Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cafe Landmark HK

Cafe Landmark
Level 1, The Landmark,
16 Des Voeux Road Central,
Central, HK
Located right inside a mall, Cafe Landmark is a restaurant that is hard to miss. Smacked in the middle between luxurious stores such as Dior, Gucci, and the Harvey Nichols department store, the open environment of the restaurant makes it a great place to take a break (possibly from shopping) and enjoy some good food. A few of their signature dishes include: beef carpaccio, lobster linguine, and their fresh crab meat au gratin. I would highly recommend their lobster linguine, the chewy linguine mixed with a light but savory and creamy white sauce will definitely be the highlight of your Cafe Landmark experience. In addition, each plate comes with a half baked lobster - perfect for those who are big seafood eaters. Their crab meat salad and cesar salad w/ salmon and a pouched egg are also good appetizers that are light and delicious to the taste buds. Another dish that I would recommend for foie gras lovers would be their spaghetti with foie gras. Slightly heavy with the meat and foie gras, but worth a one-time try.

Cafe Landmark's signature afternoon tea is also a must-try. Personally, I prefer their afternoon tea set over the ones served at the Peninsula Hotel, but then again, that highly depends on personal preference. The mall can get pretty crowded (and noisy) which is a con when dining here. I wouldn't say this is a restaurant for HK locals though, more so for tourists.

Overall: 3.5/5

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Small Eats @ Sevva

Prince's Building 25th floor
10 Charter Road, Central, Hong Kong
(852) 2537-1388
Patio view from Sevva
Just take a look at the wide selections of cake!! What is there not to love? I'll admit, I came here particularly for the Marie Antoinette Cake (notice the resemblance of the cotton candy vs Antoinette's hair). The cake is dressed with colorful macaroons and shiny metallic colored candy balls. The cake is a pistachio sponge cake with fresh fruits layered in the middle. There's three sizes to all of their cakes: Darling Size, Standard Size, and WOW Size. We ordered the darling size and between just two people, we finished almost 3/4 of the cake (!) and we took the rest home. Maybe it's the heat and amount of cake SEVVA had to make that day, but I definitely felt like the cake tasted better after being refrigerated overnight. On a side note, I only had two bites of the cotton candy - it was way too sweet and messy. The colored candy balls were also pretty for decoration, but a PAIN to eat!! They were too hard to chew and takes forever to melt in your mouth. Taste: 3.5/5
The staff at Sevva also suggested their well-known "Crunch Cake" -- which is somewhere between a sponge and an angel food cake, with chunks of caramelized meringue on the top.

The 360 view is beautiful and I would even consider sitting at the terrace during the Fall/Spring for a different view/feel. There's a restaurant in SEVVA too, but I heard it wasn't worth the money.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dim Sum..Disney Style!?

Crystal Lotus
Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel,
(Hong Kong Disneyland)
Lantau Island, Hong Kong
(852) 3510-6000

I knew I had to pay Crystal Lotus a visit when I heard about their famous Disney styled Dim Sum located inside the gorgeous and elegant Victorian Disneyland Hotel. The first thing you'll notice infront of the Crystal Lotus restaurant is a computer-animated pond, where electronic fishies dart out of the way as you walk across the floor (pond). What a great touch! Only available for lunch on the weekends and public holidays, the restaurant offers Dim Sum unlike any other HK restaurants, dim sum dishes inspired by Disney characters! The mix of modern and traditional Chinese decor makes the restaurant appealing to both the young and the old. Embellished by lotus flower chandeliers, crystals, high wooden chairs and decorative fixtures on every dining table makes dining at Crystal Lotus a truly regal experience.

Disney Dim Sum:

Mickey's Seafood Glutinous Pancake
What's Disney Dim Sum without the iconic Mickey Mouse head? The Seafood Pancakes served with hot sauce is adorable to look at, but unfortunately, not so much to eat. The pancakes were a little bit on the hard side: my guess being that the pancakes were probably put in the mold longer for a more defined Mickey shape. Nevertheless, they are oh-so-cute!

Mickey’s Double-layer Turnip and Taro Pudding
Yet another signature dish is the double-layer turnip and taro pudding..also Mickey shaped! These were surprisingly delicious. The combination of turnip and taro made a winning team - the taro kicked up the flavor and softened the spongy's difficult to solely eat taro and turnip separately now. They belong together, like husband and wife.
Three Little Pigs Barbecue Pork Bun
Next in line is the storybook classic: "The Three Little Pigs", and you could probably guess what was inside the pigs...yes, bbq pork! So clever, right? I've never had this much trouble eating my pork buns, they were just too cute to be devoured! The taste of the pork was very standard, both juicy and tasty.

Little Green Men Pork and Vegetable
It isn't all Disney without some Disney Pixar action! When our next dish came, everyone went, "Ooooooh~" Yup, they are the little green aliens from Toy Story! Inside the little green men were..well, green vegetables! These vegetable buns were great to look at, but even better to eat! However, I wished they had more veggies in the buns because it seemed like most of it was dough.


