Soho

Where:
SAAM (fuck yeahhhh, fully functional website)
G/F, 51D Graham Street (just up from The Globe)
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2645 9828

Price:
The seven course tasting menu cost HKD788 (+10% service charge) with seven half glasses of wine at HKD 348 (+10% service charge), so HKD1,250 in total.

The deal:
Chef Patrick Dang summarises his background and cooking in three sentences on his website, “I was born in Hong Kong. I was raised in Australia. The globe is my inspiration.” and if you had to categorise his restaurant, I’d say it’s ‘Modern European’.  There’s been a fair bit of press around SAAM and the new ‘Back to School’ set tasting menu which is being offered in September / October and as a few FYN homies had told me that they’d really enjoyed the menu, my linen loving self decided to forgive SAAM for proclaiming shit like “We want to take away tablecloths; while maintaining styled elegance” and rounded up some homies to go and check it out.

However, SAAM do not make it easy for you to book a table at their restaurant, outlining a long list of requirements to achieve a booking on their website.  You need a minimum of four people.  You need to pay a HKD200 deposit per person via bank transfer and then whatsapp in the proof.  You can book online but despite the bank deposit requirement, you still need to hand over credit card details.  For reservations of less than four people you go through the same hoops but it’s on a ‘first come, first served’ basis (which really seems contrary to the whole fucking point of a reservation??).  On top of all of that, SAAM will only hold your table for 15 minutes, so don’t be late homies. Either way, SAAM’s reservation shit is NOT easy.  I imagine some of this comes from the fact that SAAM is relatively small, probably seating 20 – 30 people and flakey no-show fuckers (yes HK, I mean almost all of you) would really mess their economics up.

Chef Dang’s vision for his ‘Back to School’ menu is his homage to all the HK kiddies headed back to school in September and is a play on all those mass produced school lunches but of course all fancy and cheffed up.  Each course is named simply and there’s a twist with each course, with the promise of bringing some lightheartedness to the table and no doubt, meant to evoke that innocent childhood feeling inside every diner. Cue every fucking food blogger overusing the adjective  “whimsical” and potentially throwing in some carefully researched Alice in Wonderland quotes about Chef Dang’s mad creations taking you down a fantastical and wondrous culinary rabbit hole.

SAAM kick off proceedings with an Irish oyster amuse bouche (which is in no way connected to the School Day theme).  There is only one waiter for the entire restaurant which means it takes him a few rounds to serve everyone’s food but he’s also knowledgeable, friendly and succinctly explains all of the food we’re about to eat.  The first course is  ‘Nutella & Toast’, where a small pastry (the “toast”) is stuffed with “nutella” (which is in fact a truffle panna cotta), served alongside a scallop crudo and some hazelnuts. It’s interesting and tasty enough, but definitely benefits from being presented within the context of it riffing on the appearance of Nutella toast.

This gimmicky (though tiny) opening course is followed by the simply titled ‘Cereal & Yoghurt’ which was one of my favourite fuck yeah highlights from the night. A small dish of fuck yeahhhh foie gras parfait is topped with a thin layer of pineapple jelly.  SAAM have scattered savoury crunchy granola and small peppered pieces of pineapple on top, with a few small piped blobs of almond yoghurt.  I fucking loved this dish because it was full of fuck yeah contrasts – the crunch of the granola against the soft foie gras, the acidity of the pineapple cutting through the fatty foie gras.  I could have spooned this foie gras concoction onto little toasted crackers all day and into my face, even without being loaded up with a cutesy school food story.

It is at this point that I start to panic regarding whether I’m going to be swinging by McDonald’s to get some McWings afterwards as each tiny though elaborate course disappears swiftly.  The wine pairing provides a half-glass with each course and SAAM are definitely showing some precision in their pours.  It isn’t one of those scenarios when you order a matched ‘half-glass’ wine tasting menu and end up getting generous almost full glass pours and you drunkenly roll your lush ass out of the restaurant.  I enjoyed the wine tasting but I guess I’m just a fucking lush cause I wanted more wine.

