It won’t be a stretch to say Jennifer Aniston was the focus of Cake, so I’ll cut to the chase – She did what she could with a weak script. As Claire, an ex-lawyer suffering from severe chronic pain after an accident, Aniston de-glammed herself (complete with facial scars) and tried to evoke the desperation of an painkiller addict and the bitterness of someone who had pretty much given up on life.
Nestled at a busy section along Hollywood Road was a gem of a find. In a city stuffed with overpriced French restaurants with little to offer other than their pretentious fine dining menus, La Grande Bouffe was quite a breathe of fresh air.
Run by a French chap Anthony and a co-owner, La Grande Bouffe opened its doors in December 2013 and has stayed busy since. A popular hangout for French, expats and locals alike, the restaurant is best described as quirky – from the various sections of the restaurant painted in different colours to represent parts of France Anthony sourced his menu from, the black-and-white French movie projected on its wall, to the way you get a discount on your coffee simply by saying “please, thank you”.
(A side note: Don’t try this with your steak, it won’t work).
The menu is brief and sufficient. And if you are a bit challenged French-wise, Anthony is more than happy to show your pictures of the food on his iPad.
Pressé de foie gras aux fruits des mendiants. This layered duck liver started off our meal great. Loved the layer of dried fig, apricot and prune, which balanced the savoury taste of the foie gras with sweetness – how refreshing! The sprinkle of sea salt on top added a twist to the sweetness vs savoury too. A change from the usual pan-fried style used at other restaurants. The pate was perfect with the extra warm baguette they serve on the side.
The stage was alive with The Sound Of Music.
Like many in the audience, I knew the many songs in the musical by heart. The West End production tells the uplifting true story of Maria, the fun-loving governess who changes the lives of the widowed Captain von Trapp and his seven children by reintroducing them to music, culminating in the family’s escape across the Austrian mountains.
Having watched the original movie (starring Julie Andrews) only a few weeks before made me appreciate just how much thoughts and effort went into this Hong Kong production. The Sound of Music on stage was much more fast-paced, with wonderful yet simple stage sets changing effortlessly and the orchestra rousing the audience with hits after hits.
In 2013, London was named the most popular travel destination in the world with a record breaking 16.8 million visitors to the city. The list of reasons for traveling to London are endless, thus holidaymakers continue to fly to the city regardless of its reputation of being the world’s most expensive city. And now, exploring London has just gotten even more exciting with the wide selection of cycling tours that the city have begun to offer.
Cycling along the River Thames or via many of London’s other interesting paths weren’t necessarily the most common choice to see the inner workings of London until recently. Traveling via an open-top double decker bus were often typically seen in travel brochures, as the stereotypical mode of transport for sightseers around London. However, recently, the tourism industry has seen a huge spike in cycling holidays with over 26 million cycling trips undertaken each year.
The sudden boost in cycling tourism is perhaps the result of the London Olympics. Since the summer of 2012, bicycle sales and participation in cycling events have increased tremendously. This has led to more tours along the National Cycle Paths across the country.
The One With Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar – Oysters Delight At Hong Kong International Airport
So recently I was at the Hong Kong International Airport for a short trip and decided to give myself a treat. The better half recommended Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar for a spot of luxurious food, and so we did.
The bar itself serves champagne, wine and seafood, and the combination was hard to bear. We decided to go for oysters – and the choice was Gillardeau.
Arguably of the most popular French oysters, the Gillardeau is famous for it’s tender texture and slightly nutty flavour, a delicate balance between being delightfully simple in texture yet wonderfully complex in flavour. With a sprinkle of crushed pepper, it’s hard not to develop a crush for the Gillardeau.
Pride is a below-the-radar UK film exploring an interesting period in the 1980s: A group of London gay activists, in an unusual display of solidarity, supported miners on strike in small Welsh town by collecting donations and organising the “Pits and Perverts” fundraising concert (talk about reality being stranger than fiction).
“Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners” (LGSM) felt a kinship with the miners, who were also a marginalised minority facing public humiliation and police violence. Director Matthew Warchus and writer Stephen Beresford emphasised the dichotomy through comedy (expectedly, some of miners were homophobic and befriending “the gays” seemed ridiculous to them), resulting in a lighthearted atmosphere, which has greater general appeal.
I have never been a big fan of tonkatsu (Japanese deep-fried pork cutlet). Before I discovered Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood, my impression of tonkatsu was just glorified meat served in Japanese style and hence a high price tag.
And so imagine my delight one day when the better half brought me to Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood at World Trade Centre.
The ambiance of the restaurant is nothing much to shout about (though it has been a long time since I last see a Hong Kong restaurant with this many private rooms and cubicles), the food itself was stellar. The deep fried pork was juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and you get to experiment with three different kind of sauces. The jumbo-sized prawns were a favorite as well, I order them everytime I visited Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood.
After my last meal at restaurant, I was convinced that Linguini Fini serves up the best pasta in Soho. Apart from that, there are many reasons why I love Linguini Fini. Their nose-to-tail cooking philosophy. The no-waste method of running the restaurant. The wine honor system.
I also heard that their chicken wings are pretty kick ass as well, have you tried? I must do that some day.
So it is only a matter of time before I got personal with Chef Vinny Lauria, the mastermind behind Linguini Fini’s inventive and tasty menu.
Nose-to-tail eating concept is very ingrained in your restaurant, but to the novice, it can be quite a concept to take to. What would you tell them, and how best can they can experience the philosophy?
Our pappardelle nose to tail bolo is reflective of this philosophy (see a photo of this here). It is a classic bolo with veal pork and beef, but instead of just using the typical mince, we do it nose-to-tail using pigs head, veal loin and ox tail. The whole idea of nose to tail is to be more sustainable, using the whole animal instead of just the prime cuts.
I had always loved an alfresco dining experience, and yet whenever I fancied one I would have to rack my brain hard for ideas. And being the lazy bugger which I am I always ended up going to the usual suspect (like the one pictured above). But for 2015 I decided to make a change. I will make a list of all the Hong Kong alfresco restaurants and outdoor dining spots that I had visited, and then some, so that everyone can benefit from such a curated list.
It has been more than a year since I last blogged about Ichiran Ramen. Back then, I was mocking those people whom spend hours queuing for a bowl of Japanese noodles.
Oh, how my tune has changed. Now I am one of those people who wouldn’t mind spending an hour in line just to be seated in one of those cramped booths for a speedy bowl of those – in my honest opinion – pure heaven.
Food aside, the whole experience itself is already very captivating. First, you are presented with this simple checklist so that you can customise you own Ichiran ramen experience:
There are many things you can specify about your ramen – from flavour strength, richness, amount of garlic, level of spiciness to noodle texture. There’s also a few ingredients you can top of your Ichiran Ramen with (not unlike street cart noodles), like green onion, slice pork, mushrooms and dried seaweed.