Arty folk head for hip watering hole

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 June, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 June, 1998, 12:00am

HONG KONG'S poets, artists and film types have found a new place to hang out - Steps on Aberdeen Street, between Staunton Street and Caine Road.

The tiny wine bar, which opens up this part of town for the first time, focuses heavily on red wines, avant-garde decor and arty conversation to the sounds of international jazz greats.

Best of the bottles are the French Corbieres and the Portuguese Espiga from Estremadura.

Steps is owned by Lau Kin-wai, local art curator and critic, columnist and general gourmand about town. Tel: 2858-6555.

Lunch on the run Lunch on the run rarely comes this easy, compact or cheap.

A new ready-to-eat snack pack by the American Bumble Bee brand comes complete with a 78g tin of tuna salad, six crackers and a tiny plastic spoon.

The tin has a ring-pull for easy access, and the 280-calorie experience costs less than $20. The tuna salad includes carrots, celery, water chestnuts, onion and mayonnaise. It will not win any culinary awards, but for convenience, the idea is unbeatable.

The packs are available from EAT in Pacific Place.

Food-free meals A new restaurant concept that revolves around the no-food meal has the trend-setting crowd in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv lining up. Called Cafe Klum (which translates from Hebrew into English as Cafe Nothing), the 'restaurant' staff take orders as usual from regular menus.

When the orders arrive, there is nothing on the plates and the glasses are empty. For this, fans pay around US$2.50 (HK$19) entrance fee, and they are free to hang around and pose for as long as they want.

Incredulous visitors say the pencil-thin, ultra-trendy types that crowd the place obviously place no value on eating or drinking. However, the cost savings to would-be diners are indisputable.

Ulcer guard Scientists have turned up another virtue of alcohol - as a guard against stomach ulcers. New research in Britain shows that a little more than a litre of beer or three quarters of a bottle of wine a day protects drinkers from the bacteria that cause peptic ulcers.

However, coffee did not fair well in the ulcer studies. The research reports show that three or more cups of coffee a day makes coffee drinkers 2.5 times more likely to be infected by the bacteria that cause peptic ulcers than those who drink no coffee.

Coffee also gets a bad rap in the latest research in the United States. Four or five cups a day raises blood pressure enough to increase the risk of heart disease, according to research from Duke University in North Carolina.