Monday, February 28, 2011

D.I.Y. - Home Made Beef Scotch Eggs

  I love Scotch Eggs and have developed a craving for it once in a while, yet not only do I have trouble finding them in Hong Kong except the Mark & Spencer’s pre-packed ones, but what bothers me even more is the hard boiled egg in the centre which is robbing me of the liquid gold interior of a molten egg centre..   So once in a while, I quickly whip up one for myself just for personal satisfaction..

Substituted pork sausage meat with beef, because to keep the egg runny in the centre, its safer to sacrifice the final doneness of the meat layer when pork needs to be well cooked  (I have actually made pork versions before, its harder to get the timing right).   I had mixed in some fresh tarragon, basil and dried thyme into the beef mince, then wrapped it around the pre-cooked half-boiled egg before frying it with a Panko Coating.  The herbed mayo is just for show, I prefer it eaten with sea salt flakes only anyway to get the most out of the original flavours.

A thinner version, just for fun..

Wasn’t really full at all by this stage, and since I had the panko and egg batters ready,
I digged out some frozen prawns my mom bought probably 2 years ago (not very large - if I knew beforehand I would have bought fresher Kuruma-ebi or Tiger prawns!).   Made some prawn-furai to eat with the salad...

Don’t have access to commercial grade sized Panko, which are around 3 times longer and costs a fortune with a minimum 6Kg order, so I just used the supermarket bought variety. Just needed a bigger prawn instead of a midget sized one!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Coco Espresso - ♕♕♕♕ 3/4

There has been an explosion of cafe openings in Hong Kong during the last 1-2 years, and having tried almost all of them already (but haven’t had the opportunity to review, I mean it only took me 2 years to blog about this place!),  I found a lot of these late starters to be of very high quality and nearly right up there with the best of the world!  One of the latest surprises has been Unar Coffee, which does a very deathly milk-based coffee which is highly addictive and comes with the prettiest latte art, although espresso wise its remains a bit too old-world and fluctuates depending on beans batch and freshness. 

Coco Espresso’s
owner Maurice and full time barista Johnson were trained in Sydney, and although losing out to the late comers in terms of aged equipment, their skills make up for this deficient in many ways.   I also quite like Coco Espresso’s locally roasted and self-blended combination, which works out to be a very good Single Espresso drink as well as an unbeatable Caffe Latte.    Isn’t it ironic that with so many high quality entrants into the coffee field and especially in the Central to Sheung Wan area, yet the more that they open, the more I’d come to appreciate Coco Espresso for their coffee?  

  Eg. FUEL Espresso has a great espresso, but their milk drinks are mono-tone, Barista Jam imports some great overseas imported beans and William is easily the best barista in HK without a doubt but the house-blends have not so far won my heart yet.  And places like Unar Coffee and Cafe Y Taberna uses a blend which works better with milk and fluctuates, whereas 18 Grams has big potential but sometimes turns out too exploratory or inconsistent.  And Dane’s just can’t seem to get their froth very right with the ultra powerful steamer.  And places like Holly Brown or Cafe Corridor just aren’t aimed towards customers like me as they take the mid-end approach to suit everybody else, though understandably it’s not their fault at all.  Or am I being too picky nowadays? Smile with tongue out

Recommended:   Caffe Latte
Nearly always aromatic yet balanced, milk frothed perfectly smooth by Johnson.  This is easily the Top 1-2 caffe latte’s in HK on a daily basis  ~  9/10

Another Caffe Latte

Single Espresso -
Johnson does his espresso a bit shorter for me, right before blonding.  He actually makes his espresso slightly differently for everyone, as some other customers complain of it being too bright and sour, and when that happens he makes them pour slower to impart a slightly more bitter/smoky note. I suggest you to ask him to make you what he makes exactly for HK Epicurus to see why I absolutely adore this place for its espresso!  *It can fluctuate though according to the consistency of his roaster’s bean supplies, so ask the Barista for his comments on the current batch that he’s serving  ~   9/10

Cappuccino -
I think caffe latte is better at Coco Espresso, if not for anything other than the cup design which is perpendicular rather than round edged, which means when you drink it the espresso base doesn’t seem to mix well with the foam, and sometimes tastes a bit weak  ~ 6/10

Take Away Caffe Latte -
Seems to be a little weaker than the drink-in version ~ 7/10

Coffee Beans for Sale -
I bought these once for making at home, but unfortunately the home machine just can’t seem to extract the espresso or froth milk properly compared to the bigger machines.  But this is a good blend.


