Tag Archives: Tsim Sha Tsui

Gaddi’s Chef’s Table at The Peninsula Hong Kong – my best meal of 2016


Well, it’s February 2017 and I still haven’t had any mind-blowing meals this year… so I figured, why not finally write up one of the best meals I had in 2016 instead?

In a city stuffed with more fine dining experiences than the Michelin Guide can handle, it takes something truly special to stand out – and Gaddi’s Chef’s Table at The Peninsula Hong Kong is exactly that. Unlike many so-called chef tables in Hong Kong, the one at Gaddi’s is actually set inside the restaurant’s kitchen, right besides the chef’s pass; in fact, it’s the main kitchen for the majority of The Peninsula’s food operations, giving you a fascinating peek “behind the curtains” at one of the city’s most iconic hotels.


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MiraSpa’s Splunch package – spa day at The Mira Hong Kong


Freelance life has many perks, but chief among them has to be the ability to take a spa day whenever I want (all in the name of “research”, of course) – especially when you have a business partner who loves spa days every bit as much as you do! So when the invite to The Mira Hong Kong’s Splunch package arrived in the Editors’ Ink inbox, my business partner and blogger bestie Kate aka Accidental Tai Tai and I were in there like a flash.

Running until the end of March 2017, the somewhat cringily-titled Splunch – which sounds like something Jay off The Inbetweeners might say – equates to a full day of pampering goodness for only $1388 per person, including:

  • A 60-minute Mira Massage
  • A 60-minute Aromatherapy Associates Rose Aromatic Facial
  • A buffet lunch at Yamm
  • Full use of MiraSpa’s heat facilities, swimming pool and fitness centre

Let’s dive in! Well, apart from the fitness centre…. Kate and I ignored that obviously.

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Rose Bakery café review – every rose has its thorn…

rose bakery hong kong marbled chocolate loaf

UPDATE: Rose Bakery has closed.

Not much beats curling up with a good book and a piece of cake… so I think it’s pretty clever for Hong Kong bookshop Page One to have stuck a café in their recently renovated Harbour City store – the Parisian import Rose Bakery, to be exact.

rose bakery hong kong

That said, I don’t think Rose Bakery’s décor is the most welcoming. It’s the same signature look in every city (London, New York, Tokyo and counting) but I found its stark industrial design rather chilly, and somewhat at odds with the traditional dark wood bookshelves lining the walls at Page One. With a bare cement floor, cold glass tables and stainless steel surfaces, it feels like a cross between a disused aircraft hangar and the Industrial Zone on The Crystal Maze (and yes, I know I seem to reference The Crystal Maze way more than the average person!).

Come 4pm and my mind immediately turns to cake… hell, who am I fooling, my mind is usually fixated on cake at all times of the day! So on our visit, afternoon tea partner-in-crime Mirander and I decided to bypass Rose Bakery’s savoury offerings of salads and quiches for cake, cake and more cake; a balanced diet means that not all the cakes we chose are chocolate ones, right?

rose bakery hk carrot cake

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Sabon opens in Hong Kong – Lavender Apple Shower Oil and Delicate Jasmine Body Lotion review

sabon shower oil body lotion

UPDATE: Sabon has since opened lots more stores in Hong Kong – full list of locations at the bottom of this post!

Beauty junkies in Hong Kong are enjoying something of a purple patch (insert preferred colour of choice here) right now. Whilst the influx of new beauty brands here has included many I was already familiar with (like Kate Somerville or the new arrivals at FACESSS), there have also been plenty popping up that I hadn’t heard of – including Israeli skincare brand Sabon, who have just opened their first stores in Hong Kong, in Tsim Sha Tsui’s Harbour City and Tai Koo’s Cityplaza.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to make the store opening (which has its very own wishing well made from Jerusalem stone… skincare was definitely never this swanky in Nottingham, I tell ya!), so Sabon very kindly sent me a few of their goodies to try – and on the basis of these, I’m already sniffing out my next Sabon purchases.

sabon hong kong

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Freeing HK review – free is the magic number!

freeing hk group shot

*NOTE: I’ve since been to LOST Hong Kong and it is loads better – I’d definitely recommend it over Freeing!*

“Can anybody see the crystal?”

