Madagascar Vanilla and Cara Cara Red Orange Creme Brulee,
Almond Praline, Macerated Orange and Peel...
(Added in a bit of Wilson's Marmalade Jam,
not sitting around at the bottom lying dormant and lining the bottom..
This is easily one of my favourite Australian Cafes to be found in Sydney. Workers are dressed in a sailors looking like uniform, somewhat appropriate as it is located very close to the Balmain ferry port. The coffee blend is geared towards the milder and sweet, more approachable style of coffee which I think is preferred by Sydney-siders overall, but the aroma from their house blend is drop dead gorgeous and works equally well as a short black or in a latte based drink. They also offer a very good decaffe here, which is also roasted fresh and grinded to order..
My favourite spot to drink their coffee is sitting on the grass on the park opposite… and I am not the only customer doing that as you’ll find dozens of others doing the same and eating their sandwiches and muffins together with the coffee… Can’t wait to revisit again! ~ 9/10
Address: 1A Booth Street, Balmain, Sydney, Australia -
Ph: (02) 9810 9728
This Cantonese Roast Meat shop is located very close to my office, but on the opposite direction of 龍記 (Lung Kee), the roast shop which Anthony Bourdain had visited during his HK filming session. This place doesn’t miss out on endorsement either as it has recently been included as a recommendation in the 2011 Michelin Guide. Not that it is very good though ~ it’s roast meat quality is more or less just about average compared to any run of the mill shop.
Watercress and Dried Veggies Soup -
This was super salty for what is a common type of refreshing soup, with an influence of pork bones. Completely incomprehensible as to why this was made this way ~ 2/10
The Roast Pork was not bad, but part of the skin no longer crunchy although the meat was moist. The Char Siu was overly chopped up and dry in comparison. Why this came with Ginger and Scallion sauce beats me, as I’d not ordered any chicken ~ 6/10
Price: $30-40 per person
Mon to Sun - 08:00am - 19:45pm
G/F, 327-329 Queen's Road Central, Sheung Wan
Ph: 2541 2207
Scotland’s most famous hotel and the only Michelin 2 Star restaurant, Andrew Fairlie of Gleneagles Hotel recently participated in a Scottish food exchange event at the Hong Kong Mandarin Oriental Hotel for 2 weeks, during which Scottish Chef Alan Gibb was responsible for conjuring up a menu representative of the high qualities experienced at the original Scottish Hotel. Together with their flown in Pastry Chef and David Sinclair the Bar Manager, a whole team arriving all the way from Perthshire, this was certainly a highly anticipated meal.
Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland
As part of a Media Event and once again thanks to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for the invitation, it was my pleasure to finally meet again locally famous Food Columnists and online Writers alike such as Wilson from Hong Kong WOM Guide, E_ting from LUXE City Guides, local food columnist Gourmet KC, Peech of A Diary of a Growing Boy and Michelle, another local food lover and blogger like myself. The one thing which really intrigued me the most was learning about how sophisticated a Scottish meal can become under expert hands, especially when the pairing of different Scottish Whisky’s as recommended by Bar Manager David with each course of the dinner, ended up like a pairing match in heaven.
The Chinnery Bar, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
Cullen Skink -
Creamy Smoked Haddock broth is paired with poached quail eggs, parsley and finely brunoised vegetables and potato. Very creamy and the smoked haddock influence was definitely detectable, and the still runny quail egg added a another dimension to it ~ 9/10
Loch Ryan – native, from Dumfries and Galloway from Scotland -
Quite metallic and salty, enough to give the tongue a tingling sensation on its own without the vinegary sauce, this was interestingly paired with a 10 Years Old Talisker whisky from Isle of Skye. This provided it with a very warm and slight spiciness with just a hint of smokiness, meant to spike up things a bit like a Tabasco sauce ~ 9/10
Findony Haggis, Pars ‘neep’ Mash Fondant and Mousseline Potatoes -
A Scottish national dish and the chosen dish eaten on Robert Burns Day each 25th of January to celebrate the Poet’s birthday, this was cooked in a sheep’s stomach by the kitchen, but in order to preserve a nicer presentation is given to the customer as a haggis quenelled. How thoughtful! It is not overly offal-like but coming from a refined Michelin 2 Star kitchen, this was very appropriate. Paired with a Tullibadine Pedro Ximenez, which is quite sweet and amber looking from the P.X. Cask influence, I poured a bit of this into the Haggis dish directly seeing how the sauce wasn’t already spiked with whisky and it’s the traditional way to eat this dish. Excellent pairing ~ 9/10
Loch Duart Salmon, Lightly Smoked with Sherry Pickled Vegetable -
This was highly enjoyable with just the right amount of smokiness, very fatty although slightly over-done in the centre. Surprisingly topped with a Chinese vegetable and fried rice noodles lookalike, with some pickled vegetables beneath. Paired with a 12 Years Old Highland Park from up the Northern tip of Scotland, this was quite smoky for a Highland/Speyside whisky although its nowhere near the intensity of Islay offerings. This was florally fragrant ~ 7.5/10
Seaweed fed Lamb Shoulder, Thyme and Honey Roasted Roots -
Hebridean black lambs are partially fed on a seaweed diet, which should give it a special umami taste. The lamb shoulder is marinated as a whole, then sliced thin and quickly braised during each customer’s order. Roasted Parsnip and carrots with a herbed potato mash made this a hearty wintery meal, topped with a Talisker Whisky jelly by the chef, as it is meant to marry well with the saltiness of the seaweed fed lamb ~ 8/10
Classic Vanilla Creme Brulee -
This came with some brandy snaps and raspberry, the vanilla creme was smooth and eggy, with a lot of vanilla influence. I thought the brulee top was slightly too crunchy but this was quite good overall. The pairing with a pre-frozen Dalwhinnie 15 years old whisky from the Lowlands but near enough Speyside was interesting with its higher viscosity, something normally associated with sweet wines ~ 7.5/10
Butterscotch Tart, Ginger and Vanilla Custard, Grapefruit with Passionfruit Coulis,
Whisky Jelly and Icing Sugar Lime Peels with Double Cream Ice-Cream -
The tart was excellent with a lovely pastry crust and brulee top, the vanilla and ginger custard worked seemingly in harmony. Pastry chef smartly included a few other acidic components to cancel out the richness of the dessert. Amazing stuff ~ 10/10
Scottish fudge with a crumbly texture, very good. Paired with another Cask Strength Dailuaine the Manager's Choice, this was very spicy for a Speyside but simultaneously very florally fragrant, more so than the above Caol Ila which was more mellow and malty in comparison. Adding a bit of water toned the spiciness down, but it holds its appeal next to the tablets as a contrasting pairing ~ 9/10
Scottish Ginger Cake -
Topped with a fondant, this was surprisingly not very sweet nor too spiced, very refined compared to say a Marzipan Stollen, its next of kin. Loved it. ~ 9/10
A little thin and ashy for my liking, but the smokiness kind of works with the rest of tonight’s whisky theme, doesn’t it? (This was actually spread over 2 nights for me, as I’d revisited on the final day before the team leaves as I really enjoyed their food. Hope to visit their Hotel 1 day too!)
The Chinnery’s Whisky Shelf
Designed just like a Scottish bar, except during normal times hours,
it serves more as a British bar!
Address: Mandarin Oriental Hotel,
5 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong. 1st Floor The Chinnery.
Ph: 2522 0111