Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spago - Beverly Hills

Ever expected a dinner to be sub-par then get something a bit more spectacular? Doesn't happen too often but Love it when it does :) And, it happened at Spago at Beverly Hills.

We booked at the last minute and ashamedly, were also late for our booking. The restaurant was rather accommodating though, despite their surprisingly pretty full restaurant. You see someone making fresh pasta at the front all night long, as though to emphasise the fact that you are eating freshly made pasta.

For starters, we had some garlic bread. This smelt amazing. The bread has a crispy crust and a soft center. Butterly but not dripping in it, and garlicy but not overly so. Not bad.
garlic bread
Hubby ordered the Pappardelle Cheek's Ragu ($24).This was al dente handcut thick ish pasta served with a 16 hours cooked ox cheek ragu with porcini and truffle oil. The pasta was tomatoey and meaty. A reasonably tasty pasta.
beef cheek ragu papadelle - $24
I had the king prawns fettuccine ($24). There was a reasonably large amount of prawns with some mushrooms and capsicum. But the star of the dish was the creamy lobster bisque. ZOMG this lobster bisque was mindblowingly good - urges you to go back for more and more and more!
King prawn fettuccine - $24
So I have to say, I loved my pasta here. And I would come back for some more. The whole meal was made cheaper by our entertainment book, so if you have one, come check out this small ish yet busy Italian restaurant.

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money -  7.5/10
Overall - 29/40

524B King Georges Road
Beverly Hills, 
NSW 2209
Tel: (02) 9585 0282

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Butagumi Tonkatsu - Hong Kong

We were hungry and looking for something yummy to eat around the Mong Kok area in HK. After giving just a bit of thought we decided on Butagumi Tonkatsu located at the basement of a little arcarde called Gala Place. It was a Japanese restaurant specialising in Tonkatsu (which we didn't actually end up ordering) with your usual western/chinese influence.

Drink-wise, I opted for a sesame milkshake which was really quite delicious~ Rich in black sesame flavour, icey, milky and just thick enough. Hubby had the usual iced lemon tea.
black sesame milkshake
We both ordered set menus. With the set came a creamy soup. This wasn't too spectacular - just creamy with some lumps here and there.
creamy soup
My main was the salmon pasta - with spinach fettuccine and mushrooms. This was pretty tasty! Just creamy enough. The pasta was just al-dente. It was pretty well balanced in flavour.
salmon with spinach fettuccine
Hubby ordered a steak featuring an american angus. Hubby asked for medium rare, and it actually came out as such! Amazing~ The steak was tender, the sauce was just enough, and I guess we were just both surprised that this was yummy.
Angus sirloin
The poorest part of the meal was probably the dessert. This was a pretty crappy small square of blueberry cheesecake. We barely touched it. Much better to save stomach space for other things in HK!
blueberry cheesecake
Food - 8/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28/40

Butagumi Tonkatsu
Shop B01 B/F Gala Place
56 Dundas Street
Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 31820186

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sushi One - Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a city of life and amazement. It is also a city filled with plenty of super busy people living their super busy lives. However, it is also Chinese people who live in this city, and sterotypically, as Asians, we all love a good bargain. As such, things like "50% off your Bill" when you eat after 10pm is met with much enthusiasm - so much so, that it felt like we were lining up to enter a night club when we were waiting (seemingly ages) for our table. Having waited for so long, we had long mapped out our selections (as below)...
salmon roe ship
Mackeral sushi
squid and otoro tuna ship
super massive anago eel
salmon and salmon roe sushi
Otoro tuna sushi
scallop done three ways
tropical roll
I have to say, service here is abysmal - which is normal I guess when your staff are working like a dog from early hours til past midnight. The food was average. The fish was all fresh enough and the sushi tasty enough... but nothing spectacular. However, when you account for the fact that you get 50% off your entire food and drink bill, almost all is forgiven right? :)

Food - 7/10
Service - 4/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 25/40

Sushi One
One Grand Tower
639 Nathan Road
Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3583 1100

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Amber - Hong Kong

We had wanted to squeeze in something fun in amongst a super quick and slightly stressful trip to HK. So, ahead of time, we had booked in Amber, a 2 Michelin star restaurant, for lunch. To book this restaurant, we had to lock in a deposit of over HK$500 per person. Normally, this would be non-issue. Unfortunately, in the super early hours of the day we were meant to be going to Amber for lunch, I came down with food poisoning and was spewing left right and centre - leaving me with zero appetite. Hence, the conundrum began... do we not go and loose HK$1000? or do we go anyway despite me not able to eat?

Being ultimate foodies, I put on a brave face and went anyway. Hubby also promised to eat my meal. We were seated promptly at 12.30pm in a beautifully yet simply adorned room. The tables were nicely spaced out so no one got in anyone's way. We ordered a set lunch each and were provided with three seemingly awesome amuse bouches and really well done bread. We both had the french baguette and they were so good! Crispy and warm, yet white and fluffy inside. Awesome~
There was the mini crab salad spring roll, a beetroot and foie gras lollipop, and a cream curry croquette. I believe that all three were deliciousness (according to hubby) and if I didn't think I'll be spending hours over a toilet bowl, I think I would have loved it too. As it stands, I just nibbled on all. The foie gras lollipop was beautifully rich and smooth and full of flavour. The croquette I think was made to eat in one bite, as when you bite on it, a wonderful creamy curry mix flows out. The spring rolls were delicate yet flavoursome.

