Sunday, 13 April 2014

locofama

My first encounter with Locofama was at Clockenflap 2013, when I basically OD-ed on their truffle crab filled puffs and I immediately fell in love with them. So it wasn't long until I made my way to their actual location in Sheung Wan for a proper meal. Whilst it is always a bit of a hike to Fuk Sau Lane, but I love that it is in a secluded little alley with its 'half-outdoor' setting and the super relaxing atmosphere that Locofama seems perpetually to create.

Since then, I've been back quite a few times because I literally love everything about it: the 'half-open' space, the simple and rustic decor, the friendly people but most of all, of course, the mouthwatering and yet healthy food! (shocking I know)


Locofama does a whole range of very healthy looking juices - unfortunately a bit too healthy looking for me...


But I can never turn down a fresh young coconut! The best part about this is that there is an alcoholic version that comes with a shot of vodka - so you can feel fresh and get drunk at the same time (score!)


In the few times that I've hit up Locofama, I've quickly found my favourite dishes, and the first of them is the Truffle Crab Dip. If you read my Clockenflap post, you will know that the truffle crab puff was what made me fall in love with Locofama. At the restaurant, the bite-sized puffs are gone but in its place is a BOWL full of truffle crab dip and toasted baguette slices.

The dip is warm, rich and oh so fragrant with its big dollop of truffle. Every bite is simply filled crabby goodness! And you can forget your no-carb diet because I have never gotten away with not ordering an extra portion of bread even though every time I tell myself I shouldn't...


My personal favourite dish is their Tomato Fried Rice. The name itself is a little misleading, it's more like a tomato risotto. More importantly, instead of rice, it's made of quinoa! This means that although the flavours are moreish and satisfying, it is much less calorie laden than your average 'fried rice'. This is the ultimate feel good dish!


Another major signature dish of Locofama is the 48 Hour Rib. It's the perfect slow cooked meat dish - tender and silky smooth but still retaining a nice bite and a great meaty flavour. The tangy dressing is also a great match, especially because this often comes last, by which point you may be feeling more than a little full and completely thankful that this wonderful dish comes with such a zesty and mouthwatering sauce.


On top of these three MUST HAVE dishes, the menu also contains lots of amazing gems: happy avocado (yum), oolong soba (yum yum), spicy spinach quesadilla (yum yum yum)... The list goes on...

So if ever you're in the mood for a fix of good food that's good for your belly AND your figure, drop by Locofama! I promise you'll be greeted with a warm friendly welcome and some top notch nosh!

Food: 8/10
Environment: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Price: $ $ $ out of 5

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

tonkichi

I've been seriously slacking with my blogging lately, so I thought I'd ease myself back into it with a short one about a place that's been one of my absolute favourites for a while! I've been meaning to write about Tonkichi for a while now, so I guess here's a bit of a 'throwback' post!

Tonkichi is one of the first tonkatsu focused restaurants I ever went to and, although Hong Kong has seen the arrival of many god-tier tonkatsu chains from Japan in recent years (such as Ginza Bairin), I still think Tonkichi is the top dog! Tonkichi has several branches scattered around Hong Kong and the one I usually go to is on Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. Although I've been going back for several years now, the food has never once been disappointing and the service is also always very friendly and attentive.

Just look at this glorious platter of sinfully fried goodness.


Featured in this platter are prawn katsu (obviously) in the middle and working anti-clockwise we have pork loin to its right, oysters at the front, pork fillet and scallops on the far right corner. And then everything repeats once more on the other side.

Starting with the pork, there are the two main different forms of tonkatsu that is traditionally served: loin and fillet. Which one is better boils down to personal preference entirely: I prefer the pork fillet (only slightly) because it's more tender and juicy but some prefer the loin because it has much more flavour and offers a bit more bite. The batter at Tonkichi is always perfectly golden and extremely light. In fact, when you bite into your tonkatsu, you'll find that it is not greasy at all (hence the perfect deception into further sinning).

Another thing I love about Tonkichi is that its seafood katsu is just as spectacular as the tonkatsu! Whilst it may be quite easy to find a good prawn katsu, I truly love the oyster and scallop katsu here. The scallops are always in the perfect limbo between raw and cooked, the process of frying not disturbing (but elevating) its natural sweetness. The oysters are also where Tonkichi sets itself apart from your regular-joe Japanese restaurant, as they are always very fresh and juicy and never over-fried.

