Festival of Restaurants is a celebration of the best in dining Hong Kong has to offer. For a country of which food is a religion in its own right, it is not hard to imagine how a month-long appreciation and great deals from some of the most widely acclaimed restaurants and Michelin-starred chefs in town will go down well with the food-loving crowd.
The Grand Opening Feast was, in its very own unique way, an exquisite sampler of what November 2012 will bring to the many local food worshipers. Held at the regal Ritz Carlton in Kowloon, I was truly astounded by the sheer scale of the event – not by its size, but the substance. The assembled quality of food and enthusiastic food lovers in one evening was a sight to behold.
Eating my way round the stalls (and then back again for more!) fueled by champagne, it was hard for me to ascertain which one is my favorite. While the wine can be bottomless, I am sure your wallet is not, so if you are to choose only THREE best dining options for Festival of Restaurants, based on my experience for the night, I would recommend the following:
#1 Bo Innovation
On display tonight was the ridiculously good molecular “xiao long bao“. To me, these little devils look more like “tong yuen” than actual “xiao long bao“. Deceptively simple, it was cooked in some secret-recipe broth before served on a spoon with a single, thin slice of marinated ginger.
The result was explosive – literally. You take this in one gulp, and only then you truly experience how the bao explode in your mouth, drenching your taste buds the way normal-sized xiao long bao couldn’t. This, my friend, is sex in a spoon. Truly a literal food orgasm if there is ever one!
#2 Chez Patrick Restaurant
The chef explained that although the marinated Hokkaido scallops with water cress come with wasabi dressing and fresh raspberry, the wasabi was actually very mild, just enough to provide a contrast to the sourish berry. The succulent scallops were delightful in one mouthful, very much so because it was so very fresh. We had to wait for quite a while before some are available for us roaming the stalls, but it was truly worth every second.
#3 IHM Group
Some of the best food is served simple, and the chefs from IHM group (combination of Pizzeria Pubblico, Linguini Fini and Posto Pubblico) show us just how the basic roasted organic peppers can be transformed from delicious to spectacular with good quality, freshly pulled mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil. The mozzarella took centre stage; a ball of white against a bed of chaotic greens and reds, but playfully light yet surprisingly creamy. The diet-concious geek in me wholeheartedly approve.
Also worth mentioning: Gitone
This Japanese private kitchen in Sai Wan Ho only showcases their dessert, and if this is the kind of dessert they can come up with, I shudder to imagine the kind of main courses their kitchen can whip up. Their savory guava served with lime pudding was almost like summer in a cup; the refreshing, fruity sensation lingered long after the whole thing is gone, just like the last remnants of the humidity.
This year, Festival of Restaurants aim to bring great food to the masses, and their set menu is now priced from $100 and above. From past experience I know that these great offers are limited in quantity, so if you have been thinking about trying that great restaurant you heard so much about, now is the time to do it.
Thanks to JV Partners for their kind invitation.