Encounters Spring 2013
From the blue waters of the Maldives to the natural bounties of Mozambique, SCMP's regional travel magazine, Encounters, takes readers on rich journeys that are up-close and personal.
Things we like - food
Hearty Irish fare
Some of the best food in Dublin is found at the iconic Guinness Storehouse at St James' Gate. With numerous eateries and traditional Irish pubs within this historic brewery, visitors can start off pouring their own pints with the master brewer at the Guinness Academy on the fourth floor, before heading to the fifth floor's Brewers' Dining Hall for hearty Irish fare - it has the best beef and Guinness stew with mash in town. The eatery serves wholesome Irish dishes with a selection made with the famed brew including the bread and desserts. www.guinness-storehouse.com
Sampling West Coast cuisine
Vancouver is a foodie destination with a plethora of fantastic restaurants serving authentic French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines. West Coast cuisine is about sourcing local produce and using a variety of cooking styles to integrate the flavours. One popular restaurant is Hawksworth in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. After years of working at another Vancouver institution called West, David Hawksworth opened his own place, serving culinary gems artfully plated in a stylish setting. There are appetisers such as hamachi crudo and the delicate parsnip veloute with lobster and watercress to tempt the taste buds, followed by Pacific Sablefish with Chinese sausage, and Haida Gwaii salmon with lobster truffle cream. The seasonal tasting menu offers the best of Hawksworth. www.hawksworthrestaurant.com
In the lap of luxury
Nestled on picturesque Three Fathoms Cove in Sai Kung, French fine-dining one-thirtyone is reminiscent of a European luxury retreat. The restaurant's manicured lawns stretch out to the sea, where there's a private yacht mooring and small helipad space. If you want to visit via conventional methods, it's a 30-minute drive from Central. One-thirtyone is perfect for a leisurely lunch or romantic dinner, drinking Champagne under the stars and enjoying a six-course menu by chef Caith Chow, who has worked under Pierre Gagnaire and Thomas Keller. It features in the World's 50 Best Restaurants with dishes such as mussel bouchot with gazpacho and truffle oil, foie gras with lettuce root, figs and 25 year-old balsamic vinegar, and Ayers Rock black Angus presented to look like the landmark. The menu changes every few months. www.one-thirtyone.com
Delicious seafood spread
The remote, delightful seaside Chocolate Fish Café, with its deliciously simple fare, cheerful service and great views across Shelly Bay to New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, has long been a favourite of people prepared to make the trip to the suburb of Miramar.
Its profile has risen in recent years after becoming the regular haunt of filmmakers – reportedly even Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson – from nearby Weta Studios, which made The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Open daily until 5pm, the café’s kaimoana – Maori for “seafood” – menu specialises in dozens of freshly barbecued “sammies” or sandwiches, plus a good range of daily specials, and cakes, coffees and teas.
Outdoor customers can enjoy free use of straw hats and sunblock as they sit on quirky, cartoon-themed, hand-painted chairs and admire the scenery, while keeping an eye out just in case Bilbo Baggins turns up. www.chocolatefishcafe.co.nz