City - Hong Kong Cuisine - European Cuisine - International HK - Admiralty Meal - Dinner Rating - ★★★★★ Type - By Invitation

Flint Grill & Bar (Hong Kong)

Rating: ★★★★★

Address: Level 5, JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty 金鐘金鐘道88號太古廣場香港JW萬豪酒店5樓

Telephone: 2810 8366

https://www.facebook.com/jwmarriottflint

I didn’t realise that it has already been 2 years since I last visited Flint Grill & Bar, the 5th-floor restaurant at JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong which boasts a spacious, industrial-chic setting – last time I came was when the restaurant newly opened, and you can see my review here!

(1) We  are off to a great start with Flint’s signature tableside prime steak tartare ($120). Those who have been following my blog will know that I am a big beef tartare enthusiast, and I am pleased to say that this one is a winner for me! The steak tastes exceptionally delicious, and the tableside preparation simply adds more fun.

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(2) Next, the salt-baked beetroot ($140) is served. The beetroot has been baked inside a thick pastry which is then discarded, and this unique process helps preserve the beetroot’s natural flavours. Served with house-made labneh and a drizzle of honey, this appetiser is surely a crowd-pleaser.

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(3) The burrata ($180), served with heirloom tomatoes and arugula, is simple and utterly satisfying.

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(4) The seared scallops ($190) is expertly prepared – nicely seared on the outside, while preserving its inner juiciness. Also try their house-made bacon underneath the scallops, which will not disappoint!

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(5) My favourite dish of the night is the Iberico pork chop ($290), which is impressively flavourful and has a firm, pleasant bite. The roasted pumpkin is enticingly soft and sweet, and the pork cracklings are moreish!

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(6) The much anticipated beef platter arrives – on this giant wooden board are the Linz Heritage Prime 45 day dry-aged steak ($490), Australian certified Black Angus rib-eye ($390) and USDA Premier Protein wagyu 8+ tenderloin ($490). All these steaks have been carefully selected and butchered and aged in-house, and they offer the finest, most pristine flavours you can imagine. There is no way you will not swoon over them!

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Served on the side are some French fries ($60), steamed asparagus in a Hollandaise sauce ($80) which are gigantic and utterly delicious, and the mashed potato with salted butter and chives ($60) which is delightfully creamy. Too much goodness in one meal!

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(7) Just when we think that the Iberico pork and the beef platter are the best things to happen at this meal, this maple butter hot cake ($80) appears. Ice cold vanilla is sandwiched between two pieces of light and fluffy hot cakes, and these are drizzled in French thyme syrup. How can any sane human being ever resist this?

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(8) It is immaterial whether you still have stomach space or not, you will order this S’mores Tart ($80), which is regarded as one of the best s’mores in Hong Kong. We also find ourselves gravitating towards the graham cracker ice cream, which is an unusual but delicious flavour!

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I am very surprised that the food at Flint has improved so much in the past 2 years, and am thoroughly impressed by the high standard of our dishes. One thing to note, though, is that portions here are robust, so be sure to come with at least 2-3 other people so you can try out more items on the menu!

City - Hong Kong Cuisine - European Cuisine - Italian HK - Central Meal - Dinner Meal - Drinks Rating - ★★★★☆ Type - By Invitation

208 Duecento Otto (Hong Kong)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: G/F, 208 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan 上環荷李活道208號地舖

Telephone: 2549 0208

http://www.208.com.hk

Those who know me well, or have been reading my blog, would know that I love Italian cuisine. I have recently written a review on Osteria Felice, which is a new-ish Italian restaurant in Admiralty, but let’s not forget 208 Duecento Otto, the Italian eatery on 208 Hollywood Road most famous for their fantastic pizzas.

The restaurant is operated by the JIA Group, which also runs other renowned restaurants in town including 22 Ships, Duddell’s, Fish School and Mak Mak. The kitchen is helmed by executive chef Michael Bolam, a creative and passionate chef who came from Melbourne in Australia and was named the Runner Up in Time Out Melbourne’s Chef of the Year Awards and also received Australian Good Food Guide’s very prestigious and iconic Chef Hat Award for two years.

