Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hakata Ichome (博多一丁目 ホルモン) - ♕♕♕♕

Despite the Highish Food Score:
The ventilation fans are weak and virtually useless, one can’t even capture
a clear picture without it fogging up from the Smoke, its outrageous!   
2) The stoves used here are RIDICULOUSLY AMATEURISH!
Its just a portable type of gas stove which I also own one and costs nothing!  Although many older style shops still use this type, I think its grossly out of fashion especially compared to my previous 炭火七輪焼肉 review, just before here:   Link:   新宿店- 牛繁

博多一丁目 ホルモン is partially relatable to other local Japanese restaurants such as 神流派博多道場, 魚八水產 or 麵屋虎太郎烏冬, as these shops all share common investors amongst the background.  博多一丁目 ホルモン is looked after by a young chef 高橋恒規, one of the Japanese shareholders whose father also operates a trusty Kyushu styled Yakiniku Ya in Tokyo and having inherited his secret marination recipes.   I carry fond recollections of previous gatherings with friends in Japan, when Charcoal Grilled Yakiniku (炭火焼肉) has become one of everyone’s voted favourites. Despite being originally not a Japanese Cuisine, ask most locals and they will tell you cooking your own food during a Yakiniku session, home-made Takoyaki balls or food cooked by yourself on a Teppan always comes out to be the most popular people’s choice.   It is therefore not surprising to find 95% of the Customers visiting here to be Japanese Customers. 


Way too Smokey. Only around 5-10% Hong Kong Customers patron here..

おしぼり -

Large Asahi Beer -
with smallish glasses the traditional way

ロース (タレ) -
牛里脊 is surprisingly marbled, the marination taste was completely authentic
and not overly over-powering. A super job for a low-mid end Yakiniku house.  Only became slightly garlicky and noticeable after a while ~

You need to ask for this special Korean Chili Sauce, since it is not given out
by Default in Yakiniku houses in Japan ~  9/10

I actually have this exact model of Stove in Australia..!
Flame is a bit inconsistent when used indoors.

シマチョウ (味噌ダレ) -
Large Cow Intestines, marinated in Miso very well ~

冷やしトマト -
Cold Tomato with Salt and Mayonaise, refreshing but not sweet ~

海鮮焼き盛り合わせ -
This Seafood platter is made up of fatty Salmon, Shishamo fish with Roes,
Sea Prawns, Tsubu Gai shellfish and Squid. Everything was good especially the Squid’s freshness and texture, but the prawns were way too small to be grilled ~

ハラミ -
A 横隔膜 Hanger Steak with a strong bloody taste, this is always ordered in a Japanese Yakiniku Ya and is one of the most treasured and low yield muscles in the cow, well known to give stamina and nutrients to the Customer.  Funnily enough, most restaurants in Hong Kong serves a version nearer the horizontal flank or skirt. It should be instantly recognizable from its taste and dull red colour, also its livery taste ~ 7.5/10

Rice -
This was cooked exceptionally well and definitely Pearl Rice, but can’t be ascertained as to which country its actually grown in. Addictive ~

Many other Intestinal Organs available on menu. 
But unfortunately, I can’t stand the shop’s smokiness ~ 
Otherwise I think I would like to come here every day !

I take solace in the fact that the food is good, and the marination flavours are truly authentic and probably the only shop in Hong Kong which has impressed and reminds me of past Japanese experiences.   Nevertheless its surprising that most Japanese customers don’t seem to mind the smoke on the spot, although some local Japanese food blogger in HK has labelled here as “煙モクモクなので、全身臭くなります”, which is exactly my final verdict of here. This has easily the worst ventilation inside a Yakiniku Ya I’ve ever seen in my life, I needed to go home straight afterwards to wash my clothes and take a shower to get rid of the stink…   I don’t think I will return to here in a hurry.

Price: $200 per person
Dinner Score:  ★★★★

Opening Hours:
Mon to Thurs  - Lunch 11:00-15:00,  Dinner 18:00-23:00   
Fri to Sat  - Lunch 11:00-15:00,  Dinner 18:00-00:00am

Address: 銅鑼灣駱克道491-499號京都廣場9樓
(9/F, Kyoto Plaza, 491-499 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay)
Ph: 2892 0362

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shore Steak & Bar Restaurant - ♕♕

You won’t normally catch me visiting Steak Houses as I am pretty Selective when it comes to Beef...  Unless they provide genuine Dry Aged Steaks or they are cooked on proper Charcoal or Wood Grills (炭燒) such is the case here, something which can’t be replicated at home, I will rather cook it myself using my own methods and timing.  Why ‘gamble’ with so-called steak house specialists and their variables, particularly the shops owned by some opportunistic Bankers.    If it is just going to be another average Char-broiled/Flame-grilled or Griddle cooked version,  why not reserve that 300% premium whacked on top of the cost in the Steak House and instead, land yourself the best piece of meat in town and cook it properly at home!    I simply can’t bring myself to paying premium prices and then still need to pray that the Chef on duty will cook it just right, as past experiences proved to be a bit bruising.  Its more often done wrong than right. 

