Gifs

Where:
Little Kitchen HK (FUCK YEAHHHH, a properly designed and informative website!!!)
1/F, Cheung Lok Building
No. 112-114 Saiwanho Street
Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong

Shit’s a little hard to find, so make sure you follow the instructions on their website – to which I would add that when you exit the Sai Wan Ho MTR, turn right then cross Shau Kei Wan Road at the intersection with Tai On Street/Shing On Street. Follow Shing On Street and take a left when you come to Sai Wan Ho Street. Little Kitchen is located about halfway down, opposite the Park n Shop.  You’ll see a tiny doorbell on the wall to the right with their logo on it.

Phone:
+852 5616 4114

Price:
HKD500 (no service charge).  No corkage.

The deal:
When I first moved to HK, I thought that private kitchens were so interesting and a Grade A1 way to be a boastful, know it all fuck.  Yeah, I fucking know a place – it’s a private kitchen.  But then the accreting creep of HK disappointment took the steam out of that for me as well, realising that private kitchens were often a pain in the ass to book, food which is often inconsistent in quality and even when they claimed ‘no corkage’, you ended up getting stung for it when they didn’t actually have a liquor licence. In my quest to Journey to the East (because fuck, the Journey to the West is so played out), I rounded up some of my East side homies to check out Little Kitchen HK in Sai Wan Ho.  HOLY FUCK, that’s like nine stations after Central.  I’ve been riding the East so fucking hard at the moment, so much so that I’m even obnoxiously giving the suburbs unbearable hipster names like “Nopo” for North Point and “Sai Ho” for Sai Wan Ho.

Little Kitchen is a small, straight forward dining room, sitting 24 guests with no bullshit first / second sitting palava.  The open kitchen sits in one corner, so you can see Chef David Forestell and his crew doing their thing.  He’s observant as all hell too and at one point when I’m just looking around to see what’s going on, he asks if we need anything or had any questions.

Little Kitchen has a strict BYOB policy and truly doesn’t charge corkage.  If you’re an alcohol bitch like me and have similarly lush homies, this is gonna be an exciting economic prospect.

parksandrecsaubreythankyoualcohol

The deal is simple at Little Kitchen, Chef David runs a weekly menu consisting of a recommended four course set.  On the phone he let me know that if you wanted to change particular dishes or if there were any specific dietary requirements, he could make changes (although a surcharge would apply).  The weekly menu is posted on their website and their FB page and provides for Firsts, Nexts, Mains and Finish with a focus on seasonal ingredients.  Little Kitchen HK’s website claims “no specific dish will ever be repeated”, which means, how much point is there really for me to step you through what we had there?

While we wait for our food, we smash through some fuck yeah multi-grain bread made by Bread Elements.  Everyone already knows that I have a rock hard boner for Bread Elements bread, so I take this as a promising omen of good shit to come.  I didn’t even know it was Bread Elements bread at the time, but when I got home I messaged them to ask if they were on the bread supply to Little Kitchen HK because I almost automatically assume that any time I get decent bread in HK that it’s done by those fuckers.

The Little Kitchen HK menus are described in quite an idiosyncratic manner. For example, the pork rillettes are described as “Rillettes, Meaty Softness, Vegetable Confetti, Tiny Sparks of Colours, Toasted Croutons, Like We would Forget?” where Vegetable Confetti refers to a fine dice of carrots and celery. However, my favourite dish of the night was the Main course, the “Scottish Salmon, Cold-water Farmed, Long Leeks, the Real Deal from France, Lemon Beurre Blanc, Touches of Herbs and Wine”.  The salmon was tender as fuck and each element carefully thought through, I wanted to rub my face into this dish so I could capture every last bit of the Lemon Beurre Blanc because it was so carefully nuanced, balancing the lemon, butter and white wine into major fuck yeah times.

parksandrecsbutter

Our Finish (aka dessert) was the “Panna Cotta Milk meets Cream, Rhubarb Explorations, Stalks of Wonder, Warm Madeleines, a feat of Single Minded Foolishness (but tasty nonetheless)” and it’s fucking delicious.  Little Kitchen HK also gives everyone a small take away bag of chocolate sable cookies with a touch of sea salt to take home which is a real nice fucking touch and gives me something to remember our meal the next day.  As we’re finishing up, they also gave us a complimentary cup of mint tea. So thoughtful! So earnest!!

