Monday, 13 November 2017

Wholesome Italian Cuisine Prepared with Passion at Involtini



   A cosy Italian restaurant housed within L Square in Causeway Bay, Involtini impresses with fine Italian cuisine prepared with passion and finesse. Helmed by local chef, Jack Law, the restaurant specialises in pastas and wholesome Italian favourites.

The interior

   With 14 years of culinary under his belt, Chef Law has honed his skills in Otto E Mezza Bombana and Ciak in the Kitchen. During his time in the restaurants, they were awarded 3 and 1 Michelin star(s) respectively. 

   Using fresh and premium ingredients shipped from Italy, the affable chef believes innovation and passion are vital ingredients in a good dish.

   I was happy to be given the opportunity to try the Autumn Tasting Menu which comprised six flavourful and creative dishes. Every creation was crafted to perfection, showcasing Chef Law’s dedication and attention to detail.

Octopus terrine with quinoa salad and balsamic reduction

   The octopus terrine with quinoa salad and balsamic reduction started my meal on a refreshing note. The sweet succulence of the octopus coupled with the tanginess of the quinoa salad and the intensity of the balsamic reduction brought about a lovely explosion of flavours in every bite.



   The Hokkaido scallop with clam soup was prepared with scallop, olive oil and white wine. Tasty and refreshing, it is the ideal soup for the cool autumn season.

Ravioli stuffed with mortadella and minced guinea fowl

   I love the ravioli which was stuffed with mortadella and minced guinea fowl and topped with deep-fried guanciale (cured pork cheek) for a richer flavour. Every morsel was delightful and perfectly balanced in flavours.

Homemade tagliolini with king prawn and bottarga

   The main highlight of the menu was the homemade tagliolini with king prawn and bottarga (cured fish role). The sauce was meticulously prepared with seven different types of fresh seafood such as prawn, clams, fish and more and the bottarga was added to enhance the flavour and give it a crunchy texture. The al dente pasta was also rolled and twisted into twirls before it was served, giving an elegant touch to the dish.

Pan-fried signature mayura wagyu M9 beef rump flap

   For the mains, you can choose either the slow cooked pigeon breast and fried pigeon leg with beetroot cherry purée or pan-fried signature mayura wagyu M9 beef rump flap. I had the wagyu beef rump which was succulent and flavourful. The carrot purée and pesto mashed potato also complemented the beef well.

Sicilian lemon tart

   The Sicilian lemon tart, a lovely dessert with citrus accents held to refresh my palate, providing a splendid conclusion to a fabulous meal.

Review of the Sicilian lemon tart

Chef Law at the bar area

   The 6-course Autumn Tasting Menu is priced at HK $568 per person. Involtini is located at11F, The L. Square 459 – 461 Lockhart Rd, Causeway Bay. For enquiries, please call +852 2658 2128. 
Alternatively, please visit here.



Thursday, 9 November 2017

Dim Sum with A Twist at Dim Sum Library!


Enjoying the dim sum

    The recent revitalisation of Admiralty’s Pacific Place has also seen the launch of Dim Sum Library, the latest addition to the Aqua Group, which is behind a selection of bespoke restaurants such as Hutong, Shiro, Ayuthaiya, Zafran and of course Aqua.

   Dim Sum Library offers a very unique and interesting concept, enhancing classic recipes with international ingredients such as truffles, foie gras and kimchi. So, if you are looking for dim sum with a twist, you will definitely be enthralled.

   Themed in black and gold, the glamourous interior is reminiscent of Shanghai in the 1920s, with large peacock murals and fancy bird cages.

Innovative dim sum creations

   Each creation is a feast for the senses, exquisitely executed and elegantly plated. However, if you desire traditional dim sum favourites, this may not be the place for you. 


Steamed Hokkaido scallops with home-made pickled chilli

   My favourite item on the menu is the steamed Hokkaido scallops with home-made pickled chilli (HK $138 for 2). Fresh and succulent, the scallops are accentuated with home-made pickled chilli. It offers just a light hint of spiciness, without being too overwhelming.

Hokkaido king crab and sea urchin spring rolls

   The Hokkaido king crab and sea urchin spring rolls (HK $88 for 4) offer a fresh take on the quintessential spring roll. The creamy, custard-like texture of the sea urchin provides a delightful contrast to the crispy spring rolls, enhanced by the sweet succulence of the Hokkaido king crab.


Dan dan noodles with Shanghainese coddled egg

   If you are a fan of spicy food, you will love the dan dan noodles with Shanghainese coddled egg (HK $78) - a noodle dish prepared with robust dan dan sauce (sauce prepared with sesame paste, Sichuan peppercorn, chilli oil and vinegar). 

Dan dan xiao long bao

   The dan dan xiao long bao (HK $48 for 3) which consists of well-loved dumplings filled with minced pork and savoury broth, accented with dan dan sauce is also a popular favourite. Each morsel is a delectable burst of goodness, combining the best of Shanghainese and Sichuan flavours, with just enough spice for a ‘kick’.


Deep-fried taro puff with foie gras

   The deep-fried taro puff with foie gras (HK $58 for 3) lives up to expectation with its creamy taro and foie gras filling enveloped in a light, crispy crust.

Sichuan "ma la" beef cheung fan

   Last but not least, the Sichuan “ma la” beef cheung fan (HK $58 for 3) is a spicy rendition of the conventional rice noodle roll. The roll has a light, delicate and melt-in-the-mouth texture while the “ma la” beef adds a spicy, numbing taste.



   Overall, Dim Sum Library offers dim sum with a contemporary twist in an elegant setting. It is the haven for adventurous diners who are on the search for something unique and different. Dim Sum Library is located at Shop 1`24, 1/F, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway Admiralty, Hong Kong. Reservations are recommneded to avoid disappointment. 
For enquiries and reservations, please call +852 3643 0088. Alternatively, please vist here.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Food Lovers Only (Flo) Introduces K-FLO Dishes


With Abby and Chef Kim Jin Myeong

   Located at IMM, Food Lovers Only (Flo) is a casual, halal certified café founded by singer, actress and host, Candyce Toh. With a capacity of 36, it is perfect for an intimate dinner with your pals or loved ones. Drawing inspiration from its sister restaurant, Café Manuka, Flo specialises in Korean and Western cuisine with an innovative twist. The café, which is helmed by bubbly Chef,  Kim Jin Myeong has just launched creative K-FLO dishes which are a hit with many diners.

Flo’s Rosti Special with Scrambled Eggs

   During my recent trip back in Singapore, I was invited to try some of these tantalising and unique creations. One of the best sellers is the Flo’s Rosti Special with Scrambled Eggs ($16.90). Pan-fried to the right degree of crispness, the rosti was accompanied with salad, specially marinated chicken slices, sour cream and chives dip. The combination of diverse flavours and textures brought a burst of delight to my taste buds.

Kimchi pancake


   The kimchi pancake ($14.90) is also one of my favourites. Prepared with kimchi, onion, corn and chives, it is palatable with a mix of tangy and savoury flavours. Served with soy dressing and salad, the pancake is substantial enough for a meal! 

Bulgogi rice 

   For those with an inclination for bulgogi beef, I would recommend the bulgogi rice ($16.90) or the bulgogi pasta ($16.90). Bulgogi is one of Korea’s most popular beef dishes prepared with a prime cut of beef and marinated in an interesting mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, garlic, onions, ginger and sugar. Flo’s version consists of succulent beef served with rice, sautéed onion, scrambled egg and onion mayo sauce. The rice fully absorbs the gravy, making every mouthful a gratifying one. 

Bulgogi pasta

   The bulgogi pasta is another superb creation, blending the flavours of the East and West. I like Flo’s special soy sauce which complements the pasta, beef and sautéed onions perfectly. 

Korean marinated chicken served with kimchi rice

   The Korean marinated chicken served with kimchi rice ($17) was also very satisfying. Anchovies were added to the rice to enhance the flavour and give it a crunchy texture. The chicken was tender and flavourful too. 

Chicken salad bibimbap

   Another winning dish is the chicken salad bibimbap ($15.90) served with marinated chicken slices, rice, salad, onion, tomato cubes and Flo’s homemade hot bean sauce. The refreshing salad and marinated chicken slices neutralised the spiciness of the sauce. A fantastic dish for bibimbap lovers!

