Bernice Chan, Nora Tong, Tracey Furniss
While chef director Chris Woodyard doesn't want Madam Sixty Ate classified as a fine dining restaurant, it does present gourmet dishes at a price.
We started with baby vegetables spiced in their own juices that decorated the edge of the wide-rimmed bowl with Manchego cream (HK$110). We also enjoyed the home-made pate (HK$100). It was chunky, full of flavour, but lacked a smooth finish.
Next came two deconstructed soups. The minestrone (HK$90) featured an open onion lasagne that was more like a dumpling with baby vegetables and tomatoes in a clear broth. The other was a white-coloured gazpacho (HK$75) with diced scallop tartare with Spanish almond and peas. For mains the poached halibut (HK$300) was cooked perfectly and we also liked the fesenjan pigeon breast (above, HK$320).
Desserts such as honey parfait dusted in salted caramel honeycomb popcorn and chocolate mousse (HK$85) or the star anise and tequila jelly mango cr?me br?l?e (HK$80) will tempt. BC
Madam Sixty Ate
1/F, J Senses
60 Johnston Road
Armani/Aqua aims to be a lifestyle destination, with the restaurant on the second floor and another entrance that leads to the club and terrace.
The restaurant has two kitchens offering Italian and Japanese cuisines. Service can be slow. Sushi and sashimi were beautifully presented though the abalone sashimi was not outstanding. An appetiser of panfried scampi tails with cantaloupe melon (above)was bland. The tortelli stuffed with smoked ricotta cheese and herbs did not have a smoked flavour, but were quite filling.
Sea bass cooked 'cartoccio style' meant the fish, vegetables and tomato were served in a clear plastic bag, then snipped open. The fish was slightly overcooked, but had a full flavour. Grilled beef tenderloin with goose liver and spicy Sansho pepper soy was tender and juicy with a slight kick.
The chocolate dessert platter featured four types of chocolate presented at various temperatures, though the taste was not outstanding. BC
2/F, Chater House
8 Connaught Road Central
This addition to the vibrant culinary scene in Tsim Sha Tsui offers creatively crafted and presented dishes. These include the duo of beef, pan-roasted rib eye and slow-roasted short rib (above) served in sculptures of 'bone marrow', made of potatoes, in a cylindrical shape. The mixed vegetables added a colourful touch.
The seared tuna appetiser was of good quality. As for the main courses, while the grilled beef cap was fine, the rib eye in the duo of beef was too tough. The desserts were the best part. The raspberry ice cream was fruity and fresh, and the macadamia nut and peach tart was delicious. It was interesting to watch the making of ice cream tableside, as a member of staff poured the ice cream base, liquid nitrogen and fresh raspberries into a bowl, mixing them in a cloud of fog.
Offering a view of Victoria Harbour and a romantic dinner setting, the restaurant is perfect for dates or wedding anniversary celebrations. About half an hour before it was transformed into a hip bar at 11pm, the disc jockey was hit by a wave of nostalgia and started playing music from the '80s and '90s. We were glad when chef Mike Boyle reassured us this wasn't the musical style the restaurant would normally go for. NT
AVA Restaurant Slash Bar
38/F, Hotel Panorama by Rhombus
8A Hart Avenue
Tsim Sha tsui
The growing number of restaurants in Sheung Wan has established the district as a dining destination. One of the latest is Doppio Zero, named after the finely ground flour used to make bread and pasta.
The restaurant has a cosy atmosphere with an intriguing d?cor of long, skinny vertical Chinese paintings on the walls.
For starters the truffled fried oysters were lightly deep-fried and delicious, combined with creamed spinach and black truffle aioli (HK$80). The crostata (HK$105) was a loaf topped with melted cheese. When we sliced the bread an egg yolk oozed out. We garnished each bite with salmon caviar.
There are dry and fresh pastas and we tried the latter in the form of ravioli stuffed with red wine braised beetroot, gorgonzola and Italian butter and poppy seeds (above, HK$120). We found the milk braised suckling pig (HK$310) quite bland, the texture too soft. It came with roasted mushrooms, black truffle and toasted hazelnuts.
The coconut pana cotta (HK$80) was refreshing and came with a kefir lime chocolate chilli wafer. BC
G/F, The Pemberton
22 Bonham Strand
For many dim sum is a classic meal that shouldn't be messed with, but others preferring something different may want to try Dim Sum Bar in Harbour City.
The menu is illustrated with pictures for easy identification and each dish is numbered for easy ordering. The restaurant tries its hand in creating new dim sum dishes with king's dumplings (prawn, crab meat and scallop) in lobster bisque (HK$58), a rich tasting but thin soup, and deep-fried dumplings filled with foie gras, shrimp and water chestnuts (HK$28) though there wasn't much goose liver in it. Another innovation is steamed cheong fun rolled with crispy rice nest and seafood, here with shrimp and zucchini, and it was more a play on soft and crunchy than taste; the same could be said for the crispy shrimp paste on turnip cake (HK$26).
There are some old standbys to fall back on, such as fluffy steamed barbecue pork buns (HK$15) and baked barbecue pork buns (HK$18) or congee with preserved egg and pork (HK$38). The desserts are the best part with the almond cream with bird's nest in papaya (HK$82) or sweet glutinous rice balls in ginger tea (HK$25). Strangely there is no selection of teas, but many beers and a Japanese beer on tap. BC
Dim Sum Bar
Shop G103, G/F, Gateway Arcade
Tsim Sha Tsui
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Chickens are yardbirds, hence the name of one of Sheung Wan's latest eateries that features the bird yakitori style. The two-storey restaurant offers 14 different chicken parts from the breast and wing to heart, tail and neck grilled on skewers (above).
Yardbird doesn't take reservations, hence its motto encouraging customers to come early and often. While you wait imbibe one of their alcoholic drinks from Japanese beers, sakes, shochu and cocktails.
The Japanese influence extends to the menu too, with pickled vegetables (HK$30), sweet corn tempura balls (HK$85) and fruit tomato salad (HK$110) using mizuna leaves and thinly sliced tomatoes dressed with black vinegar and black garlic.
Next come yakitori and the bamboo skewers come fast - the popular meatball (HK$42) with tare sauce and egg yolk; breast (HK$38) with a hint of fresh wasabi root and soy sauce; and oysters (HK$42). If the tail (HK$38) is grilled a bit longer, it's simultaneously crunchy and chewy. The knee (HK$38) and gizzard (HK$38) are for the curious. BC
33-35 Bridges Street
The trendy hot spot Greyhound Cafe is packed with many hungry diners lingering outside waiting for the next table. The cafe follows the same whimsical style as the original in Bangkok and the menu is a mix of Thai and Italian that for the most part works well. One fusion starter is salmon carpaccio dressed with dill and garlic and dipped in a spicy green hot sauce (HK$108).
While the fresh lasagna salad (HK$118) is colourful, with layers of pasta and roasted vegetables, it's hard to eat daintily. Get hands on with the complicated noodles (HK$108) where minced pork, spicy green sauce and a layer or two of thick noodles are wrapped in lettuce.
We also liked the spaghetti with Thai anchovy (above, HK$108) that had a kick from the dried anchovies, but the Thai-style seafood spaghetti (HK$128) was too hot. So we drank iced tea flavoured with lime (HK$38) and had water chestnut covered with jelly and coconut slices in coconut ice (HK$68) and sticky rice, mango and coconut sorbet (HK$78). BC
Shop 1082, Podium Level 1
8 Finance Street
More casual eateries are popping up in Sheung Wan and another edition for the cafe set is agnes b, next to its competitors, Classified and Press Room. Press what looks like the doorbell buzzer to open the sliding glass door and there is basic seating in this simply-decorated place with French music in the background.
The menu has something for everyone. The full breakfast tartine (above, HK$88) comes with grilled cherry tomatoes, grilled Portobello mushrooms and scrambled organic eggs on top of a piece of toasted bread and topped with wafer-thin pieces of bacon.
The bacon and fromage crepe (HK$78) has cooked onions in it, also delicious and filling. We particularly enjoyed the Croque Madame, a ham sandwich with melted cheese and a fried egg on top. We finished with an almond triangle (HK$25), an odd-shaped croissant with almond paste. We also had a regular coffee (HK$28) and a bottled juice of guava and red grape (HK$38). BC
AGNES B CAFE LPG
G/F, 118 HOLLYWOOD ROAD
BRIDGING THE GAP
Opened in June, Bistro 33 has bridged the gap in Sai Kung of providing quality Western fare at a reasonable price. The d?cor is light and trendy with aluminium flooring, high teak tables and chairs, an open glass counter stretching almost the length of the restaurant and a patio for alfresco dining at the back. Upstairs is cosy with Indonesian teak dining tables and chairs and the walls are lined with shelves filled with traditional Italian ingredients in the recipes served at the bistro.
Signature dishes include Portuguese pork chop bun (HK$58), with marinated pork chop and caramelised onions, served with green salad and potato chips; wild mushroom and chicken risotto (above, HK$68) and chicken fajita panini (HK$49) with roasted capsicum, salad, cheese and pesto mayo sauce. Pizzas are also a favourite as is the carbonara fettuccine.
There is a chalkboard in the window advertising daily specials, which usually include assorted German sausages with gravy, creamy garlic prawn pasta and more. The bistro prides itself on the fresh ingredients.
Desserts include Italian gelato with flavours such as pistachio, green tea, chocolate, strawberry and more. Cakes and pastries are also available.
Drinks include Italian coffees, smoothies, soft drinks, beer and wine. Once you have ordered at the counter, a waiter will serve you at your table.
A meal for two with wine is about HK$300. TF
G/F, 17 Man Nin Street