Sunday, January 31, 2010

Classified: Ooey Gooey, Oh-so-Lovely

Imagine a vat of cheese. Baked in the oven until the outsides become a wonderful, smoky crust while the innards transform into a mass of warm, ooey, gooey, melty deliciousness. No, you don’t have to imagine it, actually. It’s real.

It’s the Mont’dOr cheese.

We were invited to Classified the Cheese Room to try this winter-weather cheesy special and, oh my, it is luuuuuurvely. The cheese “fondue" was served with cubes of crusty bread, apples (so you can trick yourself into thinking you’re being healthy) and – my personal favorite – sweet potato for happy dunking. And happy dunk we did.

FOOD: 3.75/5

108 Hollywood Road
Sheung Wan

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thai BBQ 2: When Food is Just Right...

Sometimes, you come across something that just makes so much sense in life – something so beautiful, so right – you just start to wonder why you or anyone else has never thought of it before. Such was the case about two months ago.

Not content with our first dinner of a mediocre claypot rice (it was alright but nothing fantastic or blogworthy), we taxi-ed our way out to the food mecca of Kowloon City in search of a spot for “second dinner.” A quick stroll around the block led us to Thai BBQ 2 – a dingy little eatery… the type that has a see-through vinyl door curtain and cheesy Thai soap operas playing in the background. Perfect.

(SO much meat...)

We plunked ourselves down and ordered the very-necessary bottles of beer. And wanting to try something really special, we requested for the Thai style hotpot-grill ($2xx) the restaurant had displayed out front. To elaborate, this genius creation consists of a charcoal-heated barbecue grill, which is raised over a “moat” of hotpot broth. The idea is to cook thin slices of meat on the sloped grill and let the meat juices trickle down into the broth. Sigh… awesome? Quite.

The dainty-cute restaurant lady brought out our platter of meats, which – in all honesty – was probably designed to feed four hungry individuals, as opposed to two already-had-“first-dinner” people. There was a huge portion of beef, pork and chicken – all marinated in a rich-red sauce – along with various pork and cow entrails and beef and fish balls. And let me draw special attention to the grill for a bit, which was brought out, topped with a hunk of beef lard to lubricate the grill and to give the meats an extra aromatic edge when cooking. I was totally in food excitement mode.

(Watch as the meat juices trickle down)

(What love looks like)

We dived right into the meats platter, “ooh-ing” over the tender pork and “aah-ing” over the flavor-soaked beef. So perfect with the beer. And it was a whole new level of amazingness, cooking the basket of greens, enoki mushrooms and vermicelli in the meat-flavor enriched hotpot broth. The vermicelli, in particular, was just beautiful in every way – like little glassy strands that soaked up every ounce of flavor from the soup. All the way through the meal, we kept repeating “hell, I’m so full,” and “crap, I think I’m done.” But the whole thing was so delish, we just kept on eating and eating. We definitely ate more than any decent person should eat, polishing almost the whole meats platter. When the lady came by the clear our plates, she couldn’t help but comment on how impressed she was with how much we managed to finish. Yea, we’re kinda disgusting… but also kinda awesome…

(Proof that we are pigs)

The hotpot-grill plus several beers came in at less than $300 for the two of us. An awesome deal, considering how much food we had. It just all goes to show that when it comes to food, it’s never about the fanciness or the extravagance. Whether you’re eating a slab of foie gras, or something super complicated like uni with cucumber and apple gelee and burnt flour foam… if a simple platter of meats and a few cold beers can make you just as happy and satisfied, then that’s the most important thing. That’s what eating should be about. And thank God for that.

(Dessert after second dinner)

And because we’re absolute pigs, after that big fatty second dinner, what do we do? Head a few streets down to Tei Mou Koon to grab dessert of course! Hong Kong styled double boiled milk ($14) and a small dish of gooey-chewy glutinous rice balls with sugar and chopped peanuts ($10) for a very satisfying food end to a very satisfying food day.

FOOD: 4/5

THAI BBQ 2 ($$)
17 Nam Kok Road
Kowloon City

FOOD: 3.5/5

47 Fuk Lo Tsun Road
Kowloon City

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Caprice: A Cheesy Tuesday

I had the great fortune of meeting Monsieur Jean-Francois Antony when he dropped by town a little while ago for Caprice’s week-of-cheese extravaganza. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Monsieur Jean-Francois, he is the son of legendary French affineur (i.e. “cheesemaker”), Bernard Antony. Monsieur Bernard Antony is an absolute artist in the cheese world, winning over the trust of big names in the food industry, including Alain Ducasse and Pierre Gagnaire. In other words, these are guys who will feed you some good cheese.

(Clockwise, left to right: awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome)

Given the renown of the Antonys, it is not at all surprising that they are very careful with selecting who they supply their cheeses to. And our city’s very own recently-crowned three-Michelin star Caprice restaurant is among one of the exclusive places where you can sample the Antonys’ cheeses. So imagine how excited I was when I was penciled in for a full-out fromage lunch! My heart melted into a puddle of pure happiness already as I walked into the restaurant and saw the wide selection of cheeses on full display by the entrance. So stunning.

Msr. Antony appeared, very charmingly introduced himself and his family’s business and, brought us our first cheese plate with four different cheeses. Sad to say I couldn’t catch the names of the cheeses as I was too busy being enamored by all the delicious flavors. Sooo heartstoppingly amazing.

And after stuffing our faces with all that cheese, Chef Vincent Thierry very thoughtfully whipped up a “palate cleanser” for us, which turned out to be a huge slab of milky soft halibut topped with a crunchy, zesty breadcrumb topping with a very interesting yellow pepper sauce. I was all over the fish and finished it like nobody’s business. I probably shouldn’t have though, to be honest, because we had a second round of cheese to go. Again, another amazing selection of four different cheeses. Plus more wine. Plus more chit chat.

Is it any wonder I love Caprice?*


(Top right: paired with quince jam = amazing)

*Congratulations on the third Michelin star!

FOOD: 4.75/5
SERVICE: 4.75/5

CAPRICE ($$$$$)
Podium 6, Four Seasons Hotel
8 Finance Street