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Where:
Mano (half marks on your website Mano, Y U no have full menu??)
The L Place
Ground Floor, 139 Queens Road Central
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2399 0737

Price:
The five-course chef’s tasting menu was about HKD900ish and with a few extra items, drinks and coffee, we were out at around HKD4,000 for three people.  I’d give you better guidance if Mano’s website had all the relevant info. BUT IT DOESN’T.

The deal:
Ms Two Serves organised for us to have dinner at Mano because she went last week and fucking loved it.  I’d never gotten my ass down to Mano because I never knew exactly what the fuck they were trying to be.  I know they started off as some sort of casual, sandwich and coffee lunch time place and then last year in July, Chef Frederic Chabbert the former Chef de Cuisine of the formerly Michelin starred Petrus was shipped in to fancy up Mano’s shit a bit. Identity crisis aside, Mano is nailing its website wank, turning up its description bullshit off the goddamn charts by claiming that they’re a “pick me up in the morning”, “a hearty mouthful of wholesome lunch” and whoa, get your rose tinted literary prose glasses on at night cause this is when shit goes from “sunshine to moonshade” (Mano, noooo STAHP) and Mano transforms with “[h]ushed whispers and fragrant fusions [which] curl their way into Mano’s complete fine-dining dinner service”.

frankrusrs

Yo Mano’s copywriters – RU FUCKING FOR REAL?? MOONSHADE??  FRAGRANT FUSIONS??  But hey if you ever wondered where you need to go in HK to experience the tendrils of transformation which bring with it a “mysterious new energy”, it’s the ground floor of The L Place. No really. As an aside, I’ve never understood The L Place – it’s centrally located and as a concept it works, but the building has got bad feng shui or some fuck no mojo shit going on, because it always feels a bit dead and sad to me.

Bullshit copy aside, Mano appears to be gunning for a casual, not quite fine dining bistro vibe.  That translates to prices that aren’t fucking ludicrous, miniature herbs, big floral arrangements and predictably, no tablecloths.  When I arrive, Mr and Ms Two Serves are already smashing back champagne and gougères.  FUCK YEAH cause it’s a fact that life’s rad as fuck when you’re drinking champagne and chasing it with fuck yeah choux pastry filled with creamy cheese.  We decided to go for the five course tasting menu, with the cute description of “Fred’s Playground”, leaving the selection of the courses totally up to the Chef .  While we waited for our food, our bread arrived and that crusty loaf was a serious fuck yeah of epic proportions.  That gluten filled bastard arrived straight from the oven, steam escaping when we broke the loaf open and the pat of butter that it came with was FUCKING AMAZING.  I’m sure there was a story behind the fuck yeah butter, it was probably hand churned by nuns in Northwestern France from a herd of cows who are only allowed to eat clover during dusk but no explanation was forthcoming.  Instead, I focussed my entire being on the overwhelming feeling in my heart which assured me that there was nothing more that I wanted in this mortal coil than to eat numerous loaves of Mano’s FUCK YEAH bread.  Given that we were about to smash a Chef’s tasting menu, we only ate two loaves between us as my gluten based desires raged against my common sense.

The kitchen sent out a chestnut and mushroom soup as an amuse bouche, with a small plain pastry puff topped by a sliver of black truffle.  I was fearful that it was going to be one of those soups where it’s essentially cream with a touch of the actual ingredient, but fuck yeahhh shit was tasty and not too heavy.  Our first course was white asparagus with a hollandaise sauce which sounds boring as fuck, but Mano used some Japanese flavours such as micro shiso leaves, yuzu in the hollandaise and a slice of Japanese salty-sour plum which cut straight through the creamy rich sauce for some fuck yeah contrast times. Whoever is importing yuzu into HK atm must be making some serious bank cause yuzu is cruising right up kimchi’s ass to be the latest trendiest ingredient that every restaurant fucker is adding to their dishes for a bit of predictably trendy flair.  Can’t lie though, I’m still such a fucking sucker for it though.

Our second course was a fuck yeah scallop served in a lobster bisque dotted with toasted red quinoa.  Bisque seems to be one of those go-to broths that every fine dining restaurant seems to just keep on standby to pour on ingredients to fancy shit up but at least Mano’s captured that seafood flavour and used lemongrass to subtly hint at a Thai style curry.  While the dish was a fuck yeah, it was becoming apparent that Mano’s service was patchy as fuck.  Mano’s more experienced waiters were slick as fuck but there was a definite second class of greenhorns that were pleasant but not on top of their game.  Given that we’d given carte blanche to the chef, I found that more than half of our dishes weren’t presented with any explanation or it would only be directed to one person at the table.  When I had questions about the food we were served, I’m not entirely convinced that the staff had even tried the food themselves.  For example, I asked the waitress what was the toasted seed in our scallop dish and she answered ‘peppercorn’.  As I’m a total foodie douchebag I challenged her answer given that the seeds were fairly neutral in taste and she then returned to say it was quinoa after checking with the kitchen.  Fuuuuck me, I’m a pretentious fuckface when I want to be but if you don’t know what shit is in a dish, don’t give me a fuck no bullshit answer.

Our third course was a pasta dish consisting of twisted casarecce pasta in some sort of a salty, thin sauce and covered in shaved black truffles.  I assume the pasta was made by Mano but as we were given fuck all explanation about this dish, I don’t really fucking know.  This dish was a fuck no and the weakest dish of the entire night.  The pasta itself was merely passable in texture but I just couldn’t jive with the one dimensional sauce which was just too fucking salty and was too fucking thin to catch properly onto the pasta.  Sure, it was covered in a shit tonne of black truffles but fuck, I’m just not down with covering up poorly executed dishes with a shit tonne of diversionary black truffles in an attempt to luxury the fuck out of an underwhelming dish.  I guess this is what happens when you get a French chef to make pasta?

thatsracist

Ms Two Serves was all about Mano’s beef rib that she’d previously hyped up to me in a barrage of relentless messages last week.  Two ribs were served to be shared by the table with a portion of yuzu and jalapeno salsa on the side.  However fuck nooo, Ms Two Serves wasn’t in love with it as much this time around and I gotta level with you, shit was fine but I thought it erred on the side of being overdone.  I’ll caveat that statement with the fact that I like my meat rare as fuck though.

The dessert course was a trio of different plates (a chocolate based one, a mandarin flavoured one with a serve of clementine ice-cream and some sort of Granny Smith apple sorbet in a meringue shell) for us to share which were solid performers but nothing that was absolutely fucking mind blowing.  FYN’s tip is to skip dessert and eat five extra loaves of bread instead.  Make dem calories count, homies.

Ultimately, I wish Mano’s vision for itself was a bit clearer and at night, instead of half assing this fine dining with a casual feel, I’d rather they just went for it, with more consistent food, tablecloths and more on point service.  While the service was clunky in parts and the pasta was a fuck no, these were not fatal flaws with the other dishes showing some interesting ideas which were executed well with fuck yeah ingredients.  It fucking kills me, because it feels like Mano’s shit is almost there and it has the potential to be really fucking great.  Or maybe I just got charmed by how fucking friendly and sincere Chef Chabbert was.  Overall, I think Mano’s shit was interesting enough to warrant a return visit and in Mano’s favour there wasn’t a gimmicky kimchi throwback in sight.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah on pay day, but I wouldn’t do the Chef’s tasting menu again.  I’ll level with you, I’m fucking tempted just to go back and have an epic fuck yeah of a time by just smashing through the following all by myself – an entire serve of gougeres, eight loaves of DAT BREAD, washing it all back with a bottle of champagne and closing with Mano’s fuck yeah espresso.

Where:
Burger Circus (FUCK, it’s a miracle!  A functional and informative HK website!)
22 Hollywood Road
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2878 7787 (I don’t think it’s a booking kind of place though)

Price:
Burgers are around HKD75 – 100 (+10% service charge).  We got out at HKD185 each with some sides and sparkling water.

