Sumptuous Weekend Wine Brunch @ Amber Landmark Mandarin Oriental on 4Apr2015

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

wife booked 3pax weekend wine brunch at amber at landmark mandarin oriental on 4.4.2015.^^

amber has 2 michelin stars 6 years in a row & is the no.4 in asia & no.24 in pellegrino’s world’s top 50 restaurants.

this 1 of the places you have to leave credit card details and will be charged in full if you cancel within 48hrs. i am not sure if it is a new practice but we booked 2pax degustation dinner at joel robuchon maybe 4yrs ago & did not have to do that. & we had been to caprice at four seasons, and pierre at the other mandarin oriental and did not have to do that.

anyway we were happy to try out this place, and our faith were more than rewarded. this was simply the best meal we had in hong kong, not comparing joel robuchon’s degus dinner which cost more than twice this lunch.

baguette, olive & onion bread

baguette, olive & onion bread

after a very pleasant morning stroll along the peak circle walk taking in the hong kong skyline, we took a cab form the peak to landmark mandarin oriental which only cost us hk$55.

we started with a nice champagne.

the baguette and olive & onion bread from the bread basket were warm & very good, with both salted & unsalted butter.

6-course weekend wine brunch with 4 paragons of wine (champagne, 2 whites, 1 red)

6-course weekend wine brunch with 4 paragons of wine (champagne, 2 whites, 1 red)

weekend wine brunch was a 6-course (though that included cheese & 2 desserts) with selection of 4 wines at hk$888.

we found out that it was really an excellent deal even c/w weekday set lunches w/o the wine. so it was an excellent decision & wonderful lunch.

 foie gras lollipop

foie gras lollipop

squidink pita

squidink pita

squidink pita

squidink pita

we had 2 amuse bouche. both were good.

the foie gras lollipop in raspberry jelly had beetroot on one side & some crackers? on the other.

the squid ink pita was better, can’t remember maybe it was some cheese, anyway just remembered it was savoury & nice.^^

#1 foie gras terrine with suckling pig - very good

#1 foie gras terrine with suckling pig – very good

#1 foie gras terrine with suckling pig - very good

#1 foie gras terrine with suckling pig – very good

1st course was served with a riesling which i liked best of the 2 whites & champagne. all were nice anyway.

my son & i picked the foie gras terrine with suckling pig (interleaved) as our first course. it was very good, very flavourful & substantial.

#1 hokkaido sea urchin with caviar

#1 hokkaido sea urchin with caviar

wife picked the hokkaido sea urchin in lobster jelly with caviar topped with a gold leaf (which came with a hk$260 supplement). uni was sublime of course but the S$46+ supplement made no sense to us.

#1 hokkaido sea urchin with caviar

#1 hokkaido sea urchin with caviar

we all love uni of course, but we are not short of taking them, and we had whole tub of uni in japan for 1500yen (fukuoka recently) & lots of them at kuriya dining for the S$62 chirashi lunch with big serving of uni.

uni is uni. no culinary skill involved, is there?

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

#2 whole abalone with braised oxtail sauce

second course was served with another white chardonnay.

for the second course, wife & i had the whole abalone that came with braised oxtail sauce & oxtail!

it was really well done. the abalone was so well braised or sous vide it was pure tender & the oxtail sauce was an excellent match. the 2 pieces of oxtail were also very tender & tasty & robust. wife loved this though for me, i still prefer the chinese or japanese braised abalone in brown sauce, and the chinese dry abalone over the japanese fresh ones.

son decided to venture a bit & took the battered frog legs. i tried a bit. I must say it was very good, enough for me to say that fie the choice of the whole abalone & the frog leg (it was a no brainer before), i am not sure i will automatically pick abalone every time. 🙂

#3 sole with mussels & razor clams

#3 sole with mussels & razor clams

the mains were served with a selection of red. we picked the spanish wine which was very good.

for the 3rd course, wife had the sole with mussels & razor clams. i think it was excellent, the best you could do with a fish. the sole was very tasty, tender and also firm in texture.

