Friday 27 January 2017


Regional Thai cooking

Langoustines, Kaffir Lime & Sweet Mint

I am not a fan of restaurants that doesn't take booking, but every once a while, I am happy to bite the bullet, given if the restaurant sounds like too good to miss and Kiln fit into that category. From the same people behind the successful Thai restaurant Smoking Goat, Kiln is a tiny Thai restaurant on Brewer Street that does regional Thai food. The menu is short and diners are encouraged to order about 3 dishes each, similar to a tapas bar. The restaurant only offers counter seating behind an open kitchen, so it is not the best place for a large group. 

Aquavit London

Nordic fine dining

Arctic Bird's Nest

London seem to be the "go to" place for oversea top chefs to expand these days, and the latest came from a Nordic restaurant called Aquavit, already with two Michelin restaurants in Japan and New York. It is another new opening at the recently developed St James' Market, the same place that gave us Japanese restaurant Anzu and Italian restaurant Veneta. Unlike the usual menu format, Aquavit also offers a selection of hot and cold smorgasbord (tapas sizes dishes which are ideal for sharing) where diners can order as an alternative of a starter.

Social Wine and Tapas

Spanish style brunch

Piquillo pepper croquette and cured salmon & miso

For regular readers of my blogs, you would know I have got nothing but love for Spanish cuisine. However, I don't think I have ever eaten a Spanish brunch before, so when I noticed Jason Atherton's Social Wine and Tapas launched a new brunch menu, I arranged a visit. I am a big fan of Jason's work in the restaurant business. His flagship restaurant: Pollen Street Socialwas one of my favourite restaurant. Since then, he has launched many new places across the world, and Social Wine and Tapas is one of his more unique restaurant in London, offering creative Spanish small plates instead of his more common French/British bistro cooking.

Sunday 8 January 2017

Tono Daikiya

Japanese buffet heaven

Sashimi selection

Usually I shy away from buffet restaurants, the reason is simple, there is a high chance the quality of the cooking, as well as the ingredients, are no where near as good as cook to order dishes, and most buffet dishes would be pre-done so the freshness can be very questionable. However, a close friend of mine strongly suggested Tono Diakiya, a Japanese restaurant that offer premium buffet experience in Hong Kong, all you can eat, as well as drink (beer, house wine and sake) for £30 is something I am more happy to give it a go. The selection of food is massive, ranging from sushi to plenty of hot dishes, such as pan fried beef and baked scallops.

The Chairman

Refined Cantonese cuisine 

Steamed Fresh Flowery Crab with Aged ShaoXing Wine,
Fragrant Chicken Oil & Flat Rice Noodles

Listed in the 50 best Asian restaurants for 3 years running, The Chairman is one of the few Hong Kong restaurants specializing in Cantonese cuisine featured in the list. It has not been a must visit list for me, as funny enough, I have yet to find a very solid high end Cantonese restaurants. I couldn't agree anymore with the motto of The Chairman regarding "as long as the ingredients are fresh, the sauces are outstanding, simple cooking will rule". Cantonese cooking doesn't need to be complex or fancy plating to make it exquisite and special. In the usual fine dining fashion, the restaurant offer a numbers of tasting menu, as well as a standard a la carte.

Zhejiang Heen

Huaiyang cuisine

Braised pork legs

Located in Wan Chai, Zhejiang Heen is a Chinese restaurant that specializing in Huaiyang cuisine with a Michelin star for 3 years running. Some interesting dishes which are hard to find in many restaurants, such as the "braised duck stuffed with 8 treasures" and "black glutinous rice with pumpkin and 8 delights" would require advance order. Zhejiang Heen also does a 4 course set lunch menu which is pretty great value for money for a Michelin starred "proper" restaurant where you can sit down, take your time, without worrying to be getting kicked out by waiters when you are done with your meal.

M&C Duck

Peaking duck, modern style

Spicy beef, Sichuan style

For most people in the Western world, peaking duck is mistaken as fried duck from Chinese takeaway. Peaking Duck is in fact a classic luxury dish from Northern China, roasted and served with only skin. There are plenty of modern innovation, such as the choice of dressing and garnishes etc. The Hong Kong restaurant group, Maxims, has launched M&C Duck in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, to offer value for money Peaking duck, along with some popular regional classic dishes such as the spicy beef from Sichuan but at a much reduced spices level, which has more appeal to a wider demographic. 

Sister Wah

Beef brisket legend

Signature dishes at Sister Wah

Besides the usual restaurants, if you really want to dine like a local, one of the must do things while you are in Hong Kong is to try out the traditional fast food shops. You will be offered table service, but expect to share your table with strangers, and leave the place and pay the bill as soon as you have finished your food. Sister Wah is a fast food shop in Tin Hau and serves beef brisket in soup as its signature dish, it is a very popular venue for the locals and it is common to see long queues at lunch hours thanks to its famous beef brisket, which landed Sister Wah a Michelin Bid Gourmand.

Jardin de Jade

Shanghai fine dining

Tea smoked duck

While far from perfect, the general quality of Cantonese cuisine in London has made great improvement in the last few years, especially the dim sum. So when I pay a visit to Hong Kong, I often try to experience other Chinese regional cooking, which are either rare or none exists in London. Jardin de Jade ticks all the right boxes for me, a Michelin starred Shanghai restaurant in Hong Kong, it has a fairly extended menu, focusing on classic cooking using top ingredients.