The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Thai @ L16 Cafe, HK Park

We finally have internet set up at home, after more than a week of being occasionally online. Surprisingly I didn't really miss it all that much, but it sure sucked not having the convenience of being able to do so many things from the home computer. Now I can blog again, amongst other things (such as paying bills, replying to emails, doing secure stuff otherwise unsafe on shared computers etc).

A couple of weeks ago, to sort of celebrate Zak's 2nd birthday, we went to Hong Kong Park with a Japanese friend and her family (she was an ex-student who moved to Hong Kong about six months before us). Her daughter is only a few months older than Zak, and it looked like they had fun playing alongside each other at the huge playground in the park. As lunchtime (and the kids' naptimes) drew closer, we went in search for the only restaurant/cafe inside the park, L16 Cafe. This restaurant offered mostly Thai dishes and a limited selection of Italian-style food (thankfully there weren't any fusion dishes on the menu), and to be honest, I didn't have high expectations for a restaurant situated in the middle of a park because usually these kind of places serve over-priced but mundane food. I'm happy to report that we were quite pleased with the quality of the dishes that came out from the kitchen at L16. The food was indeed a bit more pricey than you'd typically find at a Thai restaurant at, say, Soho, but mundane it wasn't. We were also pretty happy to find drinks from South-east Asia on the menu, such as Young Coconut Juice and Cendol.

My friend ordered the Thai Noodles (not pad thai, although pad thai is also available on the menu) which had a decent dose of wok hei ("breath of wok"), the smoky flavour infused into the food from a well-seasoned wok, which is always a good thing in fried noodles. Her husband ordered the Yellow Curry with Chicken which was very tasty especially with steamed long-grained jasmine rice. Both dishes were only mildly sweet, which was a nice change from the Thai noodles and curries I've had in the past.

Thai Noodles and Yellow Curry:

Rob really liked the look of Baked Coconut Rice with Seafood on the menu, and it turned out to be the perfect dish for coconut and seafood lovers. It did take awhile to come out to the table, but it was well worth the wait. Beautifully presented inside the shell of a coconut, the baked mixture of rice and seafood in a coconut broth was rich in the coconut flavour but not overpoweringly so. I ordered the ubiquitous Pineapple Fried Rice because I needed a benchmark dish to compare with other Thai restaurants we've eaten at. It was quite nice, but I think I had better in Sydney. I was a little baffled why the waitress asked "Two rice dishes?" with a hint of incredulity, but when the two rice dishes arrived, I realised that these rice dishes were meant to be shared, as the serving portion is far too large for one.

Gorgeous presentation: baked seafood rice in a coconut husk and fried rice in a pineapple shell:

It was a fair experience, and I was surprised that it wasn't at all that expensive, though I wouldn't want to pay more than that. Glad to know that L16 is a good emergency dining option in case we find ourselves at HK Park around mealtime next time.

Remember the birthday cake? We enjoyed the rich chocolate layer cake covered in a generous layer of chocolate ganache, and it was gone in three days!

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