The latest offering from the group behind Ecriture and Bibo partially fills the enviable space previously occupied by Lily & Bloom as a restaurant offering “sustainable cuisine inspired by the island of Bali”. Far from the first Indonesian restaurant to grace our city, Poem carves out its niche by offering a mid-high-end island experience, which is generally well done but somehow lacks that X factor to make it really stand out in this bustling part of town. To start on a positive note, the interior is beautifully done, with a wall of lush vegetation gently leading the eyes towards a maelstrom of exotic shapes etched within the fixtures and furniture – done in wood, bamboo, rattan and stone. The venue clearly focuses on escapism, and it works as these elements bring the rainforest to the city in a tropical-cum-urban-chic environment that primes diners for the Poem experience before they so much as sit down. The menu is extensive with a good selection of dishes for different budgets and palates. This is a good thing as it affords diners the freedom to mix it up, with offerings like the Home-Style Fried Rice ($118), the Skipjack with Egg Noodles ($128) and Vegetable curry providing relatively inexpensive ways for diners to fill their stomachs here. The Soft shell crab ($98) is as good a place as any to start, with a promising accompaniment of smoked eggplant caviar, coconut sambal, balado sambal and sea asparagus. This dish isn’t bad, with a nice earthy flavor, but it is let d
The opening of Ruam on Wan Chai’s trendy Ship Street was a relatively low-key affair when compared to that of Black Sheep’s buzzy new venture, Associazione Chianti, a few weeks later and a few doors down. The latter was common of restaurants that have recently come to populate what has to be given credit as one of the most interesting epicurean alcoves in our city right now, and so the prospect of visiting one of the street’s quieter neighbours was all the more alluring. While certainly not proving a disappointing experience overall, the food at this self-described vibrant-casual Thai garden bar and eatery needs more attention to do the atmospheric space justice. The name of the restaurant means “to gather” in Thai, and it’s easy to discern that this was at the forefront of the minds that designed the space. Upon trundling up a narrow staircase, visitors emerge in an outdoor, deck-style space that dominates the restaurant and is replete with wooden counter-height tables seating around four – some of which offer charming views of the street below – and a couple of sprawling round tables in the centre to accommodate larger groups. Add to this atmospheric lighting, accentuated by fairy lights festooned between the wooden beams overhead, and you have a space that is inviting and conducive to conversation. The Drinking Snacks section of the menu is a good place to begin food-wise, as it’s where you’ll find a selection of starter-sized dishes including but not limited to skewers,
The team behind popular Brazilian-Japanese fusion restaurant Uma Nota and Middle Eastern spot Bedu have succeeded again with another delicious foray into exotic cuisine, this time offering contemporary twists on Malaysian street food classics. This new venture, named Jalan — which literally translates as “street” in Malay — is located in the heart of Soho on Peel Street (two doors down, as it happens, from its big sister Uma Nota) and channels its choice of local-style cooking to delicious effect with a range of dishes that are as unique as they are fun. The restaurant’s easy-to-navigate menu is split into two sections, with the top half offering tapas-sized portions of which the waiters recommend ordering 3-4 per person, and the lower consisting of larger dishes that equate to your standard main. For those who really want to get stuck into the Jalan concept, it pays to start with a varied selection of the smaller offerings, say, the Rojak Salad ($70), which comprises a zesty mix of pineapple, carrot and cucumber tempered by earthy peanut, the JALAN “satay” style chicken ($105), which proves a well-executed take on the ubiquitous street food skewer, and the soft shell crab ($130) which is deep-fried for that winning combination of crunch and sink. Now time for the larger dishes. There were seven to choose from on my visit, and the dish that really leapt out from the menu was the coconut roasted prawn curry ($195), which was as delectable as it sounds. The dish comes in a fr
As well as the iconic Tian Tian restaurant, Chatterbox is another one of Singapore’s hottest spots for Hainanese chicken rice. First opened at the Mandarin Orchard Hotel in 1971 and later reputed as among the nation’s premier Hainanese Chicken Rice spots, this world-renowned restaurant has recently made its first overseas debut, the Chatterbox Café, at the brand new cultural-retail destination K11 Musea in Tsim Sha Tsui. For a restaurant that encompasses over 2,000 sq. ft., the tables are a tad bit too “intimate”, but thankfully its atmosphere is enjoyably lively and relaxed enough. There’s a large mural of wildlife animals and tropical plants surrounding the dining area that evokes Singapore’s geology, and this in turn is complemented beautifully by the tasteful decor of Peranakan floor tiles. Chatterbox Cafe’s signature dish, the Mandarin Chicken Rice ($118), sees the restaurant's renowned chicken poached in a rich broth that is made using the exact same recipe as at Chatterbox Singapore. The boneless chicken meat retains its moisture and is smooth, juicy and tender. The enticing chicken skin retains a thin layer of oil that gives it a nice sheen, yet it’s not at all greasy, boasting just the right amount of fat and gelatin underneath. The rice is as flavoursome as the meat. First cooked in chicken stock then folded gently with a small amount of chicken oil, it is fragrant and not overly cloying. Accompanying the meal is the requisite dipping sauce of ground ginger, egg y
Renowned for its namesake duck waffle which has already been sold on over a million plates, the famed and hip London restaurant Duck & Waffle made its debut in Hong Kong by running a successful pop-up at the Ritz-Carlton three years ago, and is now coming back to open its first overseas branch at Central’s IFC Mall, dedicated to serving up its signature all-day breakfasts curated by executive chef Daniel Barbosa. Stepping into Duck & Waffle, which boasts several eye-catching giant green ducks set in the main dining area coupled with the unique island-shaped bar design, one can immediately appreciate the place's spaciousness and convivial aura. The first thing we ordered is the classic Duck & Waffle ($230). With an oil-coated duck confit and a crispy fried duck egg placed on top of the waffle, the best way to taste it is to first remove the duck bones, poke the egg yolk, pour in the cinnamon syrup mixed with mustard seeds and cut it all the way down. As the duck is marinated two days ahead of time, slow-cooked with duck oil for ten hours, and then deep-fried for a quick finish before serving, the duck skin is exceptionally crunchy while the meat remains tender and moist, forming a rich and delightful bite with the lightly sweetened waffle. The Spiced Ox Cheek Doughnut ($135) is another signature dish of Duck & Waffle. Referencing the traditional Chinese buns, these crispy doughnuts are filled with juicy minced beef cheeks. Though a little bit spicy, we love how its greasines
Italian cuisine combined with stunning harbour views make for a winning combination at this stylish restaurant, bar and terrace in TST East. The food is traditional Italian, with a wide selection of antipasti and pastas, as well as meat and seafood dishes. The pizza here is great too, made in the wood stove oven, the crust is as light as a cracker. Although the focus is on food, this is also a great place for drinks with a comfy bar serving up a range of cocktails and other beverages. Spasso, G5-8, 12-17 Empire Ctr, 68 Mody Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui East, 2730 8027; divinogroup.com.
It's going on half a century since Gaylord opened in Tsim Sha Tsui as among the first purveyors of Indian cuisine in Hong Kong. Since then, the restaurant has cemented itself as a foodie institution, and so it makes sense that the team behind it would once again delve into their cuisine of expertise in this new venture. While Gaylord's schtick is in offering classic Indian favourites however, Gunpowder breaks tradition, serving up creative new takes on Indