|Taste ||Environment ||Service ||Hygiene |
Value for Money
a star on Star street May 01, 2013
Time of the year when it was the birthday of "the principal" in my life (my dear mum); it made perfect sense to bring my family to "The Principal" for a star experience on Star Street.
Widely recognised to be a promising addition of the Press Room Group when it was first opened; the Principal has proven to be a successful and sophisticated member since then. Hidden discretely down on the far end of Star Street, but it gained the one-star Michelin recognition promptly after opening for a year or so. Power of minimalistic design. Spot-on example of "less is more". The Principal has a clean yet sophisticated interior, the bright airy space is filled with relaxing vibes.
...Alas, I have to start with some negatives (I prefer getting the painful and depressing bits out of the way first ). We were greeted pleasantly, brought to the table and seated. And just as we got comfortable... we were told it was the wrong table...(ok, fine)...well, then we all stood up and followed the usherette to the other side of the restaurant; when another usherette/waitress gave her a stern stare full of disapproval, guess what - we headed to the wrong table again.. Anyway, we were eventually seated and we did manage to eat (LOL). Slight hiccup, but one which I would not expect from a place of this (I presumed high) caliber (or seeking to be seen as this caliber). Let's fast-forward a bit and get through another anticlimax; for two of our courses, the waitress failed/forgot to present/explain to us the composition of the dish (ok.. maybe I am being mean, but again, would have expected more from a place of this caliber). Oh and we were not served bread when some other tables seemed to have got them...
A simple but inviting a la carte menu, though we had our eyes on the "Degustation Menu" (HK$1080 - quite reasonably priced). Me being me, I signed up for the wine pairing (by adding an extra HK$500, you have a matching wine for each of the 10 course! Fairly good value!).
Second course "Caviar" (photo on the right). The white bed under the caviar is no ordinary custard, but custard blessed with bacon essence. Extremely creamy and backed with aroma of pancetta - it was very palatable and an excellent base for the sensual and distinctive scent of caviar. The presentation of this course (with the box and the name of the restaurant printed on top..) reminded me of Robuchon's Caviar Box (which I absolutely LOVE). I would say Robuchon's take is more exquisite, but I very much enjoyed The Principal's "Caviar" as well. Nice!
Fourth course "Mackerel" (photo beneath). Very fresh Mackerel with a hint of smokiness rested on aljoblanco. Aljoblanco is a typical Spanish cold soup from Andalusia; this is a warmer version but equally aromatic of bread, almond, vanilla and olive oil (a bit like good old Chinese almond tea, except it's better, it's with more characters). The gem was the golden apple mash; neither over-powering nor redundant, it amazed me how well it complimented and brought out the freshness of the mackerel immensely. Gorgeous dish.
Sixth course "Ravioli" (photo beneath). First, let's pause, breathe, take a moment and admire the oozing yolk (LOL yes I have a thing for runny yolks). Not an ordinary ravioli. The ravioli skin was crisped to golden, the warm beautiful yolk hidden within was enhanced with pancetta essence. The creamy and buttery iberico parmentier base (iberico flavoured mash) was not heavy at all and brought all components of the dish together effectively. I licked my spoon for the last bit of it.
Eighth course "Pigeon" (photo beneath). This dish consisted of the breast and the drumstick, cooked in slightly different way but both super succulent. I enjoyed the breast particularly, it displayed (borrowing a description from the wine world) hints of CIGAR BOX - elegant balance of sweetness and cedarwood with waves of smokiness. Medium rare; very juicy and savoury. Rather perfect fat balance as well. Nice bed of bomba rice, "soil" (made from "cepes" which is an edible fungus) and cute little truffles which were all brought to life by the rich gravy. Yumm.
Tenth course "Rapa Nui" (photo on the right). I smiled when I saw this. Rapa Nui, also known as the Easter Island - with their world-famous large stone statues (aka Moai) (dated back to 1100CE!!). 2 Moai for each of us, presented elegantly on a dark plate. Each was a simple shaped-chocolate filled with roasted corn ice-cream. Bits of "rocks" which were sweet milk chocolate mousse were laid on "palm leaves" which were dry cocunut flakes dyed in green (pretty clever!). Gorgeous to look at and tasted well.
Our night ended with petit fours; and my brother performing the catchy line from "the Night at the Museum": "ME no dum-dum, YOU dum-dum! You bring me gum-gum".
I could not help smiling, from my heart.
That meal we had. That vibe around the table. That smile on my principal's face. That - is exactly why I work hard, and very hard, at work.
Many more to come.
...as I walked out of the restaurant, I clicked on my iphone and texted my best girlfriends proposing Sunday brunch together, at the Principal, with free-flow.
Value for Money4
Elegant Dining @ The Principal Jan 23, 2013
I've had lunch at The Principal long back when it first opened its doors and it left a decent impression. So I decided to come back again for dinner following my disappointing experience with Cepage down the road over christmas.
Did my late dining experience exceed its precedent?
Hands down it did!
We were politely greeted at the door and shown to our lovely table. The Principal's decor really struck me as elegant or what I like to classify as 'new school elegant' which usually comprises of clean wooden floorboards and white table cloths. It gives off a very relaxing airy vibe, so for those who want decadently presented food, detailed service and a non pretentious setting, The Principal is the place for you.
The service was excellent, the Maitre D' was very friendly and not a bit overbearing. He eloquently explained dishes to me which I most appreciated, as I find such precise articulacy very rare. He also suggested that we try the Iberico Ham which I had my eyes on anyway, so we went ahead and placed our orders.
