Casual

Where:
Johnny Gurkha (FB page which is actually informative with menus)
GF/45A Graham Street
Soho, Hong Kong

FYN hot tip:  While officially listed as GF/45A Graham Street, it’s actually not adjacent to 45 Graham Street (the godawful Cencalo’s) nor on the ground floor.  Next to The Globe, look for a staircase and the clearer signage for Japanese restaurant Toriyama.  Head up the stairs and turn right into Johnny Gurkha.

Phone:
+852 6293 4941

Price:
HKD150 a person before tip.  I reckon with a bigger group you’d probably look at HKD120 – 150.  But what’s HKD30 for all you big dick swinging HK ballers?  No service charge.

The deal:
I’d been given a big hitting recommendation to check out Johnny Gurkha from a bona fide FYN Nepalese homie, so of course I took that hard hitting shit to heart.  After receiving reports that they were open for business again post a “renovation”, we swung in for dinner on a Saturday night.  At 8:30pm, the restaurant is empty and dead silent, and initially there’s no background music to break up the awkward silence.  While no one else joined us for dinner, at least the kitchen seemed to be doing an ok takeaway trade with the Foodpanda dudes popping in periodically to collect orders. It’s a basic dining room and I’ll be real, the floor could be a little cleaner, but it seems positively salubrious in comparison to the Saw-like grimey apartment ambience of the super ghetto Up 9 Nepalese “restaurant” in LKF.

Johnny Gurkha only opened earlier in 2015 and in a fuck yeah indicator, all of the staff in the restaurant and the kitchen are Nepalese. The friendly owner comes over to walk us through the menu and make some thorough and well explained recommendations which forces us to reconfigure what we were initially going to order.  I am filled with immediate regret that I’ve only got one homie with me, rather than dragging along a couple more so we could more comprehensively bang our way through all the fuck yeah sounding dinner options.

We get started with some complimentary pappadums and tomato salsa and order some mango yoghurt lassis (HKD42).  They’re cute as all hell, served in handled mason jars with tin lids and a solid reuseable stripy plastic straw pierced through the top.  I fucking hate cute but functionally useless stripy paper straws that become instantly soggy upon contact with a liquid (surely this is crucial properties for a fucking straw to have) so I can get behind this sustainable choice.  Unfortunately it wasn’t quite my thing as the mango lassi needed more fresh mango and I think there was some sort of syrup in there which gave it an artificial fuck no taste.

The kutta ko achaar (pork trotters slow cooked in a tomato based gravy, HKD68) had been recommended to us with a promise that it’s quite spicy.  Given that it’s chunks of pork trotters, if you’re one of those slack jawed pussies who can’t deal with fatty meat or bones in their food, don’t order this dish and go and order a chicken breast from somewhere.  But if you’re into pork trotters that have been slow cooked until they’re a tender, gelatinous delicious as fuck combination of pork skin and meat in a fucking glorious spicy sauce, slightly reminiscent of those spicy Sichuan chilli dishes, you need to most definitely get involved.  The sauce is an epic masterpiece, deep with the flavours of pork bones and fat, tomatoes, chillies and ginger with a vinegary acidic kick at the end.  If only I’d had the foresight to order some roti so I could have captured every last bit of that magical fuck yeah sauce.  Rules to live by, always and forever – carb life = best life.

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We also ordered the Yak Cheese (HKD88) which comes from the milk of spoilt Nepalese Yaks who appear to be living a life better than my current HK life, as the menu claims that they are breathing clean air, drinking pure water and eating wildflowers. Very biblically, it’s served with dried apricots, walnuts and honey (although in reality, strawberry jam appears to have been substituted for the honey). It’s similar to a mild to medium cheddar and a good palate cleanser after the amazing kutta ko achaar but I’ll be real, I’d rather have ordered another curry dish in its place and as much as I love Nepal, it’s not exactly known for its cheese prowess.

The next dish is what we’ve all been waiting for, Nepalese dumplings which are well loved by all and available in pork, chicken or vegetable.  YASSSSSS MOMOS.  The steamed pork momos (HKD60 for 10) are fucking delicious – thin skinned and stuffed with a fragrant coriander and pork filling.  As always, I want to suck back all of the spicy acar sauce that’s served with the momos, a blended cooked sauce of ginger, onion, garlic, tomatoes, ginger and red chillis with a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten it all up.  It’s only too sad when I’ve finished all my momos cause as the saying goes, NO MOMOS, MO PROBLEMS.

