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108, Hollywood Road, SOHO, Sheung Wan

And rightly so!  See here: http://www.restaurantweek.hk

Admittedly, I didn’t go to the Press Room for Restaurant Week, but have been quite a few times – including during their Promotion Period (May 27 to August 31, 2013) for 40% off on Tuesdays.  I love their simple yet humbling take on French-European cuisine, and the fact they are a restaurant that stays true to the notion of casual dining.

The portions are anything but pretentious, and their policy of actually taking reservations is a breath of fresh air.  It’s always nice to know when you’re allowed to dig into your dinner, and that you won’t be stuck in a queue like you’re outside Volar wearing Crocs with socks.  It’s also rather nice to know that what you do end up digging into will actually fill you up – you know, like a dinner should.  So snaps for the Press Room for actually sticking to their guns and congratulations on a much-deserved ‘Best Restaurant’ award at Restaurant Week!

I present a few photographs from my latest Press Room foodie trip.  They were taken a few weeks back so I apologies if the details are a little blurry.  I have the memory of a goldfish.  (Which is another reason why I blog.)

ImageThe oyster selection is impressive, with 6 oysters setting you back $186.  The French type at the front here was incredibly creamy, plump and full-flavoured.  If you prefer the brinier options, they also have Tasmanian oysters with high salt characters.  Check the blackboard for their selections.  I’ve still not gotten around to ordering the Plateux de Fruits de Mer ($220 per person; with lobster: $396) but from eyeing up other tables, it’s a whopper.

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1/F Wo On Building, 8-13 Wo On Lane, Central

Common Room, Prive Group’s new gastropub venture, does exactly what it says on the tin:  ‘classic, contemporary and molecular cocktails’, paired with ‘world-inspired’ tapas.  I suppose with such a glorified menu of generalities, it’s not hard for whatever they produce to fit their rather abstract incarnation of a culinary bill.  Although the notion of ‘global cuisine’, ‘global food’, or ‘world-inspired’ might seem anathema to foodie purists or, on the flip side, like a backpedaling restaurant strategy to cop-out from any serious food philosophy, at the end of the day I don’t believe Common Room really cares, and I guess neither do I.  It is the Common Room of Lan Kwai Fong; anything goes after hours.

From my experience on a Friday night: drinks come first, food second, and when you’re situated smack bang just off the strait and narrow of Lan Kwai Fong – next to good ol’ grimey Baby Buddha, Oysters Bar with cheap, full-of-regret Long Island Ice Teas, and the amphitheater with artsy, hemp-hooved hippies who’d rather sit in the humidity drinking their Sols at whatever pace they please thank you very much – well, you’d be stupid not to.  And the food that was served complimented our libations particularly well, in that drunken “damn, this is good munch, and shit! Is that truffle?” kind of way.

In all, Common Room is just far too casual, far too fun and far too well priced for a Central joint, to pass any damning judgement.  I know: shock, horror! A chic new gastropub in Central that actually takes reservations, makes you full, and doesn’t turn your wallet skinny?!  Hong Kong, I think I heard the food cherubs singing hallelujah! OK, fine – I would have, if Common Room hadn’t killed my earbuds with the incessant, loud, drunken chatter and that sick Funktion One soundsystem.

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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.)

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