Given how many restaurants there are in Hong Kong, I haven’t stepped foot in 208 Duecento Otto for many months already, but their newly revamped menu lures me here again.

(1) Our meal begins with some delightful fig, curd and vincotto crostini. This bite-sized snack is delicious and appetising.

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(2) I decide to order the Rosita cocktail, which has a rather strong tequila kick and is lifted by the scent of grapefruits.

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(3) These pumpkin panzerotti are oozing with mozzarella and drizzled in honey – absolutely scrumptious!

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(4) These whitebait fritti are gorgeously crispy and airy, and even though some of my dining companions find them not salty enough, their seasoning is just right for me.

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(5) The mushroom arancini boast a beautiful outer crispiness and inner moistness.

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(6) The polenta cake with mascarpone is sinfully soft, creamy and enticing.

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(7) This smoked salmon, creme fraich and mozzarella pizza is simply marvellous. The pizza dough is appropriately thin, moist and most importantly a tad chewy, which adds to its overall deliciousness. The pizzas here are definitely not to be missed!

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(8) I am served this class of classic Bellini which is well adjusted with just the right level of sweetness. I am quite tipsy at dinner though, after all these cocktails!

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(9) The boscaiola pizza is delicious with a dominant and pleasant tomato taste.

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(10) The Tuscan pizza almost make a few people scream with joy. Who can resist these crispy bacon and mozzarella toppings?

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(11) For desserts, the warm chocolate fudge brownie is rich and sweet, just like how men should be (I kid!)

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(12) The salted pear and frangipane tart is the lighter option, but just as delicious, and very well balanced.

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Hotels Overseas / Travel Rating - ★★★★★

Gloria Manor (Kenting)

Rating: ★★★★★

Address: No.101, Gongyuan Rd., Hengchun Township, Pingtung 946, Taiwan

Telephone: +886 8 886 3666

https://www.gloriamanor.com/

Throughout the years, I have had the opportunity to stay at a number of spectacular hotels in the world (see here for a list of other hotels I have visited), but I must admit that the beauty of Gloria Manor in Kenting left me speechless.

Gloria Manor is one of the landmarks of Kenting in Tawain, and boasts an impressive history too. Gloria Manor is built on land that was once home to the Paiwan aboriginal tribe of Taiwan and is now within the Kenting National Park Recreation Area. The building, which is over 50 years old, was once used by President Chiang Kai Shek as his official guesthouse in the South of Taiwan. In 2012, Gloria Hotel Group took over the management of Kenting House, and renamed the establishment Gloria Manor.

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The design of the hotel is helmed by J.J.Pan and Partners and JAHAA, and the concept behind the hotel is harmony with nature. Marbled walls at the main entrance are designed to shield guests from wintertime winds, and the use of bamboos, which symbolize modesty and humility, echoes the beauty of nature.

It is simply impossible not to fall instantly in love with the hotel’s breath-taking beautiful surroundings. As soon as we step foot inside the hotels, we feel the stress of everyday live melting away.

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The swimming pool boasts a stunning greenery of Kenting’s as its backdrop. Even if you don’t feel like swimming, just sitting by the poolside will be truly relaxing.

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There is also a small gym which is located 3 minutes away from the main building.

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The hotel rooms are inspired by Japanese influences, and has a tranquil and idyllic ambience. Due to the original structure of Kenting House, the rooms tend to be smaller in size, but each room comes with a balcony overlooking an amazing view.

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Each room has a balcony, which is the perfect place for you to bask in the beauty of nature.

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The design of the bathroom is contemporary and sleek – we love the juxtaposition of history and modernity at this hotel!

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The hotel only has one restaurant and one bar – Mu Restaurant and Mu Lounge. Our breakfast is served at the restaurant, which serves a selecltion of Taiwanese as well as international dishes.

We absolutely adore the bread basket at breakfast, and these croissants are simply delectable.

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A clean-tasting abalone congee is served, which is delicious as well as comforting.

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The smoked salmon on toast and banana pancakes are truly delicious too!

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Hotels Overseas / Travel Rating - ★★★★☆

Just Sleep Kaohsiung Zhongzheng (Kaohsiung)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: No.134, Zhongzheng 1st Rd., 苓雅區, 高雄市, 台灣 80284

Telephone: 2549 0208

http://www.justsleep.com.tw/Kaohsiung/en/intro

It is my first time visiting Kaohsiung ever, and for accommodation, we booked “Just Sleep“, a hip hotel chain operated by the FIH Regent Group.

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Just Sleep in Kaohsiung is located near the famous Wei Wu Ying Metropolitan Park and Center for the Arts, which is near Wumiao Road, and there are a number of local restaurants and eateries near the hotel. The ambience of the hotel is trendy, cozy and friendly.

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The hotel operates a restaurant where breakfast is served, as well as a café called Jessicafé on the ground floor.

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The hotel room is simple and chic, and we find it reasonably spacious.

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The bathroom is nicely spacious, but not too luxurious.
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I find the water bottles really adorable – the shape of the bottle is rectangular and slim, so it fits very well in the handbag!
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This hotel is not super luxurious, but we find our stay comfortable enough and overall very pleasant. They also provide free wifi within the hotel. I would recommend this hotel as an affordable option for young people!
City - Hong Kong Cuisine - Asian Cuisine - European Cuisine - International HK - Central Meal - Dinner Rating - ★★★★☆

Mercedes me (Hong Kong)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: Shop C-D, G/F, Entertainment Building, 30 Queen’s Road Central, Central 中環皇后大道中30號娛樂行地下C-D鋪

Telephone: 2895 7398

Email: reservations@mmehk.com

https://www.mercedes-benz.com/hk/mercedes-me/store/

Mercedes me in Hong Kong is easily one of the most stylish restaurants in Hong Kong. Being the first Mercedes-Benz restaurant in the world, this upscale, all-day dining restaurant is conveniently located in the very center of Central in Entertainment Building – it is almost impossible to miss this space when you are in the area.

The space exudes an air of elegance and opulence. Apart from being an eatery, Mercedes me also doubles as a showroom for various Mercedes Benz items (including, of course, a Mercedes automobile) and seeks to immerse all diners in a Mercedes lifestyle. Even if you are already a owner of a number Mercedes cars, you will still find this experience highly interesting!

In terms of cuisine, the kitchen serves up a selection of international dishes for sharing. Dinner will typically set you back around $600 per head – given the wonderful dining experience and the fine and exciting dishes, I do think the price tag is well justified!

(1) We start off with the sea urchin with fig, nori cracker, oyster leaf and ponzu ($210), which are delicious bite-sized snacks. The uni is fresh and flavourful, and the creaminess is nicely  broken up by the thin, crispy nori crackers.

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(2) This foie gras cotton candy ($60) may look like an ordinary cotton candy, but a small piece of foie gras hidden inside makes all the difference, and it is moreish! Remember to eat this in one bite though for the best taste.

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(3) Beef tartare is one of my favourite dishes, and the organic 100% grass fed steak tartare with pickled egg yolk ($210) certainly has my approval! Not only does it look pretty, the taste is spot on too – the seasoning is well adjusted and most importantly, the steak is of topshelf quality and you can really taste its natural meaty flavours.

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(4) This baked angel hair pasta with seaweed and roasted garlic aioli ($220) takes some preparation time but is well worth the wait. The angel hair is plumped with delicious flavours and is gorgeously crispy, and the seaweed offers an interesting and surprisingly well matched taste.

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(5) For desserts, this Catalan cream ($80) is not to be missed. It looks heavy but it is actually very airy and light, and a hint of lemon lifts its flavours.

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(6) We are full but will never turn down a second dessert! This caramelized catalan cream foam with vanilla ice cream, orange and honeycomb ($115) is a beautiful medley of well-balanced, exciting flavours – definitely worth our stomach space!