Hands up if your formative years involved lots of screaming at the telly while watching The Crystal Maze? Well, if it did, perhaps like me, one of your lifelong ambitions might have been to be a contestant on The Crystal Maze (when Richard O’ Brien was hosting, obviously, not that funny Ed bloke that came after), get locked in rooms and use your smarts to figure out how to get out.

Sadly, The Crystal Maze ended almost 20 years ago (God, I’m old!) so there’s zero chance of me actually achieving that dream. However, I may have just found the next best thing to help me live out my 90s gameshow fantasies – Freeing HK.

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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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Mid-Autumn Festival Hong Kong 2011, Moon Fun Playground lantern exhibition: Fairground attraction!

Mid-Autumn Festival is rolling round again (four day weekend, hollaaaa!), so what better time to bring you… a full year late… the gorgeous lanterns from last year’s festivities?!

My advice is to bypass the crowds at Victoria Park and instead head to Tsim Sha Tsui’s Cultural Centre Piazza, where every year they have an awesome thematic lantern exhibition. It stays on display for a full month (much longer than the ones at Victoria Park), is less crowded (especially if you hit it when everyone else is having their dinner or when they are otherwise occupied with the Symphony Of Lights show), provides almost an hour’s worth of photo opportunities and intense study of all the amazing close-up details of each lantern, plus you can then get the Star Ferry home and admire HK’s amazing skyline… its very own modern cityscape of a lantern show.

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Applegreen restaurant review – these are the salad days…

UPDATE: Sadly, this branch of Applegreen is now closed and there are currently no more locations on HK Island. For the updated list of their restaurants in Hong Kong, see the bottom of this post.

After my post on being a calamari glutton at Grappas, I had a lovely email from a reader demanding (very politely, of course) more posts like that. So hello Kai and may I present another of my regular Hong Kong haunts – Applegreen.

Applegreen’s cuisine is inspired by the café culture of California and its strapline ‘The house of salad’ is the main reason it took me so long to get there! My boyfriend is no particular friend of salad (or anything healthy and non fried potato based) and made disgusted faces every time I attempted to broach a visit to a place boasting salad as its signature dish. Instead, I waited it out until a group dinner with friends, which turned out to be great and where I spotted Cajun Fries (served in a trash can, no less) smiling brightly on the menu. Well, the boyfriend loves Cajun Fries almost as much as he hates salad – and consequently, we have found ourselves there nearly every fortnight ever since!

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You’re history! (Like a beat-up car!): Hong Kong Museum Of History review

‘The History Museum perpetuates the myth that Hong Kong has no culture by providing a sterile and clinical retelling of Hong Kong’s rich past.’

History geek boyfriend (shown above) on Hong Kong’s History Museum

This review of Hong Kong’s Museum Of History was a long time coming. You may have seen my review of their special exhibition The Evergreen Classic: Transformation Of The Qipao but I actually managed to check out their main exhibition, The Hong Kong Story, twice in the space of two weeks. Not through scholarly enthusiasm but on a trip with my kindergarten class and again, when my boyfriend and I showed up a month early for aforementioned qipao exhibition – and I’m afraid that I wasn’t too impressed.

The Hong Kong Story contains a lot of what I brand ‘fake history’ – lots of replicas and not many authentic artefacts. It traces Hong Kong from its beginnings as a barely-populated jungle filled with tigers (apparently) through its time as a British colony via displays about traditional Chinese folk culture before reaching modern-day HK. But given it opts for building replicas of trams, boats, fishermen, puppets, a tower of buns, schools, banks and practically everything else you can think of, the true authentic visceral sense of history is forsaken. Most of your information is gleaned from reading the placards beside each replica (or listening to your audio guide!) and looking at blown-up reprinted old photographs, meaning that you’re not really getting that much of a different experience from reading a history textbook, except you’re getting to stretch your legs and battle snap-happy visitors in the process.