Tonkichi also does not skimp on its sides of lettuce and rice that is unlimited with every katsu dish. Although it's 'all you can eat', both the lettuce and the rice are top notch: the lettuce always refreshingly sweet even without the two different salad dressings that you can choose from, and the rice always the fluffiest and chewiest Japanese pearl rice.

Beyond its katsu, Tonkichi also does great sashimi, but not much else. Of course, this means that it can focus on the very excellent katsu!

As I mentioned before, I have been going back to Tonkichi again and again, and it's definitely a favourite of my entire family. I'd recommend going in groups too - that way you can have all the varieties of katsu they offer!

Food: 9/10
Environment: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Price: $ $ $ out of 5

Find more details on Tonkichi on Openrice here.

Friday, 3 January 2014

new year's eve at lily and bloom

Happy 2014!

For New Year's Eve this year, my friends and I were really feeling too old and tired to be pushing our way into Central for the countdown so we made the decision to actually have dinner at Lily and Bloom, where they were serving a 5 course dinner with open bar all the way until 3am!

The theme was Moulin Rouge and I loved that they took the theme very seriously: the place was all decked out and all the staff were dressed in great burlesque-themed outfits. There were also plenty of feather boas and top hats floating around for the guests!


I have to say that I was very impressed with how on top of things they were when it came to the free flow drinks. The champagnes, wines and cocktails were being served from the moment we sat down all the way through the evening.


The amuse bouche of the night was a French oyster, dressed in a tangy salsa sauce. This was a great opening to the dinner; the oyster was fresh and very smooth, whilst the dressing was refreshing and tantalising, which was perfect to get the appetite going! I did find a shard of broken shell in my oyster, but I seemed to be the only one so this is just a minor complaint.


Next came our starters. The majority of us ordered the bone marrow and escargot, which I really enjoyed! The escargot was tender and dusted with a good amount of breadcrumbs to give it an extra crunch. The bone marrow was the perfect texture, with a bit of salt served on the side to bring out its flavours. All in all, every component of the dish was perfectly done, even down to the sauteed spinach and the garlic mash.


The other starter that was ordered at our table was the salade nicoise, or at least a reimagined version of it. Admittedly, this did pale a little in comparison to the escargot and bone marrow, but the yellowfin tuna was nevertheless very well done and it was nice to have some greens in our otherwise very decadent meal!


Then came our truffle pasta courses: carbonara and gnocchi. Most of us ordered the carbonara, although surprisingly I enjoyed the gnocchi more.

The hand rolled fettucini pasta was perfectly cooked, with the wonderful chewiness I expected from hand rolled pasta. However, I felt that the pasta could have been coated with a little more sauce and, overall, the flavour of this dish was a little more subdued than I had expected, since the usual bacon and parmesan was swapped out for smoked pork belly and gruyere. I think that these did not pack enough of a punch in flavour, although I can see it having been a conscious decision to keep the dish light so that we could have made it through all the courses!


The less popular choice of gnocchi, on the other hand, was much more punchy with its flavours, thanks largely to the roasted onions and herbs it was cooked with.


Then came the main courses. We had several different choices on our table: the bouillabaisse, the iberico pork chop, the rack of veal and beef short rib and the grilled fillet mignon.

The bouillabaisse was great, with a great, lobster bisque-like soup base packed full of seafood goodness and a nice assortment of fishes and lobster with different textures. The sour dough bread was a perfect accompaniment for dipping!


I also liked the veal and beef short rib. I did think the veal was slightly too savoury, but it was very soft and tender. The beef short rib was fried in a cutlet-like batter with cheesy mash (I think that's what it was), which was unexpected but nevertheless very taste. The beef itself was very tender, which made for a wonderful combination of textures when covered in mash and crispy batter.


The highlight for me, though, was the pork chop. The Iberico pork chop was very well seasoned and perfectly roasted so that it was very tender. There was also a small amount of fat clinging to the side of the pork chop, which kept the whole pork chop very juicy. The pork chop was also served with some ribs, which was a very welcome surprise. The ribs were very tasty and the meat fell right off the bone.


The only dish I didn't try was the fillet mignon - mainly because I was so full at this point, but also because they were apparently slightly overcooked and weren't as good as my pork chop. They do look rather photogenic though.


For dessert I had the cheese platter, but I was honestly so stuffed by this point I didn't manage to have any of it..


All in all it was a great dinner and a wonderful way to ring in the new year! I'm now very interested in seeing what the Sunday brunch here has to offer, so hopefully I'll get to try that soon and write about it.

Most importantly, the free flow kept going strong until late into the night, which was very impressive! The cocktails on open bar that night were also very enjoyable, although I must remember never to drink absinthe-based cocktails ever again. The hangovers are absolutely terrible.

Once again, happy new year! And I hope 2014 brings in many good tidings for everyone!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

clockenflap 2013

Dear blog, so sorry I've neglected you! I've been so busy lately that I've barely had any time to go out looking for good food to write about. But I managed to take a breather last weekend and make my way down to the one of the few West Kowloon events that's been the talk of the town lately - Clockenflap 2013!

This year was my first Clockenflap (I've always not been in town for them until this time).  The whole festival vibe had me feeling all Londonish and I had the best time ever! I squeezed my way into the middle of the crowds to watch The 1975s, who was the one band I was dying to see on the line up, but I also discovered some new music to be obsessed about (Nina Nesbitt was flawless and Metric were a hell of a good time!!). More importantly, of course, I managed to stuff my face with all sorts of good food.

The Butchers Club set up shop selling steak sandwiches and I beelined straight to them for my first bite of the weekend. To be honest, steak sandwiches can be quite hit and miss despite how simple they are. Steak can so easily be overcooked or left sitting for too long, especially in a 'festival' setting. But it all depends on the quality of the meat used, of course, so I was quite sure I wouldn't be let down by The Butchers Club. And boy was the sandwich amazing...


The steak was perfect: tender, juicy and seriously tasty - meaty and chargrilled. The steak itself literally did not need anything more on the flavour front, so the mild horseradish cream was a perfect condiment. The bun itself may have just been your regular soft roll, but it was the perfect sponge for all the juices from the sandwich.

Here I am sporting a Butchers Club sticker because I became an immediate groupie:


Thoroughly impressed by the first thing I tried, I migrated to the next stand. I'd never heard of Boomshack before but the menu itself was enough to draw me in...


Yes. A fried chicken waffle happened.


To be perfectly honest, there was next to no skill involved in making it (just a serious lack of morals to bring such a devilishly calorie-laden creation to me the world). But seriously, waffle, chicken and cheese was a match made in heaven and it was just so good. The chicken and cheese in itself was so horrifically greasy as to become automatically irresistible, but sandwiched between two slices of warm, toasty waffles?

Let's just say I came back for a second one in the same day and told all my friends to have one each. We ordered 8 in one go, which is probably why they ran out by Sunday (imagine my disappointment).


To sort of balance my foodly sins (and copious amounts of beer), I stopped at the Locofama stand for some healthy organic food. I'd heard of Locofama before, but have yet to pay them a visit on the Island so it was great to have a little preview at Clockenflap.


I had all three things they offered: short rib mini burger, lobster and crab mini burger and black truffle crab puffs (minus the quinoa salad of course. I may have felt bad for those chicken waffles but I hadn't gone mad...).

I thought the short rib burger was good and the lobster burger was very refreshing, but neither of those things could hold a candle to the awesomeness that were the crab puffs. Each of those little pastry cups (on the right in the picture) was stuffed with crab that was cooked in a lobster bisque-like sauce. Every bite was bursting with flavour like a warm hug to each and every beer soaked taste bud and I chomped my way through 6 of these before I could bring myself to move on.


All in all, Clockenflap was a great time not just for music lovers, but for food lovers too! A huge hand to the organisers for putting together such a great event and I'm so glad that this type of festival is making its way into the Hong Kong way of life. I will definitely be booking my tickets early for next year's Clockenflap!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

sunday brunch at st betty's

With the weekday blues in full effect, it's time to stop being productive and reminisce on the ghosts of weekends past... All week long I look forward to a lazy Sunday Funday spent with friends, preferably eating good food and over ample boozing. What better way to have both of these things than with a free flow Sunday Brunch? One of the most stellar examples I've had recently was at St Betty in IFC.

