Take in the breathtaking view while sampling some of the best cuisine in town
SHOP G63, G/F, OCEAN TERMINAL
TSIM SHA TSUI
FARE Classic New York Italian.
AMBIENCE Spacious New York-style interior with open kitchen, bar and alfresco dining overlooking a breathtaking harbour view.
WHO TO BRING Friends, family, colleagues and tourists.
COST HK$1,000 for two with wine.
TURN-ONS Sitting outside on the Ocean Terminal wharf at Al Molo, which means wharf in Italian, is a must, especially at night, as you have the best view of the harbour, when the quay is empty. Also a must is the testa - crispy spiced pork terrine and asparagus topped with an organic fried egg - and grilled calamari with braised green beans alla Livornese for starters. We then tried the homemade pasta dishes of tagliatelli, bolognese ragu and pansorti - a lobster and shrimp-filled ravioli in brown butter that tasted like lobster bisque. The pansorti was our overall favourite savoury dish. Then came the desserts. Three scoops of gelato, vanilla and chocolate were ordered. Tarteletta of gianduja and dark chocolate caramel crispy tart with gelato ice cream was incredible.
TURN-OFFS Tables near the entrance by the mall. It's noisy with the clatter of the kitchen and the comings and going of diners.
DRINKS A good selection of wines, cocktails and soft drinks. Tracey Furniss
1/F, KOWLOON SHANGRI-LA
64 MODY ROAD
TSIM SHA TSUI EAST
FARE Authentic Italian.
AMBIENCE A casual, elegant interior is set against a sweeping view of Victoria Harbour.
COST About HK$2,000 for two including a glass of wine.
WHO TO BRING Love interest, family and clients.
TURN-ONS New award-winning chef Marco Medaglia’s revised menu makes use of seasonal fresh ingredients. For starters, scampi with foie gras had rich flavours and was our favourite, while the seared scallops on tallegio cream with truffle caviar were also good. For main courses, we were impressed with freshly made ravioli stuffed with veal, foie gras mousse and porcini mushroom and topped with black truffle. The sea bass sitting on a ratatouille sauce was excellent. The chocolate fondant with raspberry sorbet and the mango crème brûlée with mint gelato were light.
TURN-OFFS The mint gelato overpowered the mango crème brûlée.
DRINKS An extensive choice of wine, especially Italian, to suit all budgets. Tracey Furniss
SHOP 2075, PODIUM LEVEL TWO, IFC MALL
8 FINANCE STREET
FARE European with an international twist.
AMBIENCE Relaxed and laid-back surroundings with chilled-out jazz music. Great view of Kowloon across the harbour.
COST HK$2,000 for two people for three-course meal including a glass of wine and coffee.
WHO TO BRING Wife, partner or friends.
TURN-ONS The starter of
seared foie gras, endive and orange marmalade, pecan nuts and semi-dried grapes was the dish of the night. The foie gras melted in the mouth and the taste
combinations were superb. Our other starter of sautéed spatzle, wild mushrooms, fresh black truffle and Taleggio cheese was delicious too. The main course of USDA dry-aged rib-eye (400g) was tender and cooked to perfection – medium rare. Service was informative, efficient and polite but not fussy.
URN-OFFS The steamed pink snapper tasted overcooked and a little dry.
DRINKS Extensive wine list to suit all tastes. John Carney
SURF AND TURF
SHOP L, LEVEL P, CENTRAL PIER 7
AMBIENCE Spacious and modern with 270-degree views of Victoria Harbour.
COST HK$1,300 for two including two glasses of wine.
WHO TO BRING Romantic dates, clients, friends and family for special occasions.
TURN-ONS The menu offers a selection of meat and seafood dishes that show off the kitchen’s skills at unleashing briny seasonings of the sea, such as lobster, prawns and scallops. For starters, the generously sized crispy jumbo crab cake is good for two to share. The cake has a crispy exterior and works well with the jalapeno salsa. For mains, the succulent jumbo scallop with tenshi prawn, coriander pinto beans and roasted capsicum is a winner. The grilled Chilean cod served with braised eggplant and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette is flavourful. For desserts, the soft-centred Manjari chocolate with vanilla ice cream is sinfully rich but yummy.
TURNS-OFFS Arctic-type air conditioning.
DRINKS Fine wines, special concoctions and tasty cocktails. Pin Lee
YAN TOH HEEN
LOWER LEVEL, HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL HONG KONG
18 SALISBURY ROAD
TSIM SHA TSUI
AMBIENCE Elegant, spacious dining room with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that offer views of Victoria Harbour.
COST HK$2,000 for two including two glasses of wine.
WHO TO BRING Family members and visiting clients.
TURN-ONS An extensive menu that demonstrates creative Cantonese cuisine. For starters, the savoury golden scallops with minced shrimp and fresh pear will not disappoint. The seafood bites go well with the fruity flavour of the lightly battered pears. Another outstanding dish is the baked stuffed crab shell with crab meat. The well-seasoned filling stuffed with a generous amount of fresh crab meat is scrumptious. The signature wok-fried wagyu beef with green peppers, mushrooms and garlic lives up to its promise. The beef is juicy, tender and moist and the peppers sweet and crunchy. For dessert, the chilled mango cream with sago and pomelo, served on a bed of dry ice, is a nice treat to end the meal.
TURNS-OFFS Expensive for most people.
DRINKS Fine selection of Chinese teas, and fine premium wines. Pin Lee
THE FRENCH WINDOW
SHOP 3101, PODIUM LEVEL 3
8 FINANCE STREET
FARE French brasserie.
AMBIENCE After a revamp, The French Window is brighter, more open and has a great view of the harbour.
COST HK$1,480 including a glass of wine.
WHO TO BRING Friends, colleagues or family for a laid-back meal.
TURN-ONS The seafood platter is impressive, featuring freshly shucked oysters, in this case, fine de claire, with lobster, crab, large sea whelks, loads of periwinkles and tiny shrimps. The white wine-steamed mussels were small and plump. Loved the home-made fries. The lamb rack cooked in hay was the star of the night, tender and juicy accompanied by seasonal vegetables and mustards. The Normandy crêpe dessert was like a pancake with apple slices, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and cider sauce.
TURN-OFFS The frogs' legs sautéed in garlic and parsley butter were breaded, which detracted from the main ingredient. Attentive service waned.
DRINKS Edited list focused on French wines and Gallic cocktails. Bernice Chan
131 TSEUNG TAU VILLAGE,
SHAP SZE HEUNG, (NEAR SAI SHA ROAD),
AMBIENCE Entering through ornate iron gates, guests are ushered into a red three-storey village house with a scenic view of Three Fathoms Cove.
COST Lunch for two HK$2,000 including wine.
WHO TO BRING The love interest, private parties, mum and dad.
TURN-ONS The mussel bouchot with gazpacho and truffle oil, followed by foie gras with lettuce roots, figs and 25-year-old balsamic vinegar. For the main course, Ayers Rock black angus with cauliflower and potato espuma, presented as a picturesque scene of the famous Australian rock. A dessert that looked like sausage, fried eggs, toast and butter turned out to be mango, coconut, chestnut and sauternes.
TURN-OFFS The weekend-only lunches are booked solid until January, but a table for two may be squeezed in if you ask.
DRINKS A limited but decent wine list ranging from about HK$400 to several thousand a bottle. Tracey Furniss