The One With Brunch Club Hong Kong – Surprising Second Encounter

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.

Brunch Club Causeway Bay

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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The One With Under The Bridge Spicy Crab – Fiery Claws Revisited

Under The Bridge Spicy Crab

It has become a fixture in our agenda whenever my Singaporean friends are in town.

The famous Hong Kong under the bridge spicy crab has captured the imagination of many. With ten levels of fieriness it was easy to be overwhelmed and ordered way beyond your capacity to enjoy these awesome crabs, but the key is to always go moderate.

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The One With Secret Ingredient – Hong Kong Home Cooking Re-invented

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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The One With Vietnam Choi – Simple Fare At Causeway Bay

A stone throw away from the ever busy Ichiran Ramen store along Jaffe Road at Causeway Bay, I found a calm heaven of simple, affordable food. Like its namesake, Vietnam Choi boasts an extensive menu of all kind Vietnamese dishes executed in no fuss, no frill manner.

Which was exactly what I needed after dumping a small fortune on some new suits at a tailor nearby.

Vietnam Choi

“Pho Tau Bay” in noodle soup was a mixture of beef balls, tender meat and intestine in a bowl of delicious, rich broth with some of the silkiest flat rice noodles I have ever tasted. There was a certain depth to the broth which I enjoyed, and the beef was a delight to go with some sliced bird eye chilli offered by the enthusiastic owner.

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The One With Clay Oven – Gigantic Lamb Tandoori

It was one of those dishes which have got to be seen to be believed in.

The lamb tandoori is a signature dish at The Clay Oven. It’s an Indian family-style roast whole lamb leg, a good dish for winter. A whopping 5-6 pounds of chilled lamb from New Zealand (good for a group of 5-6 person) were marinated with various ingredients and Indian spices in its chopped part – instead of whole lamb – so that the flavour really soak into the meat.

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The One With Zafran Hong Kong – Spanish Tapas Galore

The heat was searing, the kitchen crew frantic, with wait staff darting in and out serving a restaurant full of patrons. Every seats and tables in this beautifully created restaurant were occupied. As I watched the chef worked on tray after tray of endless Spanish tapas, I couldn’t help but feel the tension… and pride. Pride of getting the food done right, and to serve the customers well.

Where was I? I was seated at the bar counter facing right into the open kitchen at the hippest, newest Spanish restaurant in Hong Kong, Zafran. We nursed some rounds of Sangria as the kitchen churned out some choice tapas over some three hours, which was indeed time well spent. Especially on a Friday night.

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The One With My Christmas Wish List For The Guy Next Door

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!

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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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The One With 85 South – Great BBQ Served, Carolina Style in Hong Kong

They said one can find great food in very casual, laid-back restaurants, and not only at stuffy places. 85 South, newly opened just slightly over seven weeks ago at the rustic lane of Kau U Fong in Sheung Wan, is a testament to that.

85 South Barbeque

Finding the place wasn’t hard – 85 South is easily the brightest lit restaurant along that stretch of the road. The small restaurant has three large communal tables, where friends and strangers alike share space, naturally creating a sense of camaraderie and homely vibe that was evident from the rowdy crowd already gathered for a somewhat early dinner that night.

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The One With Blue Butcher Hong Kong – Second Time Lucky

Is there such thing as second time lucky when it comes to food?

Granted, it was my second visit to The Blue Butcher Hong Kong, after my disastrous first attempt ordering everything else but steak. This time round I was kinda on a “redemption trip” to discover if indeed the steak options were better bet compared to my earlier choices.

I am happy to report that it was a resounding yes.

The Blue Butcher

The wagyu sirloin (a whopping 12 oz) was worth every penny. Char-grilled to just the right degree to my liking on the outside, yet juicy and somewhat tender on the inside, it was probably the main reason I changed my mind about Blue Butcher that night.

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The One With Salon No. 10 – Discreet Is The Word

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?

Salon No. 10

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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