Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Chicken Man

I love chicken and was so so excited when I saw the Chicken Man appear on High Street, about a two-minute walk from my apartment :) It serves rotisserie chickens reminiscent of the type I saw all over Paris with the chicken fat soaked potatoes mmm!

On our first visit there, we were highly disappointed to discover that they did not serve chicken wings. After we put up a big fuss, the owner finally took our advice and put them on the menu which was the best business decision he could have made because they are absolutely fantastic - I went back twice within three days just to order them!

chicken noodle soup ($25)

This was so so comforting. I probably should've taken a picture of the yummy contents of the soup but it included a substantial amount of shredded chicken and fusilli pasta, one of my favourites! The broth was really soothing and I could definitely have this everyday - especially with the weather starting to get slightly chillier. I advise you bring a bread roll to go with it!

chicken roll ($25)

Pretty self explanatory, this was just chicken mayo on a small bread roll. It was quite okay but I thought there was a tad too much mayo. However, the bread was gently toasted and I loved the light crispiness of it :)

chicken baguette ($45)

This was HUGE! It was basically slices of chicken stuffed into a baguette that turned very soggy and messy as a result of the heaps of gravy poured on top. While I enjoyed this, I felt that it was far too big and got a bit tedious to eat after a while. I also would have preferred chicken, gravy and mashed potatoes rather than in baguette form.

chicken wings ($60)

And now...the star of the show. I will keep coming back to eat these chicken wings which had me attacking them like a carnivore! According to my friend, a self-acclaimed chicken connoisseur who has a penchant for eating a ridiculous amount of chicken wings that could probably feed a family of four (think KFC family meal combo buckets), these are without a doubt the best chicken wings in Hong Kong. They were super juicy, super flavourful, super tender and just finger-licking good! I liked how they were roasted as well, making them feel slightly healthier despite me polishing off all the skin. They were perfect without needing any sauce, though they are served with two sauces (I like the peri peri and the Chinese BBQ). Considering the portion size (the wings were extra large), it's great value too!

You really should get to the Chicken Man, if only to try these chicken wings. They also have good lunch sets, which range from $40 - $50. My favourite is one that includes a chicken leg, rice and vegetables, and chicken noodle soup / daily soup (their pumpkin isn't bad either!)

UPDATE - I went back today for a delicious lunch:

lunch set C ($45)

Chicken was nice and juicy (yay thighs!) and I really like the accompanying vegetables which I happily scoffed down with my rice. The lunch set also comes with a bowl of soup so it's really good value, and if you're a student you get a free box drink too! I haven't had Hi-C lemon tea in sooo long :)

kiddies lunch ($40)

This is only available to students and doesn't come with a soup so I actually think the regular lunch is better value. The french fries here are yummy though - not quite sure what they sprinkle on top but it's like my beloved shake shake fries!

68% chocolate brownie ($29)

Due to the generosity of the owner, we received free chocolate brownies each! Haha he definitely knows what girls like ;) I only wished I had added a scoop of their vanilla movenpick ice cream and this would have been perfect.

The Chicken Man
72 High Street,
Sai Ying Pun

Monday, November 14, 2011

Opus Grill

I have always heard good things about Opus Grill and I love popping up there for a quiet drink - there's always booths available and they make killer cocktails tailored to suit your preferences! I visited for dinner last Saturday and found the restaurant pretty much empty...Felt a bit bad for them considering everywhere else in Central is usually fully booked on the weekend.

I liked their pretty plates though they were taken away from us after we sat down :( We were also harassed by the sommelier to try their sparkling wine which apparently is very rare and a gem we could not miss out on because it was sourced from Portugal... as neither of us were interested in ordering any wine, the hard sell was a bit annoying. Probably pushed me even farther away from ordering anything to drink! On the other hand, there was a super sweet waiter who ran down to 7-11 to pick up Panadol for us to cure our pounding headaches from a day out in the sun surrounded by pushy Chinese kids and their equally rude parents...That's pretty good service :)

blue stilton cheese salad

Appetizer was a very light and fresh salad with a beautiful honey & wholegrain dressing. Loved the salad mix, especially the julienned carrots, and the blue cheese paired well with the mixed leaves and red onions. Delicious and simple - my kind of salad :)

french onion soup

I'm not a big fan of french onion soup which is usually far too strong and pungent for my liking. However, this one wasn't too clawing (probably because the melted cheese wasn't actually melted on top of the soup) so it went down okay. I liked the little cheese croquette to the side which I happily soggified in the soup :)

lime sorbet

Nice and refreshing palate cleanser after the heavy soup. Mmm, I wanted to lick up the sugar around the rim!

david blackmore wagyu flat iron steak

This was what I was looking forward to!! I had heard great things about their steaks so was excited to see how it held up to the steak I had last weekend at One-thirtyone. Unfortunately, this one wasn't quite as good but definitely still one of the better ones I've had in HK. The middle chunk was beautifully cooked to medium rare, but the sides were slightly tough. I did enjoy the little pot of corn stew (full of butter mmm) and the roasted sweet garlic cloves spread on bread (the first time I've tried something like that!) Altogether, pretty decent dish though I wished there were some fries or mashed potatoes on the side. Perhaps too decadent.

mixed berry cheesecake

Not usually a fan of cheesecake either, but this one was so fluffy it went down pretty easily and was a nice light end to the meal. The raspberries and blueberries were very plump and sweet, and I enjoyed the mango coulis at the bottom - wished they had given more!

The above meal cost $428, really good value for the amount of food we got and the quality. Not exactly an outstanding meal, but far better than Chez Patrick and I left full and satiated :) Perhaps I've been spoilt by one-thirtyone... :P

Opus Grill
7/F LKF Tower
33 Wyndham Street
Lan Kwai Fong, Central

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chez Patrick

This week is Festival of Restaurants (sort of like Springalicious all over again) and I managed to reserve a table for two at Chez Patrick, a restaurant that usually gets booked out first in events like this. The set menu is $428 for 2 and you have a choice of any four items off their special menu, consisting of 4 appetisers, 2 mains, and 2 desserts.

The restaurant itself is quite charming and intimate, and we were greeted very warmly by the maitre'd and Chef Patrick Goubier himself (though he seemed to spend as much time playing on his macbook than in the kitchen!)

We started off with delicious warm bread and an amuse-bouche:

I wasn't quite sure whether I was meant to eat the amuse-bouche alone or with the bread - I ended up leaving most of it out of sheer confusion. In terms of taste, it was quite interesting and I thought I detected a hint of seaweed and fish in the spread. However, no one came to explain it so I can't provide much more information that that...

potato cake with home smoked salmon

I enjoyed the gratinated potato and the salmon tasted fresh as well. The cream cheese contained a hint of lemon and dill, which made it yummier than normal. However, a pretty forgettable dish and portions were so small!

confit duck gizzard

This was alright. I quite liked the duck when eaten with the salad as I found the taste a bit too rich on its own. Was also happy to eat brussel sprouts which I rarely find in restaurants!

king prawns tartar

This was light and fresh, and quite a delight to eat :) I really enjoyed the tartare sauce used which was creamy but not overwhelmingly thick or mayonnaise'y. They served the same side salad as they had with the previous starters though, which I was a bit disappointed about.

For our mains:

braised beef cheek

Hm. It came out looking pretty unappealing and I found the taste far too overpowering for my liking. Given this is traditional French cooking, I know I shouldn't be complaining, but I just thought a little subtlety and more flavours (all I could taste was the merlot) would add volumes to this dish.

mini sea bass fillet

This dish fared much better than the meat. I enjoyed the thin crisp potatoes on top of the fish, and the sea bass was cooked very well with lovely flaky meat. I quite liked the creamy watercress sauce it came with until my friend said it tasted like elastic bands which subsequently ruined it for me. Luckily, the pumpkin puree in the small pot at the back was delicious (especially with the melted cheese on top).

baked chestnut candy

The dessert was decent. I expected more from a French restaurant but I did enjoy the flaky pastry with the chestnut paste inside, though the chocolate block below was far too strong.

I didn't have a particularly memorable meal here and left confused about why so many people rave about this restaurant. The service wasn't particularly good - our water was never refilled, waiters didn't introduce the dishes and didn't know who had ordered what, and it seemed a bit disorganised as they brought out the same dish right after we had just finished it...The food did not excite me and felt pretty average, definitely not worth it for the prices you're paying given the tiny size of the dishes... And I wished that Chef Patrick would spend more time in his kitchen than out in the dining room socializing with guests. Perhaps then the food would be up to par.

Probably not worth visiting if you ask me, which is a shame because I really wanted to like the place.

Chez Patrick
26 Peel Street

Sunday, November 6, 2011


One-thirty one. The best meal / experience / evening I've had in Hong Kong, hands down.

I've been dying to try one-thirtyone for the last few years and was even more excited to go after learning that Chef Caith (who was part of the inaugural team at the Krug Room and has worked with the likes of Pierre Gagnaire, Thomas Keller and of course Uwe) has taken the helm. It was quite hard to book a table but we managed to secure reservations Saturday evening about a month in advance. I was a bit scared that my expectations were too high but I had nothing to be worried about.

We arrived slightly ahead of schedule and were greeted by a huge doberman and a panting Chef Caith running after it. Luckily, there were gates separating us and the dog but I couldn't help taking a few steps back thinking if it really wanted to, it could break down whatever barrier was in between it and it's prey :P Dog restrained, we were invited to take a stroll around the garden before our table was ready. The restaurant is set in a beautiful country house with terraces on each floor. It really felt like you're in the European countryside. They have a big front lawn which apparently can accommodate those who wish to make a grand entrance via helicopter. In front of the lawn is a small beachfront and a private dock. Very picturesque, I'm sure it would be gorgeous in the daytime or if you're here early enough to catch the sunset.

We entered the restaurant where there was just one other table (seating 8) and ours:

It felt as if we were crashing their party! But it was a good thing we were sitting indoors because the mosquitos in Sai Kung were out in full force (and probably the biggest ones I've seen in a while!)

loved the table decorations

The 7-course dinner (no a la carte) sets you back $900 per person which is definitely reasonable given the quality and amount of food served. There's also a wine list though they only have house wine by the glass. Chef Caith changes his menu often and you can give him any dietary restrictions in advance.

We were first served warm, freshly baked bread that was absolutely delicious with the olive oil and cranberry balsamic vinegar they provided. The cranberry taste was great and I definitely want to hit up CitySuper and get some for myself! They also had a balsamic vinegar with figs, though we didn't get to try it.

amuse bouche

Can't remember what exactly this was. Some crispy wafer that tasted almost like shrimp crackers, with a piece of pork (?) on top. Unfortunately, I couldn't really understand the waiter when he explained it. Nevertheless, it was really good and I loved the hot meat on the cool wafer.


Luckily, Chef Caith came out to describe all the other dishes and you could definitely tell how enthusiastic he is about cooking and the amount of thought and attention that goes into the construction of each of his plates. He explained that he used orecchiette pasta because it absorbs flavours better, and topped it with a 64 degree slow-poached egg - the perfect temperature for a soft boiled egg. The carbonara was accompanied with slices of iberico ham and asparagus.

This dish was really really good. The egg was poached to perfection with the egg white and the yolk having an even texture. When I poked my fork into the yolk, it oozed out liquid gold goodness which I wanted to lick off my plate. The carbonara was really nice, not as heavy as most you get in Hong Kong and I loved the orechiette which I've never tried before. The iberico ham was also top quality and the asparagus so big with a perfect crunch. They apparently grow all their own vegetables in the driveway outside their house! Not sure how good it is to be growing the plants near all the fumes of the car...but I guess it works if they can churn out these beauties :)

challandais duck breast

I was first introduced to challandais duck while living in Paris - I had been told to try it at La Tour D'argent which has been serving this duck since the 19th century and source all of them from Challans. I wonder if one-thirtyone does the same. Either way, this duck was stunning dipped in the 25-year old balsamic vinegar on the side and eaten with the figs. Chef Caith told us that the way it was plated was meant to be reminiscent of a tree. It reminded me a lot of the "garden" salad we ate at the Mandarin Grill which is where I suppose Caith draws most of his inspiration from. Unfortunately, he didn't mention that we should wrap it up like a peking duck with the spinach leaves on the side - we only heard this later when he was introducing it to the party of 8. Nevertheless, still delicious and I knew we were in for some great food!

chicken consomme

This came out looking so strange!! The round disks are chicken pieces and the balls are actually coconut flavoured. Can't remember how he told us he made them, but basically when you bite into them coconut juice oozes out. They also don't melt when the hot soup is poured in:

Caith was nice enough to pour extra slowly so we could get a photo in :)

Again, this dish was amazing. The broth was really comforting and made me wish someone would make it for me each time I'm sick! I loved the chicken pieces which were a tiny bit spicy and contrasted beautifully with the clear, lighter broth. I wasn't sure how I felt about the coconut balls though! While they were really interesting texture-wise and it was pretty cool how coconut burst out of them, I thought it was a bit of a weird taste when paired with the soup.


Absolutely nothing like what I expected a pizza to be! The dish consisted of baguette wafers, lobster, melted reblechon cheese and parmigiano chips on top. Chef Caith then grated a very generous helping of truffle on top! I loved the messy plating of this dish and thought it looked really fun. The lobster was great with the melted cheese (Caith said he used reblechon because it's much stronger than your typical mozzarella and he was soo right with his call!) and the organic tomato paste was so simple but so good. It's a great testament to the whole meal in general when I say that such a yummy dish was my least favourite of the night!

"ayers rock"

Caith presented this dish alongside a photo on his iPhone of the actual ayers rock:

Apparently one time he did this, his iPhone started ringing while he was explaining his concept to the guests! Haha. Slightly embarrassing :P Anyway, Caith said he's never been before but wants to go and was inspired by it to produce the dish we have above!

chef Caith squirting out the clouds :P

The clouds were my favourite part!! The foam was made out of truffle oil, mashed potatoes and chicken. You could really taste the truffle which works amazing with steak and really brings out the flavour of the meat. I wished I had stolen his little piper because I wanted to squirt it all over my steak!

close up of meaaaat

Favourite dish of the meal!!! Wow the prime sirloin was cooked so well and I loved the couscous "sand" at the bottom which was actually made out of cauliflower! The desert was zucchini and there were some long beans at the end to represent the cactus. Quality of meat was great and it was cooked to medium rare perfection. Compare this piece to the one we recently had at Greyhound cafe :P OH and the mushrooms were delicious too! Just such a well-constructed dish that was beautiful to look at and even better to eat.

cheese platter

Before the dessert we were given a cheese platter with a selection of soft and hard cheeses. Unfortunately no description here of what we were eating but I did enjoy the brie and the candied walnuts!

our "garden"

On the menu, our dessert was described as "lawn. log. mushroom". Haha sounded very unappealing for a dessert but we were so excited when it arrived looking like the above. Super creative and whimsical, it really did feel like our little garden. The mushrooms were made out of vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate mousse, topped with meringues. The lawn was a thin green tea sponge cake, which had salted caramel nuts hiding underneath that was meant to be the soil! The chocolate balls to the side were great - they crackled in your mouth which reminded me of those rocket fizz candies I used to love. And I really enjoyed the green tea sponge cake which was light and airy but had a good green tea flavour to it and worked really well with the vanilla ice cream, salted caramel, and chocolate sprinkles everywhere. So much fun to eat!

petit fours

To end a most brilliant meal, a selection of petit fours. The macaron was very well made (far exceeding LGB) and I like the candied orange peels. Chocolates were a tad too sweet but washed down okay with my peppermint tea :)

Everything about this meal was just so right. The setting was beautiful, service amazing, and the food truly outstanding. I loved that Chef Caith came out to introduce all the dishes, giving the whole meal a much more personal feel. He also made sure to say goodbye and walk us to our taxi, giving us his personal name card along the way and insisting we come back the following day! I was very very tempted. Definitely the best meal I've had in Hong Kong with beautifully plated food that looks appealing and tastes sensational. I adored it all.

Will definitely try to make it back before the end of the year!!

One-thirty one
131 Tseng Tau Village,
Shap Sze Heung, Sai Kung

(I would recommend catching a cab from Wu Kai Sha station which costs about $20. If you don't want to go through the hassle of changing lines from the New Territories line, a cab from Chinese University station was about $60).