Category Archives: Central

The One With Fa Zu Jie – A Shanghainese Adventure With A French Twist

I have been living in Hong Kong for almost three years now, and the term “private kitchen” still puzzles me. Is this the name given to residential flats converted to quasi-restaurants serving a select table of discerning diners? Or a place with too few tables that, with their popularity, their waiting lists are at least weeks-long? Or, or… are private kitchens just that – a kitchen in a house, a private residential address, a handful of regular customers?

Maybe my more experienced foodies will be able able to shed light into this, but for now, let me share with you a gem of a find I had in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong.

And I do mean in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong. To reach Fa Zu Jie (法租界) was also part and parcel of its mystic and experience. Snaking your way round unassuming stalls, down suspicious looking alleyways, climbing the most unlikely looking staircases, even your iPhone GPS and printed maps may be of little use.

So, what do you do? Follow your nose. When you are confronted with a nondescript door with the unmistakable smell of delicious cooking and faint clinking of champagne glasses, you do what your gut tells you.

You knock.

Fa Zu Jie’s Shanghainese version of Eton mess is incredible. A gigantic American strawberry the size of a baby’s fist is accompanied by a meringue and cream that has been flavoured with the aromatic osmanthus flower, and it is a wonderful, light dessert t

Stepping into Fa Zu Jie is like attending a party where you know nobody yet you feel right at home. The immaculate space, with its glassroofed backyard and open kitchen, could comfortably seats 30 patrons on a busy day. And it was a busy night.

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The One With Eggstreme Brunch At Divino – Eggsactly The Eggscitement We Eggspected

Okay, so that was quite a bad play of words, but I couldn’t think of a more apt title to a post all about eggs, eggs, and more eggs.

To say that DiVino has supercharged the egg-centric (see, again!) brunch options in Hong Kong with their Eggstreme brunch menu would probably be understating it. Apart from the endless myriad of eggs options available on the menue – more than all your fingers combined could count – Chef Michele only uses pasteurised eggs or DHA pasteurised eggs, ensuring the eggs’ innate nutrients such as proteins, vitamin A and riboflavin go right down with your Bloody Mary.

(We had the virgin variety, and it was equally delicious).

Eggstreme Brunch at Divino

It was also my virgin (heh) visit to Divino, and can I just say that I really, really like the interior and how laidback the atmosphere was. The resident DJ spins tunes of chillout grooves and lounge music throughout brunch time. It was all I could do not to lie down on the comfortable couch, snuggle under (an imaginary) duvet and dig into my book.

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The One With Ser Wong Fun – Virgin Experience With Snake Soup

I love a foodie night out. The gastronomical possibilities are almost limitless and a dining adventure to the unknown is almost a given. Especially so when you are with the pros like Brad (of Lady Iron Chef), Jason (of Jason Bon Vivant) and Rita (of Mochachocholata-Rita).

It was during our food trail around Central when I paid my first visit to Ser Wong Fun.

Ser Wong Fun, Central

Those in the know will tell you that this restaurant is famous for one thing, and that is snake soup.

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The One With JAR – More Than Just A Restaurant

I have been living in Hong Kong for more than three years now (wow, how time flies!), and yet I have never been to the Festival of Restaurants before. True, it has been only slightly more than a year ago that the closeted foodie in me came out of its… well, closet, and suddenly the world of restaurants (some 11,000 of them, HK-wide) was wide open to me.

Festival of Restaurants is an excellent way to indulge in your gastronomical fantasies at some of the best eateries in town.

Festival of Restaurant Preview @ Just A Restaurant (JAR)

How does this work? From 7 – 13 November (only for a week, folks!), sixty restaurants will offer set lunches and dinners at some truly spectacular price. Yes, the menu is set, but they are designed to let you experience the best of what the participating restaurants have to offer. Everyone put together a set menu at a great price which is of good value to draw people to come.

Festival of Restaurant Preview @ Just A Restaurant (JAR)

Vince Poon, the organiser for Festival of Restaurant

I was privileged to be invited by Winebuzz HK to attend a festival preview at JAR, which stands for Just A Restaurant, located right in Central.

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The One With Alba White Truffle Extravaganza At Goccia

Not too long ago, I blogged my virgin experience dining at Goccia; one of those true Italian gems located right in the smack of Lan Kwai Fong. The delectable dinner I had was still lingering in my mind (and on my tongue, obviously) when I found myself at Goccia again one weekday night.

My second visit was to try out their tasting menu for Alba white truffle.

Alba White Truffle Dinner @ Goccia

Known as the white diamond of the gourmet world, white truffle can be found from northern Italy, more famously from around the city of Alba. While the black variety is more hearty and can be used rather generously, white truffle is much more pungent; so much so that only shavings of it should be used with food. That, and also because white truffle is notoriously expensive. One gram of it can set you back by as much as HK$120.

How do you best describe having white truffles with your food? It is like… having sugar with your coffee. It can only make food taste better. With that in mind, my palate was all set to see how Alba white truffle will set my dinner on fire.

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The One With Linguini Fini – The “L” Of L Place

I first came across Linguini Fini on Twitter. I am an advocate on the use of social media to build a loyal fan base to one’s brand, and the best example I could quote would be The Garden Slug in Singapore. Linguini Fini comes a close second in being very responsive on Twitter without being overly promotional.

Linguini Fini @ Central

Of course, it also helps that many of my foodie friends loved it. Just ask Jason, Rita or JJ. I have heard of many good things about the place, but the fate was sealed when my buddy, who is one tough master to please when it comes to food even at the best of time, sang praises of Linguini Fini and even returned for a second meal within the month.

I had to pay a visit.

Linguini Fini @ Central

The first thing you should know about Linguini Fini is that it does not take reservation. True to its NYC-root, you can only walk in, and even so you will be seated only when everyone in your group has arrived. This might come across as strange in Hong Kong food scene, when some places put too much importance on their waiting lists and think you owe them for food.

But for me, I was delighted. No more coming to an empty restaurant only to be told it was fully booked for the night; the vacant tables almost mocking you.

Linguini Fini @ Central

Linguini Fini has a very laid back feel to it. With its pastel-coloured barn-like furniture, barrel seats and tables, low and warm lighting, playful music playing in the air… I was happy to be waiting for my friend (yes, that friend, returning for the third time) just to soak in the atmosphere.

Am I bias? Perhaps. But you can’t deny truly good food.

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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 Robata Zawazawa – Inspiring Japanese Dessert & Cocktails

When you first walk into Robata Zawazawa, you will almost be certainly distracted with its astounding decoration.

Robata Zawazawa

The attention to details were all-consuming. From the Japanese lanterns, to the exquisite menu, right to the open kitchen/bar. I seldom get excited about the design of a restaurant, but Robata certainly got my camera snapping.

Robata Zawazawa

But I was at Robata that night to have a go at authentic Japanese dessert and drinks. Prepared by (what else) real Japanese kitchen crew.

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The One With La Perouse – An Empirical Pairing Of Food & Wine

La Perouse

La Perouse is more often associated with its outdoor balcony seating area – a spacious veranda overlooking the Central Police Station, with a relatively unblocked view of its surrounding. In case you are not familiar with Hong Kong real estate, if you are at a high rise, it is of every likelihood that you can look out of your window only to stare into another one of the opposite block.

So the space at La Perouse was definitely inviting. But it was into its indoor bar and lounge I went one night for a spot of Australian hospitality and great French food and boutique wine.

Grilled Baby Lamb Chops

La Perouse

Let me be upfront: I am a fan of lamb. Given a choice between chicken, beef, lamb and world peace, I will dither between the last two (I am not proud of it, I am only saying). There are many people out there who don’t fancy lamb, because of its characteristic taste. I, for one, love lamb exactly because of that distinct flavour.

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The One With Goccia – Italian Finest Redefined

After the disappointing debacle that was The Fat Angelo’s, I was all but given up hope for Italian food in Hong Kong. Now before you bash me on the head saying that, hey that’s very narrow minded of you, let me remind you that you are talking to a guy who can’t tell the difference between baguette and foccacia, and have an aversion to any tomato-based pasta.

But that is all about to change.

Goccia

Goccia is a charming restaurant located right at the heart of Lan Kwai Fong. Occupying two floors, the ground floor was a dimmed cavern of cosy seats for those who would like to kick back after a long day at work with some drinks and friends. On the upper floor is a welcoming wide space (it’s a wonder what great interior design can do to prime real estate) for discerning diners looking for good Italian food.

Goccia

It was the latter to which I ascended to one weekday night for a spot of food and wine pairing meal. Now I won’t pretend to be a wine expert. Certainly I am a total noob when it comes to pairing your wine with food.

And that is also about to change.

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