A nod of approval by some Australian visitor from Sydney, Australia,
reviewing some cafes in Hong Kong.  I fully agree with this assessment...

Barista Name:  Johnson
Coffee Brand: Coco Espresso House Blend
Recommended Coffee:  Espresso, Caffe Latte, Piccolo Latte

Price: $25 per person
Coffee Score: ★★★★★☆

Opening Hours:
Mon to Fri:  08:00-17:00
Sat:             08:00-16:00
Address: 上環皇后大道中197號地舖
G/F, 197 Queens Road Central, Sheung Wan
Ph: 2542 2228

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ginza Sushi Kyu (銀座鮨久) – ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

  You can instantly tell that this sushi-ya isn’t set up with intentions to increasing turnover and profit when you venture in and then noticing how little seating there is for customers, just like how high end sushi shops are always set up in Japan.  With 3 Japanese sushi chefs working at the counter for very few customers, and its fishes and live shellfishes hand picked by the owner of famous Ginza Michelin 2 Stars Sushi Kyubei (銀座 久兵衛), plus a fish tank within which 3 types of fishes on the night were still barely ‘alive’ a few minutes before the customers orders, even the Shima-aji was still panting and breathing through the gills as it sat in the fridge just in front of us on the night   (actually, we did eat 1 of the fishes whilst its still alive – so please do skip this MA rated food review altogether, if you’re not into graphic sashimi scenes with HD Videos attached!)

Ginza Sushi Kyu, in its 2nd reincarnation after it’s initial demise in Central.
This time receiving more support from Sushi Kyubei 本店 from Tokyo…

Live shellfishes and a still breathing fish can make for an awful sight,
but it can still get worst, read below…


Tea was refilled regularly -
Strong enough to cleanse the palate, weak enough not to interfere with eating sushi..

Edamame -
A little under-salted but may be right when eating sushi ~ 6/10

Crab Meat with Seaweed Appetiser -
Didn’t think this was exciting, crab seemed like its frozen quality and bland ~ 5/10

Show is about to begin…
We ordered the $680 middle course, which is value for money for dinner in HK.


Kinmedai (金目鯛) -
We started with a cheap but highly treasured fish, although quite often people mistakenly identify this as a type of Sea Bream (鯛), but in reality sushi masters will tell you it was only borrowing its name for marketing purpose in the past.  This alfonsino is sweet but a bit weak in taste, it needs a bit of grilling action on its skin to bring out its best ~ 7/10

Hiramasa (平政) -
This was stacked together with 3 different pieces of fish, for what reason I do not know as it looks a bit weird, but the taste was great and oily, really fresh, dotted with some seaweed and plum ~  7.5/10

Katsuo Bonito (鰹) -
This was still quite fatty for a Feb katsuo, may be this years later Winter has affected the seafood season, as a lot of autumn/winter fishes arrived late last year. Lovely and bold in its flavour ~ 10/10

Grilled Mackerel (炙り鯖) -
This was the weakest link on the night. Although they use Japanese sea Saba, instead of eating it raw or vinegar marinated, the grilling to medium-rare brought out some fishiness from the melted oil.  Other customers on the night were eating this raw, although the chef prob just wanted to surprise us ~ 5/10

Ark Shell (生 赤貝) -
This was pretty good, it was sweet and bouncy in texture. Conventional wisdom says these are in season in Winter, but the contrarian camp says these have more haemoglobin flavour nearer summer, which might just have a point ~ 8/10

Clear Broth with Fish and Prawn (お吸い物) -
Refreshing, with a hint of mitsuba stems and yuzu influence, this soup is brought out at the middle of the course and acts as a good palate resetter ~ 9/10

Pickles (香の物) -
Of shiso pickled eggplant and yellow radish.

Suzuki (スズキ) -
This was introduced by the chef as suzuki but looks more specifically like a 真鯛, topped with some 紅たで and yellow エディブルフラワー to enhance both presentation and flavour.  Pretty good ~ 8/10


Negitoro Sushi  (ネギトロ 軍艦) -
This seems to be slightly sour, which I’ve come to learn is natural for tuna due to 2 reasons. I thought the piece of takuan and spot of sauce on top was unnecessary and spoiled the flavour ~ 6/10

Skip Jack  (縞鯵) -
This was still alive when we ate it, the texture definitely reflected this as it was crunchy yet fatty.  They also have more swimming in the fish tank, together with some hirame fish.  Very good ~ 10/10



Live White Bait, in Season around early Spring..

