Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dublin Exchange

The Friday quiz night brought us to this Irish pub on the dark side. It's RMB125 per person to participate, food and t-shirts were included. We got to pick between bangers and mash and vegetarian lasagna.
The bangers were not very nice at all. Maybe that's why they didn't serve more than 1 and a half sausages for each portion. And there was no English mustard. We were told that that's some kind of cost cut.

Dublin Exchange
2/F, HSBC Building, LuJiaJiu, Shanghai. Tel: 6841-2052

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sushi Tei

Sushi Tei is a low/mid-range priced sushi chain with branches across Asia. The menu is big with a selection of Japanese dishes on top of sushi. The quality is Ok for what they are charging, and it's definitely better than the usual conveyor-belt variety.

On this visit we tried ordering as many dishes as we could, cos both S and I are big sushi fans.

We totally took advantage of the salmon sashimi special at RMB12 a portion. We got two.

My tuna and spring onion gunkan.
Some kind of salmon sushi S recommended. It was yummy!
S's cold tofu. A little too healthy for my taste.
Prawn and avocado rolls.
The dragon roll, with a whole king prawn deep fried and avocado on top.
Prawn and mango rolls. Not quite as good as the prawn and avocado rolls.

The grilled king prawn. We couldn't work out what was on top. It was salty and slight creamy but it wasn't cheese. We loved it nonetheless.

We were so full at the time but then there were only 8 dishes. The bill for 2 with two apple juices came to RMB325.

1-28, G/F, Metro City, 1111 ZhaoJiaBang Rd., Shanghai. Tel: 6426-7280

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ginger

Ginger has a new location in town! Now we can have a nice piece of cake after our shopping!

Look how cute the iced tea(RMB30) is!

We both ordered fresh Vietnamese spring rolls(RMB55) to start - big mistake. It was very tasty and refreshing but the portion was way too big, even though it's listed under appetizers. The carrot, cucumber, noodle and shrimp fillings were very heavy. We were basically full after 3 or them. Should have shared one between the two of us.

U's hummus with vegetables (RMB45), served with bread.

This is my Thai beef salad(RMB68) that I ened up bringing home as I was way too full (and I had to save room for dessert!). The salad was very plain and the salad leaves bitter. I couldn't really taste the dressing at all, except a faint sour taste from lime sauce. The one I had in Kabb was much better.

U's lemon tart (RMB30) and cappuccino (RMB30). She said the tart was too zesty for her but I actually liked it a lot.

My mango crumble (RMB35) - a Ginger's speciality. The mango was so sweet I almost gagged. I liked the crumble though.

Ginger
G/F Corporate Avenue 2, 222 Hubin Rd., Shanghai.




Mesa

For our anniversary meal we ended up going to the reliable Mesa. I always like the lunches and it's my first time having an evening meal there.

There was no bread basket. Our one piece of bread were digested in no time and it didn't get replenished. Bummer. The orange powdery dip was interesting enough: there was paprika, sesame seeds and some crumbs. Not sure how we were supposed to incorporate it with the bread but it kept us occupied for a while.

My husband didn't say much about his foie gras but it looked freah and tasty.
My risotto with salmon and prawns was delicious!!!! It was rich and creamy with chucks of salmon and prawns. Most importantly the broth used was delicately seasoned and not salty and garlicky like a lot of other places.

My husband's beef tenderloin was cooked to perfection. The meat was juicy and tender.
My lamb medallions were also extremely yummy. The mash on the side was excellent as well but I just could not finish it all, as my risotto was so big.
No room for desserts! The portion for dinner is a lot bigger than lunch (see here and here). We were very happy with the food but the service was a little sluggish. My husband's second glass of wine never arrived for like 20 mins, and by then we finished eating anyway. To make things worse we got charged for it too! The meal for 2 with 2 glasses of wine came to RMB886.

Mesa
748 Julu Rd. (near Fumin Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 6289-9108



Sunday, May 27, 2007

Fashion Police vol.10

Style tips for this do:
1) Get mullet cut.
2) Stick finger in wall socket.
3) Randomly color strands of hair.
Girl A: Look I'm so clever I can now carry my poodle out everywhere I go, on my head !
Girl B: No shit!

Rizzo the Rat from the Muppets called. He wants his tail back.

Look the 80s sensation Tiffany is back......

There will be extra time in solitary confinement for the green leggings.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Green Cottage

I've realised that Vietnamese food is the answer when one is feeling poorly in Hong Kong. The food itself is plain but interesting enough and not bland like Cantonese food. There are quite a few of them in town and they are usually pretty good. My all-time favourite one has to be Green Cottage though. The food has been consistently excellent for the last 30+ years (I'm not joking! My mom said she started taking me there when I was a toddler). With my delicate digestive system I decided to drag my sorry-ass there for some lunch. (I was almost mad at the fact that I was sick and that I was missing out on all the fabulous food in HK!)

Green Cottage is now in its new and much larger location since the beginning of May. I was greeted by the owner's wife at the door and her familiar smile. All looked to be in good order! The menu is essentially the same as the old one but a little glossier.

To start I ordered the Steamed Vietnamese sausage. I am not entirely sure what it's made out of but I think it has got pork - probably similar to the bologna concept? I liked the faint peppery taste and it goes well with the vinegar/fish sauce dip.

As my usual greedy self I got the prawn and duck rolls as well, knowing that I would not have room for all the food. The rolls didn't disappoint: so crisp and refreshing it was exactly what I needed.

I was going to get the beef pho but I saw this dish called train engine pho on the menu and decided to give it a try. I should have asked about its name but it's basically the works. It had a variety of beef related toppings like beef balls, sliced beef, tripes, etc. The broth was immaculately cooked with all the right flavours. I have to say I prefer the simple beef pho over the works as some of the items are too funky for me.
The simple lunch came to just under HK$100. The curry dishes are also excellent there....until next time.



Green Cottage Vietnamese Restaurant
2/F, Gigna Tower, 482 Jaffe Rd., Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Tel: 2832-2863

NewsFlash: there's also a new location at the airport in terminal 2, 6/F, Sky Plaza. Tel: 3197-9440

Grappa's

Located in a shopping mall Grappa's is a convenient place to stop by if you want some standard and usually reliable Italian food. The food is nothing special but at least you know what you'll be getting and you get it fast.

On this visit we were all in a bad way: I was having some major stomach cramps from my Thai food the night before, while K and my husband were both suffering from hangovers. For once we were all sitting there sipping peppermint tea while we were waiting for the food.

My husband's pizza looked really weird. He didn't even know what he had ordered except he was getting some kind of meat pizza. It was more like flakes of dried meat shavings and he didn't think much of it.

K's pizza was more conventional looking and he said it helped getting rid of his hangover.

Spaghetti and meat sauce has always been my ultimate comfort food and this version was not bad. The meat sauce was smokey and rich tasting and I managed to stomach nearly half of it. Too bad I couldn't have more cheese because of my condition.
The bill for the 3 of us came to HK$600: K had a caesar salad and M had some bruschetta - I was in too much agony to remember to take pictures. We also had countless cups of tea, 2 or 3 cokes and orange juices for the boys.

Shop 132, Pacific Place, Admiralty, Hong Kong. Tel: 2868-0086


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bonobo

As a big Quantic fan I started listening to Bonobo aka Simon Green in 2004 as they were both with Tru Thoughts label(a Brighton based label full of talented artists).

To categorise Bonobo's music as downtempo or chillout would be an insult, as it is a lot more than that. The new album Days to Come has got a much more polished and sophisticated sound compared to Dial M for Monkey and I've been hooked ever since I picked the record up. This time he's introduced vocals and they are not at all intrusive and he manged to keep everything liquid and silky. Love it!

To listen to some of Bonobo's tunes click here.

For a funkier sound check out Quantic's tunes here.

Thai Farmer

I'm having mixed feelings about Thai Farmer. It's always been my favourite Thai restaurant in the world and the food there is consistently delicious. Tucked in between the strip joints in Wanchai the restaurant is nothing more than a hole in the wall. The food there is simple and honest and the service unpretentious. Everyone in there are Thai and it's as authentic as it gets: real thai food and no wussed down dishes.

This visit however caused me a lot of grief and it has almost ruined my trip because I was so sick. My friend who came to the meal with me was perfectly OK after though, so was it me? Or was it the food? Hard to tell.

We started our meal with our all-time favourite lap moo: spicy minced pork. We love this dish cos it's good with lattice wraps or with rice. This version had lots of chili, shallots, chopped coriander and they were stir-fried with pork mince with lime sauce and other secret seasonings. It was simply divine. It was very spicy though so perhaps next time I will ask them to go easy on the chili. (We ate all the cucumber slices but our tongues were still burning.)

The tom yum soup was less lethal - there were times when it's bright red! Loved the sour taste with the scent of lemon grass.

One of my favourite dishes with Thai cuisine has to be squid salad. I love the dressing with lime, chili, coriander and fish sauce. It goes so well with squid! This version was again extremely spicy, and I hoped that there would be more squid and less tentacles.

Good thing V ordered the pineapple rice. The sweetness of raisins, pineapple and nuts helped cool us down. There was not not a lot of pineapple in the rice and I totally appreciated it as I hate pineapple to begin with.
A must for a Thai meal: green chicken curry. Nothing extraordinary nice but it's always nice to have it with the rice.

The grilled pork neck fillet was tasty as usual. The dish can be really greasy but it's usually OK at Thai Farmer. The pork was lean but had that melt-in-your-mouth consistency. I should find out what the seasonings are because I can probably roast/grill some in our oven.

The meal for 2 with 1 beer came to HK$400.

Thai Farmer
G/F, 98 Lockhart Rd. (the block between O'Brien and Luard Rd.), Wanchai, Hong Kong. Tel:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nha Trang

It's always good to catch up with the girls as they are generally quite sensible. I must be getting old too as these days I actually prefer moderate drinking and some good food. The days of getting tanked with no food and drinking tequila at 3am are over. Well at least not on a week night.

By 9pm and 4 glasses of wine later I was more than happy when they suggested a Vietnamese restaurant nearby. The place was still packed when we got there! We had to wait briefly for about 10 mins for the smooching couple to leave, but it was fun practicing our get-a-room venomous stare.

By the time we sat down we were more than hungry. We picked a number of items from the reasonably big menu and our arrived quickly.

Our spring rolls arrived piping hot. I was going to use the lattice to wrap it up but then it was so crispy and fresh I decided to just pop it in my mouth. I love Vietnamese spring rolls because of the herbs and the glass noodle fillings. Somehow everything works so perfectly together. I hate Chinese ones as they have too much gooey carrot and taro, the Thai ones are OK but sometimes too much prawns. Yes I am picky.

One can never have Vietnamese without having the beef pho. Truth be told I don't really know what the authentic version should taste like but I can definitely tell the tasty ones from the blah versions. We were extremely happy with this one as it was simply delicious! The rich beef flavour was just bursting out of the broth.
The noodles were cooked to perfection.
Next came the grilled meatball rolls. They looked a little different than what I expected but we gave them a try anyway. There was just way too much rice noodles (and not much of any other things) in the rolls. To sum things up they were rather boring. And what do they mean by meatball? I didn't really find anything remotely like meat let alone meatballs. We'd rather save our stomach quota for other tastier options.

Next we had the shrimp mousse on sugar cane. By now you've probably noticed that in each of the picture a food grabbing hand keeps appearing. Despite my protests my friend V insisted that my shots need some action in order to make things appear more desirable. Did she take a marketing class in the 1970s? Anyhow back to the shrimp mousse. The shrimp tasted rightfully shrimp-y and the texture not too plastic-ky. Yummy! I never understand the role of the sugar cane as it doesn't seem to add any taste to the dish?
The steamed rice cakes were a lot tastier than the meatball rolls. The meat, mushroom and carrot fillings were well seasoned and not soggy at all. Most rice cakes would fall apart after a bite but this one was nice and firm.
The vermicelli cake with grilled beef was delicious. One complaint: too much rather tasteless noodles, not enough beef.
The night's winner was the beef curry for sure. The beef was heavenly delicious and tender and the curry sauce itself was out of this world. Why can't I make curry sauce like this at home?

My husband (who arrived almost at the end of our meal) ordered the deep fried soft shell crab and he said it was OK. I am never a big fan of soft shell crab as there's never enough meat. He loved his beef pho too.
The Saigon export went down pretty easy, even though I'm not a big beer fan. Dinner for 4 came to almost HK$500. Not bad for such a scrumptious meal!

Nha Trang

88-90 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: 2581-9992

Chiu Yuen

We call Chiu Yuen "Noodle King" as this little noodle place probably has the best fish balls in soupy noodle in town. The name "Chiu" gives away the fact that it serves Chiu Chow-style stuff such as fish balls, meat balls, beef balls, and the distinctive deep fried crispy fish skin. The fish balls are made (beaten) freshly by hand by the fishermen in Aberdeen daily and it's by far the most popular item in the restaurant.

On the day of my visit I thought the fish balls were uncharacteristically salty. It could be that since we have such a low-salt diet these days that we can't handle the restaurant doses anymore. Anyway my plain (as in without noodles) fish balls (HK$17)were still peppery and bouncy in texture, with a nice fresh taste of fish. One will be surprised that sometimes there's actually no fish in some of the fish balls.

Sorry I totally forgot to take a picture before I messed up my noodle dish. I was so hungry and excited. Here's my beef and cuttlefish balls rice noodles with seaweed(HK$23). I think I like this stuff so much largely because of the chili sauce. Without the chili I'd rather not have anything so there you go.
People also love the deep-fried fish skin as well. I tried it once and thought it was actually like potato chips but I couldn't get it past my head that a) it's FISH skin and b) it's very fattening.
My husband likes the mushroom and pork balls as well as the wanton there.


Chiu Yuen
37 Spring Garden Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong. Tel: 2892-2322