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Full Cup Cafe Smile Aug 18, 2014   Edit
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Categories : Western | Upstair Cafe | Private Party

The entrance to the building is in an easy-to-miss, dodgy looking alley along Dundas Street.

Full Cup spans several floors of Hanwai Commercial Building with each floor catering to a specific theme/vibe. I went on a Monday night to the live music floor (3rd floor) and was able to get a table immediately.
Mini stage

Mini stage

 
Contrary to other reviews I've read, Full Cup does have an English menu so do not fret, non-Chinese readers. You will have access to all they have on offer.

I ordered the beef cubes in green curry set which includes a drink and an appetizer. The drink came not too long after I made my order but the salad took a while to arrive, and the beef curry soon after.
Apple Green Tea

Apple Green Tea

 
I totally loved the salad. The combination of the different textures and flavours - smooth and creamy yoghurt; tangy, sweet and sour flavours from the assorted fruits and berries; chewy raisins; and crunchy, fiber-y muesli was amazing on the palate.
Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad

 
The beef cubes were soft and tender, yet cooked through; and you can really feel the burn of the curry through your nose. Delicious!
Beef Cubes in Green Curry

Beef Cubes in Green Curry

 
And for dessert, I ordered the New York cheesecake (which took a while to arrive as well). It was good, but not extraordinarily memorable.
New York Cheesecake

New York Cheesecake

 
I liked the food, I loved the atmosphere. The staff assigned to my table was very nice and accomodating, too. But I think they could work on their food delivery timing better. I think the salad shouldn't have taken too long to prepare, yet it arrived just a little before I got my mains so I ended up eating slightly cold mains because I wanted to finish my salad before starting on my curry. But then again, in all my upstairs cafe experience, the time it takes for food and drinks to arrive is always too long. Or maybe I should've told the server that I want my salad first. Or maybe the waiting is supposed to be a part of the experience.

Overall, Full Cup's a pretty good after work dinner or hang out place.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Apple Green Tea,Fruit Salad,Beef Cubes in Green Curry,New York Cheesecake
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Jul 21, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately HK$120(Dinner)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 5  |  
Service
 4  |  
Hygiene
 3  |  
Value for Money
 4

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Bouchon Bistro Francais OK Jun 30, 2014   Edit
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Categories : French | Western Restaurant

For want of foie gras, we decided to go to Bouchon because we figured, where better to eat foie gras than at a French restaurant, right?

So up we went to Elgin Street on a sweltering Saturday evening. The place isn't very big and bookings are highly recommended. It should be noted that they have two seatings on weekends - the first one from 6pm to 830pm and the second one from 845pm onwards.

We got a booth at the back corner, next to the semi-open kitchen with the fantastic garlic bulb hangings; and started the evening with a glass of their house Bordeaux and two appetizers.
House Bordeaux

House Bordeaux

 
The assorted meat platter consisted of foie gras, bayonne ham, garlic sausages, saucisson, chorizo and rillette. Sadly, the foie gras, which was the reason why we picked Bouchon for dinner was totally unmemorable. However, the saucisson and chorizo were delicious! A little tough and chewy, salted to perfection, with just the right amount of fat that melts on your fingers as you nibble it away.

 
They paired perfectly well with our other appetizer which was the assorted cheese platter. We had Camembert, Roquefort and one other cheese that I don't remember the name of.

 
Then we ordered steaks for mains that came with a mountain of shoestring fries that tasted like Picnic (the pre-packed potato chips in a can). (I make this comparison as a compliment, by the way.)

Although I asked for my steak to be medium well, it came to me well done; there was no slightly pink centre and it was almost carton-like in texture.

 
In hindsight, maybe we should've skipped the steak and had frog legs and duck instead (which the table next to us had, and they looked exquisite!)

We capped dinner off with an order of their dark chocolate mousse with assorted berries. This was, hands down, the best food I had that night.

 
The place is a little pricey for the food quality, but the extra amount paid is probably for the service, which was outstanding.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Dark Chocolate Mousse
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Jun 21, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately HK$500(Dinner)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 5  |  
Hygiene
 4  |  
Value for Money
 3

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Kwan Kee  Smile Jun 30, 2014   Edit
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Categories : Hong Kong Style | Noodles/Rice Noodles

My friends from work took me to this place for lunch on a rainy Tuesday and we got the last available table when we got there at about 10 minutes to one. We spent the next 10 minutes savoring the rich, thick scent of simmering meat inside the tiny restaurant and when the staff started serving at around 1pm, a queue of others hoping to catch lunch has formed outside.

We ordered the song lam ho(牛爽腩). Song lam, apparently, is a choicier cut of brisket taken near the flank.

As a staff comes over to bring me my bowl of noodles, I caught a whiff of it and boy, it smelled good! The soup base was rich and flavourful and every slurp felt like licking a cow. I'm kidding, of course. I have no idea what licking a cow tastes like.
Rich, thick, high-end slices of beef brisket over rice noodles

Rich, thick, high-end slices of beef brisket over rice noodles

 
There were bits and pieces of tendon as well, which might've contributed to the sticky-rich texture of the soup. I didn't bother with the red vinegar and chili garlic since the soup was flavourful enough as it was.

Although they have an English menu, the translation's a little off so you might want to bring Cantonese-speaking friends if you come by. And for the adventurous ones, they also serve bull penis in soup (with or without noodles).
English Menu (photo courtesy of Brenda)

English Menu (photo courtesy of Brenda)

 
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Song lam ho
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Jun 24, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately HK$45(Lunch)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 5  |  
Environment
 2  |  
Service
 3  |  
Hygiene
 2  |  
Value for Money
 4

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Sun Kee OK Jun 30, 2014   Edit
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Categories : Hong Kong Style | Tea Restaurant | Noodles/Rice Noodles

Another "hidden gem" in Tsim Sha Tsui, Sun Kee is tucked in a tiny, back corridor on the lobby of Champagne Court. The general location seems seedy and the entrance is easy to miss what with a bigger and "louder" restaurant right next to it, but once you walk by and see the countless newspaper and magazine cut outs featuring the restaurant and the celebrities who patronize it plastered all over it's walls, you'll know you're in the right place.