“Chicken Little” Steamed Lotus Seed Puree Bun
So cute. SO PRECIOUS! When these came in, I knew these steamed buns in the basket represented "labor of love". The intricately detailed eyes, eyebrows, beaks, and up to chicken little's spectacles were all carefully made and styled by the chefs at Crystal Lotus. It is all love I tell you....Love♥! I had tons of fun dissecting each part of chicken little, which were all made of flour. Inside the bun, was lotus seed paste mixed with egg...perfect for the mooncake season!

Non-Disney Dishes:

Steamed Vegetable Dumpling
After the intial "Disney dishes" we still had an appetite for more food, so we turned to the traditional menu and ordered a few non-Disney dishes. The first order was the vegetable dumpling. For the non-Chinese, this dish may look rather scary at first glance. Shouldn't veggie dumplings be either white or green? Not in Disney! These unusual vegetable dumplings are made out of gold colored dough - to represent the color and shape of the old currency in China! However, despite its cool design, I didn't like the taste of the dumpling skin as it was too sleek and shiny for me.

WonTon and Fish Maw in Clear Soup
A traditional Cantonese soup, the clear soup was very light and tasty, and also great for the skin. Being Asian, it's always nice to have some warm soup after a big meal.


Glutinous Ball with Creamy Custard
This is the BEST dessert, ever! I've never had glutinous ball in the form of a liu sha bao before, but it is one of Crystal Lotus's signature dishes. With sugared peanut powder sprinkled on the outside of the warm, glutinous ball, once bitten, the creamy custard comes gushing out like warm lava. Very, very satisfying. A must try.

Steamed Asian Pear with Honey
My mom actually made me this dish a few months back (when I was coughing nonstop). Pears are considered very healthy and excelled for fevers, cough, and stomach ulcers. Sweet almonds w/ honey are supposed to lubricate the intestines and temper coughs and asthma. This is a yummy and healthy dessert; and is another one of Crystal Lotus's signature dishes.

Disney isn't lying when they say they're the "happiest place on earth" - the staff here are impeccable with their service and not to mention happy all. the. time! As cheesy as it may sound, it felt great to be in a place surrounded by warmth and happiness. Crystal Lotus is a great place to dine with friends, family and your significant other. Trust me, this is not a place where you nor your camera would want to miss!

Overall: 3/5

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Café Gray

Café Gray Deluxe
L49 The Upper House Pacific Place,
88 Queensway, Admiralty
(852) 3968-1106

This entry is dedicated to my dear cousin, Jennifer Lee, who used to work as a chef at the renowned Café Gray in New York City. Situated on the 49th floor of the Upper House in Admiralty is Café Gray Deluxe, an eatery with chic decor, gorgeous view, and delicious food. Chef Gray Kunz launched this second incarnation of Café Gray in Asia...this time in Hong Kong!
The restaurant has a central dining room and an elongated open kitchen on the left, and a beautiful bar with a stunning view of the Hong Kong skyline located on the right. While being seated, I noticed that the table arrangement was kind of tight, which was slightly distracting because I could hear our neighbors' conversations. However, I had to remind myself that I was in Asia - space is limited! While we chose our courses for the night, we were given complimentary sour dough with bread dip made of yogurt and drizzled with olive oil. Interesting combo, but the yogurt didn't provide much taste. Next, we had our soup: Crab Bisque and crabmeat vinaigrette and Chicken Soup with foie gras. The crab bisque was rich and slightly sweet - which I liked. The crab meat on the side was also a nice refreshing addition. On the other hand, the chicken soup w/ foie gras was a little too bland and had no "wow factor" to it. Even the floating foie gras didn't do it for me :-/

Onto our main course: I had the sliced Baby Lamb while my companion had Cafe Gray's House Special Steak. While many upscale restaurants are known to give teeny tiny portions, this was not true in our case because oh my god were the servings huge!!! The steak was good enough for two people and the lamb was piled up on the plate like a mini hill. This brings me to my next topic: food presentation. I thought the presentation of our food could've been plated better. I understand that there's only so much you can do with a slab of meat, but the slices of lamb could've been put together better rather than looking like it was "thrown" in the middle of the plate. We were satisfied with the taste of our dishes, though. The lamb was very tender and wasn't gamey, and the steak had a burst of flavors to it - exotic! Would recommend both dishes.
The dessert was standard in taste. I especially liked the sorbet with berries and champagne. I'm a big sucker when it comes to unique decorations and/or interesting combinations. My chocolate molton cake topped with caramel ice-cream was very "normal" - but I'm glad the cake was soft, chewy, and moist. It's always a let-down when chocolate cake is served dry and crumbly. Lastly, complimentary chocolates were served at the end of the meal. I only had enough stomach for one piece of chocolate as I was too full after the meal. *Note: the chocolate chunks are great substitutes for sugar (in coffee) :)

Overall, I had a great time at Café Gray Deluxe. Is it comparable to NY version? I highly doubt it..the service and "eliteness" are not quite there yet but we have to keep in mind that this establishment is geared more towards "casual fine dining". Wearing jeans is OK as long as you have a nice top to go with it.

Overall: 3.5/5
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