Lan Kwai Fong

Where:
GOLD by Harlan Goldstein
Level 2 , LKF Tower
33 Wyndham St.
Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2869 9986 (or unbelievably for HK – FUCK YEAH, ONLINE BOOKING)

Price:
Steak or lobster set dinner is HKD388 (+10% service charge).  Full disclosure homies, I got my free eats on – fuck yeah nom$. With wine and a few extras, you’d probably get out total at around HKD700-800.

getmoneysquirrel

The deal:
Steak Frites was the hot 2014 trend where every second restaurant which opened in HK was peddling some sort of steak and fries combination, slathered predictably in some secret, signature sauce.  La Vache set the scene and then the similarly named L’Entrecote de Paris and Le Relais de l’Entrecote followed.  I gotta be real, I’m not really down with that French L’Entrecote style where they cut your steak up and serve it in a bed of sauce, over some tealight candles.  Maybe it’s a function of how fucking greedy I am, but I’ve never really struggled with finishing my steak and wishing it had been kept warm by poncy candlelight. But more than anything, I fucking hate receiving a pre-cut up steak – hey French steak homies, tell me why I can’t cut up my own fucking steak??

bsbtellmewhy

Cut to the summer of 2015 and I now look fondly on the HK halcyon steak frite trend days versus the fucking atrocious fusion Korea food trend (Italian/Korean, Mexican/Korean – WHY IS THIS A FUCKING THING) and the +HKD150 burgers trend that HK is gripped by at the moment.  Harlan’s restaurant GOLD in LKF is offering this summer special til the end of August and I got my fuck yeah nom$ on with Ms This is Bullshit, my rare steak friend 4 lyfe.  The deal for everyone else that isn’t an opinionated asshole with a blog is HKD388 (+10% service charge) for either the 10oz prime grade steak or a 9oz Maine Lobster Tail served with unlimited green salad and fries.  I ain’t ever going to swing Team Lobster vs Team Beef, so I can’t advise on how Gold’s lobster is.

Ms This is Bullshit and I are all over oysters so we kick proceedings off with a couple of oysters.  As Gillardeau No. 1 oysters, it means that shit is large and in charge.  But as premium air freighted jet-fresh oysters, shit ain’t cheap either with each one clocking in at HKD58 (in addition to the steak frites set).  These briney bastards are everything I want from an oyster – firm with enough texture to verge on being crunchy with a nutty, creamy, slightly metallic tone.  I guess your choice here is to figure out if you’re cool with paying HKD58 for a singular fuck yeah oyster and if you are, get involved homies cause shit was rad.  If not, I guess figure out how you can import some live Gillardeau oysters on your own into HK for cheaper.

Some fresh foccacia is served but take my advice and leave this to save valuable stomach real estate for superior deep fried potatoes later.  The included green salad arrives and it’s actually more impressive than I thought it would be.  I was anticipating a functional though dull garden salad that you unenthusiastically chew your way through in a token nod to not being a total fat fuck who only desires to subsist on high GI carbs made from refined wheat, deep fried potatoes and various hunks of animals.  But Gold’s salad had a bit of that Asian thing going for it, reminiscent of the fuck yeah Nikuya 298 sesame salad (sorry homies, I never got around to writing it the fuck up).  Salad greens were fresh as fuck and wasn’t too heavy on the bitter greens (fuck no to salads which get too rocket / radicchio happy), toasted walnuts to give dat healthy shit some texture and most importantly, consistently tossed with a fuck yeah dressing with ginger, sesame, soy and some lemon to cut through it all.

But as if anyone really picks a steak experience on salad so it’s time for the main event, the 10oz USDA All-American super prime grade 60 day wet aged rib eye steak. Ms This is Bullshit and I had been trading messages all week about how fucking excited we were to get our rare steak times on because we want our steak to be just a shade above bloody. Gold’s steak thickness is in the middle – not being too thin but not being one of those mega-thick monsters either.  Despite this, Gold’s steak gets a fuck yeah in execution – a good char on the outside, bang on rare on the inside and for more impressive fuck yeah points, despite it being cooked rare, the steak’s fat is nicely melted through and not congealed in cold, white lumps of fuck no sadness.  It’s served with a fuck yeah jus and a whole bulb of roasted garlic.  UNFFFFFF, roasted caramelised garlic can get some.  10oz is definitely a decent fucking amount of steak but in an indication of its fuck yeah status, I forced myself to eat slowly because I wanted this fuck yeah steak to last forever.