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City - Bangkok Country - Thailand Hotels Overseas / Travel Rating - ★★★★☆

Sofitel SO Bangkok (Bangkok)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: Sofitel SO Bangkok, 2 North Sathorn Road, Bangrak, Bangkok, Thailand

Telephone: (+66)2/6240000

Email: H6835@sofitel.com

http://www.sofitel-so-bangkok.com/

I visit Bangkok every now and then – there is always so much to do in this city and I often find my itinerary completely jam-packed! I haven’t done a review on all the great restaurants I have visited, but here are a few that I managed to write about.

If I come to Bangkok for work, I usually stay at Four Seasons or The St. Regis, but if I come here for leisure, I make an effort to try a new hotel each time. I am here for a 2-day weekend getaway, and I am staying at SO Sofitel Bangkok this time, one of the trendiest hotels in Bangkok with a prime central location on the corner of North Sathorn and Rama IV roads, directly opposite the Lumpini Park. The hotel is also located very close to major shopping malls, which is an important factor for me!

The most special thing about this hotel is that it has a Five Elements theme, so the hotel rooms are divided into Water Element, Earth Element, Wood Element and Metal Element. The fifth element, the Fire Element, is represented by the hotel’s restaurants.

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I opt for a Wood Element room, which has elegant and tranquil characteristics. The wooden surfaces and gentle colour scheme imbue the room with a laid-back and calming vibe.

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The bathroom is spacious and has a spa-like appearance.

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There is a smart illy coffee machine in the room, but not that I think you will be using it as there are so many great cafes in Bangkok! I am generally very satisfied with my room, and my only complaint is that the hair dryer’s airflow is too weak.

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The 32-metre long infinity pool is truly impressive – it boasts a spectacular Bangkok city view and makes you feel as though you are swimming mid-air. The pool has a low chlorine content and at night, there will be underwater LED lights which help create a super fun vibe!

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The hotel is designed by French designer Monsieur Christian Lacroix, whose visionary designs are bold and remarkable, drawing inspirations from Asian elements.

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Buffet breakfast is served at Red Oven, which is an all-day dining restaurant which offers a broad range of international dishes.

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I love the great selection of fresh fruits, juices, muesli and yoghurts at the buffet.

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I also can’t resist a Thai omelette at breakfast!

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Even though it is early in the morning, I find myself gravitating towards the homemade ice cream counter, and the coconut ice cream and milk tea ice cream are some of my favourites.

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that the staff here are super friendly and chatty. Definitely an enjoyable stay for me!

City - Hong Kong Cuisine - European Cuisine - French HK - Wan Chai Meal - Dinner Rating - ★★★★☆ Type - By Invitation

restaurant Akrame (Hong Kong)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: 9B Ship Street, Wan Chai 灣仔船街9B號

Telephone: 2528 5068

http://www.akrame.com.hk/

http://www.waterjuicery.com.hk/

The French always seem to add a touch of elegance to otherwise ordinary things. Take restaurant Akrame for example – this small restaurant’s décor cannot be more simplistic, yet dining here, you can almost feel the finesse in the air.

The menu is designed by Chef Akrame Benallal, who operates several renowned restaurants in Paris, and the restaurant is opened by tycoon and restaurateur Peter Lam, who also owns other highly successful restaurants in Hong Kong, including Michelin 3-starred 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo.

As Chef Akrame is in town from 10-12 March, a group of us visit the restaurant to try his innovative tasting menu which is not paired with wines, but with cold-pressed blended juices from his juicery brand Water Juicery.

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The dinner menu comes in 3 options: 4 courses at $788 per head with juice paring at $198, 6 courses at $998 per head with juice pairing at $268 and 8 courses at $1,298 per head with juice pairing at $348. I am really excited to try out this new concept, which definitely shows off Chef Akrame’s refined skills in flavour combinations.

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We are swiftly presented with some beautiful amuse-bouche.

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(1) The first course is the soft boiled egg with mushroom and pecan nuts. Flavours are simple but excellently balanced, with the pecan nuts adding a pleasant crunch.

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The dish is paired with Digestaid, a refreshing juice blend of pineapple, white cabbage, ginger and mint. The ginger and mint in the juice match very well with the dish!