Review of the Sweet Divine waffles


Enjoying Sweet Divine waffles

   For a sweet finale, tempt your palate with mouth-watering desserts. The sweet divine ($15) is a popular choice comprising freshly baked waffles with  mini marshmallows, bean ice cream, maple syrup and chocolate sauce. For a richer and more intense flavour, add some Horlicks sauce. This sensational dessert is a must-have for anyone with a sweet tooth!

With my family

   Overall, Flo offers a lovely dining experience for anyone who loves Korean fusion cuisine in a comfortable setting.  It is located at IMM, 2 Jurong East, Street 21, #02-15A, Singapore 609601. The café is open from 11am to 10pm daily.

   For enquiries, please call 6896 1396. For more information, please visit here
   
   Thanks Agnes and Abby once again for the invite.


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Interactive Brunch Experience at Mercedes Me

2017 AMG G63 SUV

A collaboration between Maximal Concepts and Mercedes- Benz, Mercedes Me is a restaurant, concept store, showroom and experience centre which offers an interactive culinary and visual experience for Mercedes fans and those who enjoy the finer things in life. Launched in 2016, restaurant has garnered an impressive slew of accolades and awards such as Best New Restaurant in Hong Kong 2016 by CNN, Top 10 New Restaurants of Year 2016 by Tatler (Recognition), Restaurant & Bar Design Editors Pick and one of the HK Greatest Eats in the Category of American by WOM Guide. 

Tour of the restaurant

Retail Section

What caught my attention when I entered the restaurant was the magnificent 2017 AMG G63 SUV. Equally captivating was the extensive array of merchandise displayed attractively on the shelves such as caps, bags, jackets, T-shirts, cups and more. 

Children's section

There is also a children’s section with a range of plush toys, T-shirts and bags.

The buffet counter

Other than the dazzling merchandise and car, I must say that the brunch is worth checking out. Introduced by Executive Chef Edgar Sanuy and the culinary team at Maximal Concepts, it provides a sublime and innovative dining experience, focusing on fresh, wholesome ingredients.


The Cheese station

Offering six stations with a creative marriage of flavours from Japanese, Peruvian and Spanish cuisines, it will satiate even the most discerning gourmand. 

Assorted freshly baked breads

My gastronomic journey commenced with refreshing salads, an assortment of cold cuts, cured meats, cheeses and seafood and freshly baked breads.

Croissants and Danish pastries

The appetisers were nicely assembled in dainty portions. 

Delightful appetisers

I like the king crab causa paired with sweet potato purée as it has a light tantalising flavour and the flavours are well balanced.

Soba with cured salmon

Other mouth-watering appetisers include seared tuna tataki, soba with cured salmon and poached live prawns. 

Poached live prawns

There is also an egg station where eggs are prepared à la minute and you can choose to have your eggs in any style you like including poached, scrambled and hard-boiled. Additional toppings are also available to accompany the egg.

For the main course, you can choose one from a selection including Spanish rice, crispy pork belly brioche bun, slow cooked chicken thigh, marinated Norwegian salmon okonomiyaki and char-grilled grass fed ribeye. 

Spanish rice

I had the Spanish rice which was prepared with honsimeiji mushrooms and tomatoes, with a refreshing taste of Spring. The grains were firm with a smooth consistency. 

Decadent chocolate and hazelnut delice

For dessert, diners can select one from a delectable range including chocolate and hazelnut delice, dulce de leche, coffee sponge and whisky curd and catalan cream foam. The chocolate and hazelnut delice was divine and  a must-try for chocoholics. 

Entrance of the restaurant

The brunch is available at Mercedes Me every Sunday from 11.30am to 2.30pm and is priced at HK $490. For an additional HK $280, you can enjoy free flow of Perrier-Jouët , red and white white wine, Bloody Mary and beer. Mercedes Me is located at Shop C & D, Ground floor, Entertainment Building, 30 Queen's Road, Central, Hong Kong. For reservations, please call +852 2895 7398. Althernatively, please visit their facebook page here.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

First Hard Rock Hotel in China opens at Mission Hills Centreville, Shenzhen


The interior of the Deluxe Room

Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen is the latest addition to the Hard Rock Hotels group. Located at the heart of Mission Hills Centreville, this brand new hotel is the only Hard Rock property in China. Following its soft opening on 12 August, I was privileged to be the first guest to check into the hotel.

 

The facade

The facade of the hotels exudes splendour and elegance with the shape of a shimmering majestic gold dragon created by cymbals.

The lobby

The spanking new lobby is hip and trendy while retaining sophistication. Throughout the property, one can see the valuable and intricate memorabilia on display. Guests can see more unique pieces once the hotel is officially open to the public from 1 September onwards. The most striking feature is of course the signature fendar guitars which are beautifully displayed on the walls.

Enjoying my welcome drink upon check-in

The check-in process was smooth and efficient and I was even offered a welcome cocktail. I was then escorted to the room by the Royalty Rock Lounge Manager, Mr Rock Li. He was very professional and polite and explained to me more about the amenities of the room.


Modern furnishings

The Deluxe Room is an innovative mix of music-inspired Rock n’ Roll décor and contemporary Chinese elements. Hard Rock Shenzhen continues the brand’s tradition of presenting captivating moments through music. Whether you like rap, pop, reggae or F&B, you can create a hands-on experience with the brand’s signature ‘The Sound of Your Stay’ amenity programme, offering an in-room Fender guitar checkout and DJ-equipment rental which is complimentary and will be delivered to your room upon request. Alternatively, you can also enjoy different genres of music in your room ranging from chill, alternative, hip hop, regional, RNB Discom, Classic to Ambient.


Pristine view

The room also offers a pristine view of the golf course and the Mission Hills Centreville.

Bath amenities


The luxurious bathtub

Other than the fantastic music, I also loved the Rock Spa amenities in the room as well as the luxurious oversized bathtub overlooking the Mission Hills Centreville landscape. Perfect for luxuriating in the bath and enjoying some quiet moments. 


Working out in the gym

The 24-hour gym was another highlight. Fitness fanatics can access the gym using their keycard at any time of the day. You can also request for ear phones where you can enjoy your favourite music while burning those calories. There is also a roof-top pool, unfortunately it was not open during my stay.


The All Day Dining Restaurant

The hotel also has various restaurants to cater to discerning palates. All Day Dining Restaurant – Sessions has a produce-driven menu with local favourites and international delights masterfully prepared using the freshest ingredients. The restaurant's design is funky with purple and yellow accents. Private rooms are also available.

The private room

For those who are inclined towards Asian food, you look forward to Hainanese chicken rice, kung pao chicken, wanton noodles, fried rice and hand cut noodles with beef. The pickled shrimp on crunchy lettuce is appetising with tangy notes.


Pickled shrimp on crunchy lettuce

I like the international favourites as every dish is like a beautifully composed symphony, aesthetically pleasant and delightful to the taste buds. 

Quinoa risotto

Seared salmon sous vide 

For something healthy, you can go for the quinoa risotto or the seared salmon sous vide accompanied with creamy sweet pot seared salmon sous vide, green beans and baby radish. 

Mushroom cappuccino

The mushroom cappuccino is smooth, creamy and delicious and is topped with frothed milk.

Assorted breads

Charcuterie platter
After a good night's sleep, you can look forward to a sumptuous buffet consisting of assorted Danish and croissants, assorted cheeses, charcuterie, dim sum, pancakes, hand-made noodles and fresh fruits. There is also an egg-station where you can have the egg prepared in whatever style you want.

Tantalising dim sum

Hard Rock Café

Nachos

Grilled Salmon

Mac & Cheese with Grilled Chicken

The mainstay restaurant is of course Hard Rock Café which offers American-style comfort food such as mac and cheese with grilled chicken, grilled salmon, burgers, nachos and more. 

Rock Shop®

A stay at any Hard Rock Hotel is never complete without a visit to Rock Shop®. Be awed by the vast collection of private-label T-shirts, accessories and collectibles.

GMT+8 Lounge

To relax and unwind, sip a cocktail at GMT+8 while immersing in the splendid view of MH Centreville.

Your little ones can also have a little adventure and bond with other kids at the Roxity Kids Club. At Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen, you will never be bored as there are lots of activities to look forward to. I will definitely be back!

Hard Rock Shenzhen Hotel is located at No. 9 Mission Hills Road, Shenzhen, 518110, China. For enquiries and reservations, please call +86 (0) 755 3395 2888 or email info@hrhshenzhen.com

Alternatively, please visit here.