#3 pyrennes lamb

#3 pyrennes lamb

#3 pyrennes lamb

#3 pyrennes lamb

son & i had the pyrenes lamb shoulder. it was braised to perfection & smoked, very tender & smooth consistency w/o strong gamey taste. it was exquisite for a lamb shoulder.^^

#4 cheese platter - reblochon, comte & camembert (all 3 cheese were good, i like comte best, very tasty)

#4 cheese platter – reblochon, comte & camembert
(all 3 cheese were good, i like comte best, very tasty)

we had 2 plates of the cheese platter above for 3pax. it was lots of cheese. i liked all 3 cheese = reblochon, comte & camembert. i liked comte best, very flavourful almost like blue.

raspberry mousse + chestnut mousse on meringue with pear

chestnut mousse on meringue with pear+blackcurrent sorbet

we didn’t think much of the chestnut mousse on meringue, kind of sweet not accustomed to the taste! any sorbet, blackcurrent or otherwise, was good. 🙂

#6 raspberry sorbet & chocolate mousse

#6 raspberry sorbet & chocolate mousse

i liked the raspberry sorbet & chocolate mousse much better.^^

flat white

flat white

we were served coffee & petite four to round of the lunch.

this was the best meal i had in hk, a very memorable one, and i will definitely come back again with my wife.^^

c.h.e.f andy

Protected: RI G20 14pax Monthly Dinner @ Spices Cafe on 31Oct2014

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Lobster, Crab & Average Buffet @ Spices Cafe on 31Oct2014

cheese baked 1/2 lobster (1 order only)

cheese baked gratin 1/2 lobster (1 order only)

a friend organised the monthly RI schoolmates dinner at spices cafe, concord hotel yesterday on 31.10.2014. it was a really fun evening with a lot of interesting conversation. i am just quoting our great philosopher-

the analogy we cooked up to explain our senior moments. it was triggered by a friend’s reference to cloud storage as in the IT terminology eg Dropbox. our memory storage is in the cloud. it is just that we forget the password at times to unlock the specific memory storage. that’s why it helps to have shared storage in the cloud. if one forgets, another remembers. we need all the help we can get when our own neurons refuse to do the job.

see how fun our get-togethers are…with genius like this spewing jewels of wisdom…haha! 🙂

cheese baked 1/2 lobster (1 order only)

cheese baked gratin 1/2 lobster (1 order only)

the dinner buffet came with 1 order only of 1/2 cheese baked gratin lobster (or alternatively abalone). they said 200g though it looked bigger. the preparation though was so-so, the meat didn’t feel bouncy so either it was not a live lobster or maybe slight overdone.

the abalone was small c/w say the 2in size & more importantly excellent tasting abalone at ah yat abalone restaurant in a 5-course dinner groupon deal costing only S$28.80.

pepper crab

pepper crab

butter baked crab

butter baked crab

thai basil crab

thai basil crab

the buffet also included unlimited order of crabs prepared 5 ways – thai basil, pepper, chilli, salted egg & butter baked.

the preparations were ok. for me, thai basil & salted egg were best, pepper ok, butter baked so-so. i did not try chilli.

the crab were the indonesian mud crab type or maybe vietnamese, not the large sri lankan crab. meat was sweet, not the very firm standard, but not falling apart also. i think “boleh la” – ok & really i seldom eat crab as they are really expensive in seafood restaurants, so it may actually make sense if you want to “whack” the crabs to come & makan here! 🙂

we were too busy talking & having fun & did not even order a second round, but i made sure i tasted most of it, well except the chilli crab. 🙂

cold appetizers - oysters, mussels, scallops on shell, salmon, maguro & tai sashimi, prawns & some sushi

cold appetizers – oysters, mussels, scallops on shell, salmon, maguro & tai sashimi, prawns & some sushi

appetizers - smoked salmon, prawns, cold pasta, plus a marinated saba

appetizers – smoked salmon, prawns, cold pasta, plus a marinated saba

smoked salmon (so so), oysters (good), mussel (ok), salmon belly (good), marinated saba - horse mackerel (ok)

smoked salmon (so so), oysters (good), mussel (ok), salmon belly (good), marinated saba – horse mackerel (ok)

smoked salmon (so so), oysters (good), mussel (ok), salmon belly (good), marinated saba - horse mackerel (ok)

smoked salmon (so so), oysters (good), mussel (ok), salmon belly (good), marinated saba – horse mackerel (ok)

the cold appetiser section had oysters(good), mussels(ok), scallops on shell(i did not want to try, it looked like just taken out of deep freeze & thawed just as 1 blogger commented), salmon belly sashimi (good), maguro & tai sashimi, prawns & some sushi (the last 4 i likewise did not want to try. the sushi looked like the supermarket type).

i also took smoked salmon (so so, i should say poor actually), and a marinated saba (ok). did not try the prawns & cold pasta.

fortunately, salmon belly sashimi was really quite good, and the oyster too, so that was quite enough for me.

satay

satay

satay was good, and they actually had the pineapple sauce (not so common these days).

laksa was good - i asked for more hum (cockles) & i had a second helping

laksa was good – i asked for more hum (cockles) & i had a second helping

laksa was good - i asked for more hum (cockles) & i had a second helping

laksa was good – i asked for more hum (cockles) & i had a second helping

laksa was good, lemak. as good as any of the “katong laksa” around & the sungei road laksa. i had a second helping, maybe should have gone for a third.

i did not touch any of the cooked food. did not attract me, anyway, with lobster, crab, 2 helpings of oyster & sashimi & laksa, it was kind of enough, not too bad. 🙂

cheese & salad bar

cheese & salad bar

fruits & cheese

fruits & cheese

fruits & cheese

fruits & cheese

the cheese & salad bar was ok if limited. i took the brie & the blue. 🙂

the fruits were good. i had 2 helpings of pineapples & watermelon, and they had a lot of dried fruits like figs, apricots & prunes that i liked.

===============

overall, i find spices cafe buffet rather expensive, at S$54++pax for friday & weekend dinners. fortunately there was a 3paying 1 free promotion, so we paid about S$49pax nett for 13pax + 1pax vegetarian alacarte.

if you consider that a good 1/2lobster cost between S$20 and S$30, i guess then the buffet was not overly expensive.

buffet doesn’t attract me, and other than the lobster & crab (which were also so so for me), i would not normally do this buffet.

i would rate this as slightly above olive tree restaurant @ intercontinental hotel (S$34++ after 1 for 1 promotion) & the lunch buffet at edge @ pan pacific (S$43.50++ after 3paying 1 free) but not by much, and of course edge has far superior ambience & in a “higher class hotel” if that is even important haha.

anyway i would only go if i want the crab (i don’t need the lobster), & spices cafe has lunch buffet for senior citizen at S$23pax, so if i really want buffet i can go lunch w/o the lobster & crab. 🙂

for buffet, my favourite is still the semi buffet at equinox (after 50% feed at raffles discounts, that is), and even then i have not been there for the longest time! the view over marina bay skyline & F1 circuit is superb, and the main courses (which i avoid in other buffet) are ala carte orders & of fine dining standard.

the same goes for one ninety mezzo lunch at four seasons, another superior semi buffet. one ninety has better quality of buffet spread than equinox, & the main courses are also ala carte orders of fine dining standard. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Exquisite Lunch @ HKK London on 26Aug2014

#1 crispy duck salad - pulled duck with crispy skin, melon, dragon fruits & salad

#1 crispy duck salad – pulled duck with crispy skin, melon, dragon fruits & salad

we had a fabulous. sublime lunch @ HKK London at worship street on 26.8.2014. to me it was par with the £36 3-course pre-theatre menu at joel robuchon no less. 🙂

it took us a while to decide. our instinct when it came to chinese food, was to go for the cheap, robust, proven good chinese eats like roast duck at goldmine & four seasons. there was this lack of faith, that fine chinese was just the same cheap chinese food repackaged to cost an arm & a leg. 😦

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we went to hkk all the same. hkk is the latest addition by hakkasan group. we took the northern line from king’s cross to moorgate. had the wonderful 4-course £28.50 lunch. 🙂

2 wet days in a row. the day before was raining in cambridge, and this time rain interfered with our plans to go greenwich, well at least we had a superb lunch to make up for the dreary start.

#1 crispy duck salad - pulled duck with crispy skin, melon, dragon fruits & salad

#1 crispy duck salad – pulled duck with crispy skin, melon, dragon fruits & salad

#1 the crispy duck salad – pulled duck with crispy skin bits in plum sauce, melon & dragon fruits & beautiful salad – was a superb dish. it was substantial too, with quite a good portion of duck meat. to me it was equal to any good appetiser in a top western restaurant.

#2 truffle chicken soup

#2 truffle chicken soup

#2 the truffle chicken soup was simply sublime. it was a wonderful tasting 当归鸡汤 with julienne cordyceps strips, a blended texture yet chinese tasting soup with great truffle flavour. 🙂

#3 wagyu, japanese yam, cripsy sweet potato & egg fried rice

#3 wagyu, japanese yam, cripsy sweet potato & egg fried rice

#3 the 3rd course was a wagyu, japanese yam, cripsy sweet potato & egg fried rice. the braised wagyu was top draw, soft tender braised texture not too sinewy & still bouncy, definitely better than the ox cheek at Joel Robuchon, and different but equal to the braised lamb shoulder at honey & co.