The third course of ‘Sausage & Egg‘ was the most successful in terms of the surprise factor that SAAM were gunning for.  The dish arrives with a super convincing ‘sunny side up fried egg’ which has actually been constructed from coconut and the spherification of some butternut pumpkin puree (which mimics the membrane of an egg yolk).  WHOA, SURPRISE NO-EGG EGG YO!

surprisemotherfucker2

Our helpful waiter instructs us to mix the ‘yolk’ with the ‘egg white’, to form a dipping sauce for your ‘sausage’ made from lobster. Sure it’s a bit gimmicky but even this grumpy, cynical gloomy fucker can let a little slice of corny no-egg egg sunshine into my goth as fuck heart and enjoy the fuck yeah pumpkin, lemongrass infused coconut sauce with the lobster ‘sausage’ sprinkled with madras curry flavoured bread crumbs

Next up was the ‘Fish & Chips’ course which didn’t play too hard to trick the fuck out of you with fancy shit.  Despite it not having a M Shyamalan twist, it was one of my favourite fuck yeah courses.  A decent sized slice of poached turbot is served on a bright green bed of mushy peas.  A ‘potato crisp’ is made out of thin reconstituted potato wafer, flavoured with vinegar powder, cleverly hinting at chips splashed with vinegar.  A ball of deep fried tartar sauce is as tricky as this dish gets and it was just a well balanced, fucking delicious course.  All I wanted was MOAR TURBOT. Much tender. So wow. Many fuck yeah fish related feels.

The ‘Gluten free noodle soup’ is described as a gluten free chicken instant noodle.  That’s because the noodles are actually made from pureed chicken breasts.  Our waiter explains that it takes five hours to make these noodles, explaining that it’s super fucking tedious to remove all the tendons.  Sure, it’s clever and chock full of technique but fuck, I’m not convinced the pay off was fucking worth it.  HOWEVER, the superior abalone broth which took two days which is poured over the noodles is fucking spectacular. I’d happily skip the extruded chicken mousse noodles for a gluten filled bog-standard wheat udon noodle as a pay off to get triple the amount of dat fuck yeah broth.

Rounding the corner into the final savoury course, it’s the ‘School Roast Dinner’ which doesn’t stray too far from what anyone would perceive as a roast dinner, except it’s been poshed up to the max with a singular ‘potato fry’ and ‘umami gravy’.  The Australian Wagyu short rib is cooked sous vide and then grilled so it can get some semblance of brown onto it.  Fuck, I don’t really get behind sous vide that much and I dunno why fancy ass chefs are so obsessed with letting meat sit in a warm bath all day rather than just fucking cooking it properly in the first place?? Blah blah tender blah blah gentle cooking blah blah even temperature, fuck off I know I know, I’m just not fucking into it.

sousvidebathtime

Either way, the beef was still fucking delicious and ‘umami’ sauce was just a fancy way of describing ‘concentrated mushroom’ sauce.  I gotta be real that I would have preferred a bit more char on my beef, but due to the lameness of warm bathtime sous vide beef, I get that you have to avoid overcooking it.  I also don’t know if the reconstituted potato smashed into a singular mega-fry shape added much to the overall dish, but the sides were all a side note to the fuck yeah beef.

The dessert course is the simply named ‘PB&J’ and it’s a peanut butter parfait with a grape sorbet, served with some tiny champagne grapes and lego shaped banana pudding.  It’s nice to look at and quite the hit with our table.  I categorise this one under a solid dish which is cute enough. My less curmudgeonly homies seemed to enjoy this more.  The flavours were a fuck yeah but didn’t seem to necessarily come together cohesively enough for me.  I just wanted more from this dish to move it from an interesting concept to a solid fuck yeah dessert moment.

What I liked about SAAM was that it was trying to do something interesting and have its food tell a story.  Was every dish as successful as it had set out to be?  Fuck no.  Was my palpable fear of going through one of those modern, food for ants tasting menus fulfilled?  Not quite, but on a scale of 1 to ‘I gotta get McWings on the way home’ hunger scale, I was probably a 6.5.  Which means that if SAAM hadn’t been so tightassed with their bread (fun fact, you gotta hand over HKD9 per person if you want bread. Like, R U SRS SAAM, HKD9 is really changing the economic metrics of your restaurant, when I’m already handing over HKD1200+ per person?) I would have been fine. Were some dishes fucking about with fussy techniques, just to do something different and provide a surprise moment?  Fuck yeah.  But there was still the occasional major fuck yeah moment like the ‘Cereal & Yoghurt’ foie gras parfait or the ‘Fish & Chips’ turbot with the mashed peas.  Chef Dang is putting something different out there which is unique in Hong Kong and while some of that may result in 5 hour chicken mousse noodles which don’t really outperform your run-of-the-mill standard udon noodle, I gotta admire that it takes balls to do something like SAAM.  And I’d take that any day over all the Mexican-Korean fusion horrors which have taken over this city.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah on pay day, cause this modern creative shiz don’t come cheap.  But I’ll caveat it that SAAM isn’t going to be for everyone.  I’d only recommend getting involved if you want to try something different and you can jive with the wank-off fact that you’re sometimes eating the story as well as the food. HOWEVER, DEM CEREAL AND YOGHURT, FOIE GRAS PARFAIT FEELZ DOE.

Where:
Bun Cha Vietnamese Cafe & Restaurant (FB page)
Shop 1, GF King Ho Building
41-49 Aberdeen Street (just up from PMQ/Butchers Club Steak Frites)
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Phone: 
+852 2858 1900

Price:
HKD200ish a person including tip (no service charge) but we most def overordered.  Normal homies would probably get out at less than HKD200 a person. Hashtag, #thisiswhyimfat yo.

The deal:
One of the thing that has been a constant source of fuck no disappointment in HK has been Vietnamese food.  Yes, I know everyone fucking loves to line up outside Nha Trang / BEP and talk about how Vietnamese food is just ‘so fresh’ but fuck what people say, that HK Vietnamese shit is only just ok.  I just find HK Pho generally so fucking disappointing – the rice noodle selection is always fucking wrong (NO, HOR FUN/skinny rice noodles are the wrong fucking noodle) or overcooked and the soup always feels like inferior stock generally boosted by MSG and stock powder.  Call me fussy but I don’t think you can just throw in some raw slices of beef and some brownish tinged ‘fresh’ Vietnamese mint to turn a normal beef noodle into a ‘pho’.  Cut to me staring with anguish into a bowl of poorly executed pho as my heart yearns for the days of when I lived in Sydney and used to cruise on down to Cabramatta (where all the Aussie-Vietnamese homies are) where I’d get some serious fuck yeah pho by picking my restaurant solely based on who had the most Vietnamese homies in there.

herculesdisappoint

Bun Cha Vietnamese Cafe & Restaurant only opened about two weeks ago and my homie who lives close by tipped me off.  I rounded up Sir Crunchalot, Ms Two Serves and Ms Siuwaaan as we dared to dream that perhaps that this was gonna be the answer to all our HK Pho related problems.  There were some positive key leading authenticity indicators – I stalked their FB page which had awesome looking pictures of Vietnamese food, statuses where a Vietnamese wife was mentioned and messages where people were writing in VIETNAMESE.  When we arrived at Bun Cha we’d already seen the waiters look blankly at people who were talking Cantonese to them and after checking out their open kitchen, the kitchen staff are all jabbering away in Vietnamese.  Excitement levels were getting so hot it hurts and I couldn’t stand in the way of the Ms Two Serves and Ms Siuwaan Ordering Train who decided swiftly that we needed to try almost everything on the menu despite the large as fuck bowls we’d seen on the tables next to us.

Sadly, one of my Vietnamese food faves, the Banh Xeo (a crispy flour crepe filled with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts) was unavailable which meant that we had to start with the Ga xe phay (HKD68) as a token effort towards eating some vegetables. This salad is a mix of steamed chicken, finely shredded red cabbage and Vietnamese herbs and captures those classic fuck yeah Vietnamese fresh flavours by dressing this with a mixture of mint, coriander, lime juice, chilli, sugar and fish sauce.  The Tom Cuon fresh prawn spring roll (HKD68) was solid too but I found the Cha La Lot Luon (HKD68) more interesting.  Maybe because it was fried and we all know that fried food generally conquers unfried food but the Cha La Lot Luon was a grilled pork patty which was wrapped in a pepper leaf and all fried up together.  We also ordered a Banh Mi (HKD60), which holds a special place in my heart as being one of the best sandwiches of all time and it was one of the better ones I’ve had in HK – served warm, it was a good mix of grilled pork belly, liver pate, coriander and pickled vegetables, held together by a crusty roll and an ample amount of mayonnaise and butter.  I just can’t ever move past the best fucking sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my entire life which happened to be a Banh Mi in Hoi An, Vietnam at Tiem Banh Mi Phuong.  You should definitely fuck off that Sunday’s Grocer hipster gentrified Banh Mi bull$hit and get involved at Bun Cha instead.

However this was all just warm up for the Bun Cha and the Pho we had ordered.  A Bun Cha is a dish which originates from Hanoi and is traditionally some sort of grilled fatty pork (cha) mixed with thin white rice vermicelli noodles (bun), this is then mixed through with herbs and a thin, slightly sweet and sour sauce which combines chilli, fish sauce and vinegar which you pour over your noodles.  Due to a kitchen mistake, one of our grilled lemongrass pork roll orders arrived as a Bun Cha which meant our table of four was confronted with THREE massive bowls of bun cha (HKD68 each).  The grilled beef and pork each one was served it was a fuck yeah but once the meat was gone we were left with a shit tonne of noodle mixture with no more fucking delicious grilled meat to eat with it.

The Pho Bo (HKD68, Beef Pho) arrived and this is where shit truly got real at Bun Cha Vietnamese Cafe & Restaurant.  We devoured that bowl of pho as if we hadn’t eaten for days, only pausing to remark on how dreams really can come true.  FUCK YEAH, it’s possible to have pho in HK which has the RIGHT fucking noodles that aren’t a mushy disaster and the soup was full bodied and clearly the result of a proper stock base made from beef bones, charred vegetables and no lazy-ass powders or shortcuts.  Imma gonna declare it that this is the best fuck yeah pho I’ve had in the Kong and I think we told the staff at Bun Cha about 12 times before we left how fucking happy we were after eating their pho, eyes glistening with tears induced by superior fuck yeah beef stock.

Next to our table was a group of girls who were similarly so fucking happy with their pho and we chatted to them about how fucking awesome everything was.  One of them was ordering their food in Vietnamese so I can only assume that she knew more about Vietnamese food than myself.  We spotted that they had some sort of awesome fried spring roll thing so we got involved and ordered the Chu Nem (HKD88).  OH MY YASSS, you take this prawn and pork fried spring roll and wrap it with fresh herbs and lettuce leaves before dipping it into a sweet, slightly spicy sauce.   Major fuck yeah times homies, if you come here promise me that you must order this dish so you can be a better person.

As Ms Two Serves ain’t called Two Serves just as a cute nickname, the four bowls of noodles and other dishes that we’d already ordered wasn’t enough to satisfy her wanton desire for moar food so she was left with no other choice but to revisit our FUCK YEAH PHO times experienced a mere 10 minutes ago by ordering ANOTHER bowl of pho. We wanted to try the Pho Ha Noi (HKD78), a fresh beef and ginger pho, but it was unavailable.  NO BIGGIE though cause we just double downed on the Pho Bo again which we’d already had.  Same same but still fucking awesome so no tears, just fuck yeah shit eating grins cause fuckkkkk it’s all about the noodles and the soup as our entire table bathed in the blissful glow of fuck yeah pho feelings.

I quizzed one of the ladies who was serving us and I suspect she’s one of the owners.  She told me that she’s from Hanoi and she’s been in HK for over 14 years but now that her children are older that she had more time to be able to cook her food and open this restaurant in HK.  It’s not that I have a PhD in Vietnamese Food (but fuck, LBR, I don’t have a PhD in fucking anything) but I did spend a week in Vietnam once, so I should know what’s up.  But in all seriousness, there was something really heart felt about the food served at Bun Cha and you can’t turn out bowls of fuck yeah pho without giving a fuck about what you’re doing.

I almost don’t want to tell you assholes about this place because Bun Cha doesn’t have that many tables and I want to keep my unfettered access to securing fuck yeah pho in HK.  However, take it as an indication of my selfless fuck yeah nature cause I know my best FYN homies are gonna be all over this well priced, superior fuck yeah Vietnamese food.

Verdict:
FUCK YEAH, PHO LIFE, ALL DAY ERR DAY.  Don’t forget the Chu Nem times either.

Where:
Posto Pubblico (yo IHM homies, I give you guys shit all the time about your shitty websites but your PP website is actually fucking decent.  PRAISE BE A MENU WITH PRICES)
G/F, 28 Elgin Street
Soho/Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2577 7160

Price:
Appetisers are around HKD100. Pastas are around HKD160-180. Veal on the bone is HKD445.  Service charge is not included – tip what you want homies.  We got out at HKD300+ a person.  Granted, we ordered the most expensive dish between two people which probably could have been shared between four people.

The deal:
I’ve realised that recently I’m increasingly only writing about new restaurants in the Kong because I’ll fucking admit it, you guys fucking love that shit.  No don’t spit your cold pressed slow pour coffee all over the place and fucking deny it, the stats don’t lie.  It’s emblematic of Hong Kong that we are total sluts for the newest (though not necessarily the greatest) restaurants and then it’s onto the next hottest thing that hit town.  Restaurants here open and close in the blink of a fucking eye as a fickle public churn through restaurants only interested in the new names, just so they can fucking name drop before everyone else.  I’m fucking guilty of this bullshit too.  The restaurant homies aren’t coming to this game with clean hands either – taking a fuck no business model of punching out mediocre, overpriced shit based around transient dining trends.  For example – how many more burger joints does HK really fucking need??  I ESTIMATE AT LEAST TWO MORE IN LKF – godspeed Burger Circus and Double D Burgers, may your tacky ads relying on DOUBLE D boobs (geddit??) bring you financial viability and great happiness.

But fuck that shit, this is Fuck Yeah Noms not Fuck Yeah Dining trends (the domain’s still available if one of you assholes wants it) and when Ms Two Serves and I needed to go out for dinner last week, we were trying to figure out if we should try somewhere new.  In the end though, we decided we didn’t want to try somewhere new and be out of pocket HKD600 for shitty service and a ramen taco clusterfuck, and Ms Two Serves wanted meatballs, so we decided on a return to Posto Pubblico.

Posto’s been around for fucking ages, since 2009, which is approximately 30 years in HK restaurant years.  It’s also been fucking ages since I’ve been cause I got sucked into that new restaurant shit vortex.  I’ve always loved Posto but we all know what it’s like to go back to an old favourite and shit fucking sucks as standards be slipping.  But it’s comforting times that when I get there, it’s still the same fuck yeah dark, intimate space with the kitchen right in the middle so you can see shit coming off the pass.  The hip hop track still blares in the background. The waiters are on their game, friendly, attentive and shit’s happening just right.

Ms Two Serves and I snack down on the complimentary antipasto platter of cheese, parma ham and halved sweet cherry tomatoes which have been liberally covered with fuck yeah high quality olive oil. We dunk house-made crusty bread in the left over oil and watch a massive Veal Milanese sail out of the kitchen for someone else.  With dat bone-in beauty burned into our greedy eyes, Ms Two Serves and I decided instantly that we need that glorious milk fed bastard in our life and we abandon our initial plans for meatballs.

Between only two of us, we settle on the Veal Milanese (HKD445) and a serve of the Bucatini al’Amatriciana (HKD160).  The waiter does pause for a second to suggest that we’ve potentially ordered too much because there’s only two of us as we both assure him that we’re good eaters.  Posto’s pasta is always on point and this rich tomato and bacon sauced pasta dish was no fucking exception.  I fucking love bucatini, I am super down with how its hollow tube shape allows it to grab hold of more sauce than normal spaghetti.  But this is all warm up for the massive fuck yeah of epic proportions which is to come – the Veal Milanese.  This veal fillet with its bone-in is pounded thin, breaded and fried.  The Posto homies then pile it high with home made burrata, cherry tomatoes, basil and toss that shit lightly with some olive oil.  Before you eat it, you squeeze fresh lemon juice all over it.  Posto’s one is just so fucking good – the veal’s breaded properly and with the cheese, tomato and basil on top of it, shit’s so good that I was almost adding my salty ecstatic tears to the acidic lemon which cuts through the deep fried breading and the elastic, creamy curds of the burrata.  Such perfection is not fucking cheap at HKD445 but this glorious veal bastard is fucking huge and could easily feed four people or more.  In a revelatory indication of its grandeur, it’s probably the first time in years of dining with Ms Two Serves we’ve had to ask anyone to box leftovers for us.

