I had never regretted going back to W Hotel, time and time again.
There’s just some kind of magic going on between the hotel and I. I loved the funky, impressive deco and their pun-tastic tagline they have for almost everything. So when there was an opportunity to try their afternoon tea buffet on a weekend, I jumped at the chance.
The brainchild of W’s new culinary director Chef Alain Allaire, the buffet was like summer on a table – as it was. More than twenty different savoury and sweet items were available, displayed inviting in a riot of red, orange and yellow.
As with any buffet, there were bounds to be some hits and misses, and sure enough I preferred some of the selections much more than the others. The goat cheese puff with sundried tomato, pistachio and peach got my vote for it’s rich, contrasting flavours in such a tiny package.
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It has been more than a year since I last visited Shun Kee Seafood. I would have blamed that to my post-appendicitis trauma after the disgusting packed food holiday I had then (which included Shun Kee), but truth to be told I didn’t visit earlier because it was hard to convince friends to try this out. The location is hard to get to, there’s a fixed time slot, one has to book ahead… there are many reasons why the locals are not very enthusiastic about this place.
So when some of my dear Singaporean friends came visiting and insisted that they have to give this place a try (they saw my earlier Facebook photos and subsequent blog post), I was only too happy to oblige. And I am happy to report that the menu was exactly the same and the food quality was consistently good. Of particular excellence was the chilli crab, which was stellar and had the entire boat eating in silence… just like the last time.
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They always say that your perception on a restaurant – or anything, for that matter – is often shaped by your first experience. As Brunch Club Causeway Bay (one of the two in Hong Kong) was located just a stone throw away from my office, it was my frequent haunt for a quick bite and coffee meetings. My encounter with its unenthusiastic staff and mediocre food has always just that – lackluster at best.
Which was why my second encounter – a proper full on lunch on a busy Saturday afternoon – was a huge surprise. Surprised not only because we were seated at a large table with cushy sofa, but also because the food was unexpectedly good. I know this kind of thing can be relative, but it wouldn’t be far fetched if I said I might have jumped the gun here in judging its food.
Our Greek salad with feta cheese brought back memories of me trawling up and down the cliffs of Santorini, enjoying the wintry sunshine while befriending the local stray dogs and work donkeys. The generous portion of salad provided that refreshing crunch one might look for in their greens, and the ample amount of feta cheese and just-right dressing made this dish as Mediterranean as it could get. I don’t always recommend salads but readers, you gotta get some of this.
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I have been keeping a secret.
For months now I have been cooking well at home and eating like a king. Friends were constantly amazed by my supposed culinary skills, whipping up dishes after beautiful dishes of delicious food in seemingly no time at all.
Chicken coq-au-vin with broccoli-almondine.
At first, I wanted to keep mum about my new found “talent”. But, like they say, joy shared is joy doubled, and who am I kidding? I am no whiz in the kitchen. Like many other happy fans and foodies, I have discovered the joy of the ever popular Secret Ingredient.
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It’s the day before Christmas, so I thought I’ll republish the piece I have written for the gorgeous girls at Sassy Hong Kong – Sassy’s Ultimate Gift Guide for Guys 2013. Thank you for being such wonderful readers, for the amazing notes and the occasional gifts. Have a wonderful Christmas and a great start to the new year!
This year I decided that I want to be a baddddd boy and tell you what I like. Being the nice guy next door has its perks, but I am done finishing last (sometimes), so here’s my list of great Christmas gifts
you should totally buy for me for that special guy next door in your life.
Muji tartan down throw
Keep that boy warm in bed and warm in his heart with this gorgeous piece of tartan down throw from Muji. Measuring some 80 x 130 cm, I could imagine this goes perfectly well with a plain bedsheet. Plus it looks like Christmas in bed! Now you have one more reason to go to bed more often *wink*
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There isn’t that many places in Hong Kong that is like Salon No. 10.
For one, finding the place can be quite a challenge in itself. There isn’t any signboard to speak of, even the unit number were hidden. I had to cross the road to look over from the other side to see if I was at the right place. Even so, I wasn’t sure… but how many places could there be, with an address like 10 Arbuthnot Road?
Crossing the threshold was certainly an experience in itself. I couldn’t put a word to it. It felt like stepping into the belly of a velvety, lush submarine. I was told the design was somewhat David Lynch-inspired. Not knowing who the man was I couldn’t disagree to that, but since the owner came from an interior design background and a well-to-do, old Chinese family, it’s easy to see and understand the kind of lounge vibe that Salon No. 10 was exuding with effortless grace.
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It was by a stroke of luck when I “detoured” into Detour 2011.
I was actually doing a “shop walk” in Soho (hence the tired eyes) when the eye-catching posters and banners caught my eyes. It’s Detour! I heard so much about it, but never realised it was held in Central. Had I known I would have visited earlier.
The exhibition, which serves to highlight the impact of irresponsible consumerism and encourage eco-living (hence the theme “use – less”, get it?), was held at the old police married quarters. The two six-stories buildings with its large courtyard were proven to be an intimidating and exhilarating venue for Detour this year.
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Fat Angelo’s at Elgin Street has always been my favorite. I blogged about the lack of quality in its Italian fare last year, but recommended the place nonetheless as a great place for gathering of friends. After a hiatus of some months, I returned with my better half as an introduction to some of my favorite haunts in Hong Kong.
To my surprise, everything and I do mean everything, has went up in price. Something that cost like HK$180 before is now HK$250. It took me by surprise; I had always associated Fat Angelo’s with reasonably priced Italian food. I hesitated in spending that much for a Friday dinner, but as it was the first time for my better half, I went ahead anyway.
Was I expecting better Italian fare this time round? I did.
Complimentary Bread & House Salad
The bread was fresh and warm, as usual. I liked the bread stick to go with my salted butter and olive oil. I am easily satisfied like that.
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A quiet afternoon. Rolling waves and swaying trees. Holiday hut by the sea. Rustic front porch, wooden swing.
Shared laughter and murmured conversation. Folded knees beneath you, a glass of chilled Pinot in your hand. Sands in between your toes, the smell of the salty sea in your hair. Music in the air… just there but you almost barely notice.
Suddenly you look up when a somewhat-familiar tune came on, a favorite line belted from the speakers. You smiled, hummed along, and get back to the pleasantness that was the day.
Sounds familiar? Each of us have that favorite type of music which soothe our nerves and calm the soul. And it was exactly how I felt when I listened, in mild surprise, to the music of Danny Katz.
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I seldom blog about work, but the latest digital initiative that is sweeping my company is just too exciting not to be mentioned about.
SCMP is now the first Asian English newspaper with a dedicated iPad app. This digital initiative was put into motion some two months ago, and I personally saw how it evolved from being a concept to the actual thing hitting the iTunes store today, the same day when iPad arrives in Hong Kong market.
Needless to say, it was a breathtaking exercise… in all manners of the word. The rush, the adrenaline, the pressure were the very air we breathe for a good many weeks. It was a miracle that we manage to hit the market running with an approved ad and a Hong Kong-wide marketing blitz.
Personally I wasn’t involved in this project, but as part of the digital team here I can see how this launch herald a new beginning for SCMP. While print is always here to stay, digital will shape the future of news everywhere.
This launch has put SCMP ahead of the pack. There are lots more work to be done to ensure we remain the leader in this field, but I am confident. We might be a legend from the era of newspaper, but we will also be a force of the digital future.