Western

Where:
Wilber’s
62 Zhu si gang er ma Road
Yuexiu District
Guangzhou, China

广东省广州市越秀区竹丝岗二马路62号

Phone:
+86 020-37611101

Price:
CNY350 (c.USD55) for the set 5 course menu.  Including 3 bottles of Chilean red wine between 6 people (no judgment) – about CNY500 each (USD80), all-in

The deal:
A bunch of us from Hong Kong rolled into Guangzhou for the weekend, which puzzled almost 100% of everyone we told this to.  “Guangzhou??  What the fuck are you going to do there?” and we had a vague answer around a cycling tour on Saturday, potentially hiking a mountain on Sunday and yum cha on Monday. I’ll level with you – our planned mountain hike degenerated into:

  • A buffet breakfast at the Mandarin Oriental where we tried to order a bottle of bubbles, they were sold out and they suggested we try the SPUMANTE which resulted in my friend instantly handing back the menu firmly stating “Spumante is just no good” with her sunglasses hiding The Most Dismissive Look In The World;
  • Repeatedly trying to book a free flow Veuve Cliquot Champagne Sunday Roast at the Mandarin Oriental which despite the MO TV Channel declaring this as an available option, all we seemed to be able to confim was free flow Cloudy Bay Sparkling Wine (fuck no!!);
  • Buying numerous bottles of Moet from the nearest supermarket and feeling quite bad when the MO sent a heavily pregnant lady to bring us a big fuck off ice bucket;
  • Ordering a shit tonne of room service mojitos (MO Mojitos get a FUCK YEAH!);
  • Playing Deep Forest’s “Lullaby” and then Enigma’s “Return to Innocence” as I declared that this had been my planned “Reflective Top of the Mountain” jam;
  • Using Spotify to find karaoke versions of Les Miserable songs and then using The Lonely Planet’s Guangzhou Chinese History to create new lyrics for “I Dreamed a Dream”.

So after almost 10 hours of this “mountain hike” we poured ourselves into a cab and off to Wilber’s, a white three storey colonial style house which declares itself to be “The Best Little Foodhouse in Guangzhou”.  We’d already been given the heads up that Wilber’s was a LGBT friendly venue and if there was any doubt, we were led to a private room on the second floor which was covered entirely in quotes from Barbra Streisand musicals.  I just imagined HK Homies taking photos of this quote, instagramming and hashtagging it #sotrue #yousaidit #fuckyeahHK

Everybody ought to have a maid,
Everybody ought to have a serving-girl,
A loyal and unswerving girl,
Whose quieter than a mouse

– Stephen Sondheim

At Wilber’s it’s a five course set menu with a Starter / Soup / Pasta / Meat / Dessert sequence, which a choice of three for each one.  The menu was pretty fucking solid and there was a bit of inner turmoil as I decided between which course to get.  Given that we’d foregone any solid food after breakfast (except if you count the mint in the mojitos) we were beyond grateful for our handsome waiter who obligingly provided us with several serves of FUCK YEAH bread with butter and duck rilette. I ordered the mushroom vol au vent, the double boiled duck + foie gras soup, the oxtail raviolo (sold out of the Spaghetti Vongole), the rib eye with roasted bone marrow and then the lemon tart. The food itself was well presented, tasty and the waiters were well synchronised in ensuring that everyone’s meals came out at the same time. I fucking loved the rib eye with the bone marrow (ermagerd, I just want someone to give me a fuck tonne of roasted bone marrow and a loaf of bread so I can get seriously down and dirty without having to savour anything).  I gotta give a fuck no to the lemon and passionfruit tart though – just too sweet with too thick pastry.  I just can’t seem to get fuck yeah dessert courses anymore though.

Each course isn’t huge in size and I was getting concerned that I’d leave hungry – especially after my lone and solitary (though tasty) oxtail raviolo which was chilling out all on his own (just like Éponine from Les Miserable) on a big white plate.  However, given how rich some of the dishes were, it turned out to be good quantity wise and I avoided the very real daily danger I face of wasting away into a malnourished, translucent wisp of a thing.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah! Check it out when you’re in the GZ next.