I always know the mark of a stand out fuck yeah dish when I’m fucking dreaming about that shit days later.  That’s when I realised that I should stop being such a fucking slacker and write this shit up even if it’s not a new opening because it’s too fucking sad if people aren’t aware of the glory of Posto’s Veal Milanese because there’s too many fucking restaurants in HK and everyone is too busy writing about the newest Jamaican x Korean inspired fried chicken slider place that’s just opened on On Lan Street.  So while it’s the start of a new year and I’m slogging my way through good intentions to be less of a fat fuck, the heart always knows what the heart truly wants.  I may be chewing grudgingly on lean proteins and barely dressed salads but fuck, that healthy boring ass malarky to make me into a better version of myself for 2015 just can’t compare to that boss bitch Veal Milanese. So here’s to new year’s resolutions where we don’t always fixate on the new and remember the old as well.

You tell ’em Janet:

poeticjustice01 poeticjustice02

(Sauce)

Verdict:
Fuck yeah – old shit can still be good shit.  DAT MILANESE, ALWAYS AND FOREVER.

FYN Public Service Announcement (26 June 2015):
It has come to my attention that some FYN homies have gone on down to Posto for some intense veal chop loving only to be told that the veal is sold the fuck out.  FUCK NO!  So the FYN hot tip is when you book your table, make sure you ask them to save you one.  Life’s too sad to suffer through veal related disappointment.

Where:
Linguini Fini (Dear IHM, I hope to fucking God you are not paying someone actual hard currency to make your websites.  Y U only have mobile version even for browsers?  Y UR menu section not actually contain a menu??)
49 Elgin Street
Central / Soho, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2387 6338

Price:
We got out at HKD340ish per person, including an adequate amount of booze – BEFORE TIP.  No service charge is included (A++ the waiters don’t point this out like assholes as they angle for a tip, hey Yardbird + Little Bao, imma lookin’ at you) – but hey FYN homies, don’t be a ballbag, pay tips to your fuck yeah waiter homies, ok?

The deal:
Linguini Fini has ditched The L Place and moved into a new massive space on Elgin Street, right near the escalators.  You know what that means for any new restaurant – fuck yeah, you gotta have your own vegetable / herb garden (see also: NUR, Arcane, The Pawn, Sohofama) because the latest hot as fuck trend is LOCAL PRODUCE FROM THE KONG (to be fair, Linguini Fini + the gang started that bandwagon a long fucking time ago) but still flying in your water from Italy.  But FYN is not just about GIFs and f-bombs, FYN is pleased to announce that we’re also branching into Research services, so check out this scientific as fuck HK forecast from FYN Research (#1 Non-RMB Research House in Absolutely Jack Shit for 2014):

growingshit

FUCK YEAH,  DISCLAIMER:  
The performance figures contained herein are net of any sort of accurate or statistical content.  Past performance is not any sort of fucking indication of future performance or actual realised forecasts of rooftop herb gardens in HK restaurants (which may be affected by a number of factors including, but not limited to, applicable trends, asshole restaurateurs and a fickle as fuck HK public).

But shit, my fuck yeah love for IHM’s Stone Nullah Tavern is well documented (check it out, here and here yo) so it’s rad times that Linguini Fini is back open for business.  When I called to book, I was told that I was #1 on the waitlist and I thought for a split second that I was trying to get my #soblessed ass into a Saturday Vinyasa class at Pure vs booking a table for gluten filled times on a Saturday night.  But shit worked out, waitlist confirmed and Linguini Fini was rammed on a Saturday night despite it still being in “soft open”.  While Linguini Fini’s stark industrial exposed walls and ceilings look cool as fuck, when you combine it with hard floors, no table cloths, a rock and roll soundtrack and wall to wall punters, it means that if you’re a) over 15 years old b) not a dog, you’re gonna be fucked cause shit is loud.  I know soft furnishings are so passé these days but fuckkkkk, it prevents you from eating in a goddamn echo chamber and being able to hear what your homies are saying across a small table.  Yo Linguini Fini homies, time to invest in some acoustic foam cones for your ceiling cause the home-made pasta which is hangin’ out to air dry doesn’t have the acoustic muffling qualities that you might have been hoping for.

