The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Sunday Brunch @ Hutong, Hong Kong

My aunt-in-law had only good stuff to say about the Sunday brunch at Hutong, and I was curious as to how a Chinese restaurant would do brunch. I'm used to brunch buffets as well as semi-buffets where you could eat all the appetisers and salads you want and order main courses. It turns out that at Hutong, the brunch is an 18-course affair, divided into appetisers (four dishes), dim sum (five dishes), hot dishes (five dishes) and dessert (four dishes). I thought it was a fairly good value at HK$428 as there was more food than we could eat. Hubby often has work dinners at Hutong, usually with colleagues visiting from other international offices, and I can understand why it's a popular choice. There's a great view of Victoria Harbour from the 28th floor, and the old Beijing-style decor is gorgeous. Service was attentive and professional, and the food was superb. Hutong is certainly a unique choice for a leisurely Sunday brunch.

Plenty of tables by the floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the views of the harbour:

The Hong Kong Island skyline:

There are several small private booths for large groups like ours:

The first four group of dishes, the appetisers, plus one special dish of beancurd skin roll for the kids. I loved the seared foie gras with osmanthus-smoked coddled eggs, but I think the others weren't keen on the fact that it was served chilled. The sliced squid with wasabi and cucumber salad in garlic-pepper sauce were enjoyable but not outstanding. The noodles in Sichuan chili sauce was delicious:

These mushrooms bao were pretty to look at, and so yummy too. Very light and fluffy texture:

The lobster wontons were superb:

The chicken guotie (potsticker) were perfectly done:

Though siu mai is an ubiquitous dim sum at yum cha, it's not one of our favourites. These crab siu mai, however, were fantastic and we loved them:

Stir-fried chicken with shallots and black bean sauce, and Kung Po fried cod fillets. Both were delicious, but the cod fillets were outstanding:

The soft shell crabs with dried Sichuan chilies packed a spicy punch, but it was moreish and it had me wanting more.
The pea shoots stir fried with garlic was a gentle accompaniment to the spicy crab

At this point we were all stuffed and so full, but we couldn't refuse dessert. These were steamed baos filled with egg yolk custard:

The crispy glutinous rice balls were a hit with the kids:

Delicious ice cream:

[Prices quoted above do not include 10% service charge.]

28th Floor
1 Peking Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
/Tel. +852 3428 8342

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Delicious French bakery cafe and kiddie fun @ Maison Saint-Honoré, Caversham (Western Australia)

And just like that, we are in 2018. I've been away from this blog for more than a month because life happens, and unfortunately so does death. That is all I will write about it as my heart is still grieving the loss. This was the first time in 12 years since moving away from Perth that I've stayed for more than two weeks, and though the circumstances were much less than ideal, I could take a more leisurely pace than the usual rush-to-see-everyone-and-do-everything Perth itinerary. I visited Maison Saint-Honoré in Caversham twice, the first occasion with baby girl when I met up with a friend prior to hubby and the older two kids arriving in Perth, and I liked it enough to suggest a revisit with the whole family and my mother-in-law. It took us 30 minutes to drive out there, but it was worth it. I love the large outdoor play area for the kids, the fantastic pastries and baked goodies, and the gorgeous French accent from most of the staff. Coffee is great here, and the food was fantastic, even the fussiest kid enjoyed her food. All up it's just the perfect place to enjoy the beautiful Perth summer days with the whole family.

A large outdoor play area to enjoy the Perth sunshine:

So many macaron flavours!