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(2) Next, the sea bream with turnip, saffron and black rice is one of my favourite dishes at dinner. The fish is exquisitely tender and juicy, but it is the black rice, flavour-packed with a good bite, which forms a most beautiful match with the fish.

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The pairing juice is C-Green, with parsley, spinach, kale and apple. Not only is this juice nutrients-packed, it is very tasty too!

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(3) We get a choice of main course and my pick is the lobster with beetroot, blackberry and seaweed. This dish is prepared tableside, with the lobster freshly cooked in a simmering soup in a glass teapot.

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The lobster is fresh with a fabulously bouncy texture, but the portion is on the small side given that this is the main course of a 4-course dinner. The pairing juice is Orange Pour, a blend of pomegranate, orange, apple and carrot. I adore the sweet, refreshing flavour of pomegranates in this juice.

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We enjoy a small palate cleanser before the desserts.

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(4) I am not 100% full yet, but this works out perfectly as there are 3 desserts to be served! The milk chocolate custard with Tonka milk mousse is a most delightful combination of attractive flavours, and the black chocolate tube with Tarragon ice cream is wondrously crispy and delicious.

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The mango with pistachio cream and coconut ice cream is my favourite, but I may very well be biased because I simply adore any dessert with mango or coconut in it (you can see some of my favourite mango/ coconut desserts here, here and here)!

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The petit fours come in the form of a tasty chocolate bar!

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City - Hong Kong Cuisine - European Cuisine - Italian HK - Central Meal - Lunch Rating - ★★★★☆ Type - By Invitation

Osteria Felice (Hong Kong)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: Shop 16-21, G/F, Hutchison House, 10 Harcourt Road, Central 中環夏慤道10號和記大廈地下16-21號舖

Telephone: 2516 6166

http://www.osteriafelice.com

There are many high-end Italian restaurants in Hong Kong, but relatively fewer homely Italian restaurants. Newly opened Osteria Felice is a down-to-earth Italian restaurant in Hutchison House which serves Italian favourites with a Mediterranean twist.

Launched by Australian chef Brian Moore, the kitchen serves up a range of Italian favourites in a gold-and-black, stylish setting.

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(1) We start off our meal with the burrata and smoked sardine crostini ($265). This is a surprisingly great match – the saltiness from the sardines beautifully cuts through the creamy burrata.

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(2) Next, the roast bone marrow with grilled bread ($158) is flavour-packed and perfectly cooked, with a sprinkle of salt to draw out the dish’s flavours.

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(3) I always love pasta and this Gargenelli pork & beef ragu ($168) makes my heart sing! The pasta is perfectly al dente, and the ragu is delicious and well adjusted.

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(4) The linguine with clams ($268) is simple but utterly delectable. The pasta is well cooked and the clams are fresh, plump and tasty.

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(5) The braised beef short ribs with soft polenta ($328) does not disappoint. The braised beef short ribs are magnificently tender and smooth, and the sauce is unforgettable!

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(6) Last but not least, the mozzarella gelato is a total surprise! Just a tiny bit tart, this ice cream is creamy and boasts a lovely hint of cheese. Reminds me of yoghurt gelato and definitely something to try!

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I am very satisfied with the food at Osteria Felice and have already recommended many friends to go there, and all of them are satisfied customers!

 

City - Hong Kong Cuisine - International HK - Causeway Bay Meal - Brunch Meal - Lunch Rating - ★★★★☆ Type - By Invitation

Riva and the Deck (Hong Kong)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: 27/F, The Park Lane Hong Kong, 310 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay 銅鑼灣告士打道310號柏寧酒店27樓

Telephone: 2839 3327

www.parklane.com.hk/riva-and-the-deck.html

As I mentioned in my review of Ebb & Flow last time, The Park Lane Hong Kong has been going through renovations for a while now and some of the newly refurbished parts of the hotel are looking as stylish as ever!

One of the areas of the hotel that have not been renovated yet is Riva and The Deck, the 27-th floor restaurant of the hotel which overlooks the stunning Victoria Harbour and has a beautiful outdoor terrace. The restaurant will be renovated this summer, so a group of us gather for brunch on a Sunday before the renovations begin.

It is worth noting that the brunch menu here offers absolutely fantastic value. The price is $598 per head, but this Riva Weekend Brunch includes an appetiser, seafood and dessert buffet, 1 choice of breakfast, 1 choice of main course and unlimited soft drinks, juices, and white, red and sparkling wines. This is most definitely a great venue for birthday celebrations!

(1) The appetiser buffet certainly does not disappoint. There is a great selection at the salad bar, and even though this is a buffet, the quality of the sashimi is fantastic.

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Oyster lovers will be thrilled to know that there are unlimited freshly shucked oysters at the seafood bar, and they taste gorgeous too!

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Even more extravagant are these Boston lobsters. I feel like I am already getting my money’s worth just after eating all these seafood and appetisers!

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(2) The brunch menu includes a choice of breakfast, and I decide to go for a simple poached egg. The portion is small, which makes perfect sense as there is so much other food being offered. The egg is nicely poached and the English muffin is thin and well toasted.

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The scrambled egg croissant is very indulgent, and the smoked salmon helps lift its flavours.

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One of us orders the dim sum basket, which comes with 4 pieces of piping hot dim sums.

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(3) For the choice of main course, the seared Australian ocean trout is an excellent choice – the skin is startlingly crispy, while the meat underneath is still beautifully raw middled.

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The US beef ribs eye is amazingly flavour-packed and tender, and completely wins me over.

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(4) For desserts, I am instantly drawn to this chocolate fountain, and find myself busily dipping fresh fruits into the rich, velvety melted chocolate.

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The other desserts, such as cheesecake and panna cotta, are also utterly enticing.

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Lastly, I round off this wonderful meal with a scoop of Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream. What an absolutely fantastic way to start Sunday!

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As the restaurant may be closed for renovations soon, please do call in advance to check before coming here. I can’t wait to see what this place will look like after the renovations!

Beverage City - Hong Kong HK - Wan Chai Rating - ★★★★☆ Type - By Invitation Type - Cooking Class

The Coffee Academics (Hong Kong)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: G/F, The Morrison, 223-227 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai 灣仔灣仔道223-227號駿逸峰地舖

Telephone: 2515 0980

Email: contactus@the-coffeeacademics.com OR  classes@the-coffeeacademics.com

www.the-coffeeacademics.com

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Anyone who reads my blog or follows my Instagram account will know that I am a massive coffee lover – on some days I drink coffee, on other days, I breathe coffee.

In 2014, I took a City and Guilds Barista Course at Caffe HABITU in Causeway Bay (which you can read about here), which means that I am now a certified barista! It has been over a year since I took any more coffee classes, and this time, I am at The Coffee Academics‘ newest Wanchai branch for a latte art class.

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For those of you who are unfamiliar, The Coffee Academics is a sister brand of Caffe HABITU, and both concepts are founded by an outstanding female entrepreneur Jennifer W. F. Liu. Since its opening in November 2012, The Coffee Academics now operates 5 Hong Kong outlets, a roasting academy and certified training centre and recently a Singapore flagship store – it certainly looks like the love of coffee is pervasive in Asia!

The decor of this Wanchai branch is simplistic and stylish, with a sleek marble coffee counter forming the focal point of this space. I haven’t made any espressos in a while as I have an automatic coffee machine at home, so this class is a great opportunity for me to pick up my skills again.

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After making the espresso, I warm up and froth the milk and pour the milk into a heart shape in the coffee mug. Now, the really cute part – coffee etching – begins! Coffee etching is a type of coffee art where you draw out patterns in the coffee using tools, such as a thin metal stirrer. As you can see below, we get very helpful instructions on how to make some basic etching patterns so the process is very quick and easy!

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My finished product is an adorable piglet, with hands! I tend to get a lot of emails asking me for more information on these coffee classes – there is a contact email address of The Coffee Academics at the top of this blog post, so the best way would be to email them and ask for the most updated schedule and information. This coffee decorating class would be a fun and enjoyable activity to do with family, friends or colleagues!

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