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, 15 March 2018

Sunday Because Brunch @ Armani/Aqua, Hong Kong

We recently had Sunday brunch at Armani/Aqua in Chater House, and it was a rather nice experience for our family with three kids! There are not many restaurants that offer a playroom for children, and Armani/Aqua is the only one I've been to that had one staff supervising the kids. This meant that I could leave my 4-year-old in the playroom to play or colour to her heart's content while I go back to my meal. This is major plus in my books. Obviously I'm writing from a parent's point of view, but kids or no kids, Armani/Aqua is also a nice fancy restaurant for Sunday brunch for non-family patrons too. I mean, check out the entrance:

(My phone camera couldn't handle all the dim red light, and it looks more impressive in real life.) The Because Brunch includes all-you-can-eat starters, as well as shared appetisers and main dishes that were served to the table. Kids under 5 eat free, and from 5-12 years is $198 with a choice of a main dish.

Comfortable setting with plenty of space between tables and chairs - another thing that's rare in Hong Kong:

The starters buffet set-up:

There were cured meat, fresh fruit, cheese, salad, seafood, sushi and sashimi:

Sushi chefs hard at work:

The pizza and pasta station:

Some of the small starter plates on offer:

There were oysters au naturel! I kept my first plate light:

Some appetisers to share were served at the table, a mix of Italian and Japanese including vol-au-vent, stuffed mushrooms, bacon-wrapped asparagus, miso aubergine, soft-shelled crabs:

Mickey Mouse pizza:

Delicious penne pasta:

My son chose the mini burgers which looked delicious. I believe there was chicken, fish and beef burgers there:

The Japanese Share Mains - Prawn tempura with chili garlic sauce, and slow-cooked Wagyu beef cheek with truffle miso and Japanese barley:

The Italian Share Mains - Crispy suckling pig with hasselback potatoes, and Stone-grilled Angus beef tenderloin, heritage gremolata and buttered market greens:

The playroom! The supervising staff was braiding my daughter's hair at the time this photo was taken:

Kid's ice cream - vanilla flavour:

Armani Aqua signature dessert featuring both Japanese and Italian. The tiramisu was pretty good and the ice cream scoops were simple single flavours (black sesame, green tea and lemon sorbet) but they were enjoyable. The molten lava choc cake was delicious, and the middle centrepiece was really pretty:

2/F, Landmark Chater (Chater House)
8 Connaught Rd Central
Central, Hong Kong
Tel. + 852 3583 2828

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Delicious lunch @ Taylors Art & Coffee House, Swan Valley (Western Australia)

When we were in Perth last Christmas, my side of the family decided to do something fun and head out to do a self drive tour of the Swan Valley, led by my brother who knew where to go and what to do. We stopped in Taylors Art & Coffee House for lunch, where we ate delicious food and the kids had an open space to run around burning off their energy. It's a popular spot for a good reason.

Wide open space to enjoy the Perth sunshine:

There were kids climbing the tree (not part of our group!):

The frittata with seasonal fillings (AU$13) was fantastic and highly recommended:

The okonomiyaki (AU$17) was a tasty, and it was easy to get the kids to eat veges and protein:

Taylors Art & Coffee House
510 Great Northern Hwy
Middle Swan WA 6056
Tel. +61 447 441 223

Taylors Art & Coffee House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Sunday Brunch @ Hutong, Hong Kong

My aunt-in-law had only good stuff to say about the Sunday brunch at Hutong, and I was curious as to how a Chinese restaurant would do brunch. I'm used to brunch buffets as well as semi-buffets where you could eat all the appetisers and salads you want and order main courses. It turns out that at Hutong, the brunch is an 18-course affair, divided into appetisers (four dishes), dim sum (five dishes), hot dishes (five dishes) and dessert (four dishes). I thought it was a fairly good value at HK$428 as there was more food than we could eat. Hubby often has work dinners at Hutong, usually with colleagues visiting from other international offices, and I can understand why it's a popular choice. There's a great view of Victoria Harbour from the 28th floor, and the old Beijing-style decor is gorgeous. Service was attentive and professional, and the food was superb. Hutong is certainly a unique choice for a leisurely Sunday brunch.

Plenty of tables by the floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the views of the harbour:

The Hong Kong Island skyline:

There are several small private booths for large groups like ours:

The first four group of dishes, the appetisers, plus one special dish of beancurd skin roll for the kids. I loved the seared foie gras with osmanthus-smoked coddled eggs, but I think the others weren't keen on the fact that it was served chilled. The sliced squid with wasabi and cucumber salad in garlic-pepper sauce were enjoyable but not outstanding. The noodles in Sichuan chili sauce was delicious:

These mushrooms bao were pretty to look at, and so yummy too. Very light and fluffy texture:

The lobster wontons were superb:

The chicken guotie (potsticker) were perfectly done:

Though siu mai is an ubiquitous dim sum at yum cha, it's not one of our favourites. These crab siu mai, however, were fantastic and we loved them:

Stir-fried chicken with shallots and black bean sauce, and Kung Po fried cod fillets. Both were delicious, but the cod fillets were outstanding:

The soft shell crabs with dried Sichuan chilies packed a spicy punch, but it was moreish and it had me wanting more.
The pea shoots stir fried with garlic was a gentle accompaniment to the spicy crab

At this point we were all stuffed and so full, but we couldn't refuse dessert. These were steamed baos filled with egg yolk custard:

The crispy glutinous rice balls were a hit with the kids:

Delicious ice cream:

[Prices quoted above do not include 10% service charge.]

28th Floor
1 Peking Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
/Tel. +852 3428 8342

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Delicious French bakery cafe and kiddie fun @ Maison Saint-Honoré, Caversham (Western Australia)

And just like that, we are in 2018. I've been away from this blog for more than a month because life happens, and unfortunately so does death. That is all I will write about it as my heart is still grieving the loss. This was the first time in 12 years since moving away from Perth that I've stayed for more than two weeks, and though the circumstances were much less than ideal, I could take a more leisurely pace than the usual rush-to-see-everyone-and-do-everything Perth itinerary. I visited Maison Saint-Honoré in Caversham twice, the first occasion with baby girl when I met up with a friend prior to hubby and the older two kids arriving in Perth, and I liked it enough to suggest a revisit with the whole family and my mother-in-law. It took us 30 minutes to drive out there, but it was worth it. I love the large outdoor play area for the kids, the fantastic pastries and baked goodies, and the gorgeous French accent from most of the staff. Coffee is great here, and the food was fantastic, even the fussiest kid enjoyed her food. All up it's just the perfect place to enjoy the beautiful Perth summer days with the whole family.

A large outdoor play area to enjoy the Perth sunshine:

So many macaron flavours!

More baked goodies by the cashier where the orders and payments are taken:

The kitchen staff busy at work:

Various breads, cheese crackers, condiments and other food products for sale:

The main dining room:

The outdoor dining area:

Beef Brisket Baguette with caramelised onions, cheese, aioli and coriander:

Salted Caramel Cruffin:

Burger Pulled Pork with brioche bun, caramelised onions, camembert, curry shallots sauce, relish and roast potatoes:

Quiche of the day:

Egg Cocotte - two soft boiled eggs in cocotte with curry shallots sauce and mozzarella with rocket and croque monsieur:

Maison Saint-Honoré
100 Benara Road
Caversham, WA 6055
Tel. +61 8 9377 4674

Maison Saint-Honoré Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 24 November 2017

Birthday lunch @ Nobu [Intercontinental], Hong Kong

I had my birthday a couple of weeks ago. Hubby had just returned from two weeks of work in London, but he wanted to organise something special for my birthday though it was short notice. I requested Japanese, and he mentioned Nobu. My first reaction was: "There's a Nobu in Hong Kong?" How could I have not known? Having babies have certainly taken up much of my resources, and it's evident I've had to let many things slide. I've always wanted to try Nobu, and I'm glad that Nobu came up as one of hubby's suggestions. Nobu is a good option for a classy lunch: there's panoramic harbour views paired with stylish interior, and service is a good balance of warm friendliness and professional efficiency. Our waiter was more than happy to recommend drinks based on our preferences, and to help us with menu selection because sometimes it can be hard to choose due to having so many options! I was lucky to try the new Hokkaido Premium Set Lunch (HK$668) that was launched on that very day, and hubby enjoyed the Signature Tasting Lunch (HK$888). The food was delicious and gorgeously presented, and I honestly liked them all! There were quite a few other enticing menu items, and I would love to try out the bento options one day.

The restaurant interior is long and narrow, which allows for more tables with a view:

A cocktail with yuzu (an excellent choice for those who like fruity cocktails) and the mocktail that came with the Hokkaido Premium Set Lunch, which also had citrus notes of the yuzu fruit:

The appetiser on Signature Tasting Lunch was salmon tartare with caviar:

The first course of the Hokkaido Premium Set Lunch was zuwai gani (snow crab) with miso butter:

Second course on the Signature Lunch was yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno:

Second dish on the Hokkaido Lunch was seared tuna with cheese and jalapeno, and hotate (scallop) with yuzu dressing :

Third course of Signature Lunch - rock shrimp tempura with creamy spicy sauce:

Third dish of Hokkaido Lunch - hokkigai and oyster tempura with ponzu dashi:

Fourth course of Signature Lunch - black cod saikyo yaki. Hubby loves black cod at any Japanese restaurant, and this was excellent - so juicy and flavourful:

Hubby's second cocktail, named Sea Foam which was delicious, made with ume shu (sweet plum wine):

The meat course was grilled US prime beef for the Signature Lunch. This was not as good as the meat dish for the Hokkaido set, but it stands well on its own without comparison:

Meat for the Hokkaido Lunch was braised wagyu short rib. This melted on the tongue:

Sushi for hubby:

My sushi set:

Dessert for the Hokkaido course was titled Snowy Comfort and it featured all things associated with Hokkaido - cheese, corn and lavender. There was also a birthday wish on the dessert, which actually surprised me, even though i should have expected it:

Hubby's dessert was soy panna cotta which I forgot to take a photo of in the fuss of my dessert coming out with a candle and everything. It was also delicious and possibly a boozy dessert. This was a really pleasant first Nobu experience, and I do hope to get the opportunity to try out the other Nobu restaurants in other countries.

NOBU [InterContinental Hong Kong]
2nd Floor,
InterContinental Hong Kong
18 Salisbury Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2313 2323