Squeezed into our booth, Mrs Ain’t No Mountain High Enough gingerly peered through the remnants of a hangover and spotted the menu’s disclaimer that pizzas take 30 minutes.  Accordingly, she came storming out of the blocks ordering an 18″ Bronx pizza for an appetiser before we’d even ordered drinks.   Fuck yeah times born out of irresponsible necessity cause get dat homemade tomato sauce, pizza dough and pepperoni in my life.  Shit was huge and could easily feed eight people – fuck yeahhh cause expensive, mediocre food for ants pizza$ favoured by HK restaurants can fuck right off already. Later on we closed our meal with another pizza, the Sausage one which was good but I’d say the Bronx had the upper hand on the Sausage.

Ms Two Serves is back on the scene which means we ordered a shit tonne of food.  The garlic bread comes either with or without melted mozzarella and we foolishly ordered one serve of each.  Don’t make the same fucking mistakes we did, of course melted cheese was going to make things fucking superior.  The vegetable options weren’t just fucking afterthoughts and didn’t just feel like HKD78 exercises in steamed string beans or steamed choy sum.  The misti plate and the salad were all fuck yeahs, but the biggest fuck yeah for me was the kale side.  I know, motherfucking kale, what a fucking hip healthful vegetable stereotype – but the acidic lemon / salty anchovies Linguini Fini paired with it was a fuck yeah.  Pass me my goddamn coconut water already, I got this.

I had been fucking pumped all week to get Linguini Fini’s signature slow roasted  porchetta / pork belly, but as soon as we sat down, our waiter let us know IMMEDIATELY that the porchetta was sold out.  A tragedy of insurmountable proportions – FYN’s reaction at this fuck no news:

pandasad

However, we went with the hanger steak instead which I thought was really fucking reasonably priced at HKD188 and it arrived cut into eight pieces for easy sharing and was a brief fuck yeah (I guess that’s what happens when you share a singular steak with SEVEN people). Every other HK food blog would describe it as “grilled to absolute perfection” – imma gonna settle with tasty as fuck.

But really, if you call yourself “Linguini Fini”, obviously the pasta is gonna be your star attraction and they make everything fresh and on site.  We ordered the Radiatori Alla Vodka, the Ravioli and the Pappardelle Bolo. The Pappardelle is a LF classic using the “nose to tail” of the animal, a mix of pork / beef bolognese style sauce (I’m not 100% sure exactly which bits in between the nose to tail were in it – I would check the menu on their website for details except THERE’S NOTHING THERE) and a reliable performer.  The ravioli stuffed with ricotta was probably the crowd favourite and I can’t lie, I wanted to spoon six of them into my face, but instead settled with half a ravioli given that we were sharing one plate between seven people.  However, I thought the Radiatori Alla Vodka was actually the most interesting.

FYN Fun Fact: Radiatori means ‘radiator’ in Italian and is a relatively new world pasta shape.  This extruded pasta is modelled on an “old industrial heating fixture (a straight pipe with concentric, parallel fins)” – this maximises the surface area which means it’s a fuck yeah pasta shape for catching thick pasta sauces.

But aside from giving you some talking wank-off points for your next meal regarding radiatori pasta (if this gets you laid, please let me know), I was just so fucking down with the radiatori because its dense layered shape gives them a toothy fuck yeah texture. It’s also a spicy fucker of a dish which means some of my boring ass pussy homies were not so into as they made dramatic coughing sounds while chugging water, but because I have massive balls, I fucking loved it.

