London, everywhere in London. This review was at the branch near Camden Passage.
I’ve been told that Byron burger joints have been popping up all around London. The dining concept is simple: to keep it simple – minimum fuss, no frills. It’s a shame that seasoning the patties, as well as my courgette fries, seems to be much too much ‘fuss’ for these guys.
1/F, 63 Wyndham Street, Central
One step inside Restoration and you feel transported. Scattering the space is the eclectic yet elegant touch of New Orleans decor, with rooms dimly lit yet still lovingly warm and inviting. Bar stool diners had a better view of Chef Jack Carson and the team in the hot kitchen, but our table was cosy, humble and gave us enough privacy. From the window-side, one could look down from the first floor to the seemingly distant Wyndham Street and grating pace of Hong Kong’s party district.
What looked like painted and restored vintage furniture pieces could be found in the corners of your eyes, in the small details but in a big way. A few quaint gerber daisies at the center of our table was the clincher, bringing me somewhere I’ve surely never been. But immediately, I felt at home, or at least somewhere familiar. The service was similarly warm, as well as knowledgeable and attentive.
I was excited to taste what I already felt comforted by: The Big Easy.
My boyfriend’s parents celebrated their 35th anniversary last week. So, in true filially pious foodie son and daughter fashion, the kids and their significant others planned a dinner worthy of a Michelin-starred table. Not incredibly romantic when one of the SO’s is caught chewing on the lamb bone in the kitchen (I swear this was not me), but I think this amazing couple had an excellent time.
Having visited Lardo’s and fallen in love with their preemo lamb and beef, A and I went over to TCDeli, their flagship retail outlet – also in Hang Hau Village – to pick up 3kgs of the highest quality Australian lamb. A special discount for purchases over $500 made this massive Tasmanian grain-fed beauty quite reasonably priced ($470~), and was more than enough for 7 people – contrary to the guy-behind-the-counter’s skepticism. We opted to keep the bone in for the flavour, but if you’d rather stuff the lamb instead then they also offer butterflied portions. If one cannot be assed to trek to Hang Hau, then the Meat Market is another option for these kinds of cuts, and more importantly: offers home delivery. Lazy Hongkies, I know you all too well.
4-B, G/F, Hang Hau Village, Tseung Kwan O
I’m not sure whether an introduction for Lardos is necessary. This steakhouse has been around for the last 13 years, and I’m sure a ton of reviews have been written with far more gusto than I could ever amass in my dark, loathsome, fatigued lack of a gut, but I will say that if you are a steak lover and you have not trekked at least once to Lardos, you are missing out on a super deal. And hell, if I can haul my lazy ass over to this village, so can you. I don’t doubt that whatever Lardos is doing, they’re doing it right – apart from their complimentary salad bowls. (That, I don’t understand, and I will never be a fan of stale lettuce, sorry.) In any case, the place always seems to be fully booked for dinner service and you can understand why; when a 38oz Tomahawk steak on the special, grilled to medium rare perfection, comes to but $800 – yes, 38oz for 8hundo hongky hunky dollars… – allow getting swagged up for Soho, allow decking out on dinners where you’re selling your stomach short and where you can hear your wallet wailing and wishing you’d stop pulling and pinching his leather cheeks so damn hard. Be kind to yourself. Live, eat, pray… Love.. Eat.. Fuck it, just eat.
My boyfriend and I eat too much. And when it comes to premium pieces of protein at damn pretty prices, we are so there. We are there and we don’t care how to get there. We’re there! Before we went inside, we had a good look at the signage across the street and already knew this was going to be a hit or miss. Having checked out openrice reviews, I was optimistic, but still anxious – a gem of a steakhouse tucked between chaan tengs and dai pai dong style eateries in a comparatively remote little village with unpretentious, no-fuss food at incredibly reasonable prices? That’s like a foodie wet dream. We walked in, admittedly an hour earlier than we booked because we didn’t know what else to do around there. (Note: Hang Hau Village is actually quite close to Clearwater Bay Beach, but I’m sure HKUST kids already know this.)
2/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai
Since we couldn’t wait another six months to fine dine, the boyfriend and I went to the Grand Hyatt Steakhouse to cheers to our half year anniversary (when I was in Hong Kong). Anyone who knows me knows how terrible I usually am with relationships, which is why I preferred to shy away from them for the last two years. But I suppose what applies to food can also apply to men: if you already have a quality ingredient, then you don’t need to work too hard to make your dish perfect. Aww yeah.
The setting/atmosphere is very ‘Boardwalk Empire’ cool; dim-lighting, plush leather chairs, dark ominous colours, dark wood panelling, little statues in little corners that you see in the corner of your eye. This is a manly man’s club, fully decked out with a cigar room too near the exits. The booth style tables are actually near to the buffet table (you can opt for a seasonal buffet) but the floors in that part of the restaurant are wood planks, and the noise is less appealing than in the carpeted area on the other side. Which is where we were sitting. Which was nice. Because you know all that new couples want to do on a date is whisper sweet nothings to each other in peace.
Then the menu. First thing I noticed about the menu was how simple it was. I love this! I hate menus that beat around the bush and don’t actually tell me anything about anything I want to know, or worse still: when they give names to dishes that mean absolutely nothing to me, like “Mom’s Pie” or “Stacy’s Gumbo” – What did your Mom put in her fucking pie? Who is Stacy and was she or was she not familiar with Creole cuisine? There’s always a backstory. Allow this backstory, your food should be a story in itself. Let it speak for itself! Let it scream on the plate, not from your paper, fool!
The GHS went straight to the point – “PAN FRIED DIVER SCALLOPS – TOMATO AND BACON SALSA”. Boom. The server actually asked us after we made our order whether we were hungry enough for all the items. Little did she know what we were capable of….
Shop 301, Level 3
Ocean Terminal, Harbour City
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
I went for a late lunch/early dinner with my sister on Saturday. We hit the BLT Burger restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui’s Ocean Terminal. I’m not gonna lie, I honestly didn’t realise BLT stood for Bistro Laurent Tourondel, the French-trained New York restauranteur who opened up BLT Steak and its sister outlet BLT Burger. The whole time I was under the impression it was all about some kind of ominous Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Burger, which I did not see on the menu…!
The line’s usually very long around dinner apparently, but the turnover’s good. I suppose you can always tell a good restaurant by how many fans it has waiting patiently outside the doors. My sister made the executive decision to get there a little earlier than the dinner rush so we got seated in our own booth as soon as we arrived, which was excellent. I suppose the service gets a bit rushed and hasty when dinner service gets in full swing, as some openrice reviews have mentioned – but we had a really nice, smiling Filipino lady take our orders and our food came welcomingly quickly so I have absolutely no complaints.
I’m all for letting the photos paint the gastronomic picture, but I didn’t have time to bring out my Nikon so allow the shit camera phone photos; 5 megapixels is simply not enough to emphasize how full we felt just looking at the oozing Monterey Jack cheese off the chipotle tortilla chips, slapped on with some sour cream and chives with beef brisket hiding in every corner. A decent set of nachos, but I suppose if we’ve got to be objective about this (I’m quite partial to anything with cheese), I’d say the lobster nachos at Jaspa’s in Sai Kung or Dan Ryan’s loaded nachos have a little more to offer to the table.