We split an order of the Himalayan soup (HKD32) made from fermented greens (gundruk) and other vegetables.  I’m not sure what the green vegetable they used (normally mustard greens or spinach are used), but whatever it was its stems were  fibrous fucks which detracted from the very tasty sour and spicy soup.  Maybe this would have been better if it’d come out at the start of the meal but either way, if there’s an option on fried chicken wings marinated in herbs and coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs vs a fermented woody stemmed soup, you can probably guess which way I’m gonna swing next time I’m at Johnny Gurkha.

Our final dish was the Trucker’s Thali, a solid value proposition of only HKD78 for a mixed plate of lamb curry (option on pork, chicken or vegetable curry), rice or roti, lentil soup, two types of seasonal greens, tomato acar sauce and a papadum.  Unfortunately, we weren’t asked whether we wanted rice or roti which meant we ended up with the inferior breadless choice of rice and I was forced to console my roti-less situation with fork tender, generous chunks of fucking delicious lamb curry.  All of the components were jam packed with fuck yeah flavour – the slightly spiced potatoes which had most definitely been cooked in some sort of delicious fat (ghee? The answer to superior fuck yeah deliciousness is often clarified butter), curried green peas and a yellow lentil soup. Who knew that such value was available for only HKD78 in Soho??

Johnny Gurkha isn’t anything fancy in terms of its decor and it’s not pulling any punches in terms of the food it’s selling.  But I can most definitely get behind a straight up, family owned business making affordable and super delicious Nepalese food in a Central HK location.  I hope they’re turning over a good volume of home deliveries because it’d be too sad if Johnny Gurkha fell victim to HK rents simply because no-one fucking knew about them and the idea of the Nepalese family sitting forlornly in their empty restaurant night after night is just too fucking much for me to bear.  Don’t worry Johnny, I will do my bit to give you my patronage but largely it’s for self-serving selfish reasons because let’s face the hard hitting facts, I desperately need your tasty Nepalese eats in my life again soon.

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Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhh!  I need to get back to Johnny Gurkha to more systematically take down their menu.  As always, MO MOMOS NO PROBLEMS!

Where:
MyHouse (HOLY FUCK, it’s a perfectly functional HK restaurant website)
202 Queen’s Road East
26/F QRE Plaza
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2323 1715

Price:
A very reasonable HKD380 per person for food only (before tip, no service charge is included).  Cocktails come in around the HKD100 – HKD120 mark and there’s a fuck yeahhhh reasonably priced wine list too.

The deal:
When I read about MyHouse, I wasn’t sure if it was gonna be something new and innovative or would it just be one of those venues that tries too fucking hard.  My spider senses were tingling once I read all the prose about it being a creative space where people should feel that they’re at home.  The idea of the venue moving from a coffee / casual lunch spot which then morphs to an after work drinks spot, then dinner and then into a club / music venue.  The emphasis on it being a music place where each table has its own turntable, allowing customers to pick up some old school vinyl before playing their own individual soundtrack at their dinner table. That’s if you’re not enjoying the VINYL ONLY house DJ.  Then there’s the whole shebang about it being about natural wines and sustainable seafood.  I’m just so fucking jaded with wank-off pretentious concepts which don’t deliver that I imagined that it might be a bit like going to dinner theatre.  As in, there’s a whole shit tonne of things going on but in the end, the substandard food is distracting you from the amateur dancing, as you suck back some awful house wine in a futile attempt to put some enjoyment into the clusterfuck of an experience by getting wasted.  Just as the cheap wine headache squeezes your brain into oblivion, you tumble out of some grimey venue, dazed and confused as fuck with an overall feeling of “FUCK ME, WHAT JUST HAPPENED THERE?” as an overwhelming tsunami of mediocrity washes over you.

However, one of my random FYN homies has been non-stop singing MyHouse’s praises which is why I decided to put my healthy scepticism to one side and get myself down to QRE Plaza in Wan Chai.  I feel like I’m spending all my time in Wan Chai at the moment.  WAIT, that came out fucking wrong.  I feel like I’m spending all my time going to restaurants in Wan Chai at either 239 Hennessy Road or QRE Plaza at the moment given all the new digs that have opened there (The Optimist, Zahrabel, Momojein, El Mercado (UGH but just don’t go) and Pirata).  As soon as you exit the lifts, MyHouse is killing it with its fuck yeah Mohamad Ghamlouch designed interiors. It’s got that spacious converted loft apartment feel of your fuck yeah non-HK dreams cause let’s face facts, you’re really stuck paying HKD27,000 a month for 350 square feet of Sheung Wan apartment feelings.   MyHouse is all natural wood and massive industrial globular light bulbs, bathing everything in fucking beautiful warm light. They’ve tucked plants just under the ceiling and large windows open up onto the salubrious view of….Hopewell Centre. The space is split between a massive cocktail bar, individual dinner tables, a private dining area, a DJ podium and a bar area.  It’s clear that it’s all carefully thought out with purposefully mismatched block coloured plates, curated art work, vinyl record sleeves stacked in bookshelves and wrought iron fixtures.