I gotta give a shout out to the fries as well.  I fucking hate it when restaurants start dicking about with fancying up fries – either cutting them too thin into almost potato strings (so there’s no soft interior to them) or just cutting them into thicker duck fat fried chips (hai Butchers Club, imma looking at you).  I have no issue with deep fried taters in most forms but if I’m signing up for fries, I’m expecting mother fucking shoestring fries.  Gold don’t fuck about and the shoestring fries game is tight – scoring fuck yeahs on the crunchiness, temperature and no fucking about with the size/width.

If you wanna keep powering through, there’s the option to add a ‘liquid nitrogen creation dessert’ for +HKD68.  While I can’t get behind the choice to use hashtags in the promo of #tasty and #refreshing (stahhhp Harlan), I can get behind appropriately light desserts after smashing through an epic 10oz steak and all the deep fried fries.  The enigmatically named ‘liquid nitrogen creation dessert’ consists of smashed frozen yoghurt chunks, on top of an almond crumble with some thin slices of dehydrated / liquid nitrogen blasted apple.  It’s not as epic a fuck yeah as my one true love, the dessert platter at Penthouse, but even I’ll concede that this fat fucker might have struggled to take anything heavier after a massive steak frites feed.

So, when you’re weighing up whether you’re gonna go to Gold for Steak vs Lobster Frites, I’ll be real – this isn’t the cheapest deal in town but considering what other places are charging for high quality steaks it’s not the most expensive either at HKD388 (+10% service charge).  For your reference, the other steak options around town include:

  • La Vache – steak frites + a salad = HKD278 (+10% service charge)
  • Le Relais de l’Entrecote – steak frites + a salad = HKD288 (+10% service charge)
  • L’Entrecote de Paris – steak frites + a salad = HKD268 (+10% service charge)
  • Bistecca – American USDA Prime Grade Beef Fillet 8oz only = HKD398 (+10% service charge)
  • Porterhouse by LARIS – ehhh these newly established assholes have helpfully put a menu up without any fucking prices, but I remember their steak only being around HKD398 (+10% service charge) for an 8oz steak.  Sorry homies, no FYN guarantee of factual accuracy.
  • Butchers Club Steak Frites – varies depending on the cut but HKD550 (+10% service charge) for a 14oz 40 day dry aged bone-in rib eye + duck fat fries and a wedge salad.  You may or may not end up dining without power and having a waiter smash espresso martinis all over you.

I know almost everyone has a massive hard on for La Vache but I’m too fucking cantankerous to deal with their no booking policy and I just cannot with having my steak pre-cut for me cause I’m not a five year old child and I do know how to use a knife.  So if you love the La Vache deal, don’t be an asshole and go to Gold and spend the whole night bitching about how you miss the neon cow, the dessert cart and the extra HKD100+ this is costing you.  However, I really fucking enjoyed the steak frites set at Gold and fuck yeah, I can get behind a super solid 10oz juicy, tasty as fuck steak with the unlimited fries/salad for the HKD388 price point.  You might roll out of there at more than that by the time you add in red wine and oysters, but that’s gonna happen at any other steak frites joint too.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhh, I got dem USA rare beef feels and I was dreaming about that juicy fucker for days afterwards.  Imma going back before this Summer deal’s over on my own bucks.

Where:
Up 9
Unit H, 9/F, Winner Building
27 – 37 D’Aguilar Street
Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong

Phone:
???? – it’s on the bottom of the menu, but I didn’t take it down. Sorry homies, but I doubt you can book this place.

Price:
Dishes range from HKD30-60, we got out at HKD80 a person.

The deal:
Up 9 is also known as the ‘secret’ Nepalese restaurant in LKF.  Allegedly, it’s where the formidable as fuck Nepalese bar and hospitality staff get their late night, post shift eats on.  It’s also where every hipster foodie asshole who actually knows where this place is gets all fucking weird and defensive about actually disclosing its location.  Lucky for my lazy ass one of my homies did the hard yards on finding its exact location by haranguing his regular Nepalese bar homie.  Like WTF foodie hipster assholes, just cool your fucking jets on how special you think your discovery is because guess what, I found Up 9 referenced on Mario Batali’s blog, so it’s not like you’re blazing the shit out of the HK’s ‘secret’ underground food scene.