And no, it wasn't the celebrity endorsements that drew me - it was the recommendation of a friend that I try their cheesy pork noodles (after I told that friend how much I enjoyed Star Cafe's tomato-based beef noodles).

The pork neck had that beautiful smokey, slightly-burnt-at-the-edges taste and the creamy cheese sauce was superb! (Though it was more creamy than cheesy - a little more cheesy taste and texture to it wouldn't hurt.) The noodles were... well, instant. (I don't think the cheesy pork neck would've gone well with any other type of noodles - unless you go western and use penne, maybe.)

It wasn't a big serving but by the time I was halfway through, I was feeling satiated - probably due to the super creamy cheese sauce (plus the fact that instant noodles have always made me feel bloated), and also probably due to the glass of iced yuanyang I had with it - I should've ordered a drink that wasn't "creamy" at all to offset all the creamy goodness I was already getting from my bowl of noodles.

Don't expect much in way of service though. And bring change. They apparently have signs all over the place saying they don't accept HK$1000 bills but they were all in Cantonese, which I couldn't read, and a HK$1000 was all I had. The cashier eventually took my money and gave me change, but not without a lot of frowning and grumbling first.
Creamiest Meal Pair - cheesy pork noodles and iced yuanyang

Creamiest Meal Pair - cheesy pork noodles and iced yuanyang

 

 
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Cheesy Pork Noodles
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Jun 15, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately HK$55(Dinner)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 2  |  
Hygiene
 2  |  
Value for Money
 3

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Zafran Smile May 01, 2014   Edit
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Categories : Spanish | Western Restaurant | Bar

After happy hour cocktails at Solas, we crossed to the other side of Wyndham Street to sample the highly recommended tapas at Zafran where we were met by the friendliest and perkiest restaurant receptionist I've ever met to date. Although we didn't have a booking, we were immediately escorted to the basement where we were given the choice of taking a table or eating at the bar. We opted for bar seats since they had an open kitchen and there's just something very homey and cozy about being able to watch your food made.

Their main menu is divided into two parts - Golden Oldies and Spring Remixes. Golden Oldies encompass the more traditional Spanish cuisines, while Spring Remixes are the more modern variants of older classics. We were recommended to order from both sets so as to sample both old school and new world tastes.

We started off with some garlic chili prawns which were cooked to perfection. These came with a platter of bread that we delightfully dipped into the garlic and chili-infused olive oil "sauce".
Garlic chili prawns

Garlic chili prawns

 
Then came our cheese platter, which was prepared by the chef himself.
Chef preparing our cheese platter

Chef preparing our cheese platter

 
It consisted of red wine goat's, which is identifiable by its distinct red rim; Idiazabal, which is made from unpasturized sheep milk; Mahon cheese, which was kinda crumbly (and I did not especially enjoy); and rosemary Manchego, which was my favourite of them all.
Red Wine Goat's, Mahon, Idiazabal and Rosemary Manchego

Red Wine Goat's, Mahon, Idiazabal and Rosemary Manchego

 
As with any cheese platter, these came with an assortment of nuts, crackers and thin fruit slices.

After our cheese platter came our tuna tataki, which again, was prepared by chef himself. The tuna was fresh, tender and perfectly seared on the edges. I have no idea what the green and pinkish, orangey thin films of dressing were, but the whole thing was just delectable.

 
Then came our Dancing Queen - slightly salty squid with sweet caramelized onions that blended perfectly in every bite.
Squid with caramelized onion, black ink and parsley vinaigrette

Squid with caramelized onion, black ink and parsley vinaigrette

 
And lastly (for our main tapas),  we had the Ajoarriero (again, prepared by chef himself). This is chopped cod fish topped with slow-cooked egg topped with potato and olive cappuccino. To eat, just plunge your spoon all the way to the bottom of the cup to break the egg and let the runny yolk mix in with the lot. Yummy.
Cod fish with slow cooked egg, potato and Abequina olive cappuccino

Cod fish with slow cooked egg, potato and Abequina olive cappuccino

 
For dessert, we had the cheesecake with mixed berries and ice cream. Every spoonful was an assortment of textures and tastes - the luscious chewiness of the cheesecake cubes with the sourness of the berries mixed with the sweetness and smoothness of the ice cream; every spoonful was exquisite.
Macadamia cheese cake with berries and ice cream

Macadamia cheese cake with berries and ice cream

 
And just when we thought things couldn't get any better, the awesome manager, James, came over with another plate of dessert - fried milk. And this one was on the house. (Thank you, manager James, for the free extra dessert!) Basic comfort food yet utterly divine.
Fried milk with berries and Lavender sauce

Fried milk with berries and Lavender sauce

 
Since it was Good Friday when we went, we didn't order any meat (in observance of Lent) so we will definitely be going back to also try the highly recommended suckling pig and Wagyu beef cheeks.

Affordable, gratifying Spanish tapas in the heart of party land, Zafran is a wonderful find indeed.

Supplementary Information:
Apparently, the main entrance isn't the one along Wyndham Street opposite Solas but in the alley right next to Tivo.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Ajoarriero,Gambas Ajillo,Red Tuna Tataki
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Apr 18, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately HK$500(Dinner)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 5  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 5  |  
Hygiene
 5  |  
Value for Money
 5

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