Monthly Archives: September 2011

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The One With Trafalgar – British Pub & Beer Garden Balcony

Since I moved to Hong Kong, I always look out for spacious dining establishments. Be it a bar, a cafe or a restaurant, a spacious one is a precious commodity in Hong Kong. Those well-versed with the local property market will know what I mean; else, allow yourself to laugh and cry at the same time at this satire on the crazy real estate that is Hong Kong.

In my quest, I have encountered a number of bars/restaurants with open space here, but you could count them with one hand. The patio at SML, the bankers’ hive at SEVVA, the media’s hangout at Sugar, the rooftop bar at Crowne Plaza… see, one hand.

Therefore excuse my enthusiasm when I discoveredthe British pub Trafalgar located at the infamous Lockhart Road at Wanchai.

Trafalgar Wan Chai

As you make your way to the building (Trafalgar was located at a respectable 5th floor), allow yourself to be jostled, appraised, hustled at (if you look rich) or frowned upon (if you don’t). Lockhart Road is lined up almost entirely by bars and pubs of the girlie variety… if you get what I mean. But of course you do. I was there on a Sunday afternoon and already the various bars were doing brisk business.

To say I was delighted to have this oasis of calm in the midst bustling Wan Chai would be an understatement. Trafalgar was complete with a beer garden balcony, decked out in all its wooden glory with rickety chairs and wobbling tables. You would think I am being sarcastic, but I am not. I was charmed.

If I could just ignore the endless babbling of the drunk woman at the next table (slow down on the white wine, honey), I could just close my eyes and imagine myself in London.

And so, on to the delight that was Trafalgar. I was there for a Groupon deal, which was an all-day brunch with three hour of (hic!) unlimited champagne, wine, and soft drinks. You might thought the food would be ordinary, since this was a Groupon deal – I won’t blame you, I went completely without expectation – but boy were my better half and I in for a pleasant surprise!

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The One With Apple Store At IFC Mall

Any Apple fan boy worth his (i)Salt would have heard of the grand opening of Apple Store at IFC Mall, Hong Kong over the weekend.

Apple Store @ IFC Mall, Hong Kong

Touted as the most expensive Apple store in the world (not by size, but its sheer rental price, I could imagine), the Apple store was a sight to behold.

Apple Store @ IFC Mall, Hong Kong

Without the crowd, it would just be yet another store, striking as it was with its immense natural light and tastefully designed retail space occupying two floors of prime real estate in Hong Kong. But it was the party-like atmosphere with some 200+ Apple employees decked out in blue t-shirts (I heard some are even for sale on eBay) chattering and entertaining legions of diehard “Mac heads” and curious onlookers that made it the almost perfect shopping experience.

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The One With Jo Jo Indian Buffet – Curry, Spices & Everything Nice

There are many things I missed about living in a multicultural country like Singapore and Malaysia. One of the things I missed most is its food. At the drop of a hat you could order Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western food all from the same food center.

So you could understand my enthusiasm when I saw the Groupon offer for an Indian buffer at Jo Jo Indian Cuisine. The mere thought of spiced rice and aromatic curries already make my mouth water. The tough part, however, was to distinguish one dish from another. I mean, how do you know what you are eating from an Indian buffet line?

Jojo Indian Buffet Dinner

At the start of the buffet I was paralysed with indecision. Do I take note of everything I eat, I thought, or do I threw caution to the wind? Then I saw my better half already devouring a particularly juicy piece of chicken (of unknown variety), so I ditched the food blogger persona and behaved like the hungry starving person that I was.

Jojo Indian Buffet Dinner

What I could do, though, is to highlight to you, my beloved would-be diner, of the do’s and don’ts when you do the Indian buffet at Jojo’s.

Full list of buffet items (available only from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.) are at the end of this post.

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The One With Pavilion At Crowne Plaza Hotel – Best View Of Causeway Bay

In a packed city like Hong Kong, to find a high-rise bar with relatively unobstructed view is like finding needle in haystack. Especially in crowded place like Causeway Bay. The closest I ever come across was the patio at SML Restaurant at Times Square.

Recommended by my colleagues, I ventured to the Pavilion, located at the 25th floor of Crowne Plaza Hotel at Leighton Road. I was in for a pleasant, pleasant surprise.