Starting from the Left you have your classic cheese dough balls and on the right is Parmesan 'Marshmellow'
(1) The thick dark cuts on the top left hand corner
(2) The normal cuts on the bottom right hand corner
(3) The more fatty cuts in the middle
All sourced from different parts of the ham. We liked the thick dark cuts the best, it was relatively chewier and most robust in flavour. This dish came at a hefty price of $345, but I guess being cured for 42 months and of its taste and quality, if one were a ham lover there should be nothing holding you back!
The crab was fresh and meaty, every bite was heavenly until I landed on my last bite where I was greeted with some crab shell remains. I didn't really mind, but if I were to be very very picky about it pixie points have been discounted from the overall dining experience and food quality. So hopefully that was a one off experience and doesn't befall on another customer.
Pork Belly. It was perfectly tender and juicy, the amounts of fat were perfectly proportioned, I didn't feel like I was ingesting mouth fulls of lard and the skin was crisp to perfection. Only comment I have was the sauce or lackof sauce that came with the dish, it was very decent on its own but I thought that with a correct sauce it would have elevated the dish. Or perhaps if the Pork Belly was more caramelized and fell apart upon each forking that would seem more suited with the reduced amount of sauce. Overall, it was still a decent dish and should not be missed!
I must admit I undermined the dish after eyeing it up as you can tell it looked pretty but not quite what I originally had in mind. But I took one bite and changed my mind. Don't be fooled by the chocolate cake crumbles, they were very moist and chocolatey and even in crumbles went very well with the creme fraiche sorbet!
We were served with these mango truffle balls on a stick coated in crackling chocolate pops. These were brilliant.
Also on the side was white truffle macaroons. These were even better!
In conclusion I was very pleased with our experience with The Principal. Its decor and ambience is my most ideal dining setting for a refined and relaxing night with friends or family. Service was splendid credits to the Maitre D' of the night (who sweetly managed to rush out the restaurant doors to bid us farewell) and efficient staff that served us. Food was decadent and decent. I was very pleased and most definitely will return again. If you're not looking to pay extortionate prices or simply just crave a break from the usual branded establishments so to speak but still wish to enjoy refined food in an elegant setting, The Principal is really not to be missed. If dinner prices are still too hefty, do drop by for lunch which is much more affordable but just as good!
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)
Date of Visit: Jan 22, 2013
Spending per head: Approximately HKD1000
Value for Money4
. The Principal - Innovative food at its Finest! . Jun 19, 2012
As a self-confessed foodie, I got to give it to the Press Room Group for always bringinging in new concepts and dining experiences to Hong Kong food enthusiasts*!
Apart from the Press Room, the Classified chain, The Pawn , SML and The News Room, the Press Room Group has now added a new member to their restaurant family - The Principal.
Tucked away in a spacious corner of Star street and right below Star Crest, The Principal welcomes you with a very comfy looking sofa and a doorman at the entrance. ** Do be careful when you sit on the sofa as it is actually a sculpture and NOT a real sofa! The same goes for the "arm chair" in the washroom* I have been to The Principal several times now and have gotten used to this type of Modern European cuisine. Not only is the Principal's Spanish chef a real sight for sore eyes, his dishes are meticulously arranged and his play on flavour combinations is fantastic! Apart from the a la carte menu, diners can also choose from a 5 or 8 course tasting meal which is excellently balanced.
Instead of the usual bread basket, The Principal welcomes its guests with a tray of goodies: Caramel pepper popcorn, almonds and little Rosemary puffs which I especially enjoy eating (had to request for more!). These puffs go very nicely with a glass of champagne. If they had some finely diced creamy mushrooms inside, I could imagine it being the perfect canapé for a cocktail*!
Bread lovers don't despair! Throughout the meal, servers would offer you a wonderful selection of bread. I like their potato olive bread and brioche buns.
Taking a new spin on crab cakes, the CRAB would not disappoint as an appetizer!
** NOTE TO BRUNCH LOVERS ** The Principal's brunch is something you should definitely check out if you would like to try something other than the usual eggs benedicts and waffles. It is the perfect place to laze and drink free-flowing champagne on Sunday afternoons with many delightful surprises!
Value for Money4
disapointed May 03, 2012
hm disappointed of meat kobe!! ,firm ,a red wine quite good, the dessert is original but too dry! I struggled to finish! the waiter told me this is not good? I answered, i eat slowly i don't want to stifle.
Date of Visit: Apr 06, 2012
Spending per head: Approximately HKD900(Dinner)
Value for Money3
A star on Star Street Mar 15, 2012
People always ask, 'What's there to do in Hong Kong?' My hobby is to dig into the foodie world and look for new restaurants, and I have set my eyes on The Principal. A fan of the Press Room Group, I was very much excited that the group finally opens its first high-end restaurant on Star Street. There was no reason to thwart me from visiting this new baby of the Group.
There was actually a doorman standing at the entrance, and as we entered the restaurant, I loved how the tables were set widely apart, unlike the restaurants we usually visited around Soho. The menu started with a page of introduction to the Principal's aim - to serve simple but good food. We picked what we'd like and here we went, dinner started. First it came with the Amuse Bouche. I liked the cookie with lightly shredded cheddar, it was quite interesting that you were eating a crunchy cookie while feeling this soft fluffiness in your mouth. The bread basket was average, I chose a lemon flavored bun and a seaweed bun. The flavor was mostly shrouded by balsamic and olive oil.
Supplementary Information:I saw that there was actually a semi-private dining area at the restaurant, looked spacious with nice wooden decor. Think this is quite ideal for a 6-8 people dinner party
Date of Visit: Feb 25, 2012
Spending per head: Approximately HKD600(Dinner)
Value for Money3