I think ultimately what I really fucking enjoyed about Little Kitchen HK is that this is clearly the singular vision of Chef David and he’s producing a weekly menu which he’s passionate about and driven by what’s seasonally working.  Service was quiet and efficient, I wouldn’t have minded a bit more explanation on what we were eating but that’s just because I’m a pretentious as fuck asshole who loves to know the wanky details of where my food grew up and who were its best friends.  But for someone that’s looking for a heart felt experience, perhaps a small dinner with four friends or an intimate casual date where you can BYOB, I’d most definitely put Little Kitchen HK on your list.  Depending if you can get your insular, parochial west-side homies to leave the common as fuck embrace of Sai Yung Pun / Sheung Wan and get their gentrified asses to Sai Wan Ho.

westsidestorytheresaplaceforus

Verdict:
Fuck yeah!! I BELIEVE IN YOU WEST SIDE HOMIES, you can most definitely travel to the East.

Where:
Morty’s Delicatessen
Shop 2-14 Lower Ground Floor, Jardine House 1
Jardine House, 1 Connaught Place
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 3665 0900.  You can also order your sandwich shizz online – fuck yeahhhh, welcome to the future HK. BUT  WHO WILL WE FAX NOW?!

Price:
HKD148 for the large Reuben sandwich meal.  +10% service charge if you eat it in the restaurant.

The deal:
Hong Kong is the business for so many fucking things, but there is some shit that it is just NO GOOD at.  Such as how to use an umbrella in a crowd, websites, walking in a straight line and bearable humidity levels during the months of July and August.  In this category of HK fails, I’d also add sandwiches.  I don’t know why it’s so fucking hard to get a decent sandwich in HK but I’d heard some good shit about Morty’s, a New York style delicatessen, which has just opened in the lower ground floor of Jardine House.  Sandwich related hope in HK is indeed a bold proposition and seizing upon this tiny sliver of carb related hope, I rounded up two of my best American homies, Ms Two Serves and Ms Siuwaan, so we could get our fill of carbs and stacks of pastrami.

morganfreemanhope

Morty’s is doing some brisk trade and we pulled a time-tested HK move and got there right at 12pm to secure a table.  The menu offers a number of different sandwiches, smoked meat and specialty sandwiches, including all the big bangin’ classics you’d expect such as the Reuben, Classic Pastrami, Club Sandwich and the Grilled Cheese.  I went for the Reuben because if I was gonna judge whether Morty’s had its NY sandwich game on, I didn’t want it to be on some bullshit new age smoked truffle chicken sandwich with grilled shiitake mushrooms, arugula and truffle mayo.

The Morty’s claim is that its pastrami is “cured between 5 & 21 days, rubbed with a top secret spice blend & then slowly smoked with techniques passed on by Morty’s great-grandfather”. The menu also declares proudly in caps that “ALL SANDWICHES INCLUDE HALF PICKLE & FRIES OR HOUSE SALAD”.  I predictably went for fries because fuck me, I ain’t interested in that house salad bullshit.  I did watch half a dozen or so paunchy office workers sigh and choose the limp, uninspiring salad to earn the privilege of being able to report to their over priced personal trainer that they did indeed forego potential spud related happiness for the “right choices”, in a forlorn attempt to stave off their fat fuck destiny that’s written in their desk bound existence in the money mills.

shut up about your diet

When our sandwiches arrive, they look fucking great.  Three layers of bread and a fuck yeah looking slab of pastrami in there, with a pile of fries on the side.  However, once we catch sight of the pickle on the side, our entire table has a flashback to the ALL CAPS menu claim of “HALF PICKLE” and we stare down what looks more like a quarter of a tiny ass pickle.  Ms Siuwaaan is even less impressed, declaring it to be a mere eighth of a pickle.  To add insult to injury, Morty’s not-really-a-half pickle is also entirely lack lustre, a soggy-ass mess with not enough piquancy or brine to make it fucking pop.  For me, I imagined that this is what it feels like when a pickle gives up on life.  One of my lunch comrades went past the existential pickle problems I was imagining and went straight to much saltier territory, declaring that it felt like a flaccid dick in her mouth. Either way you take it, fuck no to limp, impotent pickles.

