Sunday, 26 April 2015

Sunday's Grocery - it's schnitzel time

Yeah, there are a lot of cool dining spots to check out in Hong Kong, so many, that it's hard to keep track of them all.  So when we heard about a cool little spot out at Kennedy Town, we didn't muck about, plans were made and within days we were sitting out the front of Sunday's Grocery.

I'd never been to Kennedy Town, which is the end of the line on the MRT line that runs along the front of the island.  Our plan was to walk there from the Mid Levels, a tour that took us through the University of Hong Kong, which is just down the street (and around the corner) from where we live.  It was quite a pleasant walk, even though it was a little hot and sticky and there may have been some lost time in the Uni, trying to get our bearings.

We'd timed our walk perfectly, and by the time we were standing outside of the very hard to miss and brightly coloured Sunday's Grocery, it was very conveniently time for lunch.  Stepping inside, I was surprised by how tiny the space was, essentially just a shopfront and counter, with no room for loitering (or dining) within.  I wasn't too sure what to expect to be honest.

Created by Matt Abergele and Lindsay Jang, who've an eye for creating awesome little ventures (Yardbird and RONIN being their other hotspots), Sunday's Grocery is a liquor store, curated convenience store and a takeaway sandwich shop.  With our primary reason for visiting a bite of lunch, we ignored the wide variety of Japanese Whisky, sake, shochu beer and wine on offer and made a beeline for the short but interesting looking takeaway menu.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Bibo - where art and food combine

Fine dining has often been compared to contemporary art, food displayed immaculately on a plate that is often (almost) too beautiful to eat.  I've eaten in restaurants where the Chef could only be described as an artist, and I'm sure you have too.  I've even had beautiful food in Australia's GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art), where the award winning GOMA restaurant produces food that would be better placed on the walls of the gallery.  I'd never been to a restaurant that would be more appropriately called a gallery of contemporary modern art, that was until I visited Bibo.

In a sign that bohemia is alive and well in Sheung Wan, Bibo is quite unlike any restaurant you are likely to encounter, at least in this part of the world.  Bibo is short for 'bilingual bohemian' and is a mix of contemporary art and fine dining French restaurant.  Reminiscent of the speak-easy style of New York, the entrance to Bibo is a secret gold door on Hollywood Road and while you don't need a secret password to enter, you do need to get past the burly bouncer on the door. Once the Star Trek like sliding door opens, you descend steps that hint of what's to come.

An assault to the visual senses is probably the best way to describe those first few seconds in the restaurant, which was quite breathtaking.  Every spare inch of space in Bibo is taken up with contemporary art, visually stunning, it's not until you hear the story of some of the pieces that you understand the importance of Bibo - more on that later.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Big Fernand - the French take on a burger

French Fries are great right?  I mean, they've been around for as long as I've been eating, apart for a very short period of time when the worldwide geopolitical situation dictated that some call them Freedom Fries.  However, I digress...  French Fries are great and I'm partial to eating them pretty much any time I grab a burger.

French Burgers, now there's something I'd never really thought about.. I mean, burgers are quintessentially American, but with the worldwide trend of burger domination, it's perhaps natural that the French would give burgers a crack.  

Big Fernand is a French burger chain that opened Paris in 2012 and has been dominating the European burger scene.  Listed by the Wall Street Journal as the best burger concept in France, it was only a matter of time before world wide domination beckoned.  With a base of six different burger types, one of the elements that sets Big Fernand apart is the liberal use of cheese in their burgers.

I'd sauntered over to IFC, where Hong Kong's first and so far only Big Fernand is housed, for a quick solo lunch.  It was fairly early still, and while there was a queue of people waiting to place their order, there were plenty of seats still available.  Joining the queue, one of the wait staff asked in a sexy French accent if it was my first time...  Such a personal question, but I got the gist and agreed that it was in fact my first time for a French burger.

Little Bao - fun and intimate casual dining

It sure can be hard getting into the cooler and more popular restaurants in Hong Kong, it's either walk up and wait or book some time in advance.  Oh, and make sure you turn up on time, 'cause if you're fifteen minutes late, your table is gone!  We'd booked into one of Sheung Wan's most popular new restaurants recently and were pretty excited, but some last minute schedule changes at work meant that we had to reschedule.  It was another catch up dinner with fellow blogger buddy JustCozItsTuesday, the last for a while before she heads back to Australia for a few months.

With our first plan in chaos, we decided that we'd have to take a chance with one of the aforementioned cool restaurants where it's first come first served.  We had a couple of targets in mind, interestingly enough all around our new favourite hang out spot in Central, the old PMQ.  First on our list was Little Bao, which as been pretty packed on the times when we've walked by, and we'd never been to before (well, Cynthia had been a few times).  Knowing how difficult it would be, SC cased out the joint and gave a heads up that three would be joining for dinner (hoping that it would make a difference).

Little Bao started it's life as a small stall in the Island East Markets, and focussed on traditional Chinese but mixing with the globe's biggest phenomenon in the last few years, burgers.  Chef and owner May Chow's concept of Chinese style bao topped with delicious and contemporary filling seemed to be the right idea at the right time, exploding into people's consciousness.  The next step of a restaurant was a logical step and the up-and-coming PMQ district in Soho was the perfect spot (a little foresight goes a long way).


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