Walking into St Betty, I was immediately drawn by the airy and bright interiors, as well as the relaxing sea view they have by their numerous windows. The setting is absolutely perfect for spending a lazy afternoon! Once I settled into a very comfortable sofa, the free flow sparkling wine began and we were brought these adorable bread rolls, served warm.


A lot of the offerings on the weekend brunch menu are new and exciting-sounding renditions of brunch staples. For example, amongst the various egg options were these ones baked in a Josper oven with slices of chorizo, spinach, red onion and goats cheese. Each of these ingredients brings a different flavour to the table and each one jumps out at you with every mouthful. A great (and hot) start to our meal!



Next came the home made spaghetti. Whilst there was nothing out of the ordinary about the tomato sauce, there's nothing I love more than some home made spaghetti! Completely unlike the usual bite-less factory-made varieties we are usually served, the spaghetti was very chewy and held onto the flavours of the sauce very well.


The star of the meal were these sweetcorn fritters (the fritters themselves almost completely obscured in this photo, unfortunately). Whilst there is nothing not to love about good sweetcorn fritters in themselves, the ricotta cheese sauce was the indispensable icing on the cake - giving the fritters much more depth in its flavour. Overall, the whole dish is very well thought out and balanced: the ricotta sauce and the sausage slices making the fritters meaty and moreish but completely counterbalanced with the sweetcorn 'salsa' on top. We ordered another serving.


Of course, no lazy Sunday would be complete without a good old British Roast - and this one was perfect! Served very pink, the beef was silky soft but packing great flavour. The yorkshires might not be much of a looker, but surprisingly they were perfectly done too: its browned, crispy shell giving way to soft and warm insides. The trimmings served are also not the usual baby carrots and peas (aka. frozen 'vegetables') - my favourite being the roasted root vegetables.


The only thing we weren't happy with that day was the dessert that came with the roast: a rhubarb and apple crumble. The crumble was not at all crumbly (the texture was more like soggy cake) and the rhubarb and apple mixture was overly sour. Hopefully this was a one-off problem, because I don't want this to put me off having their roast again!


For those that don't know, St Betty is the new(ish) reincarnation of Betty's Kitschen. I had tried and not loved Betty's Kitschen when it was still there, so I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed my brunch.

For everyone that's written Betty off, it's time to give it a second chance!

Food: 8/10
Environment: 9/10
Service: 7/10
Price: $ $ $ out of 5

You can find the St Betty home page here.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

chachawan

I have been missing London with every fibre of my body lately and no where more so than all my favourite Soho spots for nights out of drinks and food and more drinks. What better place to cure my London Soho cravings but our very own Soho here in Hong Kong?

One of the newer additions to the Sheung Wan food scene is the Thai eatery, Chachawan. Although they have yet to obtain an alcohol license as of my last visit, the place exudes all the charm and character of your typical Soho joint that I have come to love (the things I would do to hit up Spuntino right now...). The seating is limited and there's often a queue during dinner hours, but if you want something special out of your night's meal, Chachawan is well worth the wait.


Unlike your typical Thai food place that you can find around every corner here in Hong Kong, Chachawan steers rather clear of the generic dishes we have grown accustomed to. Instead, Chachawan brings us 'Isaan' cuisine from Northern Thailand. The cooking is focused on charcoal grilling but the flavours used are sharp, spicy and tangy, making for some very refreshing flavours and combinations.

We started with the Grilled Squid and Coriander Salad, dressed in green chilli and lime. This was perfectly done - the squid was soft and springy whilst the dressing was an addictive blend of sour and spicy flavours. I'm not usually that great with spicy food (nor do I like coriander much) but this salad had me continuously picking at it. This salad will really get your appetite roaring for more, which is good because we had a lot more food to come...