#4 salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbe

#4 salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbe

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#4 salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbe

#4 salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbe

#4 the salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbet was also a very good dessert. the parfait under the peanut crust was much like a good ice cream.

in terms of presentation, taste & quality of cooking departments, each dish & the overall experience of this 4-course hkk set lunch was equal to any set lunch or pre-theatre menu in a good fine dining restaurant. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Very Satisfying Comfort Food @ Four Seasons Chinatown London on 25Aug2014

roast duck (烧鸭)

roast duck (烧鸭)

coming back from cambridge, we decided to go to the regent street nespresso outlet to get some capsules for my friend in singapore. we took the piccadilly line from king’s cross to piccadilly. i bought 50each of the black ristretto (intensity 10 arabica) & the purple arpeggio (intensity 9 arabica) capsules. 🙂

as we were near to four seasons in chinatown, we decided to have another go at roast duck just for the 2 of us. 🙂

son felt that the roast duck at four seasons was better & the sauce was sweeter c/w the roast duck gold mine. i could not tell the difference & i really love the roast duck at both restaurants. really shook! 🙂 price wise there wasn’t much to compare either – £12 at gold mine and £12.50 at four seasons.

roast pork (烧肉)  & char siew on rice

roast pork (烧肉) & char siew on rice

as there were only 2 of us & we already had 1/2duck, we decided to have a roast pork (烧肉) & char siew on rice for £7.80. i guessed it would be a smaller portion but this worked out well for us & was cheaper than getting a meat plate for £8.50 + £2.50 for rice.

the roast pork (烧肉)  at gold mine was distinctly superior to this.

my last experience with four seasons was in 2011 & as expected the service was brisk & business like bordering on unfriendly or even rudeness i had come to expect in chinese restaurants (or for that matter in any restaurants like this of so many nasi chefs in singapore, & at la botte in stresa where business was so good & they were always full & so busy).

i spoke cantonese with the 40-ish lady server i mistook as from hong kong. she was fast in words & thoughts & forceful. later when she talked about high teacher’s pay in singapore (which i guessed was misinformation) i realised she not likely to be from hong kong  & she told me she came to UK from malaysia 22 years ago. anyway she was very nice to us & gave 10% student discount when my son asked. we were not expecting that as my son was dining with me & not his student friends. 🙂

well, for me, gold mine & four seasons are the places i will go back every time i am in london.

c.h.e.f andy

Sumptuous Semi-buffet @ One Ninety at Four Seasons Hotel on 30May2013

roast suckling pig with stuffing was sooooooooo good!

roast suckling pig with stuffing was sooooooooo good!

It’s my turn to buy the monthly dining quartet meal. I had not been to One Ninety @ Four Seasons Hotel for years but I recalled they had a good semi-buffet. & there was a 1 free for 3 paying promotion using DBS card ending May2013, so we went there for lunch on 30.5.2013, in time for the promotion. 🙂

& it was a super, super lunch. I would go again w/o the promotion. 🙂

the appetizer & dessert buffet was priced at $38pax, and $48pax if we added a main course on the menu, which we did.  & on saturdays & sundays, they throw in a Moet champagne buffet at $58pax.

The suckling pig with stuffing (top photo) was nothing short of fabulous – sooooooooooo good! it was so flavourful, tasty. I always felt nothing beat chinese roast suckling pig. still do. but this was as good as it gets, perhaps different (as the focus was not just on the crispy skin but overall flavours) but on par. 🙂

langoustine or scampi - sweet, quite good

langoustine or scampi – sweet, quite good

snow crab legs

snow crab legs

the langoustine or scampi was sweet, quite good but I actually thought the snow crab legs were better. though not the very best but still very good quality, and a few of us had a few helpings. it was sweet & not so salty as what Kuisinbo & some poorer buffets served.

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the pork terrine in above left photo was the poorer one- could skip as there were so many good dishes. there was a better one with pig ears, which I had forgotten to take picture.

sushi – most sushi in buffet were a waste of time! this one I only took the aburi mayo prawn & smoked duck (twice I took meaning quite good..haha..). 🙂

pork pate below & pressed foie gras on top

pork pate below & pressed foie gras on top

the pork pate was extremely good – I took 3 pieces. 🙂   I did not take the pressed foie gras which according to my friends were even better.

excellent roast duck & stuffing

excellent roast duck & stuffing

the excellent roast duck was almost as good as the suckling pig – both the duck & stuffing – & yet tasted different. 🙂

1st of my 3.5 plates haha!

1st of my 3.5 plates haha!

nobody would believe me after this if I tell people I generally do not go for buffets. haha! 🙂

we didn’t really need to take the main course. we tried to cancel the main course but to be fair to the restaurant they said they already prepared the items once the order was placed. and the waiting staff here were really exemplary – they even “ta pao” for one of us the main course as we really could not finish. we would really not expect to ta pao for a buffet but it was a great gesture so we accepted happily! 🙂

we thought the main courses might be 1/2 portions like the French servings, but here they came in full portions. 🙂

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I had a medium rare rack of lamb (above left) – it was very good. I thought it didn’t look great – my first impression was that the sauce might kill it -but it turned out to be quite complementary.  the medium rare tenderloin was very good too.

glazed beef ribs - kind of braised then pan seared

glazed beef ribs – kind of braised then pan seared

WH had the glazed beef ribs – kind of braised then pan seared. I guessed it was good too but braised items were usually too heavy even for normal-sized meals. 🙂

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my dining companions were thrilled with the dessert spread..they seemed quite average to me though. i was told the chocolate mousse was very good.  the macarons were a bit too sweet for me. I did enjoy the cheese spread & condiments though. 🙂

I certainly plan to come back for this again (w/o the main course), with or without the promotion. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Enjoyable Lunch @ Lei Gardens(利苑) Mongkok on 13May2013

lobsters steamed with superior sauce (上汤局)

lobsters steamed with superior sauce (上汤局)

on the final day of our Hong Kong trip, we did not plan a restaurant to go to.

we first wanted to lunch at the seafood place Rainbow Restaurant at Lamma Island (南丫岛) after the excellent food pictures of mantis prawns, lobsters & what else in my friend’s Facebook set off our “tam chiak” (means greedy for food) cravings…alas we should have done that earlier as Rainbow was only open for dinner & we were taking the 8pm flight.

next we thought to go to Caprice @ Four Seasons, a 2 michelin star restaurant after looking at the online menu for Joel Robuchon, Pierre, Ember & Caprice set lunch. unfortunately Caprice was full for the Monday lunch.

we finally got Lei Gardens(利苑), which I always thought was among the best Hong Kong traditional chinese restaurants, especially their soup (例汤). the one nearest was at Tsai Yee Street洗衣街 ‎Mongkok outlet (as we were staying at Sam Shui Po) and that also happened to be the only 2 michelin star outlet (the other outlets were 1 michelin star). 🙂

DSCN4848

鲍汁凤爪 braised chicken feet in abalone sauce

CJ ordered 3 dimsum items. the first – 鲍汁凤爪 braised chicken feet in abalone sauce – was the best we had thus far c/w Timhowan添好运 & 迎.  the abalone sauce was similar to that for abalone & goose webs so it was very tasty. 🙂 I guess the preparation was different from the usual deep-fried then steamed with black beans chicken feet so may not be fair to compare.

DSCN4851 DSCN4849 DSCN4852

the soup (例汤) was good as expected,much better than Tao Heung 稻香 restaurants (which was also to be expected). however for this particular soup  it was no better than, & indeed not as good as, the many 例汤 I had at Imperial Treasure Nanbei (from green papaya to 鸡脚草). 🙂

小笼包

小笼包

the 小笼包 didn’t look that great, skin looked thick but actually it was very good, the sauce/soup was very sweet & the skin was normal thin. 🙂

2 small lobsters halved with golden mushrooms

2 small lobsters halved 上汤局 with golden mushrooms

JK was pining for lobsters so we ordered a HK$598 twin dishes combination (common in Hong Kong). the star dish was 2 small lobsters halved 上汤局 steamed in superior sauce with golden mushrooms – this was very good. 🙂

1/2 roast chicken - very crispy skin & tasty chicken

1/2 roast chicken – very crispy skin & tasty chicken

the 1/2 roast chicken had very crispy skin & was tasty so no need the usual 5-spice salt dip. in Hong Kong they called this the 龙凤 dragon phoenix pairing. 🙂

海斑 (garoupa) in claypot

海斑 (garoupa) in claypot

we had another HK$298 2-eats combination.   the 海斑 (garoupa) in claypot was also good tasting very flavourful. it was different preparation, not better than a steamed whole live garoupa but very good the way it was done. 🙂

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the other dish was a thick beehoon in seafood soup – no fish or seafood but very tasty like our good fish beehoon.

garlic heng chai

garlic heng chai

and in Hong Kong, always order vegetables. the garlic heng chai was very good & flavourful too. 🙂

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both JK & I were fan of 奶黄流沙包 custard egg bun. this was good, but I guess no better than Royal China or Imperial Treasure in Singapore.

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we had 3 dimsums & 6 dishes for HK$1320 for 4pax (about S$55nett per person). it was a premium to Tao Heung but for a great deal more satisfaction & “shiokness”.

c.h.e.f andy