Jul 20, 2007

Hong Kong Brew House

> Location : LG/F, LKF Tower, No. 33 Wyndham St.,
Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong
> Cuisine : Bar/American/Mexican
> Tel. # : (852) 2522-5559
> Website : click here

Great drinks, great food, great environment and great service; that is what every food enthusiast wishes to see in every restaurant. Environment comes with construction cost and a good area/district comes with a high rent (unless you own the property). Yet, El Grande Holdings is willing to put such effort and sacrifice into Hong Kong Brew House in Lan Kwai Fong!

With almost two dozen restaurants under El Grande, Hong Kong Brew House's goals as a bar/restaurant shouldn't be taken lightly. Already assuming you know where Lan Kwai Fong is =D, Hong Kong Brew House has already been around for quite sometime. Every time you go in during peak hours (evening time of course), it's a peanut shell party all over! Every table has free peanuts to offer and it's a custom to toss your shells on the ground! Its served because peanuts has always been a great snack to go with a nice cold glass of beer! There are TVs around the whole place and even a big projection screen at the center of the bar when there is a major televised sporting event. The service at Hong Kong Brew House is great. They are quick/prompt and friendly. I've never seen them run out of man power to serve you quickly. There's always 2-3 at the bar and 2-3 at the tables to serve you right away!

Moving on to the next topic, the title of the restaurant definitely tells us all something; "Brew House." Hong Kong Brew House is a great place for beer from all over the world. They have the most common brews to some of the most uncommon yet most refreshing brews. The common beers or as their menu would call it (boring beer), contain the usuals such as Budweiser, Corona, Heineken, Bluegirl/Carlsberg (commonly ordered in Hong Kong), Guinness, Asahi and a few others. Straight from the draft they have Stella Artois and Hoegaarden. But the greatest of all has to be their imported brews straight from Belgium!

One in particular that is a must have is Chimay. Chimay, as I've hinted before is a beer from Belgium (in the Hainaut province, abbey of Scourmont), near a municipality called "Chimay." The history of Chimay beer goes all the way back to 1850 with the Trappist monks. To make a long story short, the Trappist monks' every moment is of great dedication. From their crop fields to their worshiping of God, they put a lot of work into it. However, one day, crop growing became a light industry and in order to proceed with their lives, they decided to make the best cheese and beer! Until today, Chimay beer is still brewed at the Abbey of Scourmont to ensure its quality! Chimay comes in three types: Chimay Red (7% alc. vol.), Chimay Triple (8% alc. vol.), Chimay Blue (9% alc. vol.). Each type comes in either a 25.4 fl. oz. bottle or a 11.2 fl. oz. bottle. Because of its second fermentation process within the bottle, a bigger bottle of Chimay will definitely be unique to its little brother. The Volume of beer during this process changes its taste making it fuller and smoother. So essentially, Chimay has six types of beer! Well, actually, there's eight but I'll let you do the research on the other two =D (For information about the other types of imported beer, please check their website)

Just beer? Of course not! The Food at Hong Kong Brew House is excellent and nothing short compared to a lot of restaurants that serves American and Mexican dishes. They have various types of appetizers, salads, soups, pizza, pasta, sausages dogs, some Mexican specials, burgers, steaks, and so many other choices! Besides beer, Hong Kong Brew House serves cocktails, sparkling/white/red wine, spirits and much, much more!

My experience? Well, one thing I love to order when I go there is their chimichanga! You don't know what it is? Well, just imagine a chicken burrito fried, on a plate, with melted cheddar and jack cheese on top and other tasty ingredients on top also, and with guacamole, sour cream and diced tomatoes on the side to spread all over it! To me, this is the greatest dish at Hong Kong Brew House and I've ordered it every time when I'm not sick of it =D The chicken is a little spicy as the menu indicated and ranchero sauce is present also. The chimichanga was nice and hot when it came and it was definitely tasty with all the sides spread on top! The chicken inside was tender, and all the other ingredients were fresh tasting from my knowledge. At $95 HKD, it's a tiny bit more than your usual set meal/western dish. However, located in Lan Kwai Fong and considering the great quality, it's definitely justified!

Another item I love to order is the Hot Wings, which is one of their "Brew City Snack Selections" or in short, appetizers. Hot wings is basically buffalo wings as most Americans would call it. It's a total of one pound (for $88 HKD) of tastiness with a "kick of spice" as their menu would call it! Served with ranch sauce and some celery sticks! There really isn't much to say but it's juicy, tasty, tender and that infamous buffalo wings flavor! Of course, ranch dressing is the best dip for it. While typing this, it seems like I can taste it right now!

One other item I would love to share with you is the "Brooklyn Reuben." As their menu description says, "Grilled rye bread stuffed with a mountain of corn beef, pastrami, smoked turkey, sauerkraut & melted Swiss cheese." On the side, it's served with a stick of pickle, thousand island dressing sauce and some fries! This type of sandwich is famous for the sauerkraut taste which is cabbage, specially fermented to give it a slight sour/sweet taste. I'll tell you right now, this sandwich is big! And as their menu describes, it truly is stuffed with all sorts of good stuff! Every bite is a little craziness from each ingredient from the corn beef to the pastrami to the smoked turkey to the sauerkraut! At $100 HKD, again it seemingly is pricey but for such goodness, as a food freak, I seriously think it's justified but do you think so? Your decision =D

I think anyone should expect the pricing in Lan Kwai Fong, much like the pricing of a bottle of water when going to Disneyland (but of course not as ridiculous!). Yet, Hong Kong Brew House makes you forget pricing because their quantity of their selections and the quality of any of its choices (I'm pretty darn sure) is all excellent! I try over and over again to think what is bad about this place from service to environment to its food/drinks and I seriously cannot think of one thing! The place is almost always full during the "usual hours." But finding a seat shouldn't be too tough because there are always people who bar hops in Lan Kwai Fong. My verdict is obvious and my recommendation is a "go if you're a beer lover and go if you're a food lover." Enjoy if you ever get a chance to go =D

< 5 out of 5 >

Jul 19, 2007

味軒 (Wei Xuan)

> Location : G/F, No. 60 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong
> Cuisine : Chinese/Taiwanese
> Tel. # : (852) 2854-2899
> Website : N/A

Right next to the bridge, fairly close to I.F.C. is a neat little restaurant called Wei Xuan (味軒). Wei Xuan is a small restaurant (seats about 20 or so). There are a few highlights to the place but to me, the best thing is their hot and sour noodle soup! Hot and sour soup is an old doctor's medicine. It uses the healing properties of black fungus, vinegar, white pepper, and chicken broth. Besides these ingredients, bamboo shoots, tofu and shredded pork are commonly used by chefs. At Wei Xuan, they take this soup to the next level and make it into a soup base for noodles!

You can choose from thick or thin noodle (thick noodle is somewhat like Japanese udon), ho fun (flat noodle), and rice noodle to pair with your hot and sour soup. Their are various meat balls and other things you can pair with your noodle soup but to me, the best is the meat ball (pork) with satay stuffing! The meat ball is so good and so juicy that almost every time I bite into it, the juice squirts out! As for the noodle choice, I enjoy the thick noodle a lot. Seemingly, it's like Japanese udon but it's not. But it's slightly chewy and to me, it's great with the thick hot and sour soup base.

Besides this, Shanghai vegetable rice pairing with sweet and sour spare ribs is another excellent selection. I tried this once before and it's definitely something simple yet great. For appetizer, their taro strips spring roll is also a nice selection coming with a nice sweet dipping sauce!

Yet, the highlight is still the hot and sour soup noodle. It is definitely a nice treat once in awhile at Wei Xuan. To me so far and from what I've heard from food lovers, this is definitely their best specialty. I really can critique Wei Xuan entirely (everything it serves) or just focus on what I really had before/liked. But to be fair, I really only had the stuff I talked about above and I can surely give them all above average scores! (From what I heard, everything I had IS the only choices that are truly worthwhile) The Shanghai vegetable rice pairing with sweet and sour spare ribs is good but if it were me, I would go for the hot and sour soup noodle first before anything else! It's more unique for first timers.

So in the end, Wei Xuan is a nice place to go if you're in for something hot, sour and with noodles! Solely giving a score for that, I would give it a 4 out of 5 but with everything else accounted for, I would say about a 3 1/2 out of 5. Please don't let my indecisive nature not make you want to go try it out! Please do try if you enjoy Taiwanese/Shanghainese style cuisine and especially if you're a fan of hot and sour soup! So what's your final verdict Simon?! You're being so wishy washy!! Well, I guess I'll go with my gut feeling...

< 3.5 out of 5 >

Jun 14, 2007

Dai Pai Dong (Elbow Macaroni)

> Location : Across from G/F 21 Gough Street,
Central, Hong Kong
> Cuisine : Tomato soup macaroni
> Tel. # : N/A
> Website : N/A

Once extremely popular in Hong Kong, "dai pai dong's" legacy still lives especially around Central and Sham Shui Po areas. There are still some scattered throughout Hong Kong but not as much as it use to be. You don't know what "dai pai dong" (大牌檔) means? Well, in literal translation, it means "big license stall." Confused? Well to be more clear, dai pai dongs are simply open areas (usually outside and not enclosed by a building), with fold up tables and seats, serving some quick, cost-friendly and tasty dishes! Usually, places like this are never pleasant environment wise because it's situated in cheap/narrow streets. However, if you find the right place, the aroma and the fantastic food will make you forget the environment for good!

The dai pai dong I'm about to talk about is a bit different among others. Most places serve a variety of stuff from breakfast egg/ham and toast to typical Chinese dishes. Yet, the one I'm talking about now is mainly a tomato soup base noodle. Tomato soup? Yes, every order is a large (and I mean it too) bowl of tomato soup (tomatoes still visible) with choice of elbow macaroni (main highlight), instant noodles, or rice noodles. You get to choose two items to go with your bowl such as hot dog, spam, ham sausage, pork chop, slice beef, chicken wings and various others (just ask them!). Additional items will cost more. Each bowl is about $28 HKD.

Realistically, it is really a simple item. But the sweetness of the tomato soup goes really well with the elbow macaroni or instant noodles (I have never tried it with rice noodles but to my knowledge, it wouldn't be better than the previous two). Along with ham sausage and spam (my personal favorite combination), this is the simplest yet greatest bowl of noodles ever! I've tried almost every item (e.g. hot dog, spam, etc), and I can concur they are all fresh, good and just like what you expect it to be. Usually, people's concern for dai pai dongs are its cleanliness in its food. As for the place I'm talking about now, you need not to worry!

Besides tomato soup noodle, they also have some great crispy toast sandwiches. The sandwiches aren't very big (the cost justifies its size) are spread with butter and you can ask for anything inside your sandwich such as pork chop or spam or whatever you desire. You don't want meat? You can definitely just get some crispy toast with butter, sweet condensed milk spread, honey or other yummy toast spread! They are very flexible so just customize it the way you want! Since its Sheung Wan/Central area, if you decide to sit down instead of getting takeout, try to go before 12:30 PM if you want a seat! The place is quite popular and it's actually right across from Kau Kee (the famous clear soup beef brisket noodle restaurant/check out my review!). There's a decent amount of seating area (at least 25 +).

Consistent. That's one word that applies to this place too. I've had this place multiple times and it's consistent with their ingredients every time. There isn't much left to say but if you're in the area and you want to try something simple yet good, go to this dai pai dong which is right across from Kau Kee!

< 4 out of 5 >

Jun 13, 2007

Triple-O's (White Spot)

> Location : Shop 10, 1/F, The Forum Exchange Square,
Central, Hong Kong

> Cuisine : Hamburgers / Chicken Burgers

> Tel. # : (852) 3401-4000

> Website :

Nat Bailey was on a mission. He wanted to make the finest and freshest food products available to the pubic in Vancouver, Canada. So from 1920's all the way into 1930's, Nat started "White Spot," starting with serving food for in car eating (people love their automobiles during that time), creating Canada's first Drive-In, purchase land to create a dine in spot and even having his own central kitchen / chicken farm for consistency of his products. Besides serving great chicken burgers (that's why the logo of Triple-O's has a chicken on it!), White Spot truly got its mark on history because of its beef hamburgers with its famous "Triple-O Sauce" added on it. Due to White Spot's success in Canada, it has also created a fast food version of it called (not surprisingly), Triple-O's! Having nine locations in Canada from Calgary to Vancouver, Triple-O's success has come to Hong Kong!

With three locations now in Hong Kong (Admiralty, Central, Tsim Sha Tsui), its beginning to grow in popularity!
I've been to both the Admiralty and Central locations. The Admiralty one is inside Pacific Place and the Central one is right next to the I.F.C. Mall. Everytime I go, it's always packed! Especially during lunch hours for the Central location, go early if you want a seat! Also, if delivery is needed if you're near any of the locations listed, a $150 HKD minimum is required.

Besides the regular menu with the chicken and beef burgers, Triple-O's also have a breakfast menu. All of their breakfast burgers contain the famous "triple-o sauce" and have eggs in it. The sides available are fries, hashbrowns, extra dill and gravy (for the fries). There's also extra toppings for your burgers if needed such as fresh sauteed mushrooms, cheese, bacon, extra egg, extra patty or extra chicken breast. In the regular menu, there's the original burger combo, mushroom burger combo, BC burger combo, chicken supreme burger combo, veggie burger combo, chicken strips and fries, caesar salad and clam chowder. All combos comes with fries and a 14oz soft drink or 8oz coffee/tea. All the combos are either $51 or $61 HKD or just the burger only for $20 HKD less.
So, whats it taste like? I've had three things at Triple-O's before.

First of all, the original burger and all others are not small in size. Using the freshest ingredients and Australia's finest beef/chicken patties! The original burger contains a 100% pure beef patty topped with lettuce, tomato and "triple-o sauce." Certainly, the burger was big and it was good! However, I can't help but being reminded how similar it tasted to McDonald's quarter pounder with cheese. I'm not sure if that's a good thing. For me, it felt weird but for others which don't know what I'm talking about, you'll be fine =D

What else? Well, I had the limited time Chicken Club Burger! To me, this had to be my best experience at Triple-O's. It was so juicy and so tasty and the chicken patty was so tender, I totally fell in love with it! Excellent indeed.

My most recent experience? Well, I had the mushroom cheese chicken burger. It's similar to the mushroom burger but it's chicken instead of beef, has cheese and lettuce/tomato is inserted without asking. I was actually a little bit disappointed with this (this is at the Central location and the previous two from Admiralty). I believe the lettuce and tomato wasn't dried enough from being rinsed/washed in water, it made the triple-o sauce a little watery. The chicken patty was tender for the most part but not as great as when I had the chicken club. Everything else was fine.

French fries wise, it's like a mix between steak fries and fries from McDonald's. It's thicker than McDonald's (but not as flat and wide as steak fries), more potato like taste and barely salted. Condiments are provided if needed. A place that reminds me of In-n-Out (California hamburger chain from the states) so much, I have to say In-n-Out makes better fries taste wise =D Quantity wise, Triple-O's aren't short in giving you a lot fries with your combo so never worry about it if you're very hungry!

In the end, I had mix thoughts with Triple-O's. But I think the negative points are understood due to the busy hours I visited especially the "watery triple-o sauce" when I went to the Central location. Excusable or not, consistency is the key to any restaurant and I had to mark just a little bit from my overall impression. The chicken strips, which I personally never had; my friend who had them told me it was above average (a 3.5 out of 5 according to her). So just a little bit of info for you'll who might be interested. For a person like me, who has a lot of experience with various fast food restaurants, it was hard to resist not comparing Triple-O's to similar things in other places. But if you're one of those life long Hong Kong resident or not an often fast food visitor, you'll find Triple-O's an excellent alternative from KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, etc. It was either 3.5, 4 or 4.5 for me. Personally, only caring for my own opinion (holding grudge to the watery triple-o sauce and McDonald's quarter-pounder with cheese-like taste), I would give it a 3.5. But considering what the general Hong Kong population is like, and me judging the place without comparisons, I would give a score of 4. Plus, if the negative points never crossed my mind, I think a 4.5 would even be possible. Through all the drama, I still think the limited time chicken club burger was a blast to eat =D They definitely need to keep it on the menu! Ultimately, Triple-O's gets a...

4 out of 5 >

*photograph courtesy of Triple-O's website

Jun 8, 2007

Beer Museum Yebisu

> Location : Yebisu Garden Place, 4-20-1 Ebisu Shibuya-ku,
Tokyo, Japan
> Cuisine : Beer tasting / Museum
> Tel. # : (81) (3) 5473-7255
> Website : www.sapporobeer.jp/english/guide/yebisu/

So wait, Simon enjoys beer too?! Well hey, drinks is an important aspect of food so it needs to be covered too! What I'll be covering is a certain Japanese beer called Sapporo. Well, to be more specific, I'll be discussing one of its museum and a bit about the beer itself...

Dating back in the late 1800's, Sapporo has a long history with making fine tasting Japanese beer. From Hokkaido to Sendai to Chiba, Shizuoka and New Kyushu Brewery to two beer museums (one we will be talking about), Sapporo is obviously no stranger to its Japanese competitors (Asahi, Kirin, Suntory, etc).

Besides using its own name on bottles and cans worldwide, Sapporo also has a brand by the name of Yebisu. So what makes this particular Sapporo brand so popular? Well, let me quote directly from Sapporo:

Yebisu Premium - "The secret of YEBISU beer's distinctive taste lies in our use of 100% barley malt, an extended aging period, and attention to detail in all stages of the brewing process. Specially selected aroma hops from Bavaria help to produce a taste that has ensured YEBISU has remained Japan's most popular Premium Beer for over a century."

Yebisu Black - "Slowly roasted black malt and specially selected Bavarian aroma hops combine to create the delightfully fragrant aroma and smooth taste of YEBISU Black - a 100% malt premium black beer for the true beer connoisseur."

Note, Bavaria is the largest province in Germany. So yeah, after a tiny bit of history and some background facts, lets get back to the main highlight. At the Yebisu Garden Place at Ebisu, Toyko, Japan, Sapporo has a beer museum dedicated to Yebisu beer. For a beer lover, it's only stupid to not go for a visit! The entrance is free! When you step inside, there's a souvenir shop to the side. As you walk downstairs away from it, there's a performance area (for special events I believe). The semi-circular museum itself is split into various parts. The following are the different sections: Yebisu Memorial Room - dedicated to the rich history of Sapporo/Yebisu beer, Gallery - displaying the different advertisements Sapporo has brought out throughout the years, World Beer History - talking about the general history and how beer has evolved, The Science of Brewing - explaining with colorful visuals the process to brewing Yebisu beer, Tasting Room - you guessed it, a place to relax and test Yebisu and other types of beer! Besides all these, you'll find little surprises here and there. It's truly a very fun and informative museum for just about anybody.

The tasting room, consist of venting machines for you to purchase tokens to get your beer at the bar. You can purchase any type of beer individually to the 400 Yen, beer sampler. Well, not to any body's surprise, I went with the sampler! The sampler is really a combination of the four different brews. Regular, Black, Brown and White. Regular is served with Yebisu Premium. The description from me is no more or no less than the quote I have above including Yebisu Black also! For White brew, yeast containing Major Weiss (white) is a Bavaria province favorite for "hundreds of years. Weiss is a top-fermented beer produced using 100% wheat malt. It has a characteristic mild taste, with little bitterness." As for brown or ale, Major Ale (mild type) is served. Popular in Britain (e.g. New Castle Beer), "produced by a special brewing process which uses 100% malt, this top-fermented beer has a characteristic fruity aroma and unusually deep color." All straight from the tap, all these draft beers are excellent from start to finish. All beer are served with snacks. Additional snacks can be purchased at the bar.

Seriously, I've tried all sorts of Japanese beer from smaller breweries to major ones and Yebisu brand is definitely one of my favorite. The beer and the museum is all worth a visit for fellow beer lovers and anybody within the Ebisu, Tokyo area! In the end, free entrance fee, fun/informative museum and the great tasting YEBISU beer allows me to give this experience a...

< 5 out of 5 >

May 30, 2007

雲貴川 (Yun Gui Chuan)

> Location : 5th Floor, Shing Hing Commercial Bldg.,
21-27 Wing Kut St., Central, Hong Kong

> Cuisine : Yunnan & Sichuan Noodle

> Tel. # : (852) 2854-2389

> Website : N/A

Various locations in the Kowloon area, Yun Gui Chuan has landed its first shop in Hong Kong island at Central (boarder of Central and Sheung Wan)! Famous for its infamously spicy Yunnan and Sichuan noodles, Yun Gui Chuan is no kitty cat in the soup noodle market in Hong Kong. My first visit was surprising because I didn't know it was so close to my office! It's on Wing Kut street too, just right down the road! Hidden inside Shing Hing Commercial Building, some spiciness was about to enter my mouth...

Yun Gui Chuan offers various themed soup noodles (inspired by Yunnan and Sichuan cuisines/both of these Chinese provinces are to the North West of Hong Kong) with various different types of noodles to choose from. Besides noodles, their famous chicken wings are great too! Pricing wise, it's an average of $40 HKD (plus or minus a bit on what you specifically ordered) for a bowl (the three main noodle sets). But don't be concerned, ingredients are fills up every inch of it! Whereas, if you want a smaller bowl, you can always ordered the $25 HKD version. Either way, everything on the menu is customizable As for service, the Central shop was friendly overall and I had nothing to complain about. The wait for the food wasn't long at all too! I had the chance to experience three items from this place and i'll discuss about them now.

For every soup noodle set, you will get a cup of fresh lightly sweeten soy milk! So yeah, first up we have the mixed seafood soup noodle. The bowl was huge! I got to choose from three different levels of spiciness. I asked for medium but they warned me about it so I chose little spiciness. You could add more if needed for your information. So little spiciness wasn't too bad but still I definitely was challenged a bit still =D The soup was sweet, a bit sour from the fermented cabbage (in a good way) and perfectly done saltiness level. The bowl came with all sorts of goodies inside. The following is a list of what's inside: Green onion, lettuce, bean sprouts, peanuts, sesame, fish skin dumpling, fermented cabbage, shrimp wrap, crab roll, ja ja diced pork (like ja ja mien), fried cuttle fish ball, fried fish paste, albacore, Sichuan spicy oil (according to my friend), pepper bits, and scallions. Multiply each item by a few to a lot of times and you have a bowl that's extremely busy! It was like a kid in a candy store digging through all the different flavors within the bowl...

Noodle wise, I went with the "sweet potato" noodles. Although it didn't tasted sweet, it was interesting overall. They were like semi-clear thin tubings and extremely slippery. Besides this type of noodle, you can also choose from rice noodle, Shanghai Lai Mien, egg noodle (oil type), elbow macaroni, flat noodle (ho fun) and other types. I personally would have gone with Shanghai Lai Mien or egg noodle if I had to choose again but it's definitely a personal preference.

All the items inside the mixed seafood soup noodle were good. Especially the fish skin dumplig (the skin of the dumpling is made out of fish skin). The taste and texture were just excellent to me. Everything else was fresh, good and as expected. How about the second item? Well, this was the pig soft bone (the part at the pig's middle spine area) meat soup noodle. This is a great choice if you want some red meat in your system. I personally was brought to this place with a friend so this is what she had. I did get a chance to have some of the soft bone pig meat and I mean the taste was just delicious! I can't imagine what it would be like with the whole experience. So I definitely would recommend anyone trying it because I definitely will =D

Lastly, we have the chicken wings. These things are as popular as the noodles I tell you. Each order has six wings. You can divide up the flavors however you want. As for me, I had half spicy Sichuan style and Sinkiang herb seasoned style (Sinkiang is another province in China). Personally, I love the herb seasoned style because of the aroma and the taste that lingers around your senses so much! The spicy Sichaun style was good and your expected spiciness to it. I'll tell you right now, it gives me good memories of this one place called Wingnuts back in Costa Mesa, California (U.S.A.), a restaurant that specializes in check wings and ribs!

So Yun Gui Chuan was all plus' from me. I mean, the environment might not be some fancy grade A place nor is it some dirty "dai pai tong" style, but it's clean, the service is good and of course, most importantly, the food (at least what I had for my first experience) got me raving it! I'm really torn with what score I should give this place. Both good scores but until it somehow disappoints me with my next attempt, I'll keep this nice score up for now =D

< 4.5 out of 5 >

May 28, 2007


> Location : 1/F, Room 101, Cheung's Bldg., 1-3 Wing Lok St.,
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
> Cuisine : Indian (Southeastern Asian curry)
> Tel. # : (852) 2850-5075
> Website : N/A

Frontier is an Indian restaurant fused with with some Singapore, Malaysia and Thai curry elements to it. As advertised by their business card, there highlights are "kebab, tandoori B.B.Q, satay, spring roll, Indian curry, Thai curry, Malaysian curry and roti channai." Frontier is right across from a fresh fruit juice stand and right next to Pasha (which I did a review on if you're interested in Turkish gyros). Just go inside Cheung's Bldg. and take the elevator up one floor. Kukretti Pawan Kumar, the chef of Frontier, is a very friendly guy who does some great cooking! So if you're interested in Indian food and the alike, please read on!

I've personally gone to Frontier multiple times so I can give you readers a pretty accurate opinion/information. First up is the menu: The menu is vast and have a lot of items to choose from. The sections are as follows: appetizer (ranging in the $20 HKD), side dish, soup, salad, kebab & tandoori B.B.Q., chef special kebab rolled in pita bread, Asian curry specialty, Indian non vegetarian dishes (ranging in the $50+ HKD), Indian vegertarian dishes (ranging in the $40+ HKD), Indian Charred oven baked Indian bread (ranging in the $10+ HKD), rice (pilau, biryani) specialty, desserts. There's also a drink section and even a set meal menu. I told you it's a lot to choose from =D Pretty much the whole menu is Indian cuisine related except for the curry section you have the choice to try some Thai, Malaysian or Singapore curry if you don't feel like having Indian curry.

The environment is just slightly dim and well lit. During the daytime, if you want more light, there's a big window you can choose to sit right next to. The capacity is about 35 so people. The two waiters are both friendly and definitely ready to take any request. You can order using English or Cantonese. The younger waiter is better with Cantonese if you don't know much English.

Before I give one of my specific taste review of what I recently had, I'm going to share some quick information of what I had at Frontier before. (1) Their samosa (India's infamous appetizer item) is very standardized and tastes good. (2) Onion Pakora, which is like onion rings but deep fried using Indian spices to give it a distinct flavor. It's very interesting if you're into onion rings. (3) Masala papadum is
a lentil wafer (thin crispy wafer/this comes with set meals F.Y.I.), that's crispy, a bit salty tasting and has some spices to it. Usually, this is served with Frontier's three sauces (mint, sweet medlar and sour lemon). (4) As for Indian curry, their tandoori dish fish tikka masala with thyme seed and butter (the chicken and lamb version that's similar also), are great dishes. The aroma of the curry/spices, the tenderness of the meat (I've personally tried them all and from lamb to fish to chicken, they are all tender, soft and full of goodness =D). (5) Black lentil with tomato butter and herbs is a Indian vegetarian dish. Black lentil or also known as urd bean or black gram is a type of bean that's highly cultivated in India. Black lentil is very nutritious (there's also a white version also), and used often in Punjabi (India) and Pakistan cuisines. The black lentil dish at Frontier has a definite sense of tomato flavoring along with the herbs. A lot of black lentils are added so you'll definitely get use to the taste of it. (6) Next is the cottage cheese and green peas curry. This curry is more mild tasting (not as define or overwhelm by any of the ingredients). The cottage cheese are in little blocks. (7) Cottage cheese with grounded spinach finish with cream and butter is another item I had. this dish is very similar to the previous but using spinach. (8) Their naan (plain, garlic, onion and all of the alike bread items) are all done very well. Their naan isn't too thin, hard and dry but perfectly soft and tastes great especially garlic naan! If you ever went to some other places that serves Indian naan before, it's so dry and sometimes very thin, it's just wrong. But definitely not Frontier's. There might be some plus and minus' once in awhile, but overall, you can be confident about it.

Now onto my recent experience. My prior experience at Frontier is with their set meal for lunch. Their set meal comes with soup of the day, plain naan, rice, some mixed vegetables, a samosa, and your choice of curry (cost varies depending on your choice). The prices range from $39 HKD to $70 HKD for the choices. Drinks are $8 HKD extra (check for what's available). For this section of the review, I've gone with the Indian Vegetable Curry ($39 HKD for the whole set) and the India Chicken Tikka Masala ($55 HKD, whole set). No, I didn't eat both myself =D Though the vegetable curry set is the cheapest of them all, it doesn't lack ingredients at all. The vegetable curry comes with cauliflower, potatoes, cilantro, onion, peas, string beans, carrot, green pepper, broccoli, and cabbage. The curry has a strong vegetable taste to it. It's slightly spicy and tastes like your standardized, good tasting Indian vegetable curry.

India Chicken Tikka Masala is up next. The masala sauce was great (there was some chopped up onions inside, and cilantro sprinkled on top for people who are curious about any other visible ingredients). The sweet, salty and spiciness are all well-balanced together. The chicken was very tender. Along with the masala sauce, it was just marvelous! You can definitely sense the herbs used in this dish along with a lot of similar dishes in their regular menu.

The soup of the day was dried bak choy soup. It had a mild taste to it but you can definitely sense the bak choy used. The samosa served here is always consistently good and the
masala papadum (lentil wafer) is always a nice treat with the sauces. The 4 pieces of naan that comes with the meal are good (get garlic naan from the menu, it's good!) and the mixed vegetables are seasoned with a minor vinegar like sauce.

Any other information Simon? Well, to me, the highlight of Frontier is their Indian cuisine choices. Their Southeastern Asian curry dishes are above average but I always preferred the Indian flavors. I really don't have much to complain about this place. If you stick with the main items on their menus with keywords that are listed multiple times, you won't be disappointed. I still have to try their B.B.Q. items to get a full gist of things. I actually seen some people ordering it and it sure looks good! I've mostly touched on their curries and bread for the most part. Their service is friendly and I definitely recommend anybody going if they're in the Sheung Wan, Central area! Anyways, my verdict for Frontier is...

< 4 out of 5 >

May 25, 2007

Thalassic Thai Restaurant

> Location : Shop C & D, G/F, Chi Ping Building, 38 Hau Wo Street,
Kennedy Town, Hong Kong
> Cuisine : Thai
> Tel. # : (852) 3606-3111
> Website : N/A

Yes, we have another Kennedy Town special! But how is it this time? Thalassic Thai Restaurant is in the back streets of Kennedy Town in Hau Wo Street. It's suppose to be a pretty new restaurant. When I first stepped in, the lighting, the decoration (especially around the bar area), are all pleasant looking. The people who served us, attitude wise, were all friendly.

The menu is pretty straight forward. There's a section for curry, salad, appetizers, vegetables and other major categories common to Thai cuisine. I actually got to try quite a few items from this place and I'll share it with you all right away!

Their Tom Yum Kong soup was okay overall. It was more sour than spicy. I was hoping the two could have been more balanced but it's acceptable. Ingredient wise, it's filled with everything that should be there so that's a big plus! Overall, if you're craving some tom yum kong, there's no major low points to prevent you from ordering it here.

Next up, we got the appetizer combo (varies in size/price depending on how many people are eating). There are egg rolls, fried fish (crab?) cake, chicken wrapped in lotus leaf, and other stuff. I had the chance to try the fried fish cake and it had little taste to it. The chicken in lotus leaf was much better. The chicken was marinated and seemed to be fried before being wrapped in the lotus leaf. The rest of the items are what you would imagine them to taste.

I also got half a Hainan Chicken. The chicken came with a similar sauce that a lot of the times, comes with egg rolls in Thai restaurants. This, sweet and sour like sauce. The chicken essentially didn't have much taste to it nor any reminiscence of Hainan chicken flavor. It was more dependent on you to use the sweet and sour sauce which made me felt disappointed. The Hainan chicken Thai style from Lanna Thai (Causeway Bay) was done much better.

Another item i got to try is the pomelo, fried cocunut strip with shrimp salad. This salad is an interesting concept. the pomelo (grapefruit meat) was obvious sweet and maybe just slightly sour. The coconut strips fried would be a little salty with a slight sweetness to it. shrimp would be how shrimp would taste like. What I thought was missing was something "green" to this salad. A salad after all has greens or vegetable related items in it no matter what other non-traditional ingredients are involved. I enjoyed it but after a few tastes, I just thought something green/a bit sour would have perfect this salad.

Next, I had the yellow curry with chicken. Yellow curry in this case would be panang curry (the menu all provided descriptions of the dishes in english and chinese for most of the dishes. only some came with the original Thai name). Panang curry has a sweetish and slightly spicy flavor to it. It's one of the most commonly famous Thai curry around. As for Thalassic, the "yellow curry" had that famous panang taste but not as strong as I would like. The spiciness was strong indeed. My curry came with an ordered of their so-called "pizza." The "pizza" was essentially like a thousand layer pancake (a Northern Chinese delicacy) but fried with more oil, salt and butter added. If you try it, you might have come up with other things that you might have been reminded of (Indian style bread or even Malaysian if you ask me, other than what I said previously).

In the end, I had an alright experience at Thalassic. They had dishes that almost made it to the "finish line" but never quite got there (e.g. the pomelo salad). I actually had this rice dish that I didn't even bother to mention about because it was so bald. The decoration, creativity involved was great but the taste just wasn't there. The environment was festive especially if you get to sit near the bar area because that's where all the jungle-like decorations are. The service was good besides the fact that I just didn't enjoy how the waitress kept asking me to order the most expensive items. The costs justified by the type of item, location but not through the quality as I've described above. If you really want to have some Thai in Kennedy Town, I wouldn't beg you to not go. Overall, it's an average feeling from me.

< 3 out of 5 >

May 24, 2007

Schiller's Liquor Bar

> Location : 131 Rivington St., New York, N.Y. 10002, U.S.A.
> Cuisine : American
> Tel. # : (1) (212) 260-4555
> Website : http://www.schillersny.com/
> Price Range: $$

We went on a Sunday afternoon for brunch. We arrived at 1-ish and the wait was 45 minutes. We ended up waiting for about 30. The decor was really fun, full of odds and ends. The staff's t-shirts had the NY state choking hazard posters on the back - hilarious.

I had a Blood Orange Mimosa, which was excellent, while my friend had a Chocolate Egg Cream (NY thing, with club soda, milk, and chocolate). They also served water in a little flask. We ordered a myriad of items, which included an order of the Sour Cream and Hazelnut Waffles with mixed berries and bourbon maple syrup, Eggs Hussard, which were poached with ham, tomatoes, mushrooms, Borderlaise, and Hollandaise sauce, classic Steak & Eggs (over medium), with breakfast potatoes, and a Seared Tuna Salad.

The Sour Cream and Hazelnut Waffles were pretty good, but not anything overwhelming. The maple syrup's bourbon was very strong and played well with the mixed berries. The waffle itself was pretty moist due to the sour cream; however, I did not really taste or smell the hazelnut.

Kathleen's Eggs Hussard was excellent. The Borderlaise sauce was nutty and flavorful. Her poached eggs were also perfectly perched on top of her fried toast. The presentation was also beautiful. Not much to say except that it was really good.

The steak and eggs were just okay. My eggs did not come over medium. One was easy and the other was medium. Oh well, can't win them all. I understand that usually steak and eggs comes with either a flank steak or a new york strip. Well, I'm not sure what kind of cut it was, but whatever it was, it was very chewy. The potatoes were really good. They had plenty of sauteed onions over them with great seasoning.

I did not taste the tuna salad, unfortunately, but the vegetables seemed fresh and colorful. I'm not sure if it was ahi tuna or what, but the color of the tuna (inside) was not very red.

Overall, I would say stick to the breakfast foods and you'll be fine. I noticed a few table got their pastry basket which looked very appetizing, especially the fresh
sticky bun. By looking around, it seemed that the poached eggs were the best bet at Schiller's. Either the Hussard or the classic Benedict would do you right. A funny thing about the restaurant is the bathroom; it was a little confusing as when you entered, you ended up in a small lounge area with the washing basin that led further to two separate doors. Just be clear on which door you're entering!

< 3 out of 5 >

(but if you get strictly breakfast, probably a 4!)


> Location : 798 Ninth Ave (at 53rd St), New York, N.Y., U.S.A.
> Cuisine : American
> Tel. # : (1) (212) 765-7080
> Website : http://www.eaterynyc.com/
> Price Range: $

We decided to try out Eatery's brunch. Though it was sprinkling outside, we decided to brave the cold and rain in lieu of waiting for an hour for a table inside. Once seated, we were served some sort of coffee cake that was delicious. The best way I could describe it is as some sort of spice cake. Whatever it was, it was yummy.

I opted for a Roast Chicken Soup, with Sweet Corn Dumplings. The broth was clear and sweet. The ingredients tasted very fresh and there was plenty of chicken. The soup was a tiny bit bland, but it was okay.

After the soup, I had a special salad of the day, which was a Chopped Chicken Salad with fresh beets, broccoli, cheese, lettuce, and a vinaigrette. There was plenty of chicken and the vegetables were perfectly crisp and fresh. The dressing was also perfect.

My friend Myra had the Sante Fe Sweet Potato Pancake, with scrambled egg whites and mango guacamole. I was assured the guac was good, but I didn't try since I am allergic. However, I did taste the rest of it and it was excellent. It's difficult to mess up eggs though.

From what I can tell, most of the food at this place is excellent. For the amount and price, it was a pretty good deal. Also, the decor was really cute and the wait staff was pretty good. If I weren't in the mood for veggies, the Pulled Pork Tostada with Fried Eggs, Monterey Jack and Poblano Relish was really calling my name.

< 4 out of 5 >