Next, a staple of most South East Asian cuisine: grilled pork collar. This rendition was stellar: the meat was not just very tender (as you would expect), but it was also very well marinated and moreish. This is not your typical grilled pork with some store-bought sauce slapped over it! But whilst the pork was perfectly delectable on its own, it's the 'jhim jeaw' sauce that really sets the dish apart from its peers - giving the meat a further smoky flavour, as well as a small sour-spicy kick.


On to the signature dish that gets raved about by everyone that's been to Chachawan - the whole-grilled, salt-crusted sea bass. When the fish is served whole at your table, the charred and dry layer of salt-crusted skin may be slightly off-putting. But once this is cracked open and lifted off the fish, a flurry of steam rises from the fish and it's obvious that the fish is perfectly cooked.

The flesh can literally be lifted off in fillets and each bite is silky soft, with the sweet natural juices of the fish still clinging onto it. As you can see, the fish is stuffed with lemongrass and other herbs before being grilled, so it's already very aromatic, but again the sauce really takes it to another level. Another refreshing blend of flavours that somehow manages to cover every spectrum of your tastebuds at once: sweet, savoury, sour and spicy with every bite. Again, I found myself picking at the dish until there was nothing left but bones and salt-crusted skin, having already drained the sauce dish of its goodness.


Having made our way through all that, it was time to strap on that second stomach for some dessert. We had both the classic mango sticky rice and the banana pancake and both were to die for.

Unlike the usual cloying and mushy sticky rice you get in your typical Thai restaurant, this sticky rice has a lot more texture and you can actually make out the individual granules of rice. The coconut milk is rich and slightly savoury, which works wonders with the fresh mango.


The banana pancakes consist of a folded roti over banana slices, drizzled with condensed milk - seriously a match made in heaven of three things that I adore. Nothing more to say about this except yes, it tasted every bit as good as it sounds.


Although there is much left in Sheung Wan for me to explore, especially as the core food scene of Central continues to expand outwards, I am already raring to go back for another spin at Chachawan. Besides the fact that there is no alcohol served (yet), Chachawan just ticks all the boxes from food quality to service standard to decor.

To a certain extent, I'm actually glad that alcohol isn't available yet, because it means their turnover rate can be faster and waits can be shorter. But then again, I'm really looking forward to the day they bring out some Thai cocktails to go with the absolutely perfect food that they're serving.

Food: 8/10
Environment: 8/10
Service: 9/10
Price: $ $ $ out of 5

You can find Chachawan on Facebook here.

Monday, 21 October 2013

vivo

My first visit to Vivo was a few years ago and I was brought there for dinner on a day out in Soho. In the intervening years I haven't had much reason to wander that far up the escalators and, over time, I completely forgot the name of the place that I remember distinctly served some excellent beef carpaccio. Fast forward a few years and I was meeting a friend for lunch at Posto Pubblico when I 'rediscovered' Vivo sitting there across the street. I was really excited to go back to try the place again and finally got the opportunity to do so when I was charged with picking a place for my best friend's birthday dinner. Being another beef carpaccio lover, my friend readily agreed to my mysterious pick that does 'the best carpaccio ever'.

Vivo is actually a member of the Aqua restaurant group, although the Aqua connection is not entirely obvious as the place is much more casual and laidback that your usual Aqua establishment. The overall vibe is very chilled, thanks to its slightly dimmed lighting and the friendly service, so a passerby may just pass Vivo off as a cocktail/wine bar. The food, though, is really surprisingly good.

Starting, of course, with the very reason we were here - the beef carpaccio - and it was every bit as good as I remembered it! The beef was just the right thickness and texture: tender but not entirely without bite. The flavours in the meat were perfectly accentuated by the Parmesan cheese and truffle dressing, which was not too overpowering. 


For my main course, I had the duck confit risotto, which was also very well executed. What I love most is how the risotto is so generously stuffed with ingredients - with every mouthful you'll find not only the belly warming risotto but also the rich, punchy flavours of duck confit and porcini mushrooms.


On top of my food I managed to snag a slice of this porcini pizza from my neighbour and I'm so glad I did! The crust was thin and crispy, whilst each topping jumped right at you with its own distinctive burst of flavour: the cheese, the porcini mushrooms and the caramelised onions. Maybe not the most authentically Italian pizza, but definitely worth a big thumbs up!