van-damme-snake

I pile into my sandwich and the menu had described it as “Slow Smoked Pastrami, Swiss Cheese, Thousand Island Dressing & Sauerkraut on House Rye”.  First off, Morty’s pastrami is fucking great.  I got the medium fatty brisket and the spicing and cure on the pastrami is fucking delicious.  Look, I’m sure there’s better pastrami available in the USA but as far as HK goes, Morty’s pastrami is legit.  However, Ms Siuwaaan and Ms Two Serves were less impressed, as they had ordered fatty brisket which looked remarkably like medium to lean brisket.  But this is the thing, a sandwich has to be the sum of all its parts and as I plowed through my gut-buster of a large Reuben Sandwich more and more flaws became apparent.  I started off pretty fucking excited about my sandwich but with each bite, I became less enamoured with what was going down.  Why was the Swiss cheese not melted enough?  Why was the only indication that there was even Thousand Island Dressing on my sandwich was the fact that I could see some pink sauce in there but couldn’t taste a fucking thing?  How come the sauerkraut was much the same, physically there but from a taste perspective it was bland as fuck, with none of the sour, fermented kick you would expect from sauerkraut?  The house rye bread was adequately fine but if you’d switched it out for country white bread, I’m not sure I could have tasted the difference as it didn’t have any of that dense, chewy and deeper flavour that I’d hope to get from a rye bread.  The fries that came with my sandwich were also completely unremarkable, so much so that I even left fries behind.  And trust me, deep fried potatoes with salt should be an easy fuck yeah slam dunk which generally sees me shovelling them into my face until they’re all gone.  All I can think about is that this is a sandwich that has been created to look the part, but no one has thought about it critically as a whole.

So the three of us sit there, our souls weary and Ms Siuwaan looks at us with heavy eyes and heart, stating simply “I don’t even know why I get excited about anything new in HK anymore, because it always ends in disappointment”.  So we sit there in silence with our cold fries and untouched sad-ass looking salads and allow yet another HK sandwich related tidal wave of ennui soak us to our jaded, worn out bones, as the shards of any sort of HK carb related glory lay shattered around our feet.

Verdict:
Fuck no.  Cause as I texted someone later that day – “Sad pickle.  Sad sandwich.  Sad carbs = sad fucking times”.

Where:
Soo Viet
247 Des Voeux West
Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2858 1855 (I don’t think it’s a booking kind of place though)

Price:
Mr Judgmental and I got out at HKD110 each, but he’s also a remorseless eating machine who forces me to be a better person.  Other people will probably spend less than HKD100 per head.  No service charge.

homerdonuts

The deal:
One of my loyal FYN homies chimed in on the Fuck Yeah Noms FB post (fuck yeahhh, like that good shit already) regarding my FYN review of Pho Bar and gave up the secret regarding the existence of Soo Viet.  She expertly claimed that while the pho was good at Soo Viet, the real star was the bun bo hue, which required you to pre-order it as this gave the restaurant enough time to prepare the stock and get their asses down to the wet market for the right ingredients.  This of course sent me into a frenzy and I messaged Soo Viet to find out how I could secure bun bo hue for lunch time and was given the fuck yeah news that they now have enough supplies to have bun bo hue on offer all the time.

Mr Judgmental and I sit down in the tiny restaurant and experience some confusion as to why they’ve chosen to feature prominently a massive blow up poster of an article for when the Soo Viet owner used to be the bar manager of Xperience, a bar in Wan Chai.  The menu is extensive and things are quite ambiguously named, so we narrow our choices based on what was deemed worthy of a photo and some chats with the owner.  This is how we end up with a fuck yeah serve of the SOO Viet Egg Roll (HKD43) (cha gio), fried pork spring rolls which you wrap in lettuce leaves, Vietnamese mint and mint, before dipping it in a sharp vinegar and fish sauce based dipping sauce.  I’m always partial to a bit of deep fried action and I can’t help but think that Le Garcon Saigon probably serve something similar but charge you HKD168 for it.  These fuck yeah spring rolls do go someway in easing our disappointment that the SOO Viet Ban Xeo Crepe (HKD55) is only available at night.

Mr Judgmental insists that our incoming two bowls of noodles is insufficient for our daily carb requirements and orders a Soo Viet Banh Mi (HKD42).  It’s tasty enough with the standard mix of pate, Vietnamese pork sausage, pickled daikon and carrots and coriander.  It’s all served on a baguette which hits a good balance between a soft inside and a crusty exterior, but not so fucking crusty that you end up with some sort of eating related injury by cutting your mouth up to shit. I won’t make bold claims that it’s the best banh mi in HK but I wouldn’t tell you that you need to definitely get involved either.

We predictably get a serve of Soo Viet’s pho, which is titled as the Soo Viet Noodle Soup (HKD65) and is your mega-serve of rare beef pho with all the trimmings (beef balls, tripe and Vietnamese sausage).  It’s tasty and I enjoyed it a lot but it falls more in the category of quick and easy beef pho vs the delicious as fuck, rich stock of Pho Bar which has been created with the deep, slow cooked pho stock concept in mind.  In fuck yeah times though, there is a generous serve of beef, tripe and other ingredients which has gotta rate for some points because there’s nothing sadder when you eat two measly slices of beef and half a beef ball and realise that you’ve come to the end of your “deluxe” pho experience and it’s just mint stalks, rice noodles and stock from here on in.

But it’s when we get to the off-menu, Hue specialty, the bun bo hue (HKD50) that shit really gets real.  We tried to quiz our waitress to find out if there were other off-menu items that we needed to get involved with but she assured us that this was it.  A bun bo hue is a spicy soup made by boiling down beef bones with lemongrass, baby bird eye chillies and fermented shrimp paste (mam ruoc).  When compared to a pho it’s got more of a sour, spicy jive to it and then uses a firmer round rice noodle vs the standard flat rice noodle.  Soo Viet don’t skimp on the ingredients and top this noodle bowl with beef shank, basil, coriander, fresh onions, shallots, Vietnamese sausage and lemongrass.  There’s also thinly shredded purple banana blossoms which Soo Viet fly in from Vietnam, rather than taking the easier option of just substituting in the cheaper and more readily available red cabbage.  The stock and the beef shank is really where it’s at though and the mix of flavours from the spice from the chillies, the deep beef stock and the fermented shrimp paste creates some real fuck yeah feelings for the bargain price of only HKD50.

opramindblown

So as it turns out, the best fuck yeah dish we had at Soo Viet is the one that isn’t on the menu.  This is where I am always and forever grateful for my benevolent and kind FYN homies who share the love and wanna keep me in FUCK YEAH NOMS.  And now all of us can share in Soo Viet’s bun bo hue fuck yeah secrets.  So to my best FYN homies, let it be known that always and forever, my love will run deep for you – cause my FYN homies clearly are the BEST FUCK YEAH HOMIES.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhhhh! Cheap and tasty as fuck Vietnoms – most importantly, I’m still dreaming about the bun bo hue.  Yeah, you Sai Ying Pun assholes are most def gonna be into this good shit.

Where:
Le Bistro Winebeast (fuck yeahhhh, functional website)
G/F & 1/F Tai Yip Building, 141 Thomson Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong

FYN hot tip:  Exit A3 from Wanchai MTR, kinda close to The Hennessey if you’re catching the tram.  But fuck my advice if you’re one of those assholes who just cabs everywhere.

Phone:
+852 2782 6689

Price:
HKD458 for the four course tasting menu, +HKD100 if you want to add the wine pairing.  No service charge, so don’t be an asshole and don’t forget to tip according to the service you receive.

The deal:
Le Bistro Winebeast ran this concept on McGregor Street where there was a small 25-seat bistro attached to its retail wine store, with the fuck yeah catch that you could order wine at the bistro at the same price as the wine shop.  I’d heard many good things about it and even my fussy as fuck French homies told me that they were into it.  However, the only problem was that every fucking single time I tried to call up Le Bistro Winebeast for a booking they were either totally booked out or would offer me the totally unfeasible times of 6pm or 9pm.  I’m fairly sure that if I booked dinner at 9pm I would probably eat my own hands off in desperate hunger, prior to getting to the restaurant.  It was after about three attempts, I gave up ever trying to eat at Le Bistro Winebeast.  However, all of that booking bullshit has changed because Le Bistro Winebeast has recently moved to new, larger premises sprawling over two stories on Thomson Road.  PRAISE BE, when I called up to make a booking there were no issues and on the night, the massive restaurant space was more empty than occupied.

We’re on the receiving end of a super friendly welcome from sommelier and maître d’, Christina Carranco Ducroquet (whose husband, Chef Johan Ducroquet, is in the kitchen slaving away).  We get involved in Le Bistro Winebeast’s fuck yeah homemade bread selection while we check out the extensive and beyond reasonably priced wine list.  As someone who is always so thirsty, I can most def get behind fuck yeah retail wine prices.  We settle on going for the tasting menu because it’s reasonably priced at HKD458 and adding the matched wine is a bargain HKD100.

While not listed on the menu, we’re given two complimentary amuse bouches.  One of them is the awfully named “Frapas” – geddit?  It’s a French Tapas.  After extricating my eyes from the back of my head, I get involved with an oyster which is topped with confit shallots and red wine vinegar granita.  I fucking love oysters and I get what the fancy-ass accoutrements were meant to be doing, the subtle onion flavour of the shallot and the cold sharp red wine vinegar granita against the creamy oyster, but this is down to my own personal preference – if the oyster’s good enough, I’ll always prefer my oysters straight up with some lemon.

The first course is a Foie Gras Terrine which is served in three cubes, topped with a thin layer of green apple jelly and wine coulis, with a side of finely cubed green apple on the side.  It’s a common reaction to be all fuck yeahhhhh foie gras and the sharp acidity of the apple, cuts through the fat to provide some fuck yeah times.  Except when I realise that the bread it’s been served with is my nemesis, TOASTED BRIOCHE.  UGH, TOASTED BRIOCHE Y U A THING?  Who in their right mind ever toasts a piece of brioche and thinks “Mmmm, this dried out loofah-like sweet bread will most definitely impress my customers as they attempt to choke it back with this delicious dish I have prepared”.  I don’t fucking know except that I work through my brioche related meltdown by asking for another serve of Le Bistro Winebeast’s normal fuck yeah bread, smearing my fuck yeah foie gras terrine all over it and enjoying a sweet half-glass of Audrey et Christian Binner, Hinterberg, Pinot Gris 2008.

pieceofbreadcalm

The second course is a ravioli of sea bream, which looked more like a wonton dumpling.  It’s served with a confit lemon, coriander, anise flavoured bouillabaisse jus and topped with shredded strips of nori seaweed.  The wine pairing was the Savennieres, Dom Nicolas Joly “Les Vieux Clos” 2012 and it’s masterful, with its fresh pear and golden raisin notes elevating what I thought was an ok, slightly fishy dish which was trying hard to be interesting but wasn’t necessarily that successful in its flavours.  The rest of our table was even less impressed and 50% of our table grimaced halfway through, as they choked back some fuck no bones in their seabream raviolis.

bonesbonesbones

Our final savoury course is the Confit Beef Paleron (chuck steak) and it’s the best dish of the night.   Through slowly cooking the beef in fat, the beef is super fucking tender but charred evenly on the outside to caramelise the shit out of it.  Served with a reduction of Malbec wine jus and some vegetables, it’s well executed and most definitely bringing the Autumnal feels.  In a move that would make it hard to upset any decent human being, the beef paleron is served with a poshed up mac n cheese, made from ham, Comte cheese and freshly shaved black truffle. It’s predictably delicious as fuck but it’d be worrying if someone managed to get a fuck no out of jamming some carbs with fuck yeah ingredients like that.

I’m pretty pumped for dessert at this stage because it sounds fucking incredible, billed as a chocolate dome served with a cardamon emulsion, orange crumble and vanilla flavoured milk.  Shit gets taken up another theatrical notch when we are all presented with a chocolate globe and the the chef appears to pour warm vanilla milk over it, causing the chocolate shell to disintegrate.  I’m taken in by the show and I’m enjoying my dessert until it starts to cool down slightly and Mrs Ain’t No Mountain High Enough makes the off-hand remark that it feels a bit like eating lukewarm mushy cereal and once she says this, I can’t shake this feeling as I take a bite of some tepid mealy milk with some soggy orange crumble bits in it.

cerealmilk

To finish our meal, Le Bistro Winebeast generously provide us with a complimentary dessert, a Grand Marnier souffle which is dramatically set on fire at our table.  With the flambe action going on, it’s hard to deny that it’s cool as fuck, as blue flames snake their way upwards from the souffle.  In the dimly lit dining room, I have a traumatic flashback to my last souffle experience at Beefbar.  While Beefbar’s souffle might have been full of sheer unadulterated horror which continues to haunt the dark corridors of my nightmares, Le Bistro Winebeast’s is a fuck yeahhh, going someway in ameliorating my apprehension regarding souffles.  Delicately flavoured with orange, perfect in texture and not too eggy, it’s a well executed note to end this meal on.

So overall, shit was fine at Le Bistro Winebeast with a few moments which were fucking delicious but overall, there’s a consistency issue when only half of your tasting menu lands its punches.  I’m probably holding them to a higher standard too because I always apply stricter judgment on a restaurant if I order their tasting menu because this should be a restaurant’s fuck yeah slam dunk signature dishes.  Perhaps I’d have loved Le Bistro Winebeast more if I’d ordered differently (or someone who had been before had told me exactly what to order) but based on our meal, I wouldn’t have it on top of my list for a return visit.  Which is a bit of a shame because fuck yeahhhhh delicious well priced wine times and heart felt service ain’t all that common in Hong Kong.

Verdict:
A restrained and polite fuck no because you know shit can’t be that on point for a restaurant when you remember the wine pairings being stronger than the food.

%d bloggers like this: