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Fare deal

From Japanese to Nordic, there's an endless supply of cuisines to explore in settings from formal to casual

 

INTRIGUING MIX

 

HARAKAN-S
SHOP 311, LEVEL 3, LEE GARDENS TWO
YUN PING ROAD
CAUSEWAY BAY 2882 8616
WWW.HARAKAN-S.COM

 

FARE Contemporary Japanese. AMBIENCE Understated décor, comfortable seating with a small sushi bar. COST HK$1,586, including a bottle of sake. WHO TO BRING Friends for a casual bite. TURN-ONS The sashimi assortment platter featured salmon, tuna, yellowtail and sea urchin, thick cuts garnished with radish and seaweed. We liked the stir-fried Okinawa bitter gourd with natto, or fermented soybean and egg with the play on textures and flavours. An intriguing mix was the chilled home-made Inaniwa udon with sea urchin and scented with black truffle that seemed more Italian. The grilled whole Hokkaido sweet corn was a quality ingredient, but a tad overcooked. TURN-OFFS Foie gras sushi overpowered the wagyu beef and sweet shrimp roll, while the grilled Hiroshima oysters lacked flavour. Matcha green tea has too delicate a taste to be made into a soufflé. We had to ask the staff to slow down the dishes coming out of the kitchen. DRINKS Extensive selection of sake, including Junmai Daiginjo, Daiginjo and Junmai Ginjo, shochu and Japanese beers. BERNICE CHAN

 

 


IDEAL FOR CASUAL MEAL

 

FEAST (FOOD BY EAST)
1/F, EAST
29 TAIKOO SHING ROAD
TAIKOO
3968 3777
WWW.EAST-HONGKONG.COM

 

FARE East-meets-West cuisine. AMBIENCE Subdued lighting and contemporary design make Feast ideal for informal dining. COST HK$385 gets you appetiser and dessert buffets plus one main course for dinner. WHO TO BRING Casual dining for work colleagues, or couples wanting a break from the children. TURN-ONS A wide selection of appetisers and desserts guarantees you won't go hungry if the main course disappoints. From the oysters, salmon terrine and Hainan chicken, to cheese, tiramisu and summer pudding, there was much choice. The mini ice cream cone was a nice touch, too. For mains, we tried the John Dory fish and the Canadian rib-eye steak, both were excellent. The service is attentive without being intrusive. TURN-OFFS Cramped seating made us feel as if we were sharing our table with diners on either side. DRINKS Range of Old and New World wine choices. JOHN CARNEY

 

 


NORDIC NOVELTIES

 

FINDS RESTAURANT
1/F, THE LUXE MANOR
39 KIMBERLEY ROAD
TSIM SHA TSUI
2522 9318
WWW.FINDS.COM.HK

 

FARE Contemporary Nordic. AMBIENCE Cool with mix of vibrant and muted colours. COST HK$1,500 for four-course meal for two with wine. WHO TO BRING Fans of seafood with a Scandinavian touch, cocktail lovers. TURN-ONS Nordic cuisine is known for its smoking, curing and pickling techniques and the entrée of salmon six ways is a visual treat that exemplifies these skills. The poached and pickled white asparagus was sweet and tart with a lovely crunch. Head chef Jaakko Sorsa's namesake salad is an understated affair with air-dried ham while the smoked eel terrine screams with flavour. The veal Wallenberger is good for meat lovers with the veal presented as one large meatball with mashed potatoes, green peas, crushed lingonberries and a red wine sauce. TURN-OFFS The beetroot risotto with hazelnuts was not vibrant in colour or flavour. DRINKS Extensive range of wines and molecular cocktails, fresh juices and smoothies. LANA LAM

 

 


BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

 

FUSION 5TH FLOOR
5/F, THE PEMBERTON
22-26 BONHAM STRAND EAST
SHEUNG WAN
2854 1801
WWW.FUSION5THFLOOR.COM

 

FARE "Crossover" menu combines aspects of Asia with European cuisine. AMBIENCE Small, comfortable restaurant that is practical, though not for romantic candlelit dinners. COST HK$458 for a set dinner for three, and HK$498 for four. WHO TO BRING Perfect for casual get-togethers. TURN-ONS The starter of crab meat salad with scallop, asparagus, baby greens and Thai vinaigrette was well-cooked and produced beautiful flavours. The main course of grilled soya glazed wagyu of rib-eye with mixed wild mushrooms was another winner. Lemon tart with strawberry gelato and sour cream sauce for dessert was delightfully tangy. Service was attentive throughout. TURN-OFFS There is a HK$50 wine-glass breakage charge. We arrived along with a steady stream of other customers and this was probably the reason it took 15 minutes for our appetisers to arrive. DRINKS French choices dominate the wine list. There is no corkage. JOHN CARNEY

 

 


ALL IN THE TIMING

 

AZURE RESTAURANT SLASH BAR
29-30/F, HOTEL LKF BY RHOMBUS
33 WYNDHAM STREET
CENTRAL
3518 9330
WWW.AZURE.HK

 

FARE Classic European fusion. AMBIENCE Retro modernist. A white, sweeping staircase winds up to the high-ceilinged restaurant. COST HK$1,308 for two with two glasses of wine. WHO TO BRING At weekends, someone to enjoy the cocktail club vibe; midweek, it's a quiet spot for dinner with friends or significant others. TURN-ONS For starters the king prawns were served on a tangy celery root remoulade, while a root vegetable and prawn cake with black truffle cream sauce accentuated the prawns. The sunchoke soup was welcome. The sunchokes were caramelised and enhanced with black garlic and chive oil. The duo of beef paired with roasted short rib was tender and rich, although the bacon-scented Brussels sprouts were a surprise hit. Desserts were presented in a mist of subzero liquid nitrogen. TURN-OFFS The restaurant was lacking in atmosphere in midweek. DRINKS Extensive cocktails, mocktails and wines. MARIE INCLES

 


HIDDEN SECRETS

 

PORTAL, WORK & PLAY
LEVEL 5, LANGHAM PLACE
555 SHANGHAI STREET
MONG KOK
3552 3232
HONGKONG.LANGHAMPLACE
HOTELS.COM

 

FARE International and Asian. AMBIENCE Super comfy sofa seats and great art, but feels like a hotel lobby. WHO TO BRING Tired shoppers wanting a break. COST HK$1,000 for two with drinks. TURN-ONS The signature "Made-in-Mongkok" afternoon tea, served in an antique Chinese jewellery box with each little drawer opening to reveal a morsel or two, is a clever attempt to fuse street food with five-star ingredients. The sauce for the curry lobster balls was complex with spice and creaminess, but the meat was rubbery. The wagyu beef pineapple buns are a gourmet take on a local favourite, while the crispy foie gras dumplings were tasty but did not impress. The salmon mousse tofu was well-balanced and the bird's nest egg tarts were Macanese-style with a fingertip-sized dollop of nest that added a little crunch. Top-notch service. TURN-OFFS The Sichuan pepper and lime-scented grilled prawns were disappointing with an unimaginative presentation and flavourless, soggy prawns. DRINKS Extensive selection of wines, spirits and cocktails. Ronnefeldt tea. LANA LAM

 

 


SEASIDE DELIGHT

 

ROCKSALT
25 STANLEY MARKET ROAD
STANLEY
2899 0818
WWW.CHIRAM.COM.HK

 

FARE International. AMBIENCE Seaside dining with large windows overlooking the bay. WHO TO BRING Visitors who enjoy a sea view. COST HK$1,000 for two with drinks. TURN-ONS A top location between the markets and promenade, this is a great spot during the day. Grab a table, order some drinks and enjoy the water views and people watching. The red wine glaze with the baked barramundi was a rich, thick sauce which outshone the average-tasting fish fillet. The shiitake mushrooms and potatoes were well-seasoned. The passion fruit ice cream with the pavlova was above-average. TURN-OFFS The breaded prawns with ginger and garlic aioli for starters were underwhelming in taste and presentation while the crab cakes suffered the same fate and had no watercress tomato salad, as had been advertised. The lobster bisque was salty with little to no shellfish flavour while the linguine vongole had plenty of fresh, plump clams, but too much water, which drowned the pasta. DRINKS Good selection of wines and juices. LANA LAM

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