The deal:
HK is in the midst of a burger craze, with approximately 23 press releases hitting my inbox every fucking day about some asshole opening up some “new and innovative” burger joint which has The BEST, JUICIEST beef patty in HK with The BEST bun, carefully crafted in conjunction with some French baker and of course they predictably tested that shit during Clockenflap or some pop-up on a godforsaken rooftop somewhere.  Hotshack, Boombox, Cali-burger, Big Butchersclub, Fernando Circus, Dirty Decadent Dickbags – fuuuuuuuuuck pass the kimchi and then call some lifestyle blogs to put in you in their Hot New Shit About Town special, cause I can’t fucking keep track anymore.  Who are these people in HK who are eating 27 burgers and 34 burritos a week which justifies the existence of all these new burger joints and the 57 Cali-Mexes in HK??

Word on the street about Burger Circus has been lack lustre which even the gifting of free burgers to the public hasn’t seemed to have stemmed.  My homies have been telling me that shit’s cute but the burgers are just ok.  They’re going for that kitschy retro thing so if you ever wanted to eat a burger in a replica train cart then you’re in fucking luck.  However despite the mediocre feedback, my judgmental as fuck self can soften when it’s 1:30am and my raggedy drunk ass is feeling the full effects of trying to soak up a bottle of wine, miscellaneous other drinks and a FUCK NO heinous tequila shot (fuck I thought it was vodka! #DrunkAssBitchProblems) with some crackers and cheese that I’d tried to fool my body into thinking it was a sufficient and nutritious dinner. Mr + Mrs Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and I were doing the Wyndham Walk of Shame, deciding between the usual suggestions (Paisanos, 27 Kebab House) when we see the idyllic retro charm (lolzzz) of Burger Circus looming in the distance.

Since it opened, one of my favourite things to do every time I walk past Burger Circus, is to see how fucking miserable their waiters look in their kitschy diner get up uniforms.  I even made one of their waiter homies into a STAHP meme in my Jollibee‘s review.  After we’re seated and our waiter swings by, I instantly realise that it’s the STAHP homie and while I asked him what his favourite burger was, I was simultaneously feeling bad for making this hard-working, convivial waiter into a meme but obviously not bad enough to stop myself from posting it again:

burgerstahp

Following STAHP Waiter’s recommendation, I went with “The Circus Burger” (HKD80), which bills itself as a “5oz beef patty, crispy bacon, savory onions, lettuce, tomato and Circus sauce” and a side of fries (HKD30).  My burger arrives wrapped in paper and on its fuckin side so you can see all the ingredients from the top.  I gotta give Burger Circus full marks for their fuck yeah presentation but their presentation shit is form over function cause when I’m slamming the burger into my face to give me much needed Vitamin G(rease), burger juice starts to drip fucking everywhere.  Retro stripey placemats and paper containers don’t look so fucking cute once they’re smeared with CIRCUS SAUCE and burger juice.  Dear Burger Circus, Y U no present burger with the bun horizontal like every other place?  Y U no wrap paper underneath the other end of the burger?  Shit’s just so unnecessarily untidy.

Given my drunk ass state in which was ready to eat my own arms off, my burger was a fuck yeah at this point in time but Mr Ain’t No Mountain High Enough seemed to have a quarter of an iceberg lettuce wedged into his.  The fries were only average though. My Circus Burger was fairly well proportioned in term of its ingredients ratio but wasn’t particularly spectacular in any aspect.  Gotta note though that the bun was super soft and it gets fucking soggy from the sauce.  I can jive with a soft bun more than some monstrous crusty sesame bun or some bullshit dried out brioche bun which just overwhelms the other ingredients.  Most importantly though, Burger Circus’s burger is the size of a small child’s fist and it was gone before I fucking knew it.  TOO SAD.  Reflecting upon the quick, fleeting Burger Circus moment, I had a flash back to a press release or a blog somewhere that the Burger Circus burgers were described as an ‘ideal size’, which seems to be PR speak for FOOD FOR ANTS.

With my small-ass burger but a fleeting memory and my drunk-ass hunger remaining, my homies and I ordered a serve of the jalapeno poppers, buffalo wings and the kosher dill pickle.  The dill pickle was a FUCK YEAH, sour, briney and juicy as fuck.  The buffalo wings came out cute as fuck in their paper container but were a fuck no on both execution and price point, given that for HKD88 you only get THREE just ok wings served with a side of watery blue cheese sauce.  The jalapeno poppers are all fancied up with a tempura style batter and a cream cheese filling but even in my Vitamin G seeking state, the poppers were not that amazing and punched in at HKD78.  Overall, fuck no to Burger Circus $ides, except for DAT PICKLE.

At about 2am, Burger Circus was calling it a night and our waiter homies hustled us out of the joint .  While the burger I had was enjoyable enough, I gotta be real, this was in the context that it was past midnight and I needed late night post-drinking snacks and if there was a McDonald’s on Hollywood Road, I would have been just as happy getting a cheeseburger and FUCK YEAH McWings.

So while the Burger Circus PR team are probably punching out press releases that refer to its rail cart diner ‘concept’ and sure milkshakes and over the top white and black retro outfits fit into that aesthetic, I can’t fucking eat my server’s outfit and I’d rather have less stripey packaging and MOAR FUCKING (HORIZONTAL) BURGER for my $$$.

Verdict:
Fuck no if you’re sober but not gonna lie, if my post-drinking ass was on Hollywood Road, tiny-ass overpriced passably decent burgers could happen again.

Where:
Arcane
3F/18 On Lan Street
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2728 0178

Price:
HKD270 for the two course lunch set, HKD350 for the three course lunch set (+10% service charge).  Does not include coffee.  I did the two course set, an a la carte dessert and coffee and was out at around HKD500.

The deal:
Despite my grandstanding in a previous post about HK’s predilection for hot young things and my new year’s resolutions to be less of a new restaurant slut, it’s true what they say – you can’t teach an old slut new tricks, regardless of however hot and dirty those old tricks may be.  WAIT, IS THAT HOW THE FUCKING SAYING GOES?  Arcane opened in November 2014 on the hot as fuck On Lan Street, where there are now approximately five restaurants opening every week.  I shit you not, I read a press release last week about a Mexican-Korean taco place abysmally called Takorea is opening on On Lan Street.  Who are these fucking monsters? IS THIS REAL LIFE?

docrivers

Shane Osborn has got some chops yo and is the first Australian chef to achieve one and two Michelin stars at his former gig at Pied-a-Terre in London.  Prior to Arcane, he was at St Betty’s in the IFC.  Filled with natural light, the Arcane dining room is super tastefully done – contemporary art work, oak parquetry floors, a fuck yeah lush outside terrace area and you know what reliably gives me a stiff – heavy white crisp linen tablecloths and the crockery slut in me was all about their fat bottomed Zalto glassware, Bernadaud matte white plates and the David Mellor brushed cutlery.  Fuck yeah to restaurants who actually give a proper shit about their decor and don’t rely on slapping a “contemporary dining room with a purposefully informal, relaxed attitude” label on their design ethos which really just translates to “We fucking ran out of cashola so thought we’d strip shit out, use grey paint and cheap out on tablecloths by claiming we’re about modern dining which dispenses with stuffy, formal experiences”.  Yeah tight asses, I see what you did there.

While I waited for my lunch, I got stuck into Arcane’s warm bread they served with a jagged lump of butter, displayed artfully on a slate.  Fuck yeah, that open crumbed brown sourdough bastard was fucking magnificent and I know this is true because I ate another two pieces just to make sure my fuck yeah feelings were justified.  For the first course, I selected from the set lunch menu and ordered the warm veal rillette on a bean cassoulet.  I had fears that Arcane was going to be one of those beautiful and tiny food for ants affair but Arcane surprised on the upside cause shit was remarkably hearty.  The veal rillette arrives with a gentle smear of herb sauce and the bed of stewed beans were creamy and cooked to al dente, benefiting from a slow gentle cook with a rich stock.  Fuck yeah, shit was awesome.  Other than the fact that this was served inappropriately in a fucking bowl which meant that using a knife and fork (even if it was a beautiful as fuck, perfectly weighted knife and fork) was super fucking awkward as I angled my cutlery into the bowl to cut shit up.  Y U choose bowl, Arcane homies? Shit may have looked fancier but won’t someone think of the user experience??

For my main course, I ordered the Fukuoka snapper fillet  The other option was some boring ass chicken breast which I just can’t get fucking excited about. The fish was perfectly done and artfully placed on a bed of toasted quinoa couscous, surrounded by a perfect ratio of white plate, dotted with a green herb pesto.  Artful micro herbs punctuated the fish but I can’t fault this main.  The couscous wasn’t your standard restaurant filler given that they’d dry roasted the quinoa before cooking it up in a stock giving it this fuck yeah nutty flavour.  I fucking loved that Arcane’s dishes got their seasoning levels and their textures spot on.

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:
Neighborhood
61-63 Hollywood Road
Central, Hong Kong

The entrance is actually behind Hollywood Road, so enter off Peel Street and look for Pak Tsz Lane Park

Phone:
+852 2617 0891

Price:
For two people, you need to order around 6 dishes which range from HKD130-HKD160 each. Excludes service charge. We got out at HKD650 each for food + sharing a bottle of prosecco (including 10% tip).

About:
David Lai, the chef behind On Lot 10 has opened Neighborhood (sic if you’re from British School of English, fuck yeahhh Murica if you’re not). I can’t claim to be a long term patron of On Lot 10 but I’ve had dinner there and shit was good. I would have given it an official fuck yeah on FYN if I hadn’t been such a lazy cunt and actually written it up. Neighborhood opened two months ago and I’d seen some photos of tripe gratin that Ms Siuwaaan and I wanted in our lives. Chef Lai has said that he’s going for that ‘homely’ feel but I’m not sure what’s homely about a sparse dark grey space with mirrors to make shit feel bigger (ho ho, you certainly fooled me you clever interior designer). Sure, the tableware and short tumblers are custom designed and personally selected by Chef Lai from goddamn fancy pants PARIS but it doesn’t matter if you’re still eating shit off a table clothless, laminated fake wood table rimmed with steel. I dunno if a custom designed knife from PARIS can distract me from dat cheap table.  Especially when they don’t change your cutlery between dishes and you have to put your used dirty cutlery back on that laminated table clothless table which kinda skeeved me out.

Neighborhood is a small space, it only sits 20ish people. So it was a bit fucking surprising that I had to wait 5 minutes for them to set up my table when I arrived. Like homies, you’ve only got about 10 tables and you’re not rammed, why aren’t you on top of this shit already? However, this was fairly indicative of the rest of the night as Neighborhood’s service was well-intentioned but ultimately brusque and clunky as fuck.  There is a total lack of anything soft in there too, so shit gets noisy which might explain why our waiters needed us to repeat everything we said at least three times.

I’m really fucking judgmental and the font choice and the egregious use of ” (like your water is either Antipodes water or it’s not, Y U say “Antipodes”?) of the Neighborhood menu really fucking upset me – so much so that I sent it to a friend who immediately responded with “Why are they using the X-files font? Woo woo woo woo WOO woo” and produced this:

xfiles

After establishing that there was no tripe available that night (wahhhhhhhhhhhh), we ordered a number of dishes – the ceviche, the wagyu tartare with truffle, rabbit ballotine, potato gnocchi with wild boar ragu and the daily fish in “bouillabaisse”.  The food gets a fuck yeah on presentation and it’s highly Instagrammable.  If that’s your jam, you can totally post that wagyu tartare with shaved truffles on Instagram and be guaranteed replies of “YUMMMMMMM” and “Where is that??”.  Dishes aren’t huge and you can comfortably share one dish between two people to get an adequate taste.  Shit was ok, I enjoyed it enough at the time but I didn’t find any dish hit me over the head and would be something I’d want to order again or tell someone that they HAD to have it.  The wild boar ragu and the ambiguously quotationed marked “bouillabaisse” was the closest to a solid fuck yeahhhh.  But neither dish was a slam dunk – cause while that wild boar sauce was fuck yeah times, the gnocchi wasn’t firm enough, so it just felt like eating little mashed potato balls in a gnocchi shape. For the “bouillabaisse”, use of quotation marks aside, a slice of fish is served on a piece of bread with the broth poured over it.  The broth was rich and while I prefer my bouillabaisse to hit me in the mouth with the taste of the goddamn ocean, my bigger issue was that it felt a bit empty on other ingredients – maybe I just wanted some shellfish to come chill with my decent portion of threadfin fish.

To finish we ordered the chocolate palette which has been getting mad props on the internet.  Even though I’m not the biggest chocolate fiend, this dessert was pretty fucking rad.  It’s a soft chocolate ganache that isn’t too fucking stodgy and there’s a slightly salty chocolate crust at the bottom to do that reliable though generally successful  salty / sweet contrast thing.   Fuck yeah on execution on this one – I imagine if you were super into chocolate you’d fucking lose your shit over this one.

At the end of the meal, Neighborhood send out some complimentary canelés, or as I call them CAT ANUS CAKES.  Look, I know I always say no fucking food photos on Fuck Yeah Noms, but imma gonna make an exception when shit looks like a fucking cat’s anus:

catanuscakes

FYN fun facts: A canelé originates from Bordeaux in France it should have a caramelised crunchy sugar crust with a vanilla and rum flavoured custard inside and they’re hard as fuck to make.  If you want to be a total unbearable food asshole, when you are served canelés you should ask your waiter “Excuse me, does your chef use the traditional copper moulds or the silicone ones?  Do you use beeswax to help with the release of the canelé?” and after you smile smugly at your dining companions, bathed in your ocean of superior food knowledge you can then firmly punch yourself in the groin for being such a fucking douchebag.  Per my internet research, I understand that Neighborhood use silicone moulds so save yourself a groin punching this time.

I have no issue with canelés but Neighborhood’s had this fucking feral aftertaste that was so fucking terrible that Ms Siuwaaan and I had to take multiple bites to try and identify what the fuck was going and and confirm that shit was as bad we thought it was (no, it didn’t get better and no, I couldn’t figure out what that weird ass aftertaste was).  This required double tasting was reminiscent of when I ate that coconut water macaron at Mejekawi in Bali, which still maintains the title of  The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Eaten in a Restaurant.  I get really upset by shit like this so as soon as I got home, I fired up Whatsapp and was bitching to numerous people including Ms Waterfalls and Caribous:

waterfallscatbum

SIDE NOTE – HOLY FUCK WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME – IT WAS A FREE AND TINY CAKE AND NOW I’VE SPENT SEVERAL PARAGRAPHS, MULTIPLE WHATSAPP CHATS AND HOURS OF MY LIFE RUMINATING ABOUT THEM.

Anyway TL:DR – So maybe it’s because I’m not a “dear and personal, long-term friend” of Chef David Lai which explains why I’m not jizzing in my pants about Neighborhood. Maybe I just can’t get over their terrible choice in typography. But yeah, shit was perfectly adequate, very Instagrammable, service was awkward and I got given a free though fucking awful cake that looked like a cat’s bum.  Overall underwhelming for the price point.

Verdict:
FUCK NO.  I just cannot with spending HKD600+ on dinner in Hong Kong to be underwhelmed.  I also can’t forgive that fucking vile cat’s anus canele thing.  I don’t give a fuck if it’s from Bordeaux and uses cane sugar, that shit was just NO FUCKING GOOD.

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