Home – eat to live.

So… as M put it, I think we live to eat… and not the other way around. Haha.

A bit of background info first – M is a super connected person in the food & beverage industry. She’s Japanese but grew up in Scandinavia, and currently lives in Singapore. She works in f&b and eating with M in Singapore means that you never know how good or bad a restaurant is because you will always get incredible food and exemplary service when she’s around.

So when M turned up in Hong Kong, and said, Are you free for lunch today? and then after I said yes thinking that she would ask me to join wherever and whoever she was hanging with, asked, Where shall we go? Casual is good… I underwent an incredibly stressful 20 minutes while I tried to figure out where to bring her. The thought process kinda went like this: Shit, I never eat lunch, what is a good lunch? What does casual mean? Cha chaan teng? No wait, she’s doesn’t eat meat… Shit, what’s open on a Sunday? Okay, where has she been already, no wrong question, where hasn’t she been already… argh!!!

Luckily for me, Home was perfect. So perfect, in fact, that M swiped a menu and put it into her purse hahaha. Most of the items on the menu are named after beautiful animals – from the Quagga to the Northern White Rhino to the Indian Elephant and the Hawaiian Monk Seal – all vegetarian, and many of them vegan / gluten free / dairy free. M had the Manta Ray, which is a spinach salad with roasted pumpkin and quinoa and pickled beets, her husband (a meat eater!) had the Polar Bear, a burger with a beet, mushroom & oat patty, (and which I had wanted to order myself haha!), and I had the Siberian Tiger, which is a (purple!) rice bowl with mushrooms and tofu and the most ridiculously delicious beetroots. We also had some cauliflower mash (not my cup of tea, never has been my cup of tea – I love cauliflower but as a mash, it’s just not my thing), and sweet potato fries with classic aioli which were the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had.

Drinks-wise, we all started with juices – I had a sweet green one (kale juice with apple makes me happy, it also had peppers and other things that are green haha), M had a proper green one, and her husband had a scarlet one (beets and other things…) and then we ended with a double espresso for him, a rooibos tea for her, and an almond mylk for me. I chose the mylk – spelt with a y because it has no dairy in it – because the ingredients list just looked incredible – tumeric (I need more tumeric in my life!), almond mylk, coconut, etcetc – and it was sooo yummy :D

So yes. I had a great lunch. And despite it being “bird and rabbity food”, the meat-loving husband enjoyed it too… and M loved it. So much so that she wanted to buy the hot sauce and bring it home, and she wanted dessert even though she was so full, and she complained that there’s nothing like it in Singapore. So… yeah. Phewf. Hahaha.

 

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Tokyolima.

The best thing about this menu is the little box on the left hand side that says “chef picks” – where you pay $480 (HK dollars of course), and the chef feeds you whatever he wants to feed you. It’s fantastic because a. I don’t need to think about anything, and b. it’s an awesome deal.

We were served an amuse-bouche type thing (prawn tempura, beetroot mashed potatoes, roasted avocado), and then a cerviche, and then a salad, and then a sushi plate (tuna roll & avocado roll), then a watermelon and tuna tartare, and then a kimchi roasted chicken (served with veggie rice) (so good!!!), and then dessert (which was a fantastic cheesecake with fruit compote and milk ice cream). I was so full at the end of it, I had to walk around Central before getting on my bus to go home.

We snuck looks at the table next to ours, who had also ordered this chef picks thing, and they had different food. They had a skewer thing that looked really juicy and yummy, and they had a fried rice thing that looked great too. And their dessert was a chocolatey one, which looked amazeballs. I’m very curious to know whether the chefs at Tokyolima will do what they do at n/naka (yes I do realise that Tokyolima might be a world away from n/naka which has been voted one of the best restaurants in the world and which seats much fewer people but still hahaha), where they do their best to not serve a customer the same dish twice. The chef at n/naka makes extensive notes for each meal served for the guest so they can reference and come up with different things. So yeah, I wonder… haha.

Table service was great, seems like the staff enjoy what they do which is always a good sign. Good explanations of the food that was served. No service charge on the bill, so we left 15%, because our server did a great job. Yeah. All in all, a great experience, and look forward to going back :D

Frantzén’s Kitchen.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a new restaurant, it’s also been a while since I’ve been anywhere that’s fine dining in Hong Kong (even though they say that the restaurant has a “casual and relaxed environment” haha), and this one was as good as I had hoped.

Frantzén’s Kitchen opened late 2016 in Hong Kong in Sheung Wan, and since my birthday is end of the year, q and I decided to go then, except I ended up in Shanghai for three weeks in December, and by the time I got back, the earliest reservation for the darned restaurant was two weeks away. So we kinda gave up, until her birthday rolled around in February, and we decided to try again except now the earliest reservation was a month away… and both of us were flying out during that time… so we gave up again. And then a few days ago, she texted and said, “oh hey, I got a reservation on Tuesday” and I was like “Frantzén’s?!”

All of that set up is to explain how high our expectations were for the food. And can I just say, most of it was really as good as if not better than expected. She chose a great wine (Riesling) (which I took only one sip because I can’t drink, but damn it was good), and then we each chose a “snack”, and then two “dishes”. The snack is a bite-sized appetiser – it’s bite-sized, which means we couldn’t share it. It was so good that we were like okay um, we need another ahahaha. So we had two snacks each (the oyster thing which was… interesting but couldn’t taste the oyster at all, and the nordic sushi, which was amazeballs), then we had two dishes (which are like small mains) – she had the asparagus and the fish, I had the dairy tartare and the veal cheeks. And then we shared a pork belly, just because we had to. And then we ordered all the desserts on the menu (there were only three – two ice creams and a plate of cookies). Hahaha.

She later told me that because the asparagus and the fish were both creamy, it was a bit much, which I hadn’t thought about at all. I thought the asparagus was similar to other asparagus dishes I’ve had, but that the fish dish was great. I really enjoyed both the dishes I ordered, and the pork belly was super tender and juicy and the top perfectly crispy. So my top three are the tartare, the sushi, and the fish. Her top three are the sushi, the asparagus and the tartare.

When we ordered the desserts, I also ordered some tea – they only have Chinese teas (except for one lavender infusion, but I’m not a big lavender fan) which was very interesting actually, so I had the iron buddha, which was the perfect ending drink for me. And I asked the sommelier (who has the cutest moustache) to recommend something for q, and he recommended a really delicious sparkling, which was light and fruity and not too sweet. Perfection.

So in conclusion, I can’t wait to go back :D Just a side note though – it was 1000 HKD per head. Yeah. And that was with a couple of comps too… But yeah, totally worth it. Really awesome dinner. Yay!

Dunkin’ Donuts.

After a year of not going to Singapore, I landed last week and instead of going straight down to immigration, I turned right and then right again, because I knew there was a Dunkin’ Donuts there :D It wasn’t open the last time I was there – the hoarding was up, it wasn’t done yet.

Anyway, yesterday as I was heading back to the plane to return to HK, I picked up a half dozen strawberry-filled… and I’ve just finished the last one. Sigh.

Someday, someday we might get a Dunkin’ Donuts in HK… A girl can dream.

Chef’s Table – season one.

Last year, I was approached to produce a huge show spanning various cities and restaurants. Whilst doing research for said show (which I didn’t end up getting), I was told about Chef’s Table, which I had no access to as I had no Netflix.

I have Netflix now.

Without realising, I watched the first season in a day – I didn’t know that there were only six episodes to a season. The most compelling part about the show is understanding what goes on in the brain of a hugely successful chef. The most awful part of the show is the fact that I will likely never be able to afford a meal at any of these restaurants. I also don’t like the music, but that’s just a personal thing. I’m not a fan of Vivaldi’s Seasons, so the theme tune is like… meh. And I know classical music, so it’s distracting when it’s in the background. But like I said, it’s personal. I’m weird. I’m sure other people love it.

My favourite episode in the first season is the last one, featuring Magnus Nilsson, who owns Fäviken in the middle of nowhere in Sweden. It’s incredible that this little restaurant, so constrained by its environment, can serve up meals that are just beautiful.

The Dan Barber of Blue Hill Restaurant episode was also great. I love farms and watching this episode about his grandma’s farm made me happy. Farm to table is so two (or three or four or five) years ago, but the concept will always make sense, and fresh food is always best.

Anyway. Shows like these inspire me to make good shows. Maybe someday, one day…. :)

Limehouse

Because it was Pi Day (an American event, as we Brits put date first, month second, but them Americans put month first date second so it was 3.14…) my friend and I decided we had to have pie for dinner and so I ventured out into the big unknown despite being quite ill. And because it’s difficult to find good pie in Hong Kong, we went to an old favourite of mine in the hope that they would have pies today. They only had shepherd’s pie today, but their food is always good, and their shepherd’s pie was pretty damn amazing.

And whilst eating pie, I learnt that (thanks to my friend who has all sorts of encyclopaedic knowledge about pie) shepherd’s pie is made from lamb and not beef, because shepherds mind sheep and not cattle. It made so much freaking sense hahahaha I don’t know why I hadn’t realised that. I also learnt that cottage pie is shepherd’s pie with beef (and maybe peas – according to someone, she doesn’t know who, it has peas). And that cumberland pie is shepherd’s pie with a breadcrumb topping. So interesting.

Can’t wait until she opens the pie shop. Heh.