Tag Archives: TST

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

www.diningconcepts.com/blt_burger/

 

Mid-Autumn Festival Hong Kong 2010, The Rhapsody of Hong Kong Memories: Lights, camera, lanterns!

The lanterns didn’t stop there. Over in Tsim Sha Tsui, there was an absolutely amazing lantern display entitled The Rhapsody of Hong Kong Memories. These cute and quirky lanterns, depicting nostalgic scenes from 1960s Hong Kong, were designed by Leo Tang and I thought they were just lovely. Perfectly capturing the spirit of Hong Kong with a fond heart and light touch, it’s the sort of ephemera that’s unlikely to go down in the history books but provokes all sorts of loving rose-tinted memories. Now I’ll let the photos do the talking; as ever, click for enlargements.

Hustle and Bustle

These show scenes from 1960s city life, including many traditional businesses that have since died out, like shoe-shiners, calligraphers and rickshaw drivers.

A policeman in his pagoda directing traffic in the days before traffic lights. (Vintage photos from HK Police Force website and HK Man’s Flickr).

A tai-tai at the tailor’s – check out that retro hair-do!

I loved the attention to detail. Here the little boy at the barber is reading a comic-book to keep him entertained – and you can actually look inside the box and see what comics are on offer (hello Astro Boy!).

This little fellow is Lap Sap Chung, a monster created in a campaign to stop HKer’s from littering. He’s being chased by Miss Super Clean, remembered by lots of pre-pubescent teenage boys for her mini-skirts and go-go boots! Mischievous Lap Sap Chung proved so popular that he soon found himself being recreated as merchandise and inflatable toys! His memory was so enduring – a survey found that over 90% of respondents had heard of Lap Sap Chung! – that he was revived for a recent Keep Hong Kong Clean campaign. He even has a Facebook Group in his honour! (Posters from Chan.police’s Flickr and Gwulo.com)

Also note the red, white and blue striped lanterns in the background. These are based on the infamous plastic ‘amah bags’ that you see at wet markets or lugged around by Filipinos, burst to breaking point. I even saw one woman trying to post a full one! (Photo from Red, White, Blue, Here, There, Everywhere Flickr)

Delicious Memories

What would HK be without its food?! Here’s someone enjoying a meal at a dai pai dong (food stall in the street) – love how you can see the pak choi in the owner’s wok!

A spinning cup of milk tea (ngai cha), so beloved of HKers, being serenaded by a teddy boy.

A street hawker, carrying wicker baskets full of vegetables suspended on a bamboo pole on his shoulder. I love how the lady buying from him even has a shopping list in her hand!

An ‘airplane olives’ (fei gei larm) hawker with his distinctive brown paper bag. If you saw him in the streets, you would call down and he would throw the olives up to you several stories high! You would then drop down your money – only paying for what you caught, mind!

Not sure what this guy’s offering us. Hotpot? Congee? An ashtray? (OK, the last one seems unlikely). Answers on a postcard please.

Starfruit-shaped lantern!

Home Sweet Home

This one confused me – was there some strange game in the 1960s where kids had to run to and from a tap?! My auntie had a look and thinks it refers to the days when children would have to go to the village tap to collect buckets of water for the whole family back home. (Those slippers are so Hong Kong as well!)

In the old days, apartments were very small and people slept in simple metal or wood bunk beds to save as much space as possible. Here, the little girl is making plastic flowers by hand, a part-time job many people had in the 1960s to generate a little extra income.

The mum, carrying her baby in the typical Chinese papoose-sling on her back, seems to have rollers in her hair. No GHDs in those days!

The little girl is holding a traditional rabbit lantern for Mid-Autumn Festival; these stem from the rabbit’s presence in the myth behind the Moon Festival and are still sold nowadays.

Traditional paper lanterns for Mid-Autumn Festival – none of that inflatable singing and dancing tat in those days!

Do I need to tell you this is a retro thermos flask?!

Play & Playground

You might notice that some of these happy children are running about in what appear to be the old-school colourful wooden building blocks that children from yesteryear used to play with.

The circle-shaped counters with different coloured airplanes on, seen floating in the background or decorating the giant lanterns, are from a popular Chinese board game, Flying Chess (飛行棋). I say board game, it’s actually played on a fold-up piece of paper and works similarly to Ludo or Frustration. I only noticed this when I was looking back on my photos afterwards and it’s the little touches like this that Tang totally nails; I actually remember playing this when I was little and seeing that detail really made me smile, which is exactly the sort of response I think he hoped for. (飛行棋 photo from DChome forum – I swear I have the exact same game at home!)

The centrepiece to the whole display was a giant rabbit lantern, stuffed with old-school lamps, shop signs and birdcages. The amount of work that must have gone into it! Almost seems a shame that it will all have to be taken down : (

Cute, charming and quintessentially Hong Kong. What’s not to love?

The Rhapsody of Hong Kong Memories, Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza (near Star Ferry), Tsim Sha Tsui. 10 September until 17 October 2010, 6.30-11.30pm.