Tag Archives: Food

Café Corridor restaurant review – cute and cosy in Causeway Bay

cafe corridor hk

Next stop on Mirander & Rach’s cute café tour of Hong KongCafé Corridor in Causeway Bay.

Tucked away down a… surprise, surprise… corridor opposite Times Square, Café Corridor is a homely little independent joint that’s become surprisingly well-known and loved despite its positively diminutive size. Its owner, Felix Wong, knows his way around a coffee bean (he also founded two other companies, Coffee Assembly and Barista Academy, to promote HK’s coffee culture) and Café Corridor’s reputation quickly grew, meaning the space is always packed with people looking for a quality caffeine fix.

However, if you’re looking for a coffee review, I’m afraid you’ll have to go elsewhere. I don’t drink the stuff (other than in highly diluted, sweetened, milkified and no longer bearing any resemblance to actual coffee, dung ga fe form) so can’t give you my opinion on that… but I’m happy to tell you about everything else!

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Harbour City Chocolate Trail 2013 – going cocoa loco!

harbour city chocolate trail 2013 chapon 1

Anyone who knows me should already know about my sweet tooth. Well, it ain’t just the one tooth, I tell you! Dessert queen, pudding princess, sweet treat sucker – call it what you will, but I’m an addict… and top of the (cake) pops is my love for chocolate! So as soon as I heard about Harbour City’s Chocolate Trail, I knew I had to get in on the cocoa action.

Having read and drooled over That Food Cray’s chocoholic tour of the mall, I was lucky enough to be offered a similar whistle-stop walk-through from Harbour City’s awesome PR, Season. On emailing Season, I declared that my 90-minute window should offer us ‘plenty of time’ to look around The Chocolate Trail – turns out that Nicole (That Food Cray) spent three hours there! And having seen and sampled just a few of the dessert delights on offer, I can totally see why!

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Heirloom Eatery restaurant review – smores, smores, smores (how do you like it…)

UPDATE: Heirloom Eatery is now known as Corner Kitchen Cafe.

Hong Kong is all about the hype. Be it Hello Kitty toys, Lady Gaga tickets or the latest ‘it-restaurant’, there’s always buzz around something.

One of the coolest, most talked-about restaurants from a while back, is Heirloom Eatery in the also buzzing Sheung Wan side of Hollywood Road. In traditional Rach late to the party style, I didn’t get round to trying it out until a month or so ago – with foodie partner-in-crime Michelle of Chopstixfix and her friend Amy (not a blogger but just as game for taking loads of pics and eating loads of food!).

Heirloom is a quaint little eaterie with lots of quirky design touches. It’s definitely a world away from any of the flashy restaurant group behemoths in Hong Kong and, with its whimsical menus, floral crockery, mismatched furniture and homespun feel, is probably all the better for it. Although the restaurant is on the smaller side, it’s lovely to sit outside watching the world go by on a nice spring day.

The menu is casual and international, with a few key influences – Mexican and Asian (thanks to the heritage of the two founders) – and a few majorly hyped dishes… Dear reader, we tried all of them!

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Grappa’s restaurant review – the Italian job

I don’t think Grappa’s gets nearly enough love.

Whenever there’s a request for reasonably-priced, good quality pasta or a shout-out for your favourite Italian in Hong Kong, I feel like I’m the only one gunning for Grappa’s! It might not be the newest or hippest Italian restaurant on the block or have a particularly innovative exciting menu, but what it does deliver is efficient service, consistent quality, food that I want to come back for and at prices that don’t make my wallet run away screaming in horror.

For a chain, its branches do vary a lot, both in quality and atmosphere. The one in Central is in a cosy cellar and is one of the best venues for live music from artists that can’t yet sell out arenas but aren’t quite ‘skivy bar in Wan Chai’ material. The one in Quarry Bay has a more business-like vibe and fantastic staff, yet their food tends to range wildly in quality (two years ago, it had a limited menu that barely included any meat; now, they’ve rebranded with a whole new supposedly American-Italian menu). But for me, the one in Pacific Place – a stalwart of the HK dining scene for over 20 years – is where it’s at.

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Pizza Hut pizza: still disgusting

So the shrimp-stuffed crusts of the Tapas Pizza weren’t disgusting enough for you? Well, Pizza Hut HK sees your Tapas Pizza and raises you one Scallop Cheesy Volcano just in time for the festive season.

Oh, that some poor, beautiful scallops had to die in vain to make this monstrosity. It seems Pizza Hut has so little respect for premium ingredients that seeing truffle-sprinkled caviar on their next special wouldn’t come as much of a surprise. And they’d still manage to make it look like a pre-schooler’s art project.

There are little cheese-stuffed balls bubbling out a lava of cheddar and mozzarella (creating the eponymous volcanos), encircling the creation menacingly and preventing the scallops from even thinking about any last-ditch attempts at escape. This is demo-ed in the advert by a lang-mo delicately squeezing said globule. Big bulbous thing oozing out unctuous yellow goo? I’m not thinking volcano… I’m thinking giant pus-filled spot. Gross.

 

Dessert of the day – get a Sift of that!

So you’ve already worked out my predilection towards afternoon tea and its cakey delights. Well, I’m not fussy. I can do afternoon tea in the comfort of my own home too!

However, given my cooking skills (I once exploded a bowl of rice in a microwave), I prefer to leave the baking to the professionals. I’d heard that Sift cupcakes were the best in town so decided to grab a few from their Wan Chai patisserie to devour back at the ranch.

Almost all the gush I’d heard had been for their Red Velvet cupcakes so they were top of my must-try list. As I weighed up my other options (there were over a dozen different varieties of cupcake to choose from, all $22), a girl giggled her way in, queue-jumped me and promptly pinched the last two Red Velvet cakes on display. Never mind red velvet, red smoke began flaring from my nostrils. ‘Are the cakes on display all you have?’ I asked counter girl #1. She informed me that this was the case. My growls probably reverberated all the way down Queen’s Road!

I was just about to do an indignant huff out of the shop, when counter girl #2 (i.e. competent counter girl) located a Red Velvet lurking round the back. I rounded up my order with a Luscious Chocolate and an Oreo (catering to my boyfriend’s specific pre-request of chocolate cake with vanilla frosting!) and skipped happily out of the shop, hoping that for $66, I was about to get the cupcake experience of my life. I wasn’t far wrong.

I’ve often found American-style cupcakes, toppling over with a top-heavy frosting to sponge ratio, have a tendency to be too heavy, too rich and simply too sickly-sweet. Indulgent paradise for the first few mouthfuls; claggy sticky death by cupcake towards the end. Sift’s, however, were none of the above. I have to complement their sponge the most – light, smooth and fluffy but moist and rich, the went down far too easily and quickly given the amount of calories involved!

The much-heralded Red Velvet (light chocolate cake dyed red, Madagascar Bourbon vanilla cream cheese frosting): The moist but feather-light sponge with a soft dainty chocolate taste was a delight but I wasn’t so keen on the topping. Admittedly, I wasn’t actually aware that it was cream cheese… An immediately potent punch of ultra-sweet, super-smooth cream, almost like custard, with a twangy tangy hit. Not my favourite but that’s purely personal taste.

Luscious Chocolate (Valrhona dark chocolate cake, dark chocolate buttercream frosting): In the words of Apprentice Season 4 winner, Lee McQueen – ‘That’s what I’m talking about!’ One for all the chocoholics out there (I’m a fully-paid, season-ticket holder), this was pure indulgence in a cupcake liner. The thicker consistency of the frosting was more what I expect of buttercream whilst the whole thing was rich, dense, dark heady hit after hit of intense chocolate flavour but without being overpowering. Yum.

Oreo (Valrhona dark chocolate cake, Madagascar Bourbon vanilla buttercream): Smells like an Oreo, tastes like an Oreo but apparently, not an Oreo… Again, the sponge was a decadent dream of deep chocolate whilst the topping was, by some strange cupcake sorcery, pure Oreo although it seems no Oreos were hurt in the making of this cake. The two sides complemented each other perfectly whilst the stiffer, more icing-like texture of the frosting made it a pleasantly less gooey gobble. The boyfriend was all smiles with this one.

So… orgasmic noises all round, much licking of chocolate-y smears from lips/fingers/plate, two cupcake-scented happy customers. Best cupcakes in Hong Kong? Definite contenders for the crown… and there’s a whole pantheon of other cakes, pastries and cookies to try yet! As long as giggling girl doesn’t thwart my plans, that is…!

Sift Patisserie, 43 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2528 0084, closed Mondays

Pomme café review – the apple of my eye

As regular readers may have established (from here… or here… or even here!), I may have a bit of a sweet tooth. Everyone knows dessert occupies a different space in the stomach, right?! So it may come as no surprise to learn that one of my favourite “meals” of the day is afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea in Hong Kong can be a little strange; whilst many chan chan tengs do offer afternoon ‘tea sets’, these often include pork chops, chicken wings, bowls of macaroni and wedges of toast about the thickness of The Bible. Not exactly jam and scones, is it? So the rise of the Western coffee shop, and a mid-afternoon pit-stop to refuel after a hard day’s shopping, is something I wholeheartedly champion!

Pomme is exactly the sort of place that comes to mind. A little haven of Continental peace and quiet in bustling Wan Chai, it’s one of those places where I find myself wanting to buy not just everything on the menu, but everything decorating the place too!

I loved the colourful pretty prints of French shops on the wall. I loved the cabinet of antique copper teaware. I loved the door handle shaped like a whisk, the baby Eiffel tower made out of baguettes and the numerous ornaments inspired by their name (French for apple). Most of all, I loved their delectable range of cakes on display at the counter – great for hungry eyes to feast on, not so great for poor decision-makers (especially when your inner 5 year old wants to go for the signature cupcake decorated to look like a donkey)!

In the end, I settled for a chocolate hazelnut tart whilst my auntie went for lemon cheesecake (both $28). Thankfully, Pomme didn’t go for the cheat’s option of spreading the tart base with Nutella to achieve the chocolate hazelnut effect! Instead the filling was decadently rich, creamily smooth and with little crunch explosions of hazelnut pieces inside. However, although the tart shell was utterly buttery, it was a too hard and came away from the ganache-esque filling too easily.

The lemon cheesecake was a beauty. Light, tangy and neither too sweet, too tart or too heavy, it came complete with crumbly buttery biscuit base, silky smooth topping and just enough zing of lemon to keep things interesting. Textbook stuff.

Finally, a nice cuppa char to wash things down. I particularly liked how the menu told you which kind of teas were suited to which desserts – although I subsequently ignored all advice and went for the one with the prettiest name. My Vanilla Sencha (around $24) was delicately but not overwhelmingly sweet; a good clean fresh brew! I was rather taken with Pomme’s classy teacups – check out those fluid flowing lines!

Although a little pricey, it’s pretty much what I’d expect from a coffee shop in England and certainly no worse but far tastier than the likes of the dreaded Starbucks and Pacific Coffee. For the serene ambience, beautiful décor and an extensive menu I look forward to working my way through, Pomme is definitely deserving of ‘regular pit-stop’ status!

Pomme, G/F Southern Commercial Building, 11 Luard Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2527 9933