviche

There wasn't much snapper left when I got passed the plate! The flavours were good though - very fresh with the coriander, chillies, and citrusy juice. Perfect for summer. I felt like I should be out in a garden basking in the sun, eating ceviche and sipping sangria. Mmm.

new england clam chowder

This, however, was perfect for the kind of rainy week it's been in Hong Kong. The soup had a super rich, creamy texture (as always with clam chowder) and I loved the croutons soaked in it. However, it did make me crave clam chowder bread bowls from Quincy Market, or even au bon pain!

grilled tuna & artichoke

The piece of tuna was really hefty, though you can't really tell in the picture. It was nicely grilled, and seasoned lightly so you could really taste the fish. I enjoyed the salad mixed with zucchini and plums from our other main course:

pork tenderloin medallions

This was delicious! I don't generally order pork when out in restaurants (unless it's of the suckling pig variety) but I was really glad we got this. The pork by itself was nice and juicy, but when eaten with the plum coulis it was the perfect combination! No wonder the two are such a classic pairing. There was also zucchini under the pork which had a bit of a kick - they were in some kind of chili sauce.

meat :) with zucchinis hiding underneath

white choc macademia cookies

Fresh out the oven and the perfect way to end the meal. They were soft, warm, sweet, chocolaty, melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I think they were better without the chocolate sauce.

Service was spot on, ambiance was great, and the food was almost as good as their drinks ;)

6/F, Lan Kwai Fong Tower
33 Wyndham Street

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Chippy

Re-visited the Chippy after almost a year. I was hesitant at first after hearing many people talk about how it's gone downhill. However, I found the food as delicious as before.

One of the big downsides to eating in is that the minute you enter, you're hit by the most overpowering smell of oil. I suppose it's only natural considering they have an open kitchen and everything on the menu is deep-fried (fish n chips, fish cakes, fried mars bars...). You end up smelling like you just came out of a diner - something I find far worse than smelling like Korean BBQ. Though I suppose they have the East End fish n chips ambiance down pat - minus the newsprint wrapping :P

Nevertheless, food is definitely worth it (though prices aren't cheap). We ordered fish n chips and a chicken & leek pie to share. Both come with your choice of a side of fries or mashed potatoes, and mushy peas or baked beans.

halibut ($115)

There is a selection of fish to choose from - cod, halibut, sole fillet... I'm glad we chose the halibut because this was delicious and light. While it looks extremely deep-fried in the photo, it actually didn't taste too heavy. The batter was very thin and non-greasy, and the fish was perfect in their homemade tartare sauce.

Chips were also fantastic. In the interest of healthier eating, I had opted for mashed potatoes with the pie. However, the minute I tasted these chips, I swapped the mashed potatoes back for more chips! I love fat fries and these were yum, especially covered in vinegar :) Oh it made me miss London.

chicken & leek pie ($95)

I really enjoyed the pie as well. While it wasn't as good as the fish, the pastry was nice and thick (I hate the flaky kind) and the chicken had great flavour. I love mushy peas but can't find them in too many places. The ones at the Chippy are pretty good, and you can order them on the side for $15. Pie also came with a cute pot of gravy. When you pour it on, it looks like this:

Hehe almost looks like poutine but yummier ;)

The Chippy
51A, Wellington Street

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Beijing Randoms

I've had a few people asking me about where I stay when I go to Beijing so here's a small post on the subject :)

I stayed at G Hotel on my latest trip. I love boutique hotels and this one received really favourable ratings on tripadvisor so decided to give it a go. The rooms are all designed in retro-chic style and are pretty flamboyant and over the top. They're also super big with ridiculously comfortable bed/pillow. Right around the corner is Destination - apparently the best gay club in Beijing which even houses an internet cafe for drunken chat ups. Fortunately, it's also minutes away from a whole host of clubs in the Gongti, as well as delicious Bellagio!

super comfy bed

love the sofa

and watched a lot of wimbledon on the tv :)

enjoyed the bathtub

Of course I had to check out the complimentary breakfasts! Upon being seated, we were immediately served watermelon juice (ok la) and a bread basket (stale).

There was an interesting selection of food, including Chinese bao's, sandwiches and my absolute favourite bircher muesli!! I know it should be relatively easy to make but being the lazy person I am, I'd rather just go to a restaurant and order it yet you can never seem to find it in Hong Kong :(

assortment of sandwiches and bircher muesli hiding in the background :)

Sandwiches were surprisingly good (though bottoms were a little soggy from sitting out for too long :\) Added edam cheese to make even yummier.

You can also order one dish from their "made to order" menu which consisted of a selection of Western and Asian dishes (french toast, scrambled eggs, congee etc). We got the "vegetarian" which was scrambled eggs with cheese in a croissant, and the "big breakfast" of eggs, bacon, sausage.


Baked beans and the tomato w/ pesto was yummy but the eggs made me feel really queasy afterwards. Perhaps that's to do with China-quality eggs...I've watched far too many clips of the fake cardboard eggs they manufacture!!

big breakfast

Asked for the eggs over-easy and had to send them back three times until we finally said sunny-side up was okay. Eggs also tasted off. French toast the following day fared slightly better.

I think Opposite House is still my favourite though, for decor, service, and of course breakfast food!

Like G Hotel, there's a small buffet selection (basically just breads/pastries, cold cuts, and fruit) and then you can choose anything off the a la carte menu.

from the buffet spread. i remember loving that muffin in the background

bircher muesli

Was so happy that you could order this full-size off the menu. Ate it for all 3 of my breakfasts despite the temptation of ordering waffles or eggs bene. It was that delicious, especially with the fresh fruit!

During my trip, we also made requisite visits to Hatsune (order the Clayton Roll and the South Beach Roll) and bao zi jiao zi!


bao zi - a bit too bready

shao mai - where can you get this in hk? love!

jiao zi

Anyway, if you're planning to visit Beijing I would definitely recommend staying at a boutique hotel. Lots more fun than the international chains with many free perks (G Hotel has free wifi and bikes to borrow, Opposite House has free beer :). Service was great, location was great, rooms were huge! I miss Beijing already...

G Hotel
A7 Worker's Stadium
Chaoyang District

The Opposite House
No. 11, Sanlitun Road,
Chaoyang District