I had anticipated that MyHouse would be more like bar snacks to go with trendy cocktails but MyHouse’s Executive Chef Peter Birks has got some serious cooking game going on.  He’s managed to escape the grips of Dining Concepts and prior to cheffing it up at MyHouse he was the Chef de Cuisine for Carbone HK.  After some judicious Internet stalking it appears that he’s an Aussie Caboolture boy done good.  Go well my Strayan sonny!  However, upon reading the MyHouse menu I guess it’s best described as European with some strong Italian influences given the pasta and pizzetta section.  More importantly, I realise there are many things I want in my life.  This is where I flag down our waiter and he’s 100% across the menu and gives meaningful and well thought out suggestions.  Fuck yeahhhh, floor staff who know their shit.  Our waiter homie recommends that we order five to six dishes as well as being super helpful on helping us pick out some fuck yeah natural wine. I gotta mention that throughout the whole night the MyHouse service is super tight from start to finish and even though they’ve only been open for a few weeks there’s no relying on any soft opening bullshit. Fuck yeahhhhhh MyHouse, show those new HK restaurants that just cause your shit is new it doesn’t mean that your service has to be a red hot mess.

While we make decisions on the menu our bread arrives and it’s this large, open crumbed thing of fuck yeah glory.  Our table smears each piece with French salted butter and smashes through it relentlessly.  I’m having a bit of a bread related moment, because it’s just so fucking good.  Our waiter asks if we want more bread and my greedy-ass mouth has no other option but to declare “YASSSSSSSSS”.  We later pressed the MyHouse homies for the details behind their bread and they say that as their kitchen is too small they are getting the goods from Bread Elements.  Even writing this paragraph about the Bread Elements foccacia loaf is hitting me right in the feels because FML, why am I not eating this crumby bastard right the fuck now??

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In a nod to pretending to be into healthfulness we start with the “Truffle buttered asparagus with Iberico jamon, poached egg and parmigiano reggiano” (HKD148).  It’s exactly as promised and every element is fucking great.  However, I just don’t think I’d order it again because let’s be real, just how fucking exciting can asparagus with egg and cheese really be??  Fuck off vegetables, I don’t need to pretend to be healthy cause let’s face facts, I’m a fat fuck at heart and I’d rather spend my bucks on meat and fuck yeah carbs.

This is where the “Ox-tail, orange and sage ragu over crusty bread” (HKD118) arrives and OH MY FUCKING GOD.  While it’s simple in concept, it’s fucking unbelievable.  The ox-tail has been slow cooked until it’s falling apart with gentle orange peel overtones and sage for herbaceous fuck yeah feelings.  It’s served on a piece of that fuck yeah Bread Elements foccacia loaf which has been toasted in butter to make it even more fucking delicious, providing dem crunchy feels against the ox-tail ragu.  You better believe that we demanded even more bread so we could scrape every last bit of that ragu into my life from the cast iron pan.  Why would you order HKD148 asparagus when HKD118 fuck yeah ox-tail ragu is on offer?? Don’t fall into the healthful vegetable trap homies, you’re not impressing anyone!

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Our waiter had recommended a pizzetta which is fancy Italian nomenclature for ‘tiny pizzas’.  We ordered the “spicy salami, nduja, provolone pizzetta” for a very fair HKD98.  It’s about as wide as two fists and it’s deep crust style, its bottom crispy fried in olive oil and topped with fuck yeah salami and nduja.  Like seriously, what’s not to love about nduja – ie. a spreadable pork sausage mixed with roasted peppers and spices?  Predictably, there’s some arugula scattered about as well which I guess is an acceptable salad accompaniment when it’s on top of a salami pizza.

My generally insatiable lust for carbs almost met its match by the time I got to the pasta course. The “veal cannelloni with porcini béchamel” (HKD228) was small in size but rich as fuck.  The flavours were a fuck yeah symphony of balance.  Sure, the veal cannelloni was a good fucking thing but the true magic was the porcini béchamel sauce.  The dish is grilled to give the béchamel a browned maillard crust and just when I thought I couldn’t handle any more of these overwhelming feelings for béchamel sauce the subtle nutmeg spicing kicks in on the back end.  The only thing that can contain my unbridled emotions is to tearily wave the waiter homie over, begging him to bring me MOAR BREAD so I can get every last bit of béchamel into my being.