I'm glad I've got Vivo back on my food map because, quite surprisingly, they haven't dropped their standards at all even in the space of a couple of years (which is really quite some feat!). With its friendly but very classy vibe, this is the perfect spot for a special occasion whether in a large group or just for two!

Food: 7/10
Environment: 8/10
Service: 7/10
Price: $ $ $ out of 5


You can find the Vivo home page here.

Monday, 30 September 2013

school food

One of the reasons why I haven't blogged since I've been back is because I've been trying to figure out what to blog about. Whilst I lived in London I saw everything with fresh eyes and a spirit of adventure, giving me lots to blog about. But now that I'm home, there's really not much that is more pleasing than popping into a run-of-the-mill diner for a quick meal of comfort food. Now that I've tuned into the swing of things though, the fun and exciting meals are back and so too is the blog.

Even if you've been living under a (Lion) Rock for the past year or so, you'll know there isn't a bigger fad than Korean culture in Hong Kong right now. Arguably, it's a wave that's sweeping the globe, but the tsunami has truly crashed onto our shores with full force. For me, the best part of all this is the influx of Korean food places, including School Food, which comes straight from Korea itself.

School Food pitches itself as a young, innovative 'fast food' style establishment. This in itself is quite unique in Hong Kong, as the typical Korean joint here is either for Korean barbecue or more traditional Korean cooking. The decor of the place fits the bill quite well: the space is quite small, but they have made efforts to make it feel bright and friendly. Note that the queues are usually pretty spectacular because of how small the restaurant is, with around 20 tables if not less. Another thing worth noting is how friendly the service is, which was quite unexpected given that we're in Hong Kong how busy and how casual the place almost always is.

Most of the things on the menu at School Food are new iterations of things you're probably already familiar with. For example, their range of innovative Korean kimbap have been renamed 'mari' rolls, and there's an almost dizzying selection to choose from. Having tried quite a few of them, my two favourites (and generally the most popular ones) are the squid ink roll and the school roll.

The Squid Ink Mari Roll has, obviously, squid ink rice wrapped around slices of spicy squid. Whilst squid ink doesn't have the strongest of flavour and is mainly cosmetic, the squid slices have a tangy kick and add a pleasant chewiness to make for a very moreish little roll.


My absolute favourite is the eponymous School Roll, which is a beef roll wrapped in a sheet of egg. The thinly sliced roast beef is generously packed in and differs enough from the soft and warm egg sheet to give quite a textured bite in every slice. The sweet sauce drizzled over the roll makes the whole dish come together and left me wanting seconds (which I ordered, of course)!


Besides the 'mari' rolls, there are also various mains of noodles, rice and korean rice cake. Of the three, the korean rice cake has the most innovative twists, including a very interesting Chef's Carbonara Rice Cake which puts the traditional korean rice cake in a very untraditional situation. I didn't get a picture of it but I really like the surprisingly matching combination. Their most popular rice cake, though, is the Melted Cheese Rice Cake (the picture really doesn't do it justice, thanks to the very unphotogenic melted cheese on top of everything). The dish was a bit too spicy for me to have too much of (I shudder to think of how spicy the dish they actually call Spicy Rice Cake is...), but the flavours were punchy and very appetising. My friends devoured this in minutes despite how hot it was!


A more traditional entry on the menu is the Cold Noodles, served in a cold broth with shaved ice (also made of broth, so it doesn't dilute the flavour when melted). I really loved these noodles! The sour tang and the coldness makes the whole dish very appetising and was a very refreshing break from the heavier rice cake dishes. Again, the picture doesn't do the dish justice, but this is highly recommended!


Of the different categories offered at School Food, I think the rice section leaves me feeling the least inspired. This Kimchi Fried Rice, for example, was very well done with a great degree of tangy, kimchi-spicyness, but simply didn't feel as original or creative as the rolls or the rice cakes.


In a terribly misguided attempt to be healthy, I ordered this Fried Chicken and Spring Onion 'Salad'. The chicken was done well, with a light and crispy but flavoursome batter. The spring onion salad though, was left virtually untouched. Granted, I'm not the biggest fan of spring onions in the first place, but I had hoped this salad made only of spring onions to change my mind. In any case, this clearly isn't the dish you're looking for to make this a healthy balanced meal!