Shore sounded promising from the outset as they either Dry or Wet Age their own steak cuts and then cooks them on a Floating Charcoal-Griller, its also being looked after by a well seasoned Chef.   The lower 3rd Floor is designed around an Underwater theme “Off Shore”, which is more casual, while the upper 4th Floor is the “On Shore”, a more formal dining section.  The two levels altogether represents the integration between the Land-Beef theme and its Sea-Seafood offerings.   Due to the brand new opening, they’re still fumbling their way about and a few changes have already been planned in the pipeline, particularly with concerns as to which dining area shall serve which dishes to suit the customers.   At the moment its all a little confusing, particularly for Lunch as it comprises of 3 compartmentalized sections within the restaurant, each with a different menu…

Charcoal Grill plus Dry Aged Steaks…

The Dry Aged beef menu of the day..

Tahuna Pinot Noir from Hawke’s Bay -
New Zealand, served in Branded Spiegelau glass  ~  7/10

French Laguiole style knife

Wet Aged Flat Iron Steak  (New Zealand), served Pre-sliced -
For a Hanger Onglet steak I can understand, but Flat Iron should be naturally quite tender… why give me a Laguiole style knife then, when its already pre-sliced and had lost most juices and its heat during the whole process??

Steak Fries were of commercial type but seasoned and fried well,
Mesclun Salad with its basil/herbal vinegary dressing okay appetising ~ 7/10
However, the Rare+ Steak was internally cold and way below the designated 50C,
also having a strongish livery/blood like taste and slight sourness…

English Mustard – Coleman taste like

My cold Flat Iron Steak was returned to upstairs kitchen to be reheated.
It came back lukewarm rather than at room temperature this time,
but compromised was its juiciness… it also carries a very gamey taste.
Not much Charcoal flavour either ~  2/10

Complimentary Italian Caffe Latte

A little too bubbly on top,
but not enough velvety foam/cream beneath,
slightly bitter ~ 6/10

English Website:

Price: $148-500 per person
Lunch Score:  ★★☆☆☆

*Score to be revised as it improves, as was promised by Owner himself.  Therefore I am not posting this on, as we shall give them time to improve and iron out the kinks gradually over time…  Stay Tuned.

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun -  11:00 - 22:00

Address: 中環皇后大道中 139號 L Place三及四樓
(3rd and 4th floor, L Place, 139 Queen's Road, Central)
Phone: 2915 1638

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hoi Tin Tong (海天堂) - ♕♕♕

Hoi Tin Tong 海天堂 is one of most advertised Chinese Medicinal and Turtle Jellies shops in Hong Kong. One always catches the annoyingly but funny Kung Fu styled commercials featuring the owner himself daily on TV. For recaps, visit:

It might be fun to watch Mr. Ng playing and portraying himself as an Ancient Hero, a delusion of grandeur, he even has a Turtle breeding farm in Hoi Nan in China.  But Mr. 吳耀明 only started his shop in 1991 -  its not as old fashioned or traditional as most  shops in town which have seen over 50-100 years of existence in HK!   In other words, this is pretty much a commercialised entity, mostly there to try luring in Mainland Chinese or Overseas tourists to visit..

It has many branches throughout Hong Kong…

Sounds promising on paper!  Really?

龜苓茶 -
Boiled from Turtle Shells and Poria Mushrooms, in Chinese Medicine,
this combo is used to relief Skin Diseases such as fungal infections or acnes that are related to high saturations of humidity in the air, or an imbalance of ‘hot chi’ within your body. These affect our system’s natural ability to neutralise them into equilibrium.  Does it work?  I can’t tell you! ~  8/10

茯苓膏 -
This is the Vegetarian ‘Poria only’ option of their famous Turtle & Poria Jelly.
Its set a bit hard and quite tasteless compared to many other shops’ offerings
within Hong Kong.  Worth a try though, or their proper Turtle & Poria Jelly.
Eaten with added syrup or granulated sugar ~

English Website of Hoi Tin Tong’s Various Products & Function Avail Here:

Price: $20-50 per person
Score:  ★★★☆☆

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun -  11:00 - 22:00

Address: 尖沙咀堪富利士道8號L舖
(Shop L, 8 Humphreys Ave, Tsim Sha Tsui)
Phone: 2311 5788

Auntie Sweet (甜姨姨私房甜品) - ♕♕♕♕

From its humble beginnings as a tiny corner shop, I remember witnessing how the owner originally experimented with combining her dessert soups and supermarket 百福 Pak Fook tofu to sell to customers.. that’s when I gave up on the shop!  A few years down the track, voila this late comer not only moved to a larger premise, but it’s drawing in the dessert crowd at the expense of its well established nearby competitors, Ming Kee 明記甜品 and Jing Jing 晶晶甜品.  The paradigm has shifted.

Very full all the time..

Sign Says: "This Tofu is fragile and must be treated with care, treat it like a lady!”