However, despite the fuck yeah pasta times this is all warm up for the star of the masterpiece, the “Porcini rubbed short-rib with aged balsamic” (HKD458).  This slow cooked Canadian beef short rib presents itself sliced into pieces, with a now-clean bone presented right down the middle.Unfortunately, there’s  more fucking arugula on it, and given the amount of arugula on the other dishes I was definitely at peak arugula levels by this stage. Yo MyHouse, diversify your garnishing portfolio and get some cress or something.  However, the most important thing to remember is the fuck yeah glory of MyHouse’s short rib which is sprinkled with large chunks of French sea salt which catch your tastebuds periodically to ricochet more fuck yeah feelings through your body.  The beef is pink and soft like butter, but charred on the outside.  This juicy fucker tastes so distinctly of beef and happiness that I’m not even sure if the salt I’m tasting is from the French sea salt flakes or whether it’s because I’m weeping tears of joy into my food.  My fellow dining homie that was with me at this point takes a moment to stop shovelling beef into her face, just to exclaim “Fuck, I think I’m at the Vatican because I just saw GOD”.

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At five dishes we were truly full as fuck and as a massive fat cunt, perhaps our waiter’s recommendation of six dishes was a bit punchy.  Or perhaps most normal patrons don’t take it upon themselves to eat a loaf of foccacia each on top of their ordered dishes.  Just to round off our MyHouse experience we took a bottle of red wine to the couched bar area and split a dessert, the salted caramel panna cotta (HKD88).  Layered in a stemless wine glass, I was most definitely into this.  Each layer had a different texture and flavour, going from chocolate to the salted caramel panna cotta to a foamy cream, all topped with some salted caramel popcorn to give it some crunch and dem salty burnt sugar feelings while we enjoyed some cool house tunes from MyHouse’s DJ.

So I’m totally willing to take this one on the chin and be proven wrong that restauranteurs actually can fully formulate a concept which has every potential to be a massive pretentious wank-off but instead throw down a massive fuck you to half-assed execution and pulls together something which is unique and killing it in an unprecedented SEVEN WAY FUCK YEAH slam of interiors, concept, food, music, drinks, service and price point.  Yassss MyHouse, you better believe my short ribbed filled body is READY.

Verdict:
FUCK YEAHHHHHHHH!  In a fairly flat year of only just ok new restaurants in HK, MyHouse has gotta be a strong FYN contender for one of the best new restaurants of 2015.  GET INTO IT ASAP FYN HOMIES, CAUSE THIS MYHOUSE SHIT IS JUST SO FUCKING RIGHT.

Where:
Cookieboy HK
Tong Chong Street Markets (Every Sunday til the end of 2015)
Outside the PCCW Tower, Taikoo Place
Quarry Bay, Hong Kong

FYN Note:  Cookieboy are only there every other Sunday, so check Cookieboy’s FB for details to avoid fuck no disappointment.

Cookieboy is also available at Sunday’s Grocery (66-68 Catchick Street Kennedy Town, Hong Kong) but I’m still growing my manbun so I ain’t ready for that hipster bullshit yet.

Phone:
N/A

Price:
HKD20 each or HKD100 for six.

The deal:
One of HKs overlords, Swire, have started a new Sunday market on Tong Chong Street, just outside Taikoo Place / PCCW Tower.  Given that HK is no longer in the grip of an insanely hot Summer, I dragged myself down there vaguely hopeful that I might get something fun for lunch.  I gotta say, I am totally behind the concept of these sorts of events in HK because fuck yeahhhh, I can get behind organic vegetable stores and small food production outlets trying to make a go of it in HK.  However, in execution, I’m not sure Tong Chong St Market got its shit right because after a loop around the market site all I saw was stall after stall of expensive, sad-ass sandwiches that were trying too hard, such as soggy ass chicken waffle sandwiches and vegan everything fun-free banh mis.  To add fuel to my emotional state, I then ran across the BLOGGER SQUAD who were getting dragged around en masse with their huge-ass cameras as stall holders gave them loud food fact chats via a megaphone, as the Blogger Squad nodded sagely and took down notes regarding all of these fuck no looking sandwiches which had been staged for them in the middle of a reserved media table. I hate-crashed the media table to get this pic of the Bread and Beast beef tongue and cheese roll that was waiting for its Insta Foodie moment, replete with its plastic cheese and fuck no looking bread – SHAME SHAME SANDWICH SHAME:

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But like a bastion of hope, blinking through all the carb related sadness there is one non-vegetable related stall that is worth the trip to Tong Chong St Markets and that’s Cookieboy.  Cookieboy was founded by Ryan Zimmer who has a shit tonne of pastry experience, and was most recently the Executive Pastry Chef for the JW Marriott HK. After quizzing the Cookieboy homies as to which cookie was their best one and getting an answer almost equivalent to “I love all my children equally!”, I decided that the best decision was to make no decision and to get a Mixed Batch bag, which gives you one cookie of each flavour.  I immediately called up Ms Two Serves so we could meet up for Cookie Judgment Day.  Overall, we fucking loved them.  What I fucking loved the most about all of Cookieboy’s cookies was that they’re soft, chewy fuckers.  No hard cookies here which means that they do not transport that well and will break apart quite easily by the time you get them home.  However, I’m willing to sacrifice structural integrity for a chewy fuck yeah texture.  It’s time to check out FYN’s ranking of the Mixed Batch sampler from FUCK YEAHHHH to fuck yeah:

  1. Peanut Butter:  This PB cookie might not be much to look at, but it promises “chewy peanut butter goodness”. I’m a total slut for peanut butter and chewy cookies so it’s pretty obvious that I’m gonna give this one a massive FUCK YEAH.  Let’s be real, who doesn’t want to eat a chewy peanut butter loaded cookie which gives you every excuse to get your homies involved just so you can ask them “HOW DO YOU LIKE DEEZ NUTS?”
  2. Apple Pie:  This is a seasonal special so I have no fucking idea how long it’s going to be around for.  Which is potentially a bit sad because who wants something this good to ever come to an end??  While the cinnamon Snickerdoodle cookie might form the solid as fuck foundation that this seasonal FUCK YEAH cookie is built upon, it’s the semi-dehydrated apple chunks and brown sugar streusel which gives you dem Autumnal feels. So bye, bye, Miss American Pie, got my cookie from my homies and the Fall feels were fucking FINE.
  3. Macadamia White Chocolate:  I am not sure how the financial metrics work when trying to produce an Australian macadamia cookie in HK which only sells for HKD20 because the last time I merely looked at a bag of Australian macadamias at Wellcome Supermarket I almost had to immediately declare bankruptcy.  Regardless, the caramelised flavours are strong and so are my fuck yeah feelings.
  4. Oatmeal and Raisin:  Oatmeal is healthy for you, isn’t it?  Lowers cholesterol and all that good shit.  Perhaps it’s not so beneficial for your health once you start mixing in butter, sugar and all that good shit.  But it sure makes it fucking delicious.  It’s like breakfast, but actually interesting.  Fuck yeahhhh.
  5. Chocolate Chunk:  Ms Two Serves was into this one and declared “Sometimes, all you need is a choc chip cookie”.  While I can appreciate her purist approach to cookie life, clearly I’m a fussy fucker who prefers fancy tricks like dehydrated apple chunks and Australian macadamias. While the Chocolate Chunk was still rad, I just wanted the chunks to be a bit bigger and offer a bit more texture.
  6. Double Chocolate Chunk:  Look, some of my best friends are black but I was just the least excited by this one.  Dark as night and chocolatey as fuck, I just wanted more from my cookies than chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.  But I get it, some homies just wanna rock out with their choc out – and if you’re that sort of homie this one is totally gonna be your fuck yeah chocolate time jam.

Cut to me half a week later and my Mixed Batch paper bag was down to a few woeful crumbs.  You better believe that I shamelessly used a spoon to scoop out every possible cookie crumb into my life.  When I could scoop no more, I aggressively tipped the bag directly into my mouth.  Of course, this is where my fuck no lack of coordination resulted in Cookieboy crumbs overshooting my face and falling wastefully straight down my shirt.  It was at this point that I was left with no other option but to fall down to the now crumb covered floor, arch my back like a wild animal and howl desolately, mouth in rictus, as I contemplated sadly the cookie-less void my life had now become. IT’S ALL TOO SAD, HOMIES. LET US PRAY.

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Verdict:
FUCK YEAHHHHH get involved homies because as I always maintain, carb life = best life, and who doesn’t wanna be living the best life??

Where:
Viet Kitchen (fuck yeahhhh functional website.  WITH MENUS. VIET KITCHEN, I’M CRYING HERE)
Lobby, Nexxus Building
41 Connaught Road, Central
Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2806 2068 (but they will only take lunch bookings for more than six people)

Price:
HKD98 for the starter and main lunch set. +HKD22 for the drink. After service charge, out at HKD120 a person.

The deal:
Chef Peter Cuong Franklin, previously of Chom Chom fame, has set up Viet Kitchen at the Nexxus Building (near the Hang Seng Building / walkway through Central Market).  I gotta make a FYN confession, I never went to the new Chom Chom even though everyone was losing their shit over it. This is because my kindred soul mate in nom, Ms Two Serves, went a few times and I was on the receiving end of several emotional whatsapp outbursts about her fuck no experiences which really just consisted of about 20 messages saying “Whyyyyyy?”, interspersed intermittently with “So salty” and “Pho Cheung Fan Rice Rolls??”.  Add in the hordes of people and the inability to book and I wrote Chom Chom off entirely. Chef Franklin is no longer at Chom Chom and he has since opened the substantially sized Viet Kitchen.  I decided to try it because I was looking for somewhere new for lunch with minimal drama in Central because I just find eating lunch in Central to be such hard fucking work.  As you can’t book Viet Kitchen, I aggressively implored my fellow lunch homie to leg it down Des Voeux Road with me as close to 12pm as possible because Viet Kitchen won’t take bookings for tables of less than six people.  Yasss bish ruuuun:

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Luckily the most cardiovascular exercise I’ve had in weeks gave me more tangible results than the gym ever did because we walked straight into getting a table.  I’ll note though that I found myself back at Viet Kitchen within the week and without the Des Voeux Noonday Dash ahead of the lunch hordes, we arrived at around 12:30pm and we only had to endure a relatively short 10-15 minute wait for a table.

One thing that I’m giving a major FUCK YEAH for Viet Kitchen’s proposition is that they are gunning to be an efficient as fuck lunch joint and it’s clear that their speedy wait times are no accident.  You are able to select your lunch from a clipboard while you wait and as soon as you sit down, your entrees are practically upon you.  The restaurant itself isn’t the size of a postage stamp and seats over 80 people meaning they can pack the masses in.  The lunch menu is straightforward with minimal options and no one has to verbally take your order – meaning that your lunch inputs are fed straight into the Viet Kitchen Lunch Machine and it’s barely minutes before your entrees are being served up to your table.  The staff are efficient and on their shit which means fuck yeahhhhhhhhhhh, supreme lunch efficiency!

For starters there’s a four choices – deep fried lemongrass silken tofu, caramel chicken wings, the Vietnamese soft spring roll stuffed with sole or a green papaya and mango salad.  But lolz, as if I was ever gonna get some sad ass papaya salad when there was deep fried, caramel chicken wings on offer.  The chicken wings are fucking awesome and Viet Kitchen will give you three pieces.  Slightly spicy but with a warm, caramel and garlic flavour. Obviously I could have eaten nine but I’m not known as the Angel of Chicken Death for nothing.  On another return visit I ordered the deep fried lemongrass silken tofu which were a small, though fuck yeah starter.  One of my lunching homies decided to respect himself and made the sensible choice and got the salad, which came with an extra serve of sadness on the side.  He barely touched his healthy as fuck salad, while he longingly stared at my golden cubes of deep fried tofu.  Face facts homies, good decisions never ever start with forsaking fried chicken for salad.

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I’ve tried two mains at Viet Kitchen now. The first time, I went for the traditional Saigon Beef Pho, billed as beef broth, medium rare beef, slow roasted brisket and rice noodles.  Viet Kitchen’s Pho has been quite the source of consternation on OpenRice (lolz) with crying faces all over the shop.  I’m not gonna declare it to be the best pho in HK nor am I gonna be an asshole and compare it to some hole in the wall pho joint that you’ve most definitely never heard of in Vietnam, but it was a solid fuck yeah and I enjoyed it.  Sure, I could have done with more beef and I’m always into getting beef balls and tripe as well in my pho.  I also would have preferred a firmer noodle with more bite vs the softer “hor fun” style noodle that Viet Kitchen used, but that’s HK Pho Life for you. You can add another HKD28+ to upgrade to the large bowl but I’m a greedy fucker and the normal size bowl was perfectly fine by me. Overall, the pho was solid lunch time fare but I wasn’t overwhelmed by unbridled fuck yeah emotions.

On my return visit, I got involved with probably one of my favourite sandwiches of all time, the majestic Banh Mi (Tiệm Bánh Mi Phương, I still burn for you, my love, my fire, my carb based desire).  Viet Kitchen aren’t fucking about and will send you straight to my favourite destination, CARB TOWN, loading up their banh mi with a side of lightly spiced french fries and sweet chilli ketchup.  Rules to live by:  Carb life = best life. Viet Kitchen lets you choose from three types of banh mi – The Pork Experience, Wok Fried Lemongrass Beef, and Turmeric and Dill Sole Fillet.  I ain’t got time for that new age banh mi bullshit so of course I went in for The Pork Experience.  As I’ve had so many sub-standard banh mis in HK I wasn’t exactly holding my breath, steeling myself for fuck no sandwich related disappointment.

But whoa, surprise on the upside cause fuck yeahhhhhh this was probably the best banh mi I’ve had in HK.  First of all, the French baguette they use is a fuck yeah because it’s crisp as fuck but not so crunchy that your mouth ends up being carved up into a mess by razor sharp shards of crust.  There’s a good amount of bread in proportion to the ingredients and they haven’t just packed it with low cost carrots to make up for actually giving you meat.  The pork banh mi is stuffed with thin caramelised pieces of pork belly, slices of Vietnamese pork sausage, pickled carrots, daikon and cucumber and fresh coriander.  To bring it all together, there’s a good smear of pork liver pate and sriracha mayo.  Yassssssssssss, sriracha, pork and bread based feelings followed by a french fry chaser is the sort of fuck yeah lunch time experience that I can wholeheartedly get my greedy carb loving ass behind.

It’s HKD22 to add a drink to your lunch and while there’s the bog standard options of canned soft drinks there’s also some of my favourite fuck yeah Vietnamese options – fresh lime soda, salted lime soda, Vietnamese iced coffee and Vietnamese iced tea.  I’m all about the Vietnamese iced coffee and Viet Kitchen’s  is a fuck yeah – strong, punchy black coffee being sweetened just enough from the condensed milk.  Fuck yeahhhh, just add a shot of Kahlúa and vodka and I’d happily drink these til I lost all sensation in my face.

If you wanted to, I think you could easily be seated and out of Viet Kitchen within half an hour.  However, despite the demand for tables though, our waiters were polite and never hassled us to leave before we were ready.  The good news is that even if you can’t be fucked braving the lunch time crowds and dealing with the table palaver, you can always just get a FUCK YEAH banh mi from their Viet Baguette take-away counter.  I’m not sure how big the non-lunch or weekend crowds are for Viet Kitchen considering its location is in the middle of Central not near the restaurants of Soho etc, but I know that Viet Kitchen is giving it a red hot go to be a bar/drinks venue as well.  Not sure how that’s going to go for them but fuck, systematic and organised lunch service gets a FUCK YEAH from me.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhh to efficient as fuck, affordable and tasty lunch sets. Make dat lunch money Viet Kitchen, you efficient restaurant homies most def deserve it.

Where:
Momojein (no proper website so check their FB page)
23/F QRE Plaza
202 Queen’s Road East
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2789 1949

Price:
We got out at HKD440 a person. But I was with Ms Two Serves which means most people would probably get out for less.

The deal:
Momojein only opened in September and its claim to fame is its imported Korean celebrity chef, Lim Hee-won.  I give zero fucks about celebrity when it comes to chefs because fame don’t make shit taste good but I understand that Chef Lim used to front some reality Korean TV show.   Ms Two Serves and I wanted to try somewhere new but when we were deciding to try Momojein in Wan Chai, we were so fearful that their claim to ‘Korean Inspired Cuisine’ could end up in mediocre and run-of-the-mill sadness.  As the ‘Korean inspired’ cuisine alarm bells went off, we did some due diligence and were vaguely reassured by their menu which contained no bullshit Mexican influences.  I don’t know why every single fucking Korean place is all viva Mexico because I have zero interest in sitting through some godawful Korean-Mexican kimchi stuffed burrito with some heinous fuck no name like the Miss Kimmy Kurrito.

The final deciding factor in trying Momojein was when Ms Two Serves pointed out that Momojein is walking distance from Stone Nullah Tavern and if it all went pear shaped, we could try and erase the fuck no disappointment with a second Redemption Dinner involving fuck yeahhh SNT buffalo wings. As the saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fall in a big bag of fuck no, sub-par food-related failure, and Ms Two Serves and I ain’t got time for that.

Momojein is a really fucking cute and modern space, their interior and branding nailing the clean, trendy feeling they were going for.  There’s warm wooden tables, brushed concrete floors and enough potted plants and greenery to make sure shit still feels comfortable and doesn’t veer too becoming a stark, austere echo chamber.  A clean and simple menu outlines Momojein’s modern take on Korean food in a modern sans serif font and Ms Two Serves and I revert to our default mode of wanting to order everything.  Well, except for the entire salad section which listed some unexciting healthy shit like “Watermelon and Beef Salad” and “Crispy Beef Brisket Salad”.  These salads weighed in at HKD132 each and seemed like an expensive way to get some artistic pieces of arugula, a tiny amount of protein and the faintest shred of pretence that you are making some healthy life choices.

