Saturday, 13 February 2016

Beef & Liberty - bloody good burgers

I'm a sucker for Australian beef, and even more so when that beef is ground up and forms part of a spectacular burger!

That's what I was hoping for when I visited Beef & Liberty, the latest in a long line of burger joints to hit the shores of Hong Kong.  Beef & Liberty started its life in Shanghai of all places, and picked the gentrified part of Wan Chai to establish it's first HK outlet.  

The team behind Beef & Liberty are pretty confident in their product and proud of their location, which they proclaim on their website as being the best location for burgers in Honkers!  I'm not so sure about that, but trendy Wan Chai is changing pretty quickly and the second floor location (above Pizza Express) in Wing Fung Street is very convenient.

Paying homage to the beefsteak clubs of old, Beef & Liberty takes its name from the beefsteak club phenomenon that (apparently) formed part of the 18th century's gastronomic culture:  I didn't really know that there was a gastronomic culture in the 18th century (outside of Paris), but you live and learn!  Whether or not the team have replicated the essence of the 18th century 'Sublime Society' founded by John Rich (look it up) or not is probably not too relevant, but what is pretty darn relevant is the approach Beef & Liberty takes to creating their burgers.

AMMO - home made pasta, simple flavours and deliciousness

Tucked away behind Pacific Place shopping centre at Admiralty and a part of the HK Asia Society Centre is AMMO, an amazing little restaurant that specialises in homemade pasta.  It's a little difficult to find, but well worth the effort.

As you walk past the Banyan tree, which was stuck by lightening  during a typhoon in 2008 but continues to grow, and round the cultural court of the Asia Society, you're instantly taken aback by the shiny, shiny building that houses AMMO.  The heritage listed site, which was once home to a 19th century explosives compound, has been transformed into what has to be one of the funkiest restaurants in Honkers.  

The most striking element of the Joyce Wang designed interior was the liberal use of copper throughout, which gives off a luxurious yet industrial feel, that with imagination hints at the site's military history.  Especially the design and pattern behind the restaurant's bar.  The restaurant itself is almost entirely enclosed by floor to ceiling glass, which enhances the modern feel of the dining room. Surrounded by the lush tropical jungle you find throughout Hong Kong, it's impossible to believe that civilisation is only meters away.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Restaurant Petrus - fine dining with views to die for

I think I've found the most spectacular and stunning views of Victoria Harbour, and quite possibly the most wonderful vista in all of Hong Kong.  Located on the 56th floor of the Island Shangri-la, Restaurant Petrus is a French fine diner that had been on my 'must visit' list for some time. I'd heard that there were some spectacular views from Petrus, but nothing could prepare me for the view that greeted me as we were shown to our table.

Matching the spectacular view of Hong Kong, was the plush interior of the Island Shangri-la's showpiece restaurant that was literally at the top of the world.  Old style French opulence sprang to mind as we surveyed the gilt chairs surrounding crisp white linen at each table.  A grand piano underneath hanging chandeliers and cherubs guarding the entrance were just some of the features that added to the feeling of pure luxury.

Matching the regal setting was a menu that was not short of luxurious ingredients, along with a wine list that showcased the restaurant's twelve thousand bottles of wine (yes, you read that correctly).  We had a choice between a special black truffle degustation and a la carte, but with an unusual take on our normal dining habits, we chose the 'simpler' options of the standard a la carte menu.  

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Steak Frites by the Butchers Club - quality steaks at a price

We'd only just sat down at our table when an enthusiastic chef from the kitchen was presenting huge slabs of raw meat for our perusal.  We could have had the full story about dry aged beef, but since I knew a little bit of the process of dry ageing, we skipped the lecture.

That's the way they roll at the Butchers Club, to say they are fanatical about beef products might just be underselling the team's devotion to bringing top quality meat to Hong Kong.

The Butchers Club are very well known for their burgers and for a while there, I was pretty darn addicted to their fat and juicy hamburgers (see post here).  While their burgers are arguably the best in town, I was keen to find out just how devoted to the art-of-the-cow the Butchers Club were, and visiting their Steak Frites joint on Staunton Street seemed like the best way to find out.

I'd walked past the entrance to Steak Frites countless times on the way to work each morning, so was well acquainted with the entrance actually being around the corner in Aberdeen Street. Walking up the stairs into the dining room was an interesting experience, with decor that included exposed bricks and a rustic feel that was enhanced by the slight red glow of the numerous hanging lights.  The space was a little smaller and more intimate than I was expecting, the tables quite close together.  Our table afforded us a clear view of the kitchen and fridge stocked full with the specially acquired Australian and US beef.


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