Author Archives: Razlan

The One With Beautiful Bhutan – Of Buddha Dordenma, Trashi Chhoe Dzong, Kundeyling Baazam, Gho, Archery… and some fine Bhutanese cuisine

Our second day in Bhutan dawned on us bright and early… or at least, it was to me as I decided to dedicated an hour in the morning before our itinerary starts to blogging. A slight detour: I found that unless I really blog about my trip right after it happened – usually the morning after – I wouldn’t get to blog at all. I think it is a sign of age.

Beautiful Bhutan Day 1

Anyway, so we woke up and got ready for the day. Breakfast was at the hotel restaurant, which was simple and did the job. Perhaps you can tell from my tone that I was rather unenthusiastic about the hotel food. It is hard to be inspired with toast, hard boiled egg, cereal, sausage and the like. The coffee did revive us out of our post-slumber stupor, and we enjoyed our second cup of joe at the restaurant terrace. It was around 1 degree celcius, and it was so damn cold. I start to think I might not enjoy winter as much as I thought I did. Perhaps it’s another sign of aging?

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The One With Beautiful Bhutan – Of Thimpbu, Crafts, Chorten… and Hong Kong

I still couldn’t remember exactly how we decided to go to Bhutan for a year-end holiday. All I remembered was an incredible amount of frustration of trying to put together a trip to Japan and failing to do so, and a vague impression of watching a video of bridal shoot in Bhutan. One Whatsapp and many hours of researching, calling and planning later, we found ourselves onboard Drukair to head to Bhutan, the happiest place on earth!

Beautiful Bhutan Day 1

First we had to fly from Hong Kong to Bangkok, spend a night, before taking a flight to Paro, where the international airport of Bhutan is located at. Boarding Drukair reminds me of a simpler time, where there’s no fancy entertainment system (unless you count in-flight magazines), and food are still shrink-wrapped when presented to you. Mind you, I was in business class (not by choice) and already I found the flight, which took some four hours with a stop over at Calcutta (hey, I was briefly in India!), to be quite tiring.

Beautiful Bhutan Day 1

Am I spoiled already? Gosh.

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The One With La Soiree – An Adult-Only, Unsuitable-For-Children Circus-Cabaret Show

The La Soiree is now playing at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts Lyric Theatre from now till this Sunday, September 20. I had the opportunity to catch this sexy, not-for-children show on its opening night, and boy, did the show get better with each passing minute!

La Soiree

The English Gents opened the show with a two-person act, and it got me gasping. I have never seen such ripped bodies in real life! And each of them – Denis Lock and Hamish McCann – had their individual solo act in the second half of the show, and these acts were reason enough for you to scramble to to get your tickets to La Soiree. Take my word for it. These guys are the real stars of the cabaret.

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The One With La Grande Bouffe – French Bistro In Soho

Nestled at a busy section along Hollywood Road was a gem of a find. In a city stuffed with overpriced French restaurants with little to offer other than their pretentious fine dining menus, La Grande Bouffe was quite a breathe of fresh air.

Run by a French chap Anthony and a co-owner, La Grande Bouffe opened its doors in December 2013 and has stayed busy since. A popular hangout for French, expats and locals alike, the restaurant is best described as quirky – from the various sections of the restaurant painted in different colours to represent parts of France Anthony sourced his menu from, the black-and-white French movie projected on its wall, to the way you get a discount on your coffee simply by saying “please, thank you”.

(A side note: Don’t try this with your steak, it won’t work).

The menu is brief and sufficient. And if you are a bit challenged French-wise, Anthony is more than happy to show your pictures of the food on his iPad.

First time at @lagrandebouffehk! This layered duck liver started off our meal great. Loved the layer of dried fig, apricot and prune, which balanced the savoury taste of the foie gras with sweetness - how refreshing! A change from the usual pan-fried styl

Pressé de foie gras aux fruits des mendiants. This layered duck liver started off our meal great. Loved the layer of dried fig, apricot and prune, which balanced the savoury taste of the foie gras with sweetness – how refreshing! The sprinkle of sea salt on top added a twist to the sweetness vs savoury too. A change from the usual pan-fried style used at other restaurants. The pate was perfect with the extra warm baguette they serve on the side.

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The One With The Sound Of Music – What A Delight!

The stage was alive with The Sound Of Music.

Like many in the audience, I knew the many songs in the musical by heart. The West End production tells the uplifting true story of Maria, the fun-loving governess who changes the lives of the widowed Captain von Trapp and his seven children by reintroducing them to music, culminating in the family’s escape across the Austrian mountains.

The Sound of Music in Hong Kong 2015

Having watched the original movie (starring Julie Andrews) only a few weeks before made me appreciate just how much thoughts and effort went into this Hong Kong production. The Sound of Music on stage was much more fast-paced, with wonderful yet simple stage sets changing effortlessly and the orchestra rousing the audience with hits after hits.

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The One With Exploring London on a Bicycle

In 2013, London was named the most popular travel destination in the world with a record breaking 16.8 million visitors to the city. The list of reasons for traveling to London are endless, thus holidaymakers continue to fly to the city regardless of its reputation of being the world’s most expensive city. And now, exploring London has just gotten even more exciting with the wide selection of cycling tours that the city have begun to offer.

Cycling along the River Thames or via many of London’s other interesting paths weren’t necessarily the most common choice to see the inner workings of London until recently. Traveling via an open-top double decker bus were often typically seen in travel brochures, as the stereotypical mode of transport for sightseers around London. However, recently, the tourism industry has seen a huge spike in cycling holidays with over 26 million cycling trips undertaken each year.

The One With Exploring London on a Bicycle

The sudden boost in cycling tourism is perhaps the result of the London Olympics. Since the summer of 2012, bicycle sales and participation in cycling events have increased tremendously. This has led to more tours along the National Cycle Paths across the country.

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The One With Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar – Oysters Delight At Hong Kong International Airport

So recently I was at the Hong Kong International Airport for a short trip and decided to give myself a treat. The better half recommended Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar for a spot of luxurious food, and so we did.

The bar itself serves champagne, wine and seafood, and the combination was hard to bear. We decided to go for oysters – and the choice was Gillardeau.

Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar

Arguably of the most popular French oysters, the Gillardeau is famous for it’s tender texture and slightly nutty flavour, a delicate balance between being delightfully simple in texture yet wonderfully complex in flavour. With a sprinkle of crushed pepper, it’s hard not to develop a crush for the Gillardeau.

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The One With Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood – Best Japanese Pork Cutlet In Hong Kong

I have never been a big fan of tonkatsu (Japanese deep-fried pork cutlet). Before I discovered Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood, my impression of tonkatsu was just glorified meat served in Japanese style and hence a high price tag.

And so imagine my delight one day when the better half brought me to Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood at World Trade Centre.

Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood

The ambiance of the restaurant is nothing much to shout about (though it has been a long time since I last see a Hong Kong restaurant with this many private rooms and cubicles), the food itself was stellar. The deep fried pork was juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and you get to experiment with three different kind of sauces. The jumbo-sized prawns were a favorite as well, I order them everytime I visited Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood.

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The One With Vinny Lauria – Chef Of Linguini Fini Hong Kong

After my last meal at restaurant, I was convinced that Linguini Fini serves up the best pasta in Soho. Apart from that, there are many reasons why I love Linguini Fini. Their nose-to-tail cooking philosophy. The no-waste method of running the restaurant. The wine honor system.

I also heard that their chicken wings are pretty kick ass as well, have you tried? I must do that some day.

So it is only a matter of time before I got personal with Chef Vinny Lauria, the mastermind behind Linguini Fini’s inventive and tasty menu.

Chef Vinny Lauria of Linguni Fini Hong Kong

Nose-to-tail eating concept is very ingrained in your restaurant, but to the novice, it can be quite a concept to take to. What would you tell them, and how best can they can experience the philosophy?

Our pappardelle nose to tail bolo is reflective of this philosophy (see a photo of this here). It is a classic bolo with veal pork and beef, but instead of just using the typical mince, we do it nose-to-tail using pigs head, veal loin and ox tail. The whole idea of nose to tail is to be more sustainable, using the whole animal instead of just the prime cuts.

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The One With Hong Kong Alfresco Restaurants – List Of Outdoor Dining Spots

Happy Valley Bar & Grill

I had always loved an alfresco dining experience, and yet whenever I fancied one I would have to rack my brain hard for ideas. And being the lazy bugger which I am I always ended up going to the usual suspect (like the one pictured above). But for 2015 I decided to make a change. I will make a list of all the Hong Kong alfresco restaurants and outdoor dining spots that I had visited, and then some, so that everyone can benefit from such a curated list.

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