Where:
Stone Nullah Tavern (HK, Y U EVEN BOTHER WITH WEBSITES LIKE THIS?)
G/F, 69 Stone Nullah Ln
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 3182 0128

Price:
HKD1200 for two people including a 10% tip, included 2 cocktails + 2 beers.  Hipster joint, so no service charge but tip expected.

The deal:
Stone Nullah Tavern definitely ticks some of the hipster checklist – no service charge, nose-to-tail eating, modern take on American comfort food, interesting cocktails which riff on the classics, pickles and waiters with the hair, glasses and tatts to match.  But it also didn’t tick the other points that hipster joints normally do which fuck me off – you can make bookings, I wasn’t totally bankrupt after eating here, waitstaff were friendly but not trying to be my BFF and the food was fucking great.  One of our waiters on the night looked just like Zayn Malik from One Direction, replete with blonde fringe which resulted in us singing “Oooh ooh oooh – THIS IS WHY YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL” every time he finished attentively serving us.

You’re definitely not at Stone Nullah Tavern for a healthy, light feed.  Fried buffalo wings.  Fried arancini balls.  A breaded chicken tenderloin with sausage gravy.  Beef short ribs served on bread with gruyere.  This was after we censored ourselves in a rare show of restraint and we didn’t order the tater tots.  Calling defeat, we didn’t look at the dessert menu (I know, I know – meant to harden up and power through pud pud) and decided to tumble home as all the fry oil hardened my arteries with a vice grip.  No service charge which they didn’t even ram down our throat, but I was more than happy to leave a 10% tip (vs. when the waiter bails you up and pointedly makes a point that there’s NO SERVICE CHARGE and you should TIP, hey Little Bao, imma looking at you).  Which says a lot, because I’m not exactly known as Little Miss Sunshine.

Addendum:  Went back to Stone Nullah Tavern and put our hard cunt pants on and motored through dessert.  Snickers chocolate sundae with pretzels and fudge was a mere fuck yeah but the fig cake + cheesecake ice-cream was a massive fuck yeahhhhhhhh.  So order one less share plate and leave room for pud pud.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah!

Where:
Blue Butcher (fuck yeah, functional website with menu.  fuck no to taking the prices off the menu)
108 Hollywood Road,
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.

Phone:
+852 2613-9286

Price:
Cocktails are HKD140 each.  Mains around HKD350 – 400.  Budget around HKD700-800 a person.

The deal:
Ms Two Serves and I went here last night and in typical Ms Two Serves style, she surveyed that we had three people at the table which meant that we needed three starters and a Black Angus 14oz steak and a serve of beef ribs which the waiter said was for 2-3 people.  Before adding extra side serves of creamed corn, truffle fries and artichokes.  The waiter tried to push the specials onto us, offering us 2 sliders for HKD140.  My internal dialogue was “FUCK NO TO TINY BURGERS THAT COST TOO FUCKING MUCH” but in real life I just went with “No thanks”.  We sucked down some Apple Pie Moonshine cocktails (they are pricey little fuckers at HKD140 but also tasty – they hit so many hipster points on this one, I almost need one now to take away the pain – jam jar, CHECK, paper bag around it, CHECK, cinnamon stick which they light on fire when they bring it over, CHECK).  While we waited we didn’t shock anyone that despite the massive bovine bonanza coming our way that we didn’t slow down on empty carbs and shoved pieces of bread with garlic butter into our heads.  Fuck yeah to restaurants with good bread – don’t give me some piece of bullshit white bread which isn’t even fucking warm.

Starters were a solid fuck yeah but the main event was always going to be the beef times.  A rare angus rib eye arrived, almost mooing, and a chorus of angels appeared on my shoulder singing a delicate and harmonious ‘FUCKKKK YEAHHHHHHH’.  Then a slab of ribs arrived, bigger than my head and we smashed that bad boy into our heads.  Sticky, sweet and spicy – our attentive and courteous waiter saw the carnage that was going down and thoughtfully changed out our messed up, destroyed plates and even left us a wet toilette each.  Going above and beyond, he even pre-tore the packets for us because he knew that with our sticky mitts there was no way we were getting into that easily.

