Good Value Saga Wagyu 佐贺和牛 6-course Set @ Superstar on 5Apr2015

japanese wagyu

saga wagyu 佐贺和牛

what was very good value but perhaps not the best in culinary sophistication was the premium saga wagyu 6-course dinner set we had at the flagship stall of the superstar group restaurant on 5.4.2015.

there was uncertainty from the beginning that this what looked like a very traditional chinese kind of restaurant could manage a wagyu steak well. superstar group do have teppanya & 燒肉牛蔵(和牛專門店yakiniku gyukura restaurants, so initially i booked yakiniku gyukura but they replied that the wagyu set was only served in 2 superstar restaurants & recommended their flagship at tsim sha tsui mansion at nathan road.

premium wagyu 6-course set

premium saga wagyu 佐贺和牛 6-course set

there was nothing to fault really about the menu & quality of ingredients. the preparation & presentation though was not quite the best.

geoduck sashimi

geoduck sashimi

wife wanted to go light after too much eating & decided not to take the set, and instead just ordered a mirugai (geoduck) sashimi. it was good. not a big portion, can’t remember now but probably hk$298.

geoduck sashimi was sweet & succulent, but it was a small geoduck clam, so it was nearer the ends & did not have the large inside flesh that the excellent if expensive geoduck platter we had at  budaoweng 不倒翁 hotpot at isquare.

crispy roast chicken

crispy roast chicken

& the restaurant gave us a fee 1/2 roast chicken, apparently for any spending above hk$200. not the best chicken, still it was pretty good.

crystal pork & tofu

crystal pork & tofu

set started with crystal pork 肴肉& deep-fried tofu. both were competent in look & taste for a good chinese restaurant. tofu was crispy outside & silky inside. 🙂

sharksfin soup

sharksfin soup

sharkskin with compoy & fishmaw was average, not the standard of good chinese restaurant sharkskin soup.

japanese wagyu

japanese wagyu

the main draw was the japanese saga wagyu 佐贺和牛. they were pricing it at a special hk$308 for 100g & hk$498 for the set.

we asked for medium rare, which according to them was 五分熟 50% cooked. it came about medium rare to rare. beef was very marbled. the piece looked bigger than 100g. anyway japanese saga wagyu at about S$55/100g was a good price.

it was indeed a very good steak, good marbling melt in the mouth. i felt though that somehow the temperature was not right. it was not charred enough (not enough maillard reaction to impart the flavours) & the meat felt like steamed, somehow the marbling, fragrant flavours were not quite there.

don’t know but just did not have the memorable “wowed-over” feeling that we had at imahan hakata at fukuoka!

nor also the excellent A4 ohmi wagyu at me@oue.

my own chargrilled wagyu steak

for comparison, my own chargrilled wagyu steak

well, it was not even as flavourful as my own chargrilled wagyu steak! (above photo).

maybe belief is important? lack of belief affects taste. don’t know!

stonefish soup

stonefish soup

stonefish soup was very tasty. it was their signature dish. as a accompanying side dish for a premium wagyu 6-course set, i thought it was very good. not sure it could be consider a top signature dish standalone.

stonefish soup

minced wagyu fried rice

the minced wagyu beef fried rice was to me also average though son thought it was very good. i thought it did not have the same wok hae & intense flavours like-

the unagi chahan (fried rice say) at either zen OR en japanese dining; nor

the fragrant spicy fried rice at crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao.

baked lotus paste sago

baked lotus paste sago

the baked lotus paste sago was a attempted fusion dessert dish. hmmm…i would prefer a creme brûlée or portugese egg tart the ones at marco polo continental club lounge was exquisite!

will i go back again??? i wonder myself….

on paper, this should be a very good deal. but actually i can do without the other dishes (nothing much there to miss really) and just take the wagyu at hk$308. still hk$308 is a bit of money, and not sure i want to leave my fate with the chef and hope for a hk$308 wagyu to turn out for the best. hmmm…

c.h.e.f andy

Marco Polo HK @ Harbour City 3-6Apr2015

view from marco polo hotel room

view from marco polo hotel room

we stayed at marco polo hong kong hotel (located at harbour city kowloon) during this trip 3-6apr2015.