Instantly Coagulated Tofu Curd, takes around 2.5 minutes. 

Its still very wet and wobbly,
and surprisingly, can merely support the spoon on top.

Sweet Tofu Fa Beancurd Curd -
Has soy beans taste and is smooth,
but more in a custard way than slivers ~

Dried Soybean Milk Sheets boiled with Gingko, Barley with Tofu Jelly ~

Price: $20 per person
Score: ★★

Opening Hours:
Mon - Fri:   12:00 - 02:00
Sat - Sun:   15:00 - 02:00am

Address: 天后清風街13號地下
(G/F, 13 Tsing Fung Street, Tin Hau, Hong Kong)
Ph: 2508 6962

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tomifuku (富福烏冬) - ♕♕

Tomifuku (富福烏冬) is operated by the same Japanese family who runs Tomikubo (富久保手打烏冬) in Tsim Sa Tsui’s Harbour City mall.   Quite a few shops in Hong Kong advertise themselves as selling 手打ち Hand Beaten Udon noodles, but in reality most other shops sell Japanese imported versions or machine made ones.  Nothing wrong with those, but the only 3 shops I recall which makes their own udon noodles on the spot in the actual restaurant include these 2,  as well as Mongkok’s Tokoro, which goes one step further and does a proper 足打ち 讃岐うどん.

Sometimes a Hong Kong chef makes them in this branch,
sometimes you see a Japanese chef rolling the dough..

Kitsune Udon with added Egg, Inari Sushi & small Oden -
The noodles broth was faint, not even upto Japan train station udon shop’s quality. The udon noodles were over-cooked and limpily soft.  Oden was also sub-par quality ~

Aji fish is batter fried, but not very good.  Comes with some daikon in too sweet a soup, plain udon with kamaboko, rice with furikake ~

Dry mixed Udon was much better, retaining a chewiness but the sauce wasn’t done well.  The Tempura pieces are slightly oily and of fast food quality ~

Better than the versions in Soup,
this is more like hand beaten noodles.

Octopus Takoyaki balls were a slimey mess, under-grilled,
even the thin acidic sauces attack your throat ~

Thick, Tasteless, Wet. 
Don’t finish it..!

Price: $60-80 per person

Score:  ★★

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun -  10:30 - 22:30

(3/F, Food Republic, Cityplaza one, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Tai Koo)
Ph: 2907 0519

Robuchon Le Salon de The - ♕♕♕♕

The more accessible and cheaper Tea Room & Boulangerie under the Robuchon’s L’Atelier restaurant, you could order light lunches and dinners here, as well as well made pastries and cakes ~  the latter being looked after by Japanese Patissier 中村忠史さん, who worked under the Robuchon’s regime in Tokyo.

Raspberry Chocolate Cake -
This was sliced from a tray into strips, with a red powdered coating.
Looked better than it tasted ~  8/10

Some pre-dinner Bread with cultured French butter,
and a oven heated Croissant ~

Riso al Salto -
Fried rice with Taleggio Cheese, Baby Spinach and Parma Ham,
this tasted pretty strong and was overly salty (same problem I found with dishes upstairs),  but nevertheless very tasty ~  8.5/10

Le Cheese Burger de Kagoshima with Pommes Frites -
The skinless frites were very good, even the ketchup tasted quite natural.
Burger was cute but too tiny @ $160!   Brioche bun was good, but beef was overcooked and had no Wagyu beef taste.  Overall, slightly disappointing.. ~ 

Robuchon’s French Club Sandwich -
Sealed at the edges inside a Jaffle Iron, this toastie version comes with Tomato, Chicken, Egg, Ham, Cheese.  Its not bad, but for something listed under Les Frivolites Gourmandes, its a bit underwhelming and wouldn’t give Quiznos any frights  ~

Salmon Finger, Salted Caramel Tart with Caffe Latte ~
Sandwich slices here are uninspiring, contained in a miniature plastic box. 
The Salted Caramel Tart is good, better than most other desserts here.  
Coffee and tea here are great rather than excellent ~ 
Salmon Sandwich 5/10 ~ Coffee 7/10 ~ Salted Caramel Tart 7.5/10

Shop and Boulangerie Counter

Take-Out Macarons & Croissant -
Croissant not so buttery but flakily layered.
Macarons not crispy outside or chewy inside at all -
disappointing, coming from Robuchon’s favourite Patissier 中村忠史さん,
whom he once claimed makes the best Macarons in the world.
Croissant 7.5/10 ~  Macarons 6.9/10


Coffee Brand:  Kona + Blue Mountain, with some Dark Roasted Sumiyaki beans
Recommended Coffee:  Caffe Latte
Price: $30 - $200 per person + 10% 
(no 10% Charge if seated Near balcony)

Coffee Score:  ★★

Food Score:    ★★
*Good for Breakfast, a Tea or a light Dinner option.  Execution of many food items can still be better.

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun -  08:00 - 22:00

(Shop 315, 3/F, The Landmark, 16 Des Voeux Road Central, Central)
Ph: 2166 9088


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