Next up, we ordered a side of Live White Bait ($100),
which is in season only for a few weeks each year around Feb to March…


Drink this Live White Bait in a Vinegary sauce together, let them wiggle in your mouth… argh >.<

Young White Bait  (踊り) -
You pick them up using chopsticks yourself, then put it into a champagne flute glass and add in some vinegar dressing.  I think its a bit cruel but then, everything is cruel when you eat meat everyday..

Tuna OToro (大とろ) -
This is quite oily but taste is above-average rather than great ~ 7/10

Sea Urchin (うに) -
This is very sweet, although I suspect is Canadian sourced. People have this bias against anything other than Japanese urchins for some reason, but a good urchin is a good urchin, especially if its the right one in season.  I think I’ve eaten enough urchins from around the world to tell when its good or not ~ 9/10

Arkshell Maki (赤貝ひも 桜田麩 巻き) -
Very good, the sweet sakura denbu makes this remind me of Futomaki ~ 9/10

Kanpyo Maki  (干瓢巻き) -
Dried Gourd simmered in soy sauce and made into a roll. Seaweed was thick and of a good quality,
and maki was sliced neatly  ~ 9/10

Mixed Tempura -
Fried very well, prawn had a strong flavour and not very oily nor over-cooked ~ 9/10

Wagyu Beef Teppanyaki -
We were surprised how much food there is in this $680 course, and 2ndly this wagyu beef was fairly tasty and of a generous portion.  This was cooked in the kitchen teppanyaki style, but was easily better than say our wagyu as served in Kaika Teppanyaki ~  8/10

Sauce for Wagyu

Udon -
This was ok-good, cooked to right degree but the broth is a little generically bonito shavings taste, the one at Sushi Sase is much better than here in comparison, but the sushi was actually better here ~ 6.5/10


Maccha Green Tea Ice Cream -
This was creamy and yet, strong in green tea flavour, very enjoyable. I still remember having a sub-par ice cream in many places, including Sushi Shota.  I don’t know why restaurants think its ok to end on a low note by giving out sub-standard ice creams… not a problem here at all ~ 10/10

Price: $680 - $780 per person + 10%   
Dinner Score:  ★★

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sunday -  Lunch  12:00 - 15:00    
Dinner 18:00 – 23:00

2/F, Top View Mansion, 10 Canal Road West, Causeway Bay
Ph:  2302 1889

Friday, February 25, 2011

QQ 便利店串燒 - ♕♕♕

Grilled sticks on the go, everyone just adores them.  This shop in Tin Hau is so close to home and I used to eat here a lot many years ago, although lately I kind of gave up as they tend to over tenderise their meats too much, not to mention the price has crept up incrementally much like McDonald’s and Cafe de Coral.  But just to get some updates to make a direct comparison with the Japanese owned ‘Yakitori Ya (燒鳥屋)’ in Mongkok, I came back for a quick retry before dinner.


Always crowded,
and it actually calls itself a Convenience Store !


A variety of par-cooked items -
to be reheated on the grill… around $12-15 a skewer. 
Not the cheapest, but probably one of the better ones in Hong Kong and hence the long queue…

Grilled Beef Tongue -
A little too soft and gamey  ~ 6.5/10

Grilled Chicken -
A little over marinated and tenderised, but better than before  ~ 6.5/10


Price: $30 per person
Score:  ★★★

Address: 天后電氣道22號
Shop 22, Electric Road, North Point, Hong Kong

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hop Hing (洽興牛什粥麵店) - ♕♕

  There are 2 Hop Hing’s within this area, and I have no idea whether they’re related at all but common sense prevails and tells me they might be of the same origin.   They specialise in Beef Innards here, which upon ordering you will be presented with a varieties of cuts from anywhere within the cow!   Personally however, I thought the Master Stock used to braise these internal organs was too overpoweringly salty and strong, although the texture was just about ok-good..

IMG_7750bThe outlet located at Whampoa Street

Menu offering Beef Offals, Fish balls and Congee.
Typical Chiu Chow styled shop in Hong Kong


Getting ready for the MSG hit, just in case !


Beef Offals and Brisket Platter -
The brisket part was good, but the marination in the master stock was overly salty and non-fragrant ~ 5/10

Beef innards consisted of Lungs, Pancreas, Small and Large intestines and 2 compartments of the Cow’s Stomach (out of 4 parts!).   A little overly salty, plus overly cooked.


A typical Chiu Chow styled Master Stock, beef brisket/flank and innards set up found in HK.
Wait for my better reviews of shops to be coming up 1 day!


Price: $40 per person
Score:  ★★

Address:  紅磡必嘉街86號地下
86 Baker Street, Hung Hom, Kowloon
Ph: 2142 9028


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