there are 3 hotels at harbour city belonging to the marco polo group. there is prince hotel nearer to kowloon park & haiphong road (where we stayed last time), gateway hotel in the middle & marco polo hong kong nearer star ferry terminal.

this time son was travelling with us. singapore airlines return airfare from london to hong kong was like £50 more than return to singapore, and the timing coincided with our trip to hk, which was bad really as we would have preferred to stay in singapore with our son, but anyway we made the best of it. 🙂

hotel room

hotel room

hotel room

hotel room

we stayed at the continental club floor, which is kind of expensive for me, but it has its privileges.^^

at the other hotels, room are small & do not accept 3pax so you end up paying for 2 rooms. here we have a 500sq ft room at the 17th floor, which is very spacious even with the extra bed.^^

and view was great. we were directly overlooking 1881, which was formerly the navy police headquarters. and the victoria harbour. 🙂

tray of nuts

tray of nuts

& the food was amazing. there was complimentary daily breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktail with hors d’oeuvres.

i stayed on many a club floors in my time working for various companies. the best food i had was a family staycation at ritz carlton in singapore like 20yrs ago. the food, wine & cheese were just incredible. i cannot really remember now except that it was very good, but this marco polo club floor food, wine & cheese were just as great!^^

(3)dinner time at club lounge 5.30pm

wine & coffee

you can order coffee (flat white, cappuccino etc) but i am now taken by nespresso so i had a restricto (10) with creamer after many a cuppa with my good friend after our weekly 10km runs. a real enjoyment, this. 🙂

there were white & red wines. i liked the chateau los boldos, a chilean red, but the australian red was just as good. 🙂

dinner time at club lounge 5.30pm

cheese, a chive dumpling, pressed foie gras cone, another cheese

the cheese were excellent! the chinese dumpling was very good. i took a second, and the chinese dimsum next morning was great too.

(2)dinner time at club lounge 5.30pm

mushroom vegetable skewer

the skewer was very good.

(6)dinner time at club lounge 5.30pm

classy spicy dumpling 抄手

and what a classy way to present a spicy dumpling 抄手. ^^

(5)dinner time at club lounge 5.30pm

fruits, fish, goat cheese cherry tomatoes skewer, spicy dumpling etc

(7)dinner time at club lounge 5.30pm

goat cheese cherry tomatoes skewer

mango scallop

mango scallop

vegetable skewer

vegetable skewer

(10)dinner time at club lounge 5.30pm

fruits

the magnificent hors d’oeuvres started at 5.30pm. made life difficult for us as we had to plan around it, after all we wanted to eat out in hong kong. haha!^^

on the first day 3.4.2015, it was quite perfect though.

we arrived 12.30pm at the airport, took the airport express to elements & the complimentary bus to marco polo & checked in at the club floor. so our plan was to have dimsum at timhowan at shamshuipo at 3pm.

so the 5.30pm hors d’oeuvres came in nicely as our next was a late night dinner at budaoweng at 9.30pm. ^^

breakfast

smoked salmon & parma ham

breakfast2

smoked salmon & parma ham

breakfast3

smoked salmon & parma ham

breakfast was equally scrumptious.

steak for breakfast

steak breakfast

there was a breakfast menu which include steak, egg omelette, wanton noodles etc.

on the second day we were having a heavy weekend brunch at amber so i had a light breakfast. on the last day 6.4.2015, i ordered the steak. it was good, not like super super, but good.

c.h.e.f andy

Very Good Beef Hotpot @ Budaoweng 不倒翁 iSquare on 3Apr2015

USDA beef

USDA beef

as planned on the first night, we went to budaoweng 不倒翁 hotpot at isquare near our hotel at 9.30pm on 3.4.2015. this late night discounts used to be 40% before, but now it was 20% for the entire menu including drinks.

since we had a late lunch at timhowan shamshuipo, this was rather a good arrangement, except that we also had a bit to eat at the club lounge at marco polo hk hotel. 🙂

we had the usual must-order large portion 金牌肥牛 at HK$368, which was the USDA marbled beef.

budaoweng 不倒翁 hotpot

budaoweng 不倒翁 hotpot

HK$758 geoduck, bamboo clams & grouper

HK$758 geoduck, bamboo clams & grouper

geoduck

geoduck

bamboo clams

bamboo clams

we decided to have geoduck sashimi. it was very expensive though at HK$48 per tael (两) 37.5g。that would make it HK$1280 about S$228/kg = really ex man!

we decided to take their promotion platter which had a portion of geoduck sashimi, grouper head & belly & roar clams. that was HK$758 before 20% discounts. this also very ex. not that much geoduck sashimi, 2 pieces of razor clams & some grouper 头腩, which is a really cheap dish in HK.

1/2 order prawn dumplings

1/2 order prawn dumplings – HK&88

we had 1/2 order (4 pieces) of our favourite prawn dumplings. it had 3 huge prawns inside.

vegetable tray

vegetable tray

& a vegetable tray.

condiments & sauces

condiments & sauces

there were very good condiments & sauces. they charged like HK$22pax.

fruit & jelly

fruit & jelly

they served a complimentary fruit & jelly.

dinner was very enjoyable, but came to be rather expensive after 20% discounts (HK$1800 for 3pax) as we also ordered an expensive sake.

the service was very good actually. servers were polite & responsive. but they tended to push things. one served poured the cane drinks 竹蔗for us. the difference now was that we said we didn’t want it & she took it back. in the past servers in HK would show you a black face. they may still do now at other places. this one was ok.

another practice both here & at lei gardens, the servers tended to hang around, the body language expecting tips. but there was already 10% service, especially when they charged for everything from soup base to condiments & for here sake was very ex too. anyway they do what they need to do, we tip when we feel we want to tip…hahaha!^^

c.h.e.f andy

5pax Dinner @ Tao Heung 稻香超级渔港 Mongkok on 12May2013

steamed garoupa - this was very good everyone liked it

steamed garoupa – this was very good everyone liked it

Taohueng 稻香group operates a number of mid-range restaurants catering to different cuisine like cantonese, teochew, shanghai & hakka etc. In my previous visits, I found the individual sets at 迎Joyous One at Tsimshatsui (which was the newest & more up-market within the group) and at Chung Cuisine at Times Square quite ok and good value.

I had a very enjoyable dinner at 稻香超级渔港 at Mongkok with my sis when we visited in Jan2013. However there was always the concern about consistency in these type of restaurants – that one could not really tell the quality of the dish just by looking at the online menu. indeed we had a “not so great” dinner at 潮楼 (another Taohueng restaurant) just the night before (though the set menu had looked very impressive), and we had wanted to change to a late dinner at beef hotpot @ budaoweng 不倒翁 instead. 🙂 however KCP, who was joining us for dinner this evening, could not make the change, so we went ahead with  稻香超级渔港.

酱蹄 sliced sauce trotters

酱蹄 sliced sauce trotters

蒜泥白肉 garlic sliced pork

蒜泥白肉 garlic sliced pork

still shy of the set menu the evening before, we decided to go for ala carte instead.  the 2 cold dishes we ordered – 酱蹄 sliced sauce trotters & 蒜泥白肉 garlic sliced pork (JK thought this was very good) – were both good & not pricy, so that gave us some confidence. 🙂

scallop seafood soup in wintermelon -

scallop seafood soup in wintermelon

the scallop seafood soup in wintermelon, which the restaurant was promoting was kind of disappointing c/w the usual very good cantonese 例汤…so it looked like we were in for some hits & misses.

thankfully we had a really wonderful steamed garoupa next. this was very good & everyone liked it. 🙂

roast goose 烧鹅

roast goose 烧鹅

romaine lettuce 油麦菜

romaine lettuce 油麦菜

the roast goose was quite good really but we just had a really good one that morning at Yat Lok 一乐@ Stanley Street which was more crispy & tasty. 🙂 JK complained that the garlic 油麦菜 romaine lettuce did not look like romaine lettuce, and it was just so-so – lacking in “wok hae”.

lobster noodle

lobster noodle

we ordered a lobster noodle. the lobster was good but the yi min noodle 伊面 was quite lacking in flavours. it used to be that Mandarin Kitchen in London was the “go-to” place for lobster noodles in London like for 30 yrs. these days any restaurant in Singapore could do a good lobster noodle. it was surprising that the noodles here should be so below par!