More baked goodies by the cashier where the orders and payments are taken:

The kitchen staff busy at work:

Various breads, cheese crackers, condiments and other food products for sale:

The main dining room:

The outdoor dining area:

Beef Brisket Baguette with caramelised onions, cheese, aioli and coriander:

Salted Caramel Cruffin:

Burger Pulled Pork with brioche bun, caramelised onions, camembert, curry shallots sauce, relish and roast potatoes:

Quiche of the day:

Egg Cocotte - two soft boiled eggs in cocotte with curry shallots sauce and mozzarella with rocket and croque monsieur:

Maison Saint-Honoré
100 Benara Road
Caversham, WA 6055
Tel. +61 8 9377 4674

Maison Saint-Honoré Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 24 November 2017

Birthday lunch @ Nobu [Intercontinental], Hong Kong

I had my birthday a couple of weeks ago. Hubby had just returned from two weeks of work in London, but he wanted to organise something special for my birthday though it was short notice. I requested Japanese, and he mentioned Nobu. My first reaction was: "There's a Nobu in Hong Kong?" How could I have not known? Having babies have certainly taken up much of my resources, and it's evident I've had to let many things slide. I've always wanted to try Nobu, and I'm glad that Nobu came up as one of hubby's suggestions. Nobu is a good option for a classy lunch: there's panoramic harbour views paired with stylish interior, and service is a good balance of warm friendliness and professional efficiency. Our waiter was more than happy to recommend drinks based on our preferences, and to help us with menu selection because sometimes it can be hard to choose due to having so many options! I was lucky to try the new Hokkaido Premium Set Lunch (HK$668) that was launched on that very day, and hubby enjoyed the Signature Tasting Lunch (HK$888). The food was delicious and gorgeously presented, and I honestly liked them all! There were quite a few other enticing menu items, and I would love to try out the bento options one day.

The restaurant interior is long and narrow, which allows for more tables with a view:

A cocktail with yuzu (an excellent choice for those who like fruity cocktails) and the mocktail that came with the Hokkaido Premium Set Lunch, which also had citrus notes of the yuzu fruit:

The appetiser on Signature Tasting Lunch was salmon tartare with caviar:

The first course of the Hokkaido Premium Set Lunch was zuwai gani (snow crab) with miso butter:

Second course on the Signature Lunch was yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno:

Second dish on the Hokkaido Lunch was seared tuna with cheese and jalapeno, and hotate (scallop) with yuzu dressing :

Third course of Signature Lunch - rock shrimp tempura with creamy spicy sauce:

Third dish of Hokkaido Lunch - hokkigai and oyster tempura with ponzu dashi:

Fourth course of Signature Lunch - black cod saikyo yaki. Hubby loves black cod at any Japanese restaurant, and this was excellent - so juicy and flavourful:

Hubby's second cocktail, named Sea Foam which was delicious, made with ume shu (sweet plum wine):

The meat course was grilled US prime beef for the Signature Lunch. This was not as good as the meat dish for the Hokkaido set, but it stands well on its own without comparison:

Meat for the Hokkaido Lunch was braised wagyu short rib. This melted on the tongue:

Sushi for hubby:

My sushi set:

Dessert for the Hokkaido course was titled Snowy Comfort and it featured all things associated with Hokkaido - cheese, corn and lavender. There was also a birthday wish on the dessert, which actually surprised me, even though i should have expected it:

Hubby's dessert was soy panna cotta which I forgot to take a photo of in the fuss of my dessert coming out with a candle and everything. It was also delicious and possibly a boozy dessert. This was a really pleasant first Nobu experience, and I do hope to get the opportunity to try out the other Nobu restaurants in other countries.

NOBU [InterContinental Hong Kong]
2nd Floor,
InterContinental Hong Kong
18 Salisbury Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2313 2323

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Cocktails @ The St. Regis Bar [The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central], Macau

Last month we flew my mum over to Hong Kong for a week, for a well-deserved break from caring for my dad full-time. We spent a weekend in Macau, because it had been her unfulfilled wish since she first visited us in HK about five years ago. We brought our capable nanny along to help with the kids, and each night after we put the kids the bed - a long process with three kids that involved older sibling(s) waiting for the younger sibling(s) to fall asleep before they could enter their room for their bedtime(s) - hubby and I would drop my mum off at a casino for a couple of hours while we enjoyed some drinks at a nearby bar. We were based in Cotai Central, and the first thing that I was surprised at was the lack of bars in the vicinity. On the first night, we went in search for The St. Regis Bar because I'd seen an advertisement card on the hotel room table, and it turned out to be a lovely experience. It was nicer than the only bar at The Venetian we went to on the following night. We liked the selection of cocktails available at The St. Regis Bar, and the atmosphere was more cozy and intimate than at Spirito Lounge in The Venetian. The drinks were delicious and beautifully presented, and the prices are far lower than in Hong Kong. Service was super-friendly too!

