Showing 41 to 45 of 68 Reviews
Both the café and the coffee were much better than I expect… However,…
Yu E served local roaster Glory Coffee’s Parisian blend. Somehow, the blend reminded me of Coco Espresso which shares the same Sydney root. Its espresso was quite good, beginning with a nice acidity and end with a syrupy consistency but I couldn’t detect its licorice finish per Glory’s tasting note. Blame it on me then.
Also, I didn’t feel any hint of Robusta in the blend. The body was like any other all arabica blend, ie no so big, in-your-face things like most Robusta (Zambra and Segafredo came to my mind for the Robusta kick/monster). However, the lingering effect of caffeine cast some doubt on me all day which, at first, I thought I didn’t have enough rest. Until I looked up on Glory’s website.
In fact, it is a very nice job and I prefer this blend to what was served at Zambra. However, if I have a choice, I would avoid any blend with robusta at all costs due to its lingering high caffeine effects (I believe the amount is about double of that in arabica) as I don’t drink coffee for its caffeine.
Cappuccino has cocoa powder in there and I cannot order another one without the powder as I’m in a rush. So, I could only tell about texture and temp. The texture was similar to that at Fuel, ie better than Coco but nowhere as velvety as Crema, the best in Hong Kong, IMHO. The temp was just within the high end of the acceptable range but I did tell the barista I like my Capp warm. So, I guess the modus operandi of this café is similar to others in term of highest possible temp for hot drinks to fit local taste. To be on the safe side, order your drink warm here.
The chocolate mousse cake was good but nothing’s fantastic. All cakes were saliently boast of homemade/inhouse. It went well with its coffee though but that’s about as far as I will go with its chocolate mousse. Mind you I’m not a cake expert and, in general, I don’t like almost all cake in Hong Kong.
With all above, I though to myself I could recommend this café. However, I was totally flabbergasted by the bill. My tiny piece of cake cost me HK$32 and the whole bill came in at HK$116 with 10% service charge. This means that each coffee costs me about HK$30-40, extremely steep for the location. I could have about the same level of coffee and cake at Fuel or a much friendlier café like Coco or much better coffee overall at Crema, the latter two at much lower prices. I really wonder who will come across town for this place and pay IFC’s price with the similar product so it amazed me who the café thought of as a target customer.
So drop by if you’re in the area and don’t mind to pay $$$. Its set lunch was around HK$200+ and its dinner set even goes higher.
From my seat
Both espresso and capp were good but...
Chocolate mousse cake
What I had... $$$ for the location and offerings
Espresso and Cappuccino
Date of Visit: Jan 02, 2010
Spending per head: Approximately HKD116(Tea)Other Ratings:
Value for Money 2
I have to confess first I was not a fan of Shanghainese food so much so that every time people say good things about it I cringe. Oily, tasteless and, at times, lots of works but futile result seemed to be what I identify with this regional cuisine I wonder why one would have to sacrifice its hard earn dollars in the city that probably serves the best regional Chinese cuisine. Nevertheless, I continue to hear lots of compliment on the food which I relegated it to other issues, ie a hyperbole, an acquired taste or “they can easily be satisfied” kinda thing. Not anymore with this restaurant!!!
One could easily feel the potential of the restaurant from the first sip of its tea to the dessert. Cooking just right, the Drunken Chicken also tasted fresh and clean, a departure from the typical “dirty” fridge smell in both meat and the accompanied liquid I typically experienced at other places. So clean that the leftover spirit on the plate was good enough to drink by itself.
The seasonal cold sliced jellied lamb (for my lacking of a better word), is my favorite with its smooth and subtle taste that was further accentuated with a sweet brown sauce (I believe it’s hoi sin) and a julienne of the lively white part of the green onion. A must try while it’s still in season.
My dinner companion loved its jelly fish though its rather thick cut was way too chewy for my liking. The honeyed ham sandwich was delicious beyond my expectation. The honeyed ham inside was tender and candy like vs. my expectation of a chewy tough piece of sugary meat. The dish is expensive as this restaurant stripped out a lot of its ham to get into the tender part of the meat.
The mandarin fish was surprisingly good, making it less of a center piece and more of a real food. Its flesh was made into a sort of fish ball like texture but continued to maintain its tenderness and fish taste unlike the same offering from other places which were just harsh, rough and tasteless. The addition of some brownish red pickle really made eating this dish more enjoyable. Kudos to the chef indeed for this dish and the HK$300 we paid for the dish which worth every penny for the skill of its chef.