I was given a thorough briefing before I went, being warned that Up 9’s interior is pretty ghetto, with the bulk of their business done via take out / deliveries.  I asked whether it was more or less ghetto than your average Chungking Mansions restaurant, and my homie likened it to eating in a room from Saw.  As in Saw the horror movie where people get dismembered and fatally fucked up in grimey rooms with flickering fluorescent lights. OHHHH SHIT SON, with a pre-amble like that, I made a careful selection in who to go with, rounding up Ms Little Yak (if you don’t read her fuck yeah travel photography blog, you really fucking should) and one of my Antipodean homies who was visiting the Kong who actually gets a bit hot and heavy for authentic, ghetto cheap eats.

cartmanintheghetto

So you’re gonna need very specific details on how to get to Up 9 as it’s totally unmarked.  Up 9 is on the ninth floor of the Winner Building (near Al’s Diner) and it’s the first door on the left when you exit the lift. There’s fuck all signage, just a “9H” on the doorframe, a door bell towards the top left corner of the door and a few bags of styrofoam containers outside.  We stood a bit dazed and confused outside what we thought was the restaurant when a kind Nepalese homie passing by assured us we were in the right place.  When we were let inside, it felt like we’d crashed someone’s apartment for dinner.  At this stage, my hot-for-ghetto-eats Antipodean homie was noticeably giddy as we sat our asses down at one of the foldable tables covered with printed plastic sheets, amongst the styrofoam takeaway containers piled up to the ceiling.  Despite being warned about the Saw inspired interior design, shit wasn’t quite that grim in there – there’s even air-con but fair warning, don’t take your prissy as fuck besties here cause it ain’t going to go well for you. Or them.

We are given a one page laminated menu and a super sweet Nepalese waitress takes our order.  I’ll be fresh with you, my knowledge of Nepalese cuisine is coming from a very low base, essentially limited to “It’s kinda like Indian food but not exactly” and momos (a type of steamed or fried Nepalese dumpling).  Yeah, I’m making space on my mantle right the fuck now for that James Beard Foundation award that I’m totally gonna win this year with such a solid expertise in global cuisine.  Regardless, we hit our waitress homie up for some recommendations and the following hilarious conversation ensues:

Team Ghetto Eats (TGE):  We’ll have the chilli momos.  What else do you recommend?

Super Sweet Nepalese Waitress (SSNW):  Chilli momos.

TGE: What else do you like to eat?

SSNW:  Steamed momos.

TGE:  Ok, we’ll get the steamed vegetable momos.  Anything else you like to eat?  What do you eat from here?

SSNW:  *awkward pause* I don’t really eat here.

OHHHH, that’s not the best sign.  However, this turns out to be a bald faced lie cause we saw our SSNW eating her dinner there later. Regardless of the miscommunication issues we may have had, our lassis arrived.  Which were actually lassis from a carton which proudly declared to have “Natural, Natural Identical and Artificial Flavouring Substances”.  I toasted to #cleaneating and #eatrealfood2015 and unfortunately, I gotta fuck no this artificial mess but LBR, WTF do you expect from lassi in a carton??

No biggie cause the real stars starts to arrive.  The chilli momos are fried thick skinned dumplings covered in a thick, red piquant fuck yeah sauce.  I think the sauce is a combination of hot and sweet chilli sauce with tomato ketchup, but for all my knowledge deficiencies re: Nepalese chilli momo sauce, I can definitely tell you that they made me really fucking happy.  The steamed vegetable momos were slightly less exciting except for when you added the achar sauce.  ERMAGERD that bottle of achar sauce left on every table was a fuck yeah of epic proportions, a mysterious mix of ginger, tomato, coriander and chilli which I wanted to guzzle straight from the bottle.  This achar sauce sent straight from the gods of oh-so-oh-so-oh-so-fucking deliciousness was also a motherfucking treat with Up 9’s fuck yeah vegetable pakodas (Nepalese for pakora).  Crispy and light, these delicious as fuck vegetable fritters were fried to fucking perfection, ensuring that any vague nutritional benefits from being a vegetable were battered away to oblivion.

However, the fuck yeah highlight of the night (if not my whole goddamn month) was the panipuri (heads up yo, these aren’t actually listed on the menu).  Panipuri comes from two words – pani meaning water and puri meaning bread.  This dish consists of crispy fried hollowed out spheres made from wheat, which are filled with a lightly spiced mix of potatoes and onion and a sizeable chunk of fresh red chilli (with seeds).  Our SSNW had warned us that it was very spicy and she wasn’t wrong.  A bowl of tamarind infused water is served, which should be poured into each hollowed out sphere.  Due to my Nepalese Noobness, I used a spoon to get that sour, salty soup into my puri but I noticed some Nepalese homies just using their puris to scoop directly from the soup bowl. More importantly, these delicate fried puffs were a monumental fuck yeah of contrasts.  Sour versus spicy, the crispy shell versus the soft potato and then the tamarind soup brought it all together.  Given the fact I had homies with me, we shared a plate but fuck me, I’d totally be down to smash a plate of these fuck yeah panipuris all on my lonesome.  These were so fucking good that I even provided unsolicited advice to a table of lost looking Asian dudes that they should add a serve of panipuris to their order of “chilli mamas”.

So Up 9’s shit is not fancy but if I ever need quick, cheap late night eats in LKF with homies who don’t give a fuck about aesthetically pleasing dining rooms, I’m definitely gonna get my panipuri, chilli momo fuck yeah eats on again.  But next time, chatpate (Nepalese chaat – a mix of spices, crunchy shiz , puffed rice and tomatoes), imma coming for you.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah to Nepalese cheap eats!  Just steer clear of the boxed lassi and start the fuck yeah panipuri and achar sauce dreaming.

Where:
Ore-no Kappou (Hong Kong) (website has no fucking information on HK though)
6/F, California Tower
32 D’Aguilar Street
Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2328 3302

Price:
Food and sake, we were out at HKD600 each.

The deal:
The ORENO corporation have a whole slew of restaurants in Japan which all riff on ‘Ore’(俺), Ore-no Kappou, Ore-no French, Ore-no Italian, Ore-no Yakitori, etc, meaning ‘My _____ Cuisine’. The ORENO restaurant concept is that they allow their diners access to a Michelin-starred class chef and shit hot ingredients at an affordable price point.  Ore-no Kappou is focussed on Japanese food and it has just opened their first overseas branch in Lan Kwai Fong in the new California Tower, right in the heart of this filthy LKF shithole.  I’m reminded of this as I’m walking slowly through the increasingly heavy Hong Kong heat to get to dinner, pushing past slack jawed douchebags high on machismo and David Guetta as they eye off rubber ankled girls who emit high pitched giggles from, one can only assume, being choked out by heinous polyester bandage dresses. I take a look around this supposed entertainment district, waving off the beatific smile of a Buddhist monk of dubious provenance and his bogus-ass begging bowl while I mutter under my breath:

leogodleft

Ore-no Kappou in Japan maintains their profits while keeping their premium shit cheap by having stand-up bar style restaurants, meaning they can churn through three times the number of customers as a sit-down restaurant.  Don’t worry my lazy ass HK homies, ORENO Corporation realised that this shit wasn’t going to fly in the Kong so there’s only a few standing tables for show up the front of the restaurant with the rest of the seats being your traditional sit down tables.  To maintain the profitable churn while allowing HK to sit down, a dinner seating is restricted to two hours.  It’s a large space, bright, modern and at dinner time, it is jam packed with customers.  Sake is also sold at retail prices with only a HKD99 mark up, which is some fuck yeahhhh drinking value that I can get behind.

My homies and I sit down and we are confronted with a needlessly complicated menu which comes in three separate parts/folders.  Ore-no Kappou, Y U have so many fucking menus when it’s just printed paper in a plastic sleeve??  Just put that shit into one menu with sections like Starters, Mains and Drinks vs the Special Month Menu, the Special Special Drinks Month Menu and the Normal Dinner Menu.  When we place our orders, it quickly becomes apparent that our servers have been given clear instructions to upsell the shit out of their multi-part menu. We try to order sake from the special special drinks menu and while the +HKD99 mark up is a nice nod to value, the proposition falls over quickly when your waiter tells you that they’ve sold out of all the mid-range sake so you can only choose from the exxy as fuck range.  To add to the menu confusion, our server shows up with another Special Special Dishes for Tonight menu and politely points us to a HKD800+ shabu shabu hot pot option.  Sorry homes, I don’t give a fuck about whatever snow crab you’ve got on offer, I ain’t got HKD800+ spare to snack down on some hot pot extortion.

Once we negotiate past the potential for upselling foxing, our food appears really fucking quickly. The saba sushi was a vinegary, pressed oily fish fuck yeahh.  The thick slice of pickled mackerel is rad as fuck, served on a big ass portion of rice wrapped in nori, giving me some onigiri rice ball feels due to its size.  At HKD60 for two huge-ass pieces, I’m super down down with this fuck yeah value proposition.

Our other dishes arrive and Ore-no Kappou are definitely keeping up their end of the quality ingredients bargain.  The Mushi Sushi (HKD370) serves a mix of hot and cold sushi ingredients including abalone, ikura (large salmon roe), prawns and uni (sea urchin) and fuck yeahhh, shit’s super fresh and plentiful as fuck.  There’s nothing worse when you order one of these chirashi style rice dishes and when you actually go to eat the fucker you soon realise that the appearance of volume is a result of creative plating and everything’s been sliced super fucking thinly to stretch shit further.

The bukkake udon (HKD50) was also a fuck yeah and I know all of you dirty fuckers are tittering at BUKKAKE cause like WTF LOLZ did you seriously order a bowl of noodles where they put jizz all over it?!!?!?!?!  But have some decency yo, cause FYN Fun Fact: the definition of bukkake actually means pouring on or splashing at something NOT NECESSARILY WITH SEMEN. So in this instance it’s just udon with egg, sesame and nori (seaweed) strips where you pour some very cumless, though fuck yeah, broth over it.

A fuck yeah stand out on the night was the A5 Kuroge Wagyu tenderloin with foie gras (HKD480), which might sound like it’s just doing luxury by numbers but Ore-no Kappou do right by the beef and cook it fucking perfectly.  There’s a very decent serve of foie gras which has been pan-seared to give it the right level of caramelisation so you’re not just choking back an expensive, grainy cold slab of corn-fed fatty sadness. While one of the more expensive dishes that we ordered, we easily shared this fuck yeah dish between four people and considering how fucking rich it was with the beef and foie gras, I don’t think I’d recommend tackling this dish solo. But fuck, no judgment if you’ve got an insatiable lust for luxury and you want to smash this expensive fucker all on your own.

Service at Ore-no Kappou was not fucking amazing and I’m guessing that part of keeping the profit margins up with shit hot ingredients also means not hiring too many staff. There were also some weird quirks like our waiter being able to speak English when we first arrived and then when he realised we had a Cantonese speaker at our table, he later claimed that he couldn’t speak English and switched to Cantonese only.  Fine, I can live with a waiter getting shy about his ability to speak English, even if it means that the majority of our table didn’t know what he was saying.  But service went from below average to really fucking dismal when our shabu-shabu arrived.  We asked whether we will be getting any dipping sauce for our beef because our shabu-shabu broth only consisted of hot water and a piece of konbu (dried giant kelp) which surely wasn’t going to give Ore-no Kappou’s shit-hot marbled beef enough flavour.  Our waiter resolutely declared that this was correct and that Konbu-san on his own was going to magically flavour every fucking thing in the shabu-shabu.  Our table is kicking up a fuss at this stage that surely this isn’t right and another waiter is called over, who confirms that yeah, deal with it, Konbu-san is singularly gonna save the flavour day.

downtonreassuring

After half our table had eaten the konbu-water-boiled beef to confirm that shit was just super plain, we questioned a third waiter (who looked more senior) who said that he’d see what he could do about sauce and after about 10+ minutes after Konbu-gate began, Ore-no Kappou finally bestowed upon us a ponzu (citrus) sauce and a goma-dare (sesame) sauce to dip our high grade beef in.

So overall the food at Ore-no Kappou was a solid fuck yeah (except for the sauceless shabu-shabu) and there’s no fucking doubt that you are getting quality fuck yeah ingredients at a very reasonable fuck yeah price.  However, as a consequence this means you have to endure fuck no shambolic service and a bit of pushy fuck no upsell from the waiters.  So would FYN go back?  Definitely not for an important occasion and only if I was with peeps where shit-house service wouldn’t fucking kill the night.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah for lunch or on unimportant, purely food-based casual occasions.  Despite the shit house service, I gotta face facts, I definitely want dat saba sushi in my life again.

Where:
Holy Crab
3/F, Cosmos Building
8-11 Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2110 0100

Price:
HKD1,100 A PERSON.  FOR A NO BOOZE MEAL IN A CASUAL RESTAURANT IN LKF.

The deal:
Ms Two Serves and I decided to check out the newly opened Cajun-Creole restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong, which specialises in crab boils.  A boil involves stuffing a plastic bag full of seafood, spices, corn, sausage and potato before boiling it at a low temperature.  Holy Crab is jiving with this cute nautical theme and they even offer merchandise emblazoned with their cheery cartoon crab logo so you could buy a t-shirt or a beach towel to constantly remind yourself of your love for a random restaurant in LKF.  However, despite the fun vibe they’re going for, on the night we went the dining room was 75% empty, as a palpable air of despair hung in the air.  NOT A GOOD SIGN, but I know Holy Crab has only been open for less than a month so I pushed these paranoid thoughts aside.

Holy Crab’s big selling point is that they fly their live seafood in from the US and you get to personally pick it from their artificial rockpools, before you send your chosen aqueous homies to their death in the kitchen.   HOWEVER what Holy Crab neglects to mention is that they appear to be flying their crustaceans via first fucking class cause fuck me, this live seafood malarky is NOT cheap.  A Dungeness crab goes for HKD1,230 a kilo.  Clams are HKD570 a kilo.  Tiger prawns are HKD520 a kilo. King Crab legs are HKD820 a kilo.  THIS IS BEFORE A 10% SERVICE CHARGE.  We selected a feisty looking Dungeness crab, six large black tiger prawns and a handful of clams before choosing which sauce and level of spiciness we wanted.  Our singular Dungeness crab clocks in at an eye watering HKD1,200. Ms Two Serves and I take a moment to fear for the impending live freighted seafood related bankruptcy that we see looming in our future.

To start, we have the Southern Fried Okra and Tomato Salad (HKD80).  The okra is battered with cornmeal and while shit’s crunchy, it’s completely unremarkable due to a complete lack of seasoning.  Fuck Holy Crab, use some salt, some herbs, just fucking do something.  The salad leaves are browning and wilted, with this fuck no flaccid affair drenched in some sort of ranch dressing which tastes like it’s come straight from a bottle. Holy Crab brought a selection of six sauces to the table and I make a futile attempt to see if the flavourless fried okra can be remedied by one of these six basic-ass ready made sauces. The only part executed well were the bacon bits in the salad but LBR, it takes a fucking special effort to fuck up bacon.

Our side of corn fritters (HKD58) arrive and these greasy lumps of batter arrive in a small metal bucket.  Immediately the warning signs go off, as they look like they’ve spent too long in the fryer, a shade too brown.  There’s barely any fucking corn in the stodgy batter and these cloying fuckers are served with this honey butter which sounds ok but had some sort of weird taste that lingered.  The last thing these greasy ballbags alleging to be corn fritters needed was a butter based dip that added MORE fucking grease.  It’s my normal modus operandi to shove as many fried carbs as possible into my pie hole in preparation for that one day in 2019 when I finally decide to go for that overdue carb-loaded run, but I didn’t even make it through two of these barely corn filled unctuous greaseballs. Fuck noooooo.

FYN note:  While ‘unctuous’ may be on my ‘forbidden’ vocabulary list, I really do mean unctuous in its true literal meaning of having a greasy feel.  Unlike all those other food blogging assholes who think every egg yolk they ever came across should be described as unctuous.

Combine the above two FUCK NO dishes with an almost empty dining room, my gut feeling before our $eafood boil arriving at this point in time was something like this:

starwarsbadfeeling

Our boil arrives and Ms Two Serves and I were fucking excited to spot our crab, despite the incoming bank breaking times.  I also have a moderate amount of understanding that a crab boil is never going to be as cheap as the US cause Holy Crab did have to fly your shit in live and kicking.  But what I can’t forgive is that despite all the LIVE SEAFOOD palaver, the finished dish wasn’t actually any fucking good.  Everything arrives in metal buckets and the crab shows up in one fucking piece.  Cut a patron a break Holy Crab and at least smash up the carapace for me.  The crab meat was good and the clams were ok but fuckkkk the tiger prawns which looked impressive were tough as fuck.  LBR, I DO NOT GIVE A FUCK where the fuck you fly your prawns in from if you overcook the shit out of them.

The biggest FUCK NO though was the seasoning used in the boil.  While some HK Lifestyle blogs are claiming that Holy Crab are using “the most flavoursome herbs and spices” they have clearly never fucking eaten here (or maybe they don’t actually possess any fucking tastebuds) because the herbs and spices used were a fucked up, nondescript wishy washy mess.  We ordered the garlic herb for the prawns, the rajun cajun for the clams and the bag o’ tricks sauce for the crab and all I can remember is the oregano overpowering everything.  The sauce was too watery which meant I gave zero fucks that they served everything in tall metal buckets with a long spoon which made it ergonomically impossible to scoop the sauce out.  Despite the fact we were dropping some serious coin, I couldn’t have given less of a fuck that there wasn’t a slice of complementary bread kicking around cause that watery oregano mess didn’t require any clean up.  Nostalgic wistful memories flood back to the last crab boil I had (Shrimp Daddy in Taipei, yeah I know I should have written it up) where the boil sauce was such a fuck yeah of epic proportions that we demanded extra bread so we could soak up all that delicious as fuck seafood and herb juice, and Shrimp Daddy lifted it to the Greatest of All Time by giving us some next level fried mantou bread.

We also ordered our sauce ‘medium’ spiciness and it was barely spicy at all.  Fair game, I get it – most people in HK are a bag of pussies when it comes to spice so you don’t want to kill most people.  I ordered some extra spicy sauce on the side and while it had a little more heat, it just didn’t taste very good, the chilli in it feeling raw and underdone.

Service was enthusiastic and well-intentioned, however I felt constantly harangued by the waiters who kept asking “Are you finished?”, as they hovered by our table ready to snatch our dishes away so they could presumably wrap shit up and go home.  Ms Two Serves and I flag down the bill and she has this reaction when she checks it:

jerrybill

OH SHIT SON, HKD2,200 TO EAT SOME AVERAGE-ASS FOOD OUT OF METAL BUCKETS AND THREE HOMEMADE BOOZELESS LEMONADES (holy shit, HKD60 each). THAT’S FUCKING RIGHT HOMIES, H K D 1 , 1 0 0 A PERSON. HOLY FUCKING SHIT, IS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE?! DID THIS RESTAURANT CONTRIBUTE TO HK’S TOP 10 RANKING IN THE WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE CITIES TO LIVE IN?!

I know that I’m just a greedy asshole who likes to eat and can use a keyboard,  so I have zero fucking actual knowledge on what it’s like to open a restaurant.  But I can only assume that you’d ask some of your honest as fuck friends what they think about your concept and your price point.  I imagine that before Holy Crab opened they must have had conversations like the below to see if they were in the ballpark of normalcy:

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 9.55.50 am

Verdict:
FUCK NO, FUCK NO, FUCK NO, FUUUUUUUUUUCK NO!!!  JUST CANNOT WITH SPENDING HKD1,100 PER PERSON FOR CASUAL, PEDESTRIAN AS FUCK DINNERS WITHOUT ANY BOOZE.

FYN cannot be any fucking clearer about my views on this restaurant – should ANY of your friends suggest this place to you, FYN recommends the following reaction:

nononosign

FYN can say with all certainty that if any of you have any interest in buying a crab boil place in LKF replete with branded beach towels, hold onto your scavenging hats cause there’s gonna be one going out of business in the next year that you can snap up for a couple of coffees and some peanut shells.

Where:
ON Dining Kitchen & Lounge
29th Floor, 18 On Lan Street
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2174 8100

Price:
Lunch set for two courses is HKD288 and three courses is HKD328.  For the a la carte menu, entrees range from HKD148 to HKD328 and mains from HKD298 to HKD588. Ordering a la carte, we were out at a hefty HKD1000 a person.

The deal:
ON Dining Kitchen & Lounge is another new restaurant on On Lan Street which only opened in December last year.  The kitchen is headed up by Chef Philippe Orrico, from Upper Modern Bistro.  Aside from the Chef, it’s meant to be a heavy hitting famous four of sorts with Jeremy Evrard (General Manager, former director of restaurants at the Four Seasons), Nicolas Deneux (Operations Manager & Sommelier, former head sommelier at Grand Hyatt HK and Alain Ducasse) and Giancarlo Mancino (Head Barman, ex Bar Consultant of Otto e Mezzo and Il Milione). Fuuuuuuuuuuck, after listing dem credentials out I’ve pretty much run out of space for the rest of this review.

ON Dining is set across two floors – the top 29th floor is for the Lounge and the 28th floor is the main dining room, with fuck yeah views across Central and an outdoor terrace.  I didn’t inspect the terrace for on-trend magical pots of carbon footprint neutralising herbs so sorry homies, I can’t comment on whether On Dining is getting in on that hot as fuck sustainable local herb trade like every other new HK restaurant.  It’s bright and airy, going for a trendy, informal vibe with geometric printed carpets, red velvet curtains, white marble walls and no tablecloths.  I know, I’m all fucking hung up on linen with every single review I write at the moment.  Don’t worry, I got this homies, I’m registering fuckyeahlinen.com right after I finish this FYN shit up.

While the lunch set looked ok, I’m a sucker for slow cooked onsen style eggs so I opted to go a la carte.  I’ve never eaten at Upper Modern Bistro but I understand that this 63 degree Celsius egg shebang is one of Chef Orrico’s signature dishes.  At HKD188 that’s a pretty exxy egg and overall there’s a lot of shit going on with this dish.  This multi-component dish consists of a just cooked egg with a foamy lobster bisque and a touch of yuzu, under all of this is some sauteed mushrooms and lobster chunks, with the whole deal topped with croutons, chopped chives and hey, why the fuck not, finely chopped black truffles.  While I could quite happily live a full and satisfied life where I never ate another fucking foamy sauce ever again, this shit was pretty right even if it was bordering on being too fucking OTT.  I get what they were going for here though – a dish of contrasts motherfucker, crunchy crouton vs gooey egg yolk, acidic citrus yuzu vs creamy lobster bisque and soft lobster vs bitey mushrooms. So clever, amirite?  Should just add some caviar and gold leaf to really make this dish fucking pop.

For my main, shit was right up my alley cause I fucking love to eat tiny birds.  I vacillated on whether to get the Quail and Lobster Pie or the Roast Pigeon.  I’ll be real with you, I might have been so fucking keen on ordering the Quail and Lobster Pie (aka Luxury Pie) because I imagined Chef Orrico devising it in a scene something similar to this (drizzle it, drizzle it):

However, the Luxury Pie sounded like it was going to be rich as fuck, given that it was also stuffed with bisque sauce and piquillos.  I’d also just gotten mah bisque on with the egg so I went with the roasted pigeon with artichokes, baby spinach and lemon chutney.  I predictably went for the whole bird option and HOLY SHITBALLS, a whole sky rat is gonna set you back a very large and in charge HKD398 (+10% service charge).  Sometimes I wonder if the HKD and the prices ending in eights mask just how much shit costs because prices always seem more obscenely eye-watering when I convert that shit to USD and it’s a horrifying realisation that this dish rounds up to SIXTY real dollars (fuck yeah, MURICA).

While the waiter had asked how I wanted it and I followed the Chef’s recommendation to have it ‘medium rare’, the pigeon ended up at medium well, with the faintest blush of pink. The artichoke cubes were an unappetizing fuck no shade of grey – I don’t know if it was because the artichokes had oxidised prior to cooking or maybe the wrong metal utensils were used (FYN fun fact – iron or aluminium will cause an artichoke to go blue, black or grey), but some miniature viola flowers on the side wasn’t enough to distract me from those depressingly grey ‘chokes.  The pigeon was coated in a lemon chutney based sauce and I get it was going for that sweet sour thing (yo Chef, again with the contrasts) but I found the whole thing a touch too cloyingly sweet and by the end, one dimensional.  I imagine that HKD398 + 10% service charge + being bored probably wasn’t the kitchen’s desired outcome.

We also ordered a side of the potatoes with melted Munster cheese and cumin (HKD128) which came topped with some sort of shaved meat. I didn’t think it was possible to make potatoes and melted cheese into anything less than a spectacular fuck yeah but somehow, On Dining found a way.

For dessert, there was a communication mix up and while I’d ordered the fresh mandarin sorbet and tuile biscuit (HKD138!!) the madeleines showed up instead (normally HKD128).  The waiter was smooth as fuck though and even when I said the madelines was fine (as it’d been my second choice), he absolutely insisted on bringing me a second dessert of the mandarin sorbet as I had ordered.  The madelines were warm, slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  Shit was nice but this is really a bit of sponge, some chopped up apples and cream (even if you fancy that shit up and call it ‘Chantilly’) and fuck no, I can’t jive with its HKD128 (+10% service charge) price tag even if in this instance they comped this, given the order mix up.  The mandarin sorbet dessert was more successful  – the sorbet was refreshing and all that good jazz, accompanied by some fresh mandarin supremes, concentrated tart citrus gels with a touch of real vanilla bean (black specks yo) and a crisp as fuck, wafer thin tuille.  IT ALSO CAME WITH MORE MINIATURE VIOLA FLOWERS.  ON Dining, Y U gotta get floral garnishing all up on my shit? Two out of three dishes is too high in the floral percentiles for me. I just don’t fucking give a shit about garnishing that has NO FUCKING FLAVOUR.

Props has got to go to the fuck yeah heartfelt service level at ON Dining though – all of the hostesses and waiters were totally on their A Game. Waiter homies were gently checking on our shit all the time without being obtrusive and unlike some HK restaurants where you practically have to break out into the goddamn Macarena to get someone to take your order or bring you the bill, you had to so much as raise half an eyebrow and someone was immediately there making shit right. The way they handled the dessert misorder was fucking exemplary and I just wish that I’d found the actual execution of the food to be on par with the fuck yeah quality of the front of house. Too fucking sad.

Verdict:
Fuck no, cause fuck me, if you’re dropping HKD1000 for a boozeless lunch, shit should be off-the-chain righteous and not just enjoyably ok and disappointing in parts. FYN recommends taking it down 25 floors and going to Arcane instead.

%d bloggers like this: