Category Archives: Central

The One With SimplyLife – Living Up To Its Namesake

Simple things in life were meant to be enjoyable because of its simplicity, and SimplyLife is one of those restaurant that is living up to its namesake.

Simply Life

I have been to the restaurant in IFC a couple of times now (and once to its branch in Quarry Bay), and never once I was disappointed. Granted, the food wasn’t spectacular, but it did the job nicely as a chill breakfast spot with some excellent sandwiches and desserts. For the life of me I couldn’t remember the name of these nosh I had now, but they were all equally enjoyable in low-key, fuss-free way.

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The One With Blue Butcher – Butchered? We Did

I remember reading reviews on Blue Butcher since they have opened some time back. The praises were glowing, and the crowd was reportedly thickening by the day. In fact, when I called to reserve a table of three, I was told in no uncertain term about the time I have to give up my table. Surely it was a good sign of a great place, right?

Alas, the fame of Blue Butcher was all but in its reviews.

Perhaps on hindsight we should have ordered beef instead. Afterall, the place is famous for its steak, what with its walk-in pink salt dry-aging room, tucked into one corner which seems more like a display than a utility.

Blue Butcher

The three of us went separately for pork (kurobuta pig belly & cheek), fish (line caught sea bass) and chicken (charred french chicken). I didn’t try the pig belly, but it did look promising despite this blurry shot:

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The One With The Great Kebab Factory – Posh & Sizzling Indian Fare

I had always wanted to try The Great Kebab Factory, ever after reading Dim Sum Diaries’ review on the Indian restaurant located right in the smack of Lan Kwai Fong. So when I saw a Groupon deal for a somewhat like a kebab tasting menu, I knew it was too much of an irresistible deal for me. Located at the 19th floor of Wellington Place, locating the restaurant was easy, but I wasn’t ready for what was in store for me.

The Great Indian Kebab Factory

Despite its name, the restaurant is far from being a “factory”. As I stepped out of the lift and walked into the restaurant, I was awed by how posh everything looked. The warm lighting, clever use of multicoloured lamps, velveted furniture and deep dark wood created an atmosphere both cosy yet stylish.

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The One With Paisano’s Pizzeria – The Magic Is In The Beer

Yes, I know the weather in Hong Kong has been maddening lately. One moment it was a fine morning with a little breeze, tempting you to wear that nice jacket just for one more day. Another hour later you will cowering under a too-small umbrella, rain poring like it’s the end of the world, and still not a cab in sight.

Yes, I know the feeling. I have been there, done that, and I was stretched this close to a breaking point one evening when all I wanted – really – was to sit down, chill, and have uncomplicated food.

Shakley's Pizza

Any place that serves ice-cold beer on the tap in frozen glass in this summer humidity has got my vote. Shakley’s pizza and pasta might have left much to be desired, but I was too busy savouring that magical pint to really care.

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The One With ZHEN Central Foot Spa

To say that I am a massage junkie would be like saying Mother Teresa is kind to children. I have tried and loved it all – the more painful, the better.

Recently I was invited to try out this new outlet located in Lan Kwai Fong called the ZHEN foot spa & body massage. Since nowadays I am kinda bored with my usual joint – that’s Fun Feet in Happy Valley – I jumped at the invitation.

ZHEN Central Foot Spa

ZHEN is barely one month old and is built on the belief that every customers should be treated like an emperor (hence “zhen”, geddit?). Despite its decidedly oriental namesake, the spa is not your usual foot massage place. With its not-as-dim lighting and soothing Nora Jones on the speaker, and interior decoration that could only be described Zen, I knew the experience would somewhat different.

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The One With Brickhouse Revisited

It doesn’t seem too long ago when I had my first visit to Brickhouse at the height of their madness when, in the absence of a liquor license, they piled drinks after drinks onto their delighted patrons, yours truly included. Everything took on a rosy, margarita-hazed glow then. Friends couldn’t sing enough praises of Brickhouse, and between you and me, that’s like striking a consolation prize in the local mark-six.

Fast forward a few months later, I returned late at night for a spot of supper with some Singapore visitors. To my dismay: (1) they no longer serve free drinks (yes yes I know that couldn’t last forever); and (2) their kitchen has closed and most of the menu is no longer available. One miserable round of drinks later, we back out on the street and I seriously wondered if my first experience at Brickhouse was a dream.

So when I was invited to return and sample of the latest creations on Chef Austin’s menu, I jumped at the chance.

The Ambiance

Rowdy as ever, the crowd at Brickhouse was loud, joyful and hungry. The music was blaring loudly and conversations were more than a bit strained, but hey if you are looking for a quiet place to chill, Brickhouse ain’t the place. It is one of those place where strangers become friends, personal space cease to exist, and you leave your burdens of the day at the door. You couldn’t have asked for a more mixed crowd – the trendy artists mixed comfortably with drunken suits against a background of deafening chatter and an efficient crew of so-cool-it-hurts staff.

The Must-Have

The One With Brickhouse Revisited

Clear winner of the night was – surprise, surprise – not the main, but one of its ceviches. The Agua Chili was a delightful, vibrant mix of shrimp, cucumber water, pickled red onions, and cilantro and chili oil. The differing ingredients promise a ceviches that is packed with texture and flavour, and aqua Chili did not disappoint. Digging up everything with a piece of chips is the recommended way of savouring it.

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The One With My Nespresso Experience – U Got My Heart

So I was glassy-eyed one evening after necking four shots of coffee back-to-back, and I totally didn’t sleep a wink the entire night as a result. Needless to say I was entirely off-form the next day, but it was all worth it.

Ladies and gentlemen, please give a very caffeine-affected, coffee-warming welcome to the new U machine, brought to you by the good folks of Nespresso. I drank, I shot and I bought.

My Nespresso Experience

You see, I have been looking for a coffee machine for some time now, but never did make a move to buy one. There were too many questions I had to consider, and the stress of shopping (yes, it’s stressful to me) kinda put that idea to a backburner. So when Nespresso invited me to try out this new machine, I gracefully accepted, while creating a mental checklist of questions I’ll pepper the poor PR girls.

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The One With Rabbithole Coffee – Caffeine Joint In Central

So I found myself at Rabbithole one day. Truth to be told, I am no expert when it comes to coffee and all its derivatives. I neck some caffeine every morning from the usual suspects – Starbucks, Pacific Coffee, and the occasional Barista Jam – but I read Rabbithole is a different kinda of (coffee) animal altogether.

Rabbithole Coffee

One can’t miss the Rabbithole Coffee if they frequent the Mid-Levels escalator. Call it good marketing, call it pure luck, the positioning of the shop right at the eye-level of many escalator riders is certainly intriguing. In fact, that was how I get to know Rabbithole in the first place. Well, that, and this excellent piece by Charmaine.

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The One With St Betty – A Sunday Roast Lesson

Despite having been to London a couple of times in the past year, I have never tried a Sunday roast before. Well, if I am to be entirely honest, I never even heard about Sunday roast. While I heard from the foodie circle that St Betty is doing a great Sunday roast this part of the world, it was with an open mind and a sense of adventure that I went to the restaurant in IFC one weekend.

Sunday Roast at St Betty

The Sunday roast ($298 per person, minimum two person) arrived at my table with much fanfare; three staff holding various bits and pieces, elaborately setting up the table and placing dishes in the right configuration for my better half and I. I almost wanted to video the whole thing, but I refrained. I was at St Betty after all, I am not sure if such uncouth behaviour will be tolerated.

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The One With Boqueria – Spanish Tapas Galore

Hola amigos! The Spanish seem to have invaded the palette of Hong Kong with many Spanish joints opening up left right centre. Theories were abound about this curious phenomenon – was the Spanish economy that bad that talented chefs are leaving the country by the hordes? It’s good news to us foodies in Hong Kong, but all around bad tidings for the poor people of Spain. I mean, what are they gonna do for their paella, churros and aged ham?

Boqueria took centrestage in recent weeks at Lan Kwai Fong.

Boqueria Hong Kong

Named after their flagship restaurant in New York, the philosophy of Boqueria find their gastronomical vortex around simple food and good time. I am all for simple food – life is complicated enough as it is – but some time I do wish that simple food comes with simple prices.

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