Pavilion @ Crowne Plaza Hong Kong

An unobstructed view, as far as the eye can see… well, at least across that body of water. Even at the peak of summer, there was a light breeze blowing around the entire place, thanks to its open concept design maximising on natural sunlight and wind.

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The One With Habitat Japanese Restaurant – A Deplorable Experience

When a restaurant runs a social buying deal on sites like Groupon, it is considered not a revenue-generating exercise (though that would be a bonus) but a marketing campaign. At often break-even point, you bring in new customers through the door, for you to impress them with your menu so much so that they are likely to try out more items (such as drinks) and return again in the near future.

That concept, apparently, was lost on Habitat Japanese Restaurant.

Touted as a “Hanging Garden”, Habitate was not unimpressive. With stylish décor, the 3,200sq ft restaurant takes the extraordinary wood texture as its theme, with spacious room and relaxing seating. Its attentive wait staff (though, sometimes can be unnerving with its endless “welcome” and “goodbye”) was a bonus.

During the night when I was there with my better half, the entire (and I do mean entire) restaurant was filled with Groupon customers. At least ten tables. I know because all the food served at every table were the same.

Speaking of the food, let’s see…

Japanese Bean (HK$22)

A personal favorite. Slightly hairy green beans cooked in salty water. The beans here were rather good and fresh, though I wished the portion is a bit bigger since the single bowl was to serve two person.

Organic Tomato Salad (HK$22)

Habitat Japanese Restaurant

A thoroughly mediocre fare. I don’t know about you, but I can’t tell an organic tomato from one end to the other. The dish was a combination of the usual suspects of a green salad, plus vinegar and sesame oil for taste. Not particularly fresh, either.

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The One With Being Active On Facebook

Towards the end of last year I did a blog post on ten things I would like to do before 2010 come to an end. It was perfectly by accident I came across that post recently, and it got me reflecting on my differing states of mind now and then. This is a series of blog posts examining my year-end resolutions.

In December 2010, one of my resolutions was:

Be more active on Facebook

I love Facebook more than Twitter. I can understand why that is a surprise to you, considering I am tweet more than I check my feeds. In general I prefer truths than lies, and like what they say; Twitter is where you tell the truth to strangers, and Facebook is where you tell lies to friends. I also believe that if I have nothing nice to say, I will not say it. But I also acknowledge that Facebook connects me more to friends, drives more traffic to this blog, and lets my mom know what I am up to when I am not picking up the phone. So while I don’t think I will tweet any less than I already, I am ready to read more on your Facebook updates, and that’s a promise. Just don’t Farmville me, please.

One year on, how much of that has changed? Not very much, I suppose.

My principle still stand that Facebook is the greatest people connector online ever invented. However, with quantity comes its nemesis – quality. People post the most mundane thing on Facebook.

I could appreciate that you went to Italy for a family holiday, but do you have to upload some 200+ photos in one album? I don’t have that much attention to view all of them.

I could also appreciate that you are angry with your boss; at the very least I will symphatise with a comment or two. But not when your last twenty updates are your rants about the pointy-haired one.

I could also appreciate you love Facebook games very much. But not when your entire profile page is filled with requests to add this or that to your restaurants, or pleas to help you find some obscure treasure on a deserted (fictional) island.

No, so I choose quality over quantity. I still update my Facebook on a daily basis; some photos (never hundreds of them), some status updates, some links to my blogs or other funny stuff I found. I read your updates every day too, but looking at “Top News” rather than “Most Recent”.

I do think I can connect to you better offline. So I will drop you a note to arrange for a meet up. No, not on Facebook Chat.

The biggest thing I have done on Facebook is to create (go on, laugh) a Facebook Fan Page for this blog. If you are a friend, or if you like reading this blog, go on and stroke my ego at You Got Me Blogging‘s Facebook page.

It means you need to click the “Like” button, yes.

The One With ABBA World At Powerhouse Museum

ABBA World Sydney

During my recent trip to Sydney, I was dragged to the obscure Powerhouse Museum for the ABBA World exhibition. Like, right after I got off the 9-hour flight from Hong Kong, one hour shuttle trip to the airport, and dumping my bags at the hotel reception.