稻香超级渔港 at Mongkok

稻香超级渔港 at Mongkok

we had 7 dishes including steamed garoupa & lobster for 5pax for HK$930. that’s about S$30nett. price was not high for just above average food but we were really expecting better. the tricky thing about ala carte was ordering the right dishes which were good for their price. in this case we did just ok but probably still safer than going with the set. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Beef Hotpot @ Budaoweng(不倒翁) at iSquare, Tsimshatsui Hong Kong on 9Mar2013

handcut US angus marbled beef (肥牛)

handcut US angus marbled beef (肥牛)

The beef hotpot at Budaoweng(不倒翁) is favourite with my wife Lisa (& with me too!). Everytime she is in Hong Kong. she will go for a late supper (宵夜-there is a 40% discount after 9.30pm during weekdays & after 9.45pm during weekends), sometimes twice during her stay. This time is no exception.

During our recent trip to Hong Kong, we arrived & checked-in to Marco Polo Prince Hotel about 8.15pm, so timing was quite perfect. 不倒翁 was just a short walk to iSquare and there was no need to pre-book. We did this again on the evening of 11.3.2013, before flying back Singapore the next day.

We ordered the usual large portion of specially selected handcut US angus marbled beef (特选手切肥牛)- HK$168 after 40% discount. You can see the marbling, and this is really flavourful & tender, melting in the mouth. I thoroughly enjoyed this even though we ate exactly the same thing the second visit. Both times we were greedy and ordered another small portion of beef  – HK$138 after 40% discount. Our daughter Su Lin was with us, so there were 3 of us. I could just eat the beef & vegetables and nothing else.

Image

very nice prawn dumplings, each with 3 very fresh big prawns

We also ordered a plate of prawn dumplings – 8 for HK$58. You could also order a 1/2plate – 4 dumplings for HK$30. This was really good too. Each dumpling had 3 very fresh large prawns, the skin was smooth, and it’s super tasty.

Image

脆鲩鱼骨腩 (grass carp bones & belly)

I also added a 脆鲩鱼骨腩 (grass carp bones & belly) – HK$38. I like fish so I quite enjoyed it, but though 脆 means crunchy, it can mean tough & also several pieces have bones, so not everyone will like. We did not order that the second time we visited.

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prawn paste (虾滑)

Lisa also ordered a prawn paste (虾滑) – HK$58 – which is nice too, though we don’t really need to have that, and we did not order it the second time we visited.

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vegetable basket

We also had the vegetable basket. I cannot remember the price but it should be like HK$88 of HK$108. You must have vegetables for balance for a meat steamboat and Hong Kong vegetables are fresh & nice. On the second visit though we ordered just the Chinese lettuce for HK$48 & that was really quite sufficient.

hotpot soup base (汤底) - we had the HK$88 clear vegetable soup

hotpot soup base (汤底) – we had the HK$88 clear vegetable soup

There was a wide range of hotpot soup base, but since we went there primarily to take the beef, we opted for the cheapest HK$88 clear vegetable soup. There was also a HK$20pax charge for the condiments (调料) – haebeehiam, garlic, spring onions, chilli, chilli oil, wasabi, soy sauce etc (most hotpot restaurants in Hong Kong charged this also).

condiments platter - haebeehiam, chilli, chilli oil, wasabi, spring onions, sesame sauce, garlic etc

condiments platter – haebeehiam, chilli, chilli oil, wasabi, spring onions, sesame sauce, garlic etc

The entire meal, if you were to say order for 2pax 1 plate of beef, 1 plate dumpling & 1 Chinese lettuce + the plain soup base, it will set you back by HK$442 (inclusive of HK$20pax for the condiments & 10% service on top), and if you add a bottle of 350ml sake, that will be another HK$300+, so it is not really that cheap even after 40% discount. But to me the food quality & the enjoyment of it is well worth the price! Service is efficient, and they will bring hot water & ice, which are free (they don’t serve cold water only mineral water, I did not check the price but it should be ok to order it if you need to have mineral water..), we don’t really have any complaint about that.

c.h.e.f andy