In my opinion, the most riveting part of Hong Kong’s history is wartime and the Japanese occupation – parts which are dealt with much more effectively and movingly in the Museum Of Coastal Defence, which at least has some genuine bullet-strewn walls, cannons, caponniers and torpedoes to make for a more well-rounded experience (plus there’s currently the amazing Escape To Wai Chow exhibition – check out the full review here).

Elsewhere, it’s only interesting to those who have absolutely no working knowledge of Hong Kong’s history and given the plastic-ness of most of the exhibits, it doesn’t really reward repeated visits – although obviously I overdid it a bit! It’s certainly not an essential tourist stop nor, speaking from experience, is it much fun for very young visitors.

My photos illustrate the few parts that, not being too bothered by models of Neanderthals making fire in prehistoric HK, I actually did find interesting. And oh dear, déjà vu, it includes some vintage calendar prints of girls wearing qi pao. Moving on…

This is the interior of one of HK’s oldest traditional Chinese medicine shops. A REAL interior, not a fake replica. When it closed its doors for the last time, the LCSD managed to procure its décor and stick it in the history museum. There’s also an audio recording from the shop’s owner (plus English translation!). It’s interesting because it feels real and what with Hong Kong’s record in demolishing sites of historical interest, the sort of thing the government should be doing much more of. You’ll find it in a street filled with less interesting replicas of other early Hong Kong shops.

Social history inevitably has a lot more to offer than a plastic model. The section on Hong Kong’s early schooling system has glass cases filled with old exercise books and report cards. and, if you can decipher the spidery handwriting, being basically quite nosy is always absorbing!

I know it might sound like my bugbear, having gone on about it at other tourist destinations (like the Museum Of Coastal Defence and the Botanical Gardens), but the eating facilities here would be the laughing stock of any Western cultural hotspot. The Museum Of History’s school cafeteria may be cheap, clean and offer an abundance of chicken wings, but it could be so much more. Flogging a mix of instant noodles and junk food (not in one dish… although I wouldn’t put it past them), it mostly serves as a last resort or for people looking for somewhere quiet where they can crab free Wifi for as long as possible. It did, however, have beautiful lamps made to look like birdcages.

Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by having “real history” in practically every back garden in the UK, but I found the Hong Kong Museum Of History’s Hong Kong Story exhibition rather uninspiring. I’d rather pick up a history book from Page One and hop across the way to the Science Museum, which is a LOT more fun. And hopefully you’ll believe me when I say that I’ll review that museum very soon – i.e. sometime before 2012, fingers crossed!

The Hong Kong Story, Hong Kong Museum of History, 100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, 2724 9042.

Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday- Saturday, 10am-6pm, Sunday and Public Holiday 10am-7pm, closed Tuesdays. Admission $10 (free on Wednesdays). For further details, visit their website here.

BLT Burger restaurant review – nice buns!

For more refined diners out there, the term BLT no doubt obviously stands for Bistro Laurent Tourondel, the chain of restaurants started by its eponymous celebrity chef. For any Brits out there, it’s a plain old bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Which, I suppose, isn’t so far from the main offerings at BLT Burger.

Think of BLT Burger as the diffusion line to the more-high end BLT Steak. Offering a menu of burgers and little else, it allows you to get the BLT experience for a fraction of the price. But if you don’t like burgers, you’re screwed.