We closed out with apple pie and cinnamon ice-cream, and predictably Ms Two Serves ordered two serves.  As soon as it arrived though, Ms Two Serves got her judgey pie face on and immediately critiqued it loudly and openly for it having chunky apples and lacking adequate thickness to the base. However, this is a girl who takes her pie making really fucking seriously. Once I was making my own goddamn pie and I sent her a pic of the apples I was preparing and she spotted that I’d par-cooked my apples and I received one message which started with “GODDAMNIT WOMAN, HOW COULD YOU BE SO FUCKING STUPID? NEVER COOK APPLES BEFORE PUTTING THEM IN A PIE” before a tirade of messages regarding how I was going to end up with an Apple Sauce Fail Pie relentlessly washed over me.  I ended up making apple sauce out of the 10 apples with a side of self-loathing before I bought, peeled and prepared another 10 fucking apples just to calm her the fuck down.  Ms Two Serves’ reservations were accurate though and I gotta say that Linguini Fini’s pie was a fuck no – overworked pastry, cold apple filling and the cinnamon ice-cream was grainy and full of large ice crystals.  Pro tip from the  Carbohydrate Supercoach – skip dessert and double down on pasta.

Just prior to the bill, our table had a minor panic moment when we realise that the water bottle we’ve been drinking from has potentially the wankiest water bottle label ever which is a key leading indicator for bank-breaking times for plain water.  Not only does the Beyond O2 label have to be viewed through the bottle, it also claims it has “micro cluster capabilities”, “Über Hydrating, 9+ pH” and “This is Harmony in a Bottle”.  Fuck, for a horrible moment we think we’ve fallen to many a restaurant’s go-to dick move which consists of some asshole waiter cracking open bottle after bottle of expensive imported water without asking the table if that’s what they want until BOOM they make the grand reveal, slamming down a massive final fucking bill where 50%+ of the bill is attributable to nine bottles of imported still water from Italy (HKD98 each, motherfuckers).  Which results in me staring at the asshole waiter, eyes large with hydration, despair and tight-assed sadness:

helpme

Luckily, Linguini Fini are alkalising that shit themselves using locally sourced, sustainable water from Guangdong (ie. HK tap water) so we dodged water-related bankruptcy.  Overall, I can totally fucking get behind a price point of just under HKD400 for a shit-tonne of fuck yeah food (excluding the dud pie), booze, uber-hyrdating alkaline water and relatively attentive service. Next time though, Porchetta, my love, my darling, my moon, my stars – IMMA COMIN’ FOR YOU.

Verdict:
FUCK YEAHHHH.  Thank fuck, because I don’t think I have the mental fortitude to face another HKD600+ average-ass meal at a new/renovated HK Island restaurant before 2014 ends.  Yes, my HK struggle truly is real.

Where:
La Grande Bouffe
LG/F 66 Hollywood Road
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2324 1408

Price:
Lunch set = HKD98 for 2 courses (starter/main or main/dessert) or HKD108 for all three.  Excludes 10% service charge.

The deal:
La Grande Bouffe is a film which per its Wiki, “tells the story of four friends who gather in a villa for the weekend with the express purpose of eating themselves to death”.  Surely that sort of movie has to resonate with a greedy fucker like me.  We rolled into La Grande Bouffe for a casual lunch and it hits this mark pretty fucking perfectly – sweet price point, enthusiastic and decent servers and most importantly,  decent casual bistro style food.  Sure, the restaurant has a gimmick – it’s decorated in ‘5 provinces’ so you’re meant to pick whether you want to lunch in Provence, Auvergne, Burgundy, Corsica or Paris – but as I was reflecting upon with Ms This is Bullshit, if you call your restaurant La GRANDE Bouffe, we’re expecting velvet, chandeliers, candelabras and gold accents all over the fucking joint.  But I was also paying around HKD120 for a 3 course lunch set so how much goddamn gilding can you expect?

Menu is limited with only two choices per course and servings aren’t huge but hey ho, I enjoyed my vegetable soup and the couscous and chicken tagine was served in cute as fuck mini Le Creuset pots and I probably could have stopped after two courses but per FYN’s tagline, I powered through a lemon tart cause I’m a hard cunt. Coffee’s not included and perhaps it’s a sting, because the sign on the wall declared FIFTY FUCKING FIVE DOLLARS for a coffee (that sort of price point giving those Fuel Fuckers a run for their money) which could inflate your well priced lunch set by almost 50%. Lucky I’m a tight ass wiley fucker so didn’t fall for the coffee sting and walked away from the Bouffe feeling pleased as fuck with their value proposition.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah, lunch set value!

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