Wednesday, 25 March 2015

On the hunt for more xiao long bao at Paradise Dynasty

Xiao long bao you say? Causeway Bay you say?  Surely that means (yet) another visit to Din Tai Fung? On any week night you would be correct, dashing from work straight to the MTR for the short ride out for soup dumpling goodness. However this time it was the weekend, and we were at the other side of Causeway Bay, wandering Times Square and Lee Gardens, and didn't fancy trying to mimic salmon swimming upstream against the hordes of people heading to the shops.  

We had been wandering around Lee Gardens, enjoying a spot of window shopping, when we spied a sign for Paradise Dynasty, with the multi-coloured xiao long bao pictured.  Intrigued by the colours, we decided to try our luck at getting a table, thinking lunchtime around Causeway Bay would be a nightmare.  Walking out of the lift we were struck by the large foyer area filled with tables, however we did not have to worry about waiting, as at that time of the day it seemed we had avoided the queues.  We also noticed the restaurant's sign "Paradise Dynasty: Legend of Xiao Long Bao".  Hmmm, sounded like something out of a very tasty movie!  

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The coolest restaurant name in Hong Kong - Madam Sixty Ate

With so many restaurants in Honkers, one of the fun games is trying to figure out which are the best to dine at.  Sure, there are restaurant guides, like the Michelin Guide and Open Rice, but it's often word of mouth where the absolute surprises come along.  We were heading out as a team for a farewell lunch for one member of the team who was leaving for greener pastures and wound up at one of the best surprises I've had in Hong Kong so far.

Usually when we go out for a team lunch, it's one of the many local restaurants in Central but this time we went just a little further afield to Wan Chai.  With a couple of options to get from Central to Wan Chai, which includes walking, we took the tram that runs along Des Voeux Road and moves into Johnston Road.  It was my first time on one of the skinny little trams that I've seen hundreds of times.  Yep, they get crowded and while it was marginally faster than walking or the MTR, it was a bit of an experience....  Not sure I'd do it in the middle of summer though.

Once we jumped off the tram we made our way to the restaurant, which had the funky name of Madam Sixty Ate.  Like a lot of restaurants in Hong Kong, Madam Sixty Ate is not on street level, but up on level one.  As we made our way through a little bit of an entry area, past the bar, we came to the main dining room, which was surprisingly large and very airy.  The high ceilings and open spaces provided a really pleasant vibe, which was helped by the open kitchen area with chefs busy at work.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Michelin Starred Ming Court at the Langham Mongkok

I'm slowly finding my way around Hong Kong and while I don't know it as well as SC, I was pretty happy that I made my way across to a presentation gig at the Langham Place Hotel in Mongkok solo.  Ha, if you know Hong Kong, you're probably thinking that it's so easy to get to Mongkok from Central, and you're right.  However, throw in a few million people all trying to get around at the same time, along with being naturally clueless when it comes to public transport and general directions, well, let's just say I was pretty happy I was able to find it.

As I made my way to the presentation area, which was at the Langham Place Hotel, I noticed that one of the lifts went to the Hotel restaurant, the Ming Court.  A flood of memories hit me when I realised that I was standing only a lift ride away from a restaurant that my mate the Big Boy had been banging on about for the longest time.  In fact, each time he talks about Hong Kong or coming to visit, the Ming Court features heavily in the conversation.  Normally just nod and then look for somewhere else to go, but since I'd found the place I made a note to get back that very weekend with SC for a visit.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Lupa by Mario Batali - bringing a bit of the Big Apple to Hong Kong

Wandering around Central one evening we heard some pumping beats coming from somewhere overhead.  A closer inspection skywards revealed a small yellow sign above Theatre Lane, announcing the location of Lupa by Mario Batali.  As soon as FMUS saw the sign he knew we had to try it out.  We had previously dined at Eataly, one of Batali's many NYC establishments while on our Manhattan odyssey (see post here), and were keen to try out another of his ventures.  

Everyone knows the myth surrounding the foundation of Rome - Romulus and Remus, originally left for dead but suckled by a she-wolf on the banks of the Tiber, rose to form the new city of Rome.  Remus was killed by Romulus over a dispute about whether to build on the Palantine Hill or Aventine Hill, but the iconic image of the twins suckling on the lupa (Latin for she-wolf) has remained as steadfast as the great city herself.  It was only fitting that an Italian restaurant should take the name of the she-wolf, as a symbol of simple Roman style dining.  It helps that the restauranteur in question, Mario Batali, is one of the biggest names on the US and now international dining scene....


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