5/F, Grand Progress Building
15-16 Lan Kwai Fong
Harlan Goldstein goes playfully lowbrow with Strip House in Lan Kwai Fong. The bordello-esque dining area has 1950s pin-up girls on red and black walls. For appetisers, crispy Camembert cheese (HK$108) was sufficiently gooey inside, accompanied by fig jam and greens. The crab cake (HK$208) was meaty and delicious, with mango salsa and a sherry mustard dip. Another good combination was house-cured bacon (HK$138), thick grilled slices with green apples julienne. The 12oz New York steak (HK$428) was a solid, juicy piece of meat, while the 10oz wagyu hanger steak (HK$380) was not too fatty and very tender. Diners can choose from six sauces. Sizzling brownie (HK$98), baked Alaska (HK$108) and Reese's peanut butter cup cheesecake (HK$98) were delightfully sinful desserts. Bernice Chan
5/F, The Harbourfront
11 Wan Hoi Street
Located by the waterfront in Hung Hom, Italian restaurant Messina is well worth seeking out. Appetisers are rolled out on a trolley and filled with tempting dishes at HK$60 each. There's prosciutto San Daniele with fig compote, sardines in 'beccafico' candied cedro or citron, Sicilian red prawns with garlic and parsley, and white asparagus. The first course of linguine in trapanese pesto sauce with seared tuna cubes, sea urchin and bottarga (HK$300) was delicious, with a hint of anchovies. Next was the signature dish of crispy suckling pig (HK$430). While the crispy skin was wonderful, the meat itself was underwhelming. We liked the accompanying braised lentils. For dessert (HK$50), a must-try is the pistachio cannoli, and panna cotta, roasted figs and home-made ice cream. Bernice Chan
Tai O Lookout
2/F, Tai O Heritage Hotel
Shek Tsai Po Street
Tai O, Lantau
A journey via water taxi from Tai O village gets you to the newly-opened Tai O Heritage Hotel, which houses Tai O Lookout. The menu is simple and inexpensive, comprising Chinese and Western homemade comfort food. There are three starters - a salad and two soups - all made with fresh ingredients. For mains we tried crispy bun with fried pork chop marinated with shrimp paste (HK$60) and Tai O Lookout fried rice with shrimps, chicken, conpoy and shrimp paste (HK$70). The dishes were tasty. The fish and chips with tartar sauce (HK$60) and spaghetti bolognaise (HK$68) were better than most, as were the wonton noodles with vegetables (HK$50) with fresh fish soup. We washed this down with a glass of sauvignon blanc (HK$68). For dessert, home-made chocolate cake and apple crumble (both HK$45) was the perfect ending. Tracey Furniss
101/F, International Commerce Centre
1 Austin Road West
RyuGin has stunning views of Tsing Yi Bridge and beyond from the 101st floor of the ICC in Kowloon. But the panoramas cannot compete with the 10-course kaiseki (HK$1,980 per person) that challenges taste buds with new flavours and textures.
The menu changes eight times a year to use the freshest ingredients, while the presentation is artistic.
We were impressed with the charcoal-grilled Alfonsino fish, topped with roasted rice, a heavenly, crunchy and smooth combination. Another highlight was the sukiyaki kuroge wagyu beef sirloin and an onsen egg we were instructed to break open and mix, with morel mushrooms and white asparagus.
Other dishes included sea urchin wrapped in seaweed triangles and deep-fried tempura-style, combined with a spring potato soup, and Japanese spring vegetables such as fiddleheads, spinach and mushrooms with slices of abalone and Hotaru squid. A refreshing break halfway through the meal was the clear broth with a shrimp-egg dumpling.
The dramatic finish was the restaurant's signature 'minus 196-degree' candy strawberry made from a sugar crust and then the 'fruit' was filled with ice cream powder. We cracked the strawberry open and the '99-degree' strawberry jam was served on top. Bernice Chan
2/F, Cosmo Hotel
375 Queen's Road East
Chiu Tang offers authentic Chiu Chow cuisine in the Cosmo Hotel. We liked the marinated meat combination (HK$148) as a cold starter, the sauce flavourful and not too heavy with slices of pork, pig ears, intestines and tofu. The marinated goose liver (HK$268) from Chaozhou was not too rich, and the deep-fried bean curd (HK$68) was crispy on the outside, smooth inside.
Deep-fried homemade mashed shrimp balls and crab-meat balls (HK$128) featured the minced seafood with water chestnuts for a delicate crunch, and we also enjoyed the pan-fried baby oyster cake with duck's egg and sweet potato powder (HK$108) pan-fried on one side with plump oysters, while the pan-fried melon cake was perked up by spicy and salty sauces.
The pan-fried E-fu noodles with sugar and vinegar (HK$108) were crunchy and soft, sweet and sour, while the sugar-coated taro (HK$128) were skilfully wok fried. Bernice Chan