The green pea and fresh Chinese yam was an interesting dish. The sweetness of the green pea was perfectly balanced by the elastic fresh yam globule. Cantonese typically uses this yam in a dried form for boiling its chicken soup, ie a thin white slice when you ask for herb to boil a Cantonese chicken soup at the herbal/medicine shop.
The weakest dish among all was the wonton in the chicken soup. Not that it was not good but you could easily have an OK one at any restaurant. Nevertheless, its meticulousness was again manifested in the form of crisp and mildly sweet soup with tender but not soggy wonton skin and just enough and tendered ground meat filling. MSG was sparingly used or not at all as I didn’t feel thirsty when I’m home, my test for MSG usage.
I had a bias on its dessert which was quite similar to the food I was brought up with. The steamed Japanese pumpkin stuffed with sticky rick and red bean paste was sublime. The sweetness and silky smooth pumpkin flesh complemented the sticky rice and not too sweet bean paste. If you liked to moisten the dish, additional “syrup” (more like sticky liquid Japanese dessert uses) was there to help you out and softened the sticky rice a bit. If there’s one thing I could complain about, it’s the dish with too little sticky rice they served. However, judging from conversation with waitstaff, people tends to bag this dessert home as they couldn’t finish it while mine was a bit more than two tablespoons left for the doggy bag.
Had I started my Shanghainese food experience at this restaurant, I would have understood why its food was much talked about. I remembered kept on asking for more recommendation/dishes that night as it’s an eye opening for me dish after dish. But all the good things had to come to an end when our stomachs were filled to the brim with happiness.
For the Shanghainese cuisine uninitiated, I highly recommend starting your experience at this restaurant. Ask the waiter for help if you don’t know what’s good there. They were really helpful for our group that night. For the Shanghainese food buff, I guess you know your way around better than me though I believe you won’t be disappointed judging from kind words of a well known Chinese food figure from Toronto who shared the table with me and the sight of Centenarian Sir Run Run Shaw passing me into the restaurant for his dinner on that night. Be forewarn that its dinner is the way to go for this restaurant as I “heard” its lunch offering was night and day and the dollar skimping will probably end up just that for your experience there.
Yummy lamb jelly
Honeyed ham sandwich
Green pea and fresh Chinese yam
Stuffed pumpkin with sticky rice & red bean paste
Date of Visit: Dec 26, 2009
Spending per head: Approximately HKD400(Dinner)Other Ratings:
Value for Money 5
Not much I can say about this fusion place. To me, its emphasis is much less on the taste of the food but more on a convenient, clean, somewhat hip (depend on how you define it) and a nice place to eat and pass the time, ie anything but food.
Steamed egg was quite smooth and that’s the only good thing I can say about this dish. It’s pretty tasteless even kids might revolt on eating it.
The tonkotsu (pork bone soup) ramen was passable but the soup tastes very artificial with some kind of cough medicine undertone.
Its buttered corn was so ordinary and expected. Not interesting but wasn’t bad if you felt like trying.
The much talked about pumpkin salad is actually celery and carrot salad with pumpkin dressing. Celery and carrot salad with pumpkin dressing... It was quite crunchy and should be interesting for a person who is looking for a new idea but that’s as far as I could positively say about this salad. Taste quite bland though.
The other much talked about dish I knew of is stir fried squid ink noodle with seafood. It’s true that it’s not that oily even the dish was stir fried. Its soup base was much better than its Tonkotsu one but there’s still a lot of room to improve. At least there should be more “sea” taste in the soup. The noodle was on the verge of soggy and, again, tasted quite bland.
The surprise is the curry Tonkatsu with rice which I think the curry tasted OK as I expect the worst from its look. The rice wasn’t that good though, kinda soggy with no nice rice fragrance. Don’t expect too much here.
Its gyoza did not look appealing at all, ie as if it’s DOA kinda food. However, it didn’t taste that bad, at least it wasn’t as salty as its Japanese counterpart. If the fusion concept works here at all, this is the dish that probably works out the best of the concept. Still, don’t expect too much too.
In all, I don’t think you miss much if you have no chance to eat here.
Pork bone soup - has cough medicine undertone
Steamed egg - smooth but tasteless
Pumpkin salad - good idea but the taste = ?
Buttered corn... So ordinary
Curry rice. Not too bad. Not spicy
Look dead but surprisingly OK
Stir fried squid ink noodle+seafood. Overrated!
Curry rice and Gyoza
Date of Visit: Nov 01, 2009
Spending per head: Approximately HKD80(Dinner)Other Ratings:
Value for Money 3
Today, I like to venture away from my usual salad joint, Metropolitan Café, and see how the specialist does.