ABBA World Sydney

You would think I am a big ABBA fan. Well, technically I am a fan of their songs. I loved how their hits spanning some 35 years were made into the spectacularly entertaining musical Mamma Mia! But of the group, I was shamefully under-informed.

Here are a few things I didn’t know of ABBA.

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The One With Eric’s Kitchen – Grubs For The Surfer Dudes

What’s a beach without a great pub? There is just something about the air by the seaside which makes even the most disciplined person threw his diet to the wind (literally) and indulge in some pub grubs. When I went to Big Wave Bay recently for a birthday get together, I was determined to find some good western food by the sea. A search on Open Rice was not promising, so we went ahead to try our luck.

And lucky we were.

Eric’s Kitchen is the new reincarnation of the previous Blue Room (or something like that) occupying the same space, facing the entire beachfront. Terrifying waves, exhilarating wind… everything a surfer dude would love.

Eric's Kitchen

With a view like this, what is there not to like?

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The One With Festival Of Wine 2011 Sneak Peak

Update: The contest is now closed, and we have a winner! All participants will be contacted via email. Thank you for your support! If you didn’t win, here’s how you can buy tickets.

Put eight food and wine bloggers in a restaurant, pile them with great food and alcohol, what would you get?

Goccia

Plenty of food snapping (before you eat), tweeting (also before you eat), checking in on Foursquare (ditto) and of course, foodie gossips! From whether you process your photos before posting them (I don’t), comparing how many Blogspots and Tumblrs one have, to the behaviour of a certain it-shall-not-be-named magazine (but everyone knows!), it was great night of shared laughter and newly-made friendships.

Goccia

I was delighted to be invited by I Love LKF for a sneak peak for the upcoming Festival of Wine to be held on September 24. Together with my fellow bloggers – Janice of e*ting, Gary of Joie de vivre, Eunice of 為食公關, AM of AM, JJ of The Wanderlister, Alison of Pan Pan Sang and Jessica of Sassy Hong Kong – we toured three excellent food and wine establishments one night right here in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong.

Click here for more photos from the night.

It is rather weird to associate good food and great wine with Lan Kwai Fong. After all, LKF is much more well known as the destination of choice for clubbing and bar-hopping. But with the upcoming Festival of Wine, this is set to change; food and wine lovers will get to see a side of LKF less well-known.

With top quality restaurants such as Casa Lisboa, DiVino, Goccia, Indochine, Ista, La Perouse, Post 97 and Robata Zawazawa participating in the event, you will get to discover the best of Japanese grilled meat to Sicilian spaghetti to fiery Indian cuisine, paired with great wine from all over the world.

Here are some details:
What: ILoveLKF Festival of Wine
When: Saturday, September 24, 2 – 7 p.m.
Tickets: $350 (advanced), $400 (on the day) – get yours online

EXTRA! Here’s how you stand a chance to win a pair of tickets ($800 value) to this fantastic event, right here on You Got Me Blogging!

1) “Like” You Got Me Blogging on Facebook if you have not done so

2) Visit these three blog posts on restaurants I visited during the sneak peek night: Goccia, La Perouse & Robata Zawazawa

3) Leave a comment on the blog post of the restaurant you would like to visit THE MOST during the Festival of Wine, telling everyone why you choose the place!

Do these before Wednesday, September 21 by 12 p.m., and I’ll choose the winner with the most original, creative and witty comment by the following day!

Want some brownie points? Just tweet, blog and share more about Festival of Wine and You Got Me Blogging! It’s that simple.

Now, never say I never have anything good to share with you on my blog, ok!

The One With Bun Me – Vietnamese Bahn Mi Made Good

At the best of time I am not a fan of baguette. Or sandwiches. I view them as “diet food” – a replacement to better temptations when I need to cut down my food intake.

But as I walked out of gym one morning, I was positively light headed from the lack of sustenance to start my day. I looked up and saw Bun Me, a little deli-like shop serving a curious menu of baguette, Vietnamese style, more commonly known as bahn mi.

And so I walked in.

Bun Me

The place was empty at that time of the day, but the green wall provided a welcoming effect. The smiling and helpful staff, of course, helped. I also noticed that this place were reviewed in multiple magazines; the clippings were on the wall.

I dithered over the selection available and made up my mine for a set meal of daily chicken soup and Vietnamese beef in lemon grass baguette, for HK$45.

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