Sides were not after thoughts either with the truffle fries being such a stereotype at this point but they were fucking great. There might be more to life, than stereotypes but if they taste that good I might just let it slide. Creamed corn was also on point.  Nothing too exciting on the dessert menu but as you might guess, not too many tears because all my base belongs to BEEF.

Verdict:
FUCK YEAH.  Probably on pay day.  But all I can think about today is why aren’t I there right the fuck nowwwwww?

Where:
CVCHE [NOW CLOSED]
2F Parekh House
63 Wyndham Street
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2810 9881

Price:
Lunch set was HKD140 for three courses.

The deal:
For all the messing around with trying to find somewhere to eat at lunch in Central where it isn’t necessary to make a booking – it appears that after almost living here for 3 years, the secret to a stress free lunch is dragging yourself up to Wyndham Street.   CVCHE surprised on the upside – not many people seem to know about it and it was only walking past their sign a few times as I schlep my way to yoga which tipped me off about its existence.

The salad entree wasn’t any old fucking boring lunch set salad (ie. iceberg lettuce with a few olives – but hey Hong Kong, you definitely need to take 6 pictures of that boring ass salad ASAP and upload it as a picture collage with a smiling bear on it going YUMMM!! to Instagram NOW), it had all that fancy sauce and plating shit going on.  Main of the tuna was cooked well and presented with more sauce smears, but nothing that looked like a skid mark.  We started getting all tight ass about having dessert because, brace yourselves FYN homies, I actually wasn’t starving after my meal.  But then they pointed out that the parfait was included in our bargain HKD140 meal price.  How can I say no to free?  LBR, I can’t.  Someone at work was saying that this place breaks bank at night – but I enjoyed lunch so much I might even give that a go one night.  I think I’m going to catapult CVCHE up to a ‘go to’ Central located lunch spot.  Hope all 5 of your sneaky bastards who read FYN don’t go and book all the tables at once.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah to lunch sets which are around HKD140, involve three courses!!

Addendum April 2015:  CVCHE has now closed and has been replaced by Chaky’s Public House.

Where:
The Bellbrook – bistro oz by Laris
2/F, 77 Wyndham St.
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2530 1600

Price:
HKD138 for starter + main.  HKD20 extra for dessert.  HKD20 for tea or coffee.  Add 10% service charge.

The deal:
David Laris is an Australian chef who has retooled his Laris more fine dining restaurant (which I’ve been to – the food was pretty fucking good there actually but the service was bad) into a more casual bistro.  It’s cute but the lunch set at The Bellbrook was just so pedestrian it’s hard to even find the energy to write about it.  A good start when the bread came with a flower pot full of ‘edible soil’ and butter – I wanted to hate something so fucking kitschy but the little fucker was delicious.  Then I had a zucchini carpaccio starter (read:  slices of raw zucchini) which wasn’t dressed enough or cut thinly enough (hey Chef Laris, dial yo mandolin settings down).  Adding a few lonely pomegranate seeds and a few flecks of goats cheese doesn’t really turn this into an entree.  My main was the roast chicken and as my husband has pointed out, I’m the Angel of Death when it comes to chicken because I fucking love chicken.  A lump of roasted dried out, mostly chicken breast landed in front of me on a beat up tin plate and I gotta level with you guys, my views on how exciting chicken breast can be is summed up from this quote from a review of Top Chef I read last night:

[It’s] about as exciting as your friend from high school posting that she’s pregnant with her third kid on Facebook.

I also couldn’t get over the fact they served both my dishes on metal tin plates which made me feel like I was in prison.  Maybe it was some clever allusion to the Australian convict past but it just felt cheap and like The Bellbrook were just trying way too fucking hard.  So TL:DR, I had some raw zucchini and a dried out roast chicken breast on a beat up metal tin plate but the bread/butter was good.  Service was average.  I don’t think any of that that suggests you should be making a lunch booking here any time soon.

Verdict:
Fuck no for lunch – but I’d potentially still try it for dinner.  Maybe.

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