I opted for Steakhouse, one of its designed salads which seemed to work out better than order separately on the dollar basis.
The good thing first. Unlike soaking wet salad I typically had at The Met, the amount of dressing here was just right, enough to coat all ingredient but not overwhelm them. This makes the overall salad feel light and the taste of each ingredient was still there.
I think they could improve a bit on its vegetable. The romaine I had feel clean and nice, better than sorta limpy/not clean taste I had at the Met. However, I missed a more lively taste in the vegetable. Serve colder might help, I think. Also, other ingredients felt clean, unlike those at the Met which, sometimes, I can sense it’s about time they throw them away.
The grilled steak was quite lean and its taste reminded me of steak sandwich I had at Subway which is not a good thing, IMHO. More or less remind me of a protein thing than some flavorful/worthwhile addition to the meal.
There was not much to talk about its “fresh” grilled flatbread. It neither adds any dimension to the dish nor deducts anything out of it. Skip it, you missed nothing. Had it, you wonder why it’s there. I think it’s just there to make it unique, ie a good selling/marketing point.
The soup can be improved. The seafood chowder was quite creamy but lacked the body. Could be great if they thicken it a bit more with potato or cracker. Also, there was no sea taste at all in the soup. Luckily, some corns were there to ‘bright it up’ a bit. Not recommend for this one.
The soup and salad set me back $93, quite pricey for this kind of establishment which are almost all white and look rather lifeless/sterile I want to leave as soon as possible. The Met is much better in this aspect. The waiter/salad assembler was quite nice though he forgot I ask for no tomato in my salad.
Will I be back? You bet. I cannot say this place wow me on any dimension but I felt like I like to give it another chance. But for the money, I think sticking to the Met wasn’t too bad even though it isn’t much cheaper. It’s like I know them better, both goods and bads, so I could live with it and overlook its flaws.
Counter I sat
Its work station
Steakhouse 'designed' salad... so so
Seafood chowder. Corn saved the day... Avoid
Avoid seafood chowder
Date of Visit: Nov 06, 2009
Spending per head: Approximately HKD93(Dinner)Other Ratings:
Value for Money 3
I ventured out of my way today for a cup of filtered coffee as I typically will make it myself if the coffee is not espresso. The choice is obvious, Xen Coffee for a Vac Pot brew
The overall experience was great, particularly the hospitality from both of its proprietor. They even recognize the cups I had last time there..
Also, I like to thank him for giving me a meaningful souvenir from his trip to events organized by Specialty Coffee Association of Japan (SCAJ) which, under the influence of too many caffeine today, I forgot to take it back…
Back to what’s in the cup, I was actually surprised that I can hardly distinguish the character of Nicaragua and Guatemala. Only after Guat cooled down a while (5 minutes, I guess, after it was served), I can finally sense the famous smoky flavor Guat was typically associated with. Neither was the fruit juice tone of Nicaragua from the beginning to the last drop.
IMHO, this is mostly due to its darker roast profile that most third wave roasters avoid in order to showcase its origin flavor. Nevertheless, it seemed to go better with the food offering there than if you just want to drink the coffee by itself.
Also, almost no acidity in its coffee due to darker roast profile. It was dawn on me why Xen chose to roast it coffee that way after I attended a seminar/tasting session organized by hkcoffee.com on Saturday. At the meeting, one of the participant said the coffee he had was too “sour” and just average. My take on the same coffee was that it’s good but not great vs. the great days at famous cafés in HK. Being an "acid freak", I would actually like to have more acidity in that cup. Such a diverse opinion should be the reason while Xen wants to play it safe by roasting darker. Only if someone would showcase the “better” side of acidity to coffee drinkers in Hong Kong.
The Earl Grey Crème Brûlée/mousse cake I had was not my cup of tea but it served well to reduce the effect of caffeine on my stomach (it’s the second and third cup of day within 15 minutes after I had a cappuccino expertly prepared by the 1st HK GBC Tracy Kwok which was good as usual).
Of course, a café can’t be everything for everyone and I respect Xen's decision. While it’s not up to 100% of my expectation, I would say that Xen is definitely a place to drop by if you want to have a decent cup of filtered coffee and don’t mind its price tag.
Nicaragua and Guatemala coffee... Hold the milk and sugar
Date of Visit: Oct 25, 2009
Spending per head: Approximately HKD92(Tea)Other Ratings:
Value for Money 3