In terms of our entrees, hubby had the Hokkaido sea urchin. This was a small sea-urchin shaped shell with fresh sea urchin, a lobster jelly, cauliflower mousse, a ton of caviar and gold leaf. This was served with an assortment of seaweed crisps. It looked so delicate and I so wished I wasn't sick as I only managed to eat a small spoon of this. The flavours were wonderful and subtly sweet. The textures so wonderfully smooth and the seaweed crisps? Deliciousness!

The second entree was the cep mushrooms. This was a thin puree film of kabocha (Jap pumpkin) with scattered mushrooms, fresh hazelnuts, bellota ham and bits of lettuce. It was OK. Didn't taste particularly awesome or flavourful. Didn't feel like a waste that I couldn't eat it. Instead, I wanted or rather, NEEDED an iced lemon tea - it was the freaking best iced lemon tea I've had... probably cos that was the only thing my stomach wanted at that time.
The two mains we ordered was the fish and the pork. The Atlantic cod was a pretty hefty piece of fish. It was cooked confit and was absolutely perfect. Unfortunately, it lacked any form of flavour. A bit of salt would be good no? The fish was served on a bed of paimpol coco beans and chorizo... again, slightly devoid of any taste. It came with three black squid ink fish balls which tasted almost nothing of fish balls.
The pork had a bit more flavour. Unfortunately, these cubes of piglet shoulder lacked the crispy skin that it should have offered. It came with sweet potato, cepes (mushies) and tat soi (spinachy things). It was dressed with a rich pork emulsion.

The pre-dessert was pretty much the first thing I really ate. I couldn't resist. It was a tiny magnum looking pop. Coconut sorbet covered with chocolate and nuts. AMAZING. I gobbled it all up.
 This was the start of my appetite as I could also stomach the dessert. It looked amazing and there were the flavours to back it up. The triangular Jivara chocolate cremeux with a rich perfect-looking cocoa glaze was served with coconut sorbet and a white chocolate disk. Really chocolately. Really rich. Creamy, yet with a crispy crunchy bottom. Delicious! I was surprised that I could eat most of this! (and I kept it down~ chocolate really does heal all).
Hubby had the cheese. Whilst the cheese cart offered much yummy delicacies, we left it up to our waiter to decide our selection (we weren't familiar with most of the cheesey names). He gave us a really good selection... some cheese yummier than others. Hubby particularly liked the blue cheese option.
Coffee and tea are complimentary here and so, hubby had a coffee whilst I had another lemon tea to go with our tower of petit fours. There was a fruity caramel lolly, a lemony creme thing, chocolate tart, mini macaron, a coffee profiterole, and an almond biscuit thing. I think it was more the WOW factor. Definitely wowed me. But I guess taste-wise, it was just average.

So all up, it was a decent meal at Amber. The sea urchin and the jivara chocolate dessert was probably the highlight of the meal. Everything else was just average. 2 Star worth? not super sure about that...

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance 8.5/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 30/40

Amber Restaurant
7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental
15 Queens Road Central
Central Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2132 0066

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ruby Tuesdays - Hong Kong

We were having dinner with a friend in HK. Initially, I had said that I wanted to go to a Jap restaurant. However, having just thrown up all over the place due to food poisoning the day before, raw fish and sushi was the last thing on my mind. Instead, we decided to go to our friend's favourite restaurant.

Ruby Tuesdays is our friends favourite restaurant because he has an amazing VIP card here which gives him 50% off the WHOLE bill - food AND drinks (alcoholic beverages included). Pretty awesome :P

I had a craving for wings, and so, we ordered wings as an entree to share. The small (9 wings) was only HK$60 more than the large (18 wings) - which, after discount, means that it's less than $5 AUD more for 9 more wings. So despite knowing that it's almost impossible for the three of us to polish off 18 wings and our mains between the three of us, we ordered it anyway - 9 teriyaki flavoured, 9 buffalo. They were pretty finger-lickingly good!
Large wings - buffalo and teriyaki
Our friend got the Colossal burger. This was a full POUND of meat patty with melted cheddar cheese and a tiny bit of salad encased between three soft buns. It wasn't super duper tasty but it was super duper massive! Our friend did a pretty decent job at almost polishing it off! Not the chips though - they were a bit sad looking.
Colossal burger
I got a steak. A wagyu sirloin (from Australia... yes - there's better aussie steaks overseas than in Sydney). It was cooked perfectly medium rare, really juicy and tasty, and topped with an asiago cheese and peppercorn sauce. Served with a side of baked potato and overcooked broccoli, it was actually quite yummy!
wagyu sirloin steak with asiago sauce
Hubby got a full rack of pork ribs. Sure it wasn't as saucy as Hurricanes, nor was it as big, but the meat was still fall off the bone. This was served with veges which were virtually left untouched by hubby.
pork ribs

All up, it was an alright meal. The food wasn't super flash but it was definitely bargain with the 50% discount. They also have a salad bar where people can fill up their plate with as much salad as possible - we had a good laugh looking at how people stack up their salads both at the restaurant and the creative ways people could do it online :P Maybe we could try it someday~

Food - 7/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance- 7/10
Value for money - 8.5/10
Overall - 29/40

Ruby Tuesdays (Tsim Sha Tsui branch)
Shop 304, 3/F, Silvercord
Tel: +852 892 0883
Web: http://www.rubytuesday.com.hk