New summer tasting menu at The Continental, Pacific Place
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The Continental in Pacific Place has a new set dinner menu. Keeping in mind the warm, humid weather, the summer tasting menu is light and not too rich - though there are several courses, so pace yourself.
The starter is a warm salad with ceps and a small piece of pan-fried foie gras, followed by a scallop ceviche, the raw scallops sliced thinly and marinated lightly with chilli and lime marinade to retain the fresh taste of the shellfish.
We thoroughly enjoyed the griddled mackerel with cucumber, apple and pea shoots, the fish having a slightly crispy skin and meat tender underneath. It was very refreshing and light.
This was followed by peppered magret of duck with spinach and cherries. The duck looked beautiful, and was cooked medium rare; the strips of lean meat were flavourful, if a little tough.
To finish the meal there are several options. The soufflés at The Continental are gorgeous, and we were served a small apricot one with a spoonful of almond ice cream. The soufflé was fluffy and airy, though not much of the apricot came through.
Guests can also choose to a selection of three cheeses, served with fig jam and pickled cherries, or a trio of mini desserts: raspberry millefeuille, chocolate salted caramel tart, and passion fruit and strawberry pavlova.
The summer set menu costs HK$680, or HK$1,100 with wine pairings.
The Continental, Level 4, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel: 2704 5211
New steakhouse menu a succulent feast - come hungry
Carnivores will have a feast trying the new additions to the menu at The Steak House Winebar + Grill at the InterContinental Hong Kong – but it won’t come cheap.
Be prepared to shell out for top quality meats and ingredients, but by the same token, portions are American-sized and come with every garnish imaginable. They’ll leave you well sated.
We were recently hosted for dinner to sample new menu items. One starter is the Spanish prawns and Hokkaido scallops (HK$398), presented on a large glass plate with applewood bacon and a red radish salad. The prawns are succulent and sweet, and the scallops lightly cooked.
Possibly a meal in itself is the deluxe chilled seafood mountain (HK$1,498) that arrives in two tiers and even has a multi-coloured glow. The menu says it’s for two people, but six of us shared the half-lobsters, jumbo prawns, sea whelk, abalone, black mussels, and king crab legs.
And we’d only just started.
Behind us was the salad bar, with an array of greens, freshly scooped-out avocado, tomatoes, cured salmon, cold cuts and cheeses. This too could provide a relatively healthy dinner in itself.
However, we’re here for the main event – meat. A server goes through the 10 steak knives we can choose from, of various colours and styles before the dishes arrive.
A new dish is the slow-cooked veal shank at a whopping HK$2,310; it is, though, beautifully slow-cooked, making it very tender and flavourful, and is complemented with a barbecue sauce.
Next up are the 160z US bone-in filet mignon (HK$980), and the 28oz US bone-in porterhouse steak (HK$1,488). Thankfully the staff portion these for the six of us. Both were very juicy, and come with a choice of 12 mustards.
We have some sides (HK$98 each) to accompany the meat, including sautéed button mushrooms, grilled asparagus, creamed spinach, sweet potato fries, decadent baked lobster macaroni, and black truffle mashed potatoes.
Dessert is a massive Alaska on Fire (HK$328), which the waiter sets ablaze at our table. Inside is pistachio ice cream, raspberry sherbet, apricot sherbet, Italian meringue, pistachio biscuits and lemon cream.
We’re also impressed by the “La Tache wine bottle” (HK$428) that’s entirely made of chocolate. We don’t get to eat this cocoa creation, but do try the accompanying black forest vanilla chocolate cake with cherries and cherry sauce.
Both desserts are so retro, but appropriate for this over-the-top American steakhouse.
Steak House Winebar + Grill, LG/F, InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2313 2323
Cool off at matcha cafe Nakamura Tokichi with giant shaved ice bowls
Japanese matcha tea shop Nakamura Tokichi has a great way to beat the summer heat with giant bowls of shaved ice.
Each bowl is heaped with enough shaved ice for at least three people to tackle. On top is soft-serve matcha and hojicha ice cream, some glutinous rice balls and a scoop of red bean paste. Diners can add syrup if they wish - there are matcha, hojicha and Okinawan brown sugar flavours from which to choose. A bowl costs HK$98.
At a hosted tasting, the brown sugar syrup was the most fragrant of the three, but it's fun to try all of them.
The buzz about Nakamura Tokichi has begun dying down, but the queues are still out of the door. Just go early, grab a number and shop around until they call yours.
Nakamura Tokichi, 18/F, The One, 100 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel: 2426 6111
Peninsula chefs rise to challenge of showcasing Yunnan fare
Chefs from The Peninsula hotels group rose to the challenge when they were sent foraging in China's Yunnan province and asked to prepare a meal incorporating ingredients they found there.
The six Chinese chefs and their restaurant managers, accompanied by group executive chief Florian Trento, first went to Chuxiong, where they picked matsutake mushrooms. Then they drove five hours to an organic pig farm in Xuanwei to see how the prized Yunnan ham is made there, and on to Menghai county in the Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture to watch how puer tea is made, from picking the leaves to drying them in a hot wok.
When they came back to Hong Kong, each chef was assigned an ingredient and cooking method for this dinner to make things more challenging. The result was the Chinese Culinary Masters’ Dinner, served on July 10 at Spring Moon at The Peninsula Hong Kong and available now for dining parties.
To start, minced Yunnan ham was served with matsutake mushrooms, steamed shrimps and chicken broth, and garnished with lily bulbs and kale to look like flowers.
This was followed by a soup of partridge and fresh mushrooms topped with a generous dollop of bird’s nest and served in a small pumpkin and garnished with thin strands of Yunnan ham. The soup was comforting and hearty.
Next came pan-fried Pacific sea bass fillet on a bed of morels, green beans and beech mushrooms. While the fish was just a tad overcooked, the mushrooms were delicious, as were the roasted Yunnan potatoes.
Even diners not so keen on beef were won over by wok-fried Kagoshima wagyu beef fillet served on a bed of porcini mushrooms, Yunnan peppers for a bit of spice, and Yunnan ham. The beef was so tender and juicy, it practically melted in the mouth.
The next dish looked curious – thin crunchy bars stacked up on the plate with abalone sauce. In fact it was a delicious creation of deep-fried wild Yunnan mushroom crackers with shrimp. We remarked how they would make great bar snacks with beer. If only we'd had a spoon to scoop up the rest of the abalone sauce...
Not a drop was wasted of the next dish: double-boiled snow goose soup with cordyceps and fish maw.
The final savoury dish was sautéed lobster with black truffle and purple rice, though the latter didn’t do much to enhance the flavour of the dish. We were impressed by the garnish of deep-fried carrot shavings.
For dessert, the hotel’s dim sum ambassador and creator of the custard mooncake, chef Yip Wing-wah, created what may be the next “it” treat – deep-fried sesame balls filled with fresh lychee, decorated with raspberries and lotus seed paste. The sesame balls were crunchy and refreshing, and provided a nice light end to the eight-course meal.
Diners can try the menu at Spring Moon for HK$2,888 per person; parties must compromise a minimum of four people, and will get a private room. For more information call 2696 6760 or email [email protected].