All in all, School Food is a great meal at a great price. Not one dish is priced at above $100 (except apparently a huge sundae that serves 3 or 4, but I skipped desserts in another misguided attempt to have a 'balanced' meal). Considering especially its prime location in the Times Square and the company it keeps in Food Forum, School Food is very affordable! Combined with the great food, it's no surprise that the queues are extremely long! Credit where it's due though, I don't think School Food will be a passing fad as long as it can keep its standards (both food and service) so high and its prices so low!

Food: 8/10

Environment: 6/10
Service: 8/10
Price: $ $ out of 5

lost in transit

It's taken me a surprising length of time to get back into the swing of things here at home in Hong Kong. I feel like I don't remember the last time I actually lived here and haven't seen it through the eyes of a visitor. Strangely enough, for all the things in life that is more technologically advanced here than it is in London (our version of the Underground, for one, I would never trade London with - even for a gazillion dollars). Speaking of dollars, readjusting to the currency is also taking a while... I keep swinging between thinking things are very expensive because of the number on the price tag and thinking things are very cheap because I tell myself a dollar is worth much less than a pound.

All in all, it's been very strange to have to get used to my old home as my new home. I haven't had much time to blog much during this time but I figured that since working on my blog helped me learn to live life in London, it's going to help me live life here too - so now I'm back and it feels good so far.

Let's see where this takes us then?

Monday, 15 July 2013

les trois garcons

During my time here in London, I have to admit that I haven't made enough of an effort to stray out of my Central London comfort zone into East London. The furthest East I really tend to go is Liverpool Street (for my beloved Duck and Waffle, of course). So in the past couple of weeks I've tried to head East for a change. One of the meals I've had there recently was at Les Trois Garcons. 

Les Trois Garcons is a bit of an institution in East London, having been around for over a decade when most of the area's establishments are generally much younger. Whilst the exterior of the restaurant looks like your run-of-the-mill, slightly run down pub (and very much over shadowed by its glitzy looking neighbour), the interior of the restaurant does feel like you've stepped into another world: one that is fantastical and really rather bizarre. Indeed, the interior of Les Trois Garcons is perhaps one of its most talked about features, with an eclectic assortment of statues and stuffed animals dotted around the place.


Fortunately, it's not all just smoke and mirrors - the dining experience is great too. First off, from the moment you walk through the door, you will be warmly welcomed by the staff that will make you feel right at home (even if your home is not adorned with crowned monkeys and winged bulldogs). The amuse-bouche that is served is also a nice touch.



For my starter, I had escargots served with ravioli of pig's trotters. The escargot, quite unexpectedly, tasted very Asian - garlic and green onion stir fry, to be exact - and was enjoyable. The ravioli was excellent: the pig's trotters made a tender and succulent filling, contrasting with the small strip of crispy bacon that also gives it an extra kick of flavour.


My non-meat-eating friend had the marinated cuttlefish, which again was curiously Asian flavoured - this time Thai chilli. The cuttlefish was done well, being cooked just right even though the pieces were quite chunky. Despite this, I personally would not have enjoyed this dish if it were mine. I don't think I would have been satisfied with a whole plate of just cuttlefish slices as a main course.


On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed my veal loin on the bone. At first, I was going to send the dish back because I had asked for the steak to be medium rare but it was barely pink. However, after one mouthful, I was very much happy. The steak was smooth and tender, barely resisting my knife, despite being medium well. The sauce was also delectable, with enough flavour to elevate the overall steak but not so much so that it took away from the steak.


Overall, I think that Les Trois Garcons is a great place for a bit of a dining experience, maybe a date or a special family celebration. An occasion you would dress up for. Everything about it is quite exciting, from the decor to the flavours used in the dishes. The spotless service and the look and feel of the place also gives it that classy feel to suit a special occasion. However, once you look past all the bells and whistles, I do think that the food could be better, particularly for the rather souped up price tag that comes with it.

Food: 6/10
Environment: 8/10
Service: 7/10
Price: £ £ £ £ out of 5

You can find the Les Trois Garcons home page here.
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