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Ms Two Serves and I also examine what could potentially be the world’s most boring cocktail menu that anyone has ever bothered to write down.  Ms Two Serves asked whether she could have a vodka and soda with a splash of yuzu, which caused a mini meltdown because Momojein’s cocktail list didn’t push the boat out and include “vodka and soda”.  Fuck yeahhhh, let’s take shit truly back to basics zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz:

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We order the Kalbi Hotteok  (HKD82), which is described as a “juicy hand-crafted beef wrapped inside a chewy crepe bun that is then pan seared for the ultimate crispiness”, with ranch dressing on the side.  Ms Two Serves resolutely declares that “ultimate crispiness” is a concept that she can wholly get behind.  Hotteok (a Korean pancake) is normally stuffed with a sweet filling and Momojein are fancying up shit by stuffing it with beef, but fuck tradition because this Kalbi Hotteok is fucking delicious with its chewy though crispy fried rice flour bun and fuck yeah juicy beef filling.  While our waitress claimed we could share this, it wasn’t the most easily shareable food given that when you cut it open with the provided scissors, the hotteok leaks its fuck yeah beef juices all over the place.  Given its modest size, this fuck yeah beefy treat is not cheap at HKD82 (+10% service charge) but fuck, I’d probably still order it again.  However, the Flowered Chives Pancake (HKD108 +10% service charge) is really where the fuck yeah party gets going, this dish being the fuck yeah highlight of the starters that we ordered.  The flowered chive flowers are so fucking pretty and delicately flavour the pancake with onion and there’s a good amount of seafood mixed into the pancake. All of this works with the soy and chilli dipping sauce.  But what I remember the most is how this pancake truly captured dem fuck yeah “Ultimate Crispiness” feels.  No sad ass soggy bottomed bland Korean pancakes here.

For our main we ordered the Whole Kalbi and Coriander Salad which weighs in at a hefty HKD340 (+10% service charge).  Of course I was fearful that it was going to be tiny but Momojein’s prime beef rib turns out to be decent in size and could be shared between two to three people quite comfortably.  Even two greedy fuckers like Ms Two Serves and myself.  It’s fucking great – the beef is charred and served sliced with a fuck yeah Korean influenced BBQ sauce (read: BBQ sauce which is a bit sweet and spicy) and more ranch style white sauce.  You better believe that I went hands on with the bone to make sure no fuck yeah beef was left behind.  The accompanying coriander salad was refreshing but a bit half assed on the vegetable ontat as it didn’t really consist of anything more than coriander, a few shredded carrots and a light sesame dressing.  Yo Momojein, if you ain’t going to pad your salad out with any other sort of salad greens suggest that you only use younger coriander so your customers aren’t left chewing the woody coriander stems like cud chewing cows.

It’s at this point in time that we see this super cute Asian couple next to us throw down an order which belied their tiny, lithe frames.  As part of this order we saw the majestic as fuck fried Country Chicken sitting gloriously on their table, with a pile of golden renkon / lotus root chips stacked upon it.  Ms Two Serves and I rue the fact that of all nights, this was the night we decided to exercise a rare show of self-restraint in choosing the perfectly fine Korean chicken wings as starter instead of the far more impressive looking, whole fried chicken.  Cue to us being really fucking subtle and throwing some wistful stares at our neighbours’ table and their basket of rad as fuck looking chicken and their elaborate flat pieces of Grilled Bulgogi Pork which we wanted desperately in our lives:

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Ms Two Serves and I were after desserts but for whatever reason, our normally attentive Momojein waiters totally disappeared after our mains and seemed to be tasked with polishing all the cutlery instead and avoiding eye contact with us.  HK Restaurants, Y U never actively push dessert onto me??  After finally managing to catch the eye of a waiter and begging for a dessert menu we decided to the order the Black Sesame Tteokbokki.  Tteokbokki is a soft rice cake which is normally covered with a savoury sauce (usually a sweet red chili gochujang based sauce) but Momojein are continuing to mix shit up, adding some red bean jelly cubes and then covering it with a slightly sweet and salty black sesame sauce.  I was really into this dessert because I loved the dense, chewy tteokbokki rice cakes and the slightly salty-sweet black sesame flavour which was fucking delicious but a bit unusual compared to other desserts.  But I can totally concede that a lot of people aren’t going to be down with this black goopy sweet, salty black sesame rice cake and red bean mess for a dessert.  In which case, don’t order less conventional weird-ass textural Asian desserts to try and be a badass, just order the yuzu cheesecake or the banana hotteok pancake with ice-cream, ok?

So Momojein isn’t traditional Korean (ie. spicy red hot, bean sprouts in small dishes, spicy red hot, stewed beef, spicy red hot kimchi, pickles, spicy red hot) but I think at least their shit was coherent and the changes they made weren’t some douchebag bullshit that’s trying to demonstrate innovation just for the sake of creating something new or declaring obnoxiously how they’re some sort of global cuisine gypsy.  Combine the fuck yeah interiors with some innovative modern Korean food which is still fucking delicious and I’m so fucking down to get my casual Modern Korean on again at Momojein.  Particularly if it involves more grilled pork and fried chicken based fuck yeah moments.

Verdict:
FUCK YEAH to casual Korean inspired eats which aren’t a half-assed fusion mess in cute as fuck surroundings.  Momojein, imma coming back for your country fried chicken.