Both BLT Steak and BLT Burger reside in Tsim Sha Tsui’s luxury mall, Harbour City. But whilst BLT Steak has a prime spot with a gorgeous harbour view to justify those prime prices, BLT Burger is tucked away in the thick of the mall itself. It’s not the biggest shop space and tables are crammed in like jostling mainlanders to the Louis Vuitton shop nearby, but it does have a pleasant cosy feel. Décor is a half-hearted attempt at a 50s diner but the most attractive parts of the room are the platters of lip-smacking cupcakes slap-bang in the middle of the joint. Kudos to whoever decided to use up precious floor space with this display – I imagine they get double the amount of dessert orders because of it.

But onto the food. May I reiterate that if you don’t like burgers, you’re screwed. Although if you’re dumb enough to come into a restaurant with burger in the title, perhaps you deserve to leave hungry! All burgers are made of 100% certified Black Angus beef from a combination of the sirloin, short rib, chuck and brisket. In eating terms, this translates as ‘no bits’. It’s all the good stuff, with none of those appetite-deserting moments where you crunch onto a globule of hard unidentifiable nastiness, still a little bit melt-in-the-mouth crumbly.

When dealing with burgers this big, I have a tip – remove the top bun. Bread is the stuff that fills you up and what’s that top layer doing for you anyway?! All the juicy action is going on in the bottom bun, which has lovingly soaked it all up for you. Then proceed with knife and fork. Why waste vital juices dripping away whilst you’re attempting a Krypton Factor-esque conundrum of squeezing something that big into something that’s so clearly not big enough?!

BLT Burger Roaring Forties 2

I opted for the Roaring Forties Blue burger ($98), because I was rather struck with a mental image of me chowing down whilst wearing a fetching flapper dress and string of pearls in a prohibition-era bar. Alas, that’s the Roaring Twenties and Roaring Forties refers to the type of blue cheese used, which was absolutely delicious. It’s creamily rich, with that heady strong blue cheese bite that was a little bit galling towards the end, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. But the star of the dish was the gloopy gluey goo of balsamic caramelised onions and mushrooms. Soft, tangy, sweet, sharp and sour, this stuff couldn’t have been more addictive had it been laden with MSG.

Since I find it an unfathomable concept that bacon is available and I’m not having it, I added it as an extra topping for $10. Crispy, salty, smoky, these were generously-sized rashers that probably didn’t really compliment the flavours of my burger but IT’S BACON. The only way it could be more irresistible is if Robert Pattinson came bearing it.

All burgers also come with coleslaw (too vinegary and sour) and a pickle that’s inexplicably not inside the bun. I saw most of these lying abandoned, confused and unloved, on people’s cleared plates.

They also do three combo deals, but with less exciting varieties of burger. My boyfriend had the BLT – where it really does stand for bacon, lettuce and tomato this time – which comes with fries and a soft drink for $148. We went for the fat fries; alas, not the steak-cut beauties found in 798 or The Pawn but plain old potato wedges. They came in the trademark BLT paper-lined tin and it was a good-sized portion, tasty but unexceptional.

You can add $25 to upgrade to a milkshake, which is actually a better deal (saving $31, rather than a measly $18). These milkshakes are meals in themselves! We got the Rocky Road, with more chocolate going on than in Willy Wonka’s wildest dreams! It was a creamy, thick, indulgent mix of ice-cream, brownies and blitzed almonds, with no other option than to slurp! Even between the two of us, we could barely get half-way.

I so badly wanted a dessert. Those cupcakes had been calling my name ever since I walked in the premises. There was also a Valrhona Chocolate Praline Cake whispering lovingly to me from the menu. But there was just no room at the inn. My boyfriend had to roll me onto the Star Ferry home.

For premium burgers, I don’t think you can go far wrong with BLT Burger. And if you plan on only ordering a Caesar Salad… just go away.

P.S. No natural place to fit this in, but some waitresses were wearing tops that said ‘If you are what you eat, then I’m quick and easy’. In Hooters perhaps but c’mon BLT, I thought this was a classy joint?!

All BLT Burger locations in Hong Kong:

– Shop 301, 3/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, 2730 2338
– B224A, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong (note: this branch is much less cramped!), 2506 1500