This was brought to our table shortly after we ordered, and it was unstacked to reveal more snacks:

How cool is that container!

St. Regis New York claims to have invented the Bloody Mary in 1934, and each St. Regis has its own version of the Bloody Mary. All versions are available here, and I ordered Macau's version, Maria do Leste (Mary of the East) which has tomato juice spiced with cinnamon, black vinegar, pink peppercorns and black pepper. Mini bottles of Grey Goose vodka, tabasco sauce, lemon and additional spices were served on the side to add your own touches. I loved it!

The Mario do Leste Bloody Mary also came with a chorizo and a savoury egg tart for a Macanese flair:

Hubby's first drink was the Ammolite - Scotch whisky , ginger liqueur, lemon juice, and homemade oolong syrup. Whipped cream and oolong tea leaves were served on the side:

Second drink was Citrine - gold rum infused with mints, fresh pineapple, pineapple juice. Such a bright and refreshing drink, and so easy to drink:

The St. Regis Bar is worth a visit if you're in the area in search for some evening drinks, especially for Bloody Mary fans.

The St. Regis Bar [The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central]
Level 1
The St. Regis Macao
Estrada Do Istmo. S/N, Cotai
Tel.: +853 8113 3700

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Sunday Brunch @ Clipper Lounge, Hong Kong

A couple of years ago, I read the book China Rich Girlfriend (sequel to Crazy Rich Asians) by Kevin Kwan, and one of the characters was first introduced waiting in the Clipper Lounge of the Mandarin for her clients for afternoon tea. This particular character was portrayed as a "special consultant for social climbers", and this is how she describes the Mandarin Oriental Hotel to her "new money clients who are looking to integrate into the billionaire class": "The Peninsula gets too many tourists, and the Four Seasons is where all the new people go. The Mandarin is where proper Hong Kong families have been coming to tea for generations... You must also leave out the 'Oriental'– we locals simply call it 'the Mandarin'." Well, I didn't know that! Of course, I knew that the Mandarin is one of the top five star hotels in Hong Kong, having had the opportunity to stay there for five days in 2010 a few months prior to our move to HK. The standard of quality of everything during our short stay - from the service (our family was personally escorted to our room by one of the staff!) to the decor - was exceptional. And we were fortunate enough to enjoy these at hubby's company's expense, because the Mandarin is not exactly the cheapest option.

Our table peered down into the hotel's lobby. Look at the massive crystal chandeliers:

The book was my first introduction to the Clipper Lounge, and I was happy when we were invited by hubby's relatives out to brunch at The Clipper Lounge. We catch up with hubby's aunt and her husband every few months, and we're always guaranteed a good feed whenever we meet up. Buffet is always a good choice with picky kids, and the Sunday Brunch at the Clipper Lounge offered a decent variety of good quality dishes. There were abundant seafood, sushi and sashimi, a roast carvery area, and cute little bamboo steamers filled single servings of various dim sum. The dessert spread of pastries, cakes, macarons, creams, puddings etc was beautifully presented in the center of the buffet area. We were asked if we wanted oysters, to which we said yes please, and a dozen fresh oysters were brought to our table!

Understated elegance:


Various sushi:

Mini bamboo steamers holding single servings of various dim sum:

Hubby's first helping:

His second plate was a bit less full than his first:

A dozen delicious fresh raw oysters:


Various cup desserts:

Various cakes (and glass bottles of fresh milk - great for my baby!):

Hubby's choice of desserts:

I hear the afternoon tea at Clipper Lounge is excellent, and I hope to try it one day!

Clipper Lounge
5 Connaught Road Central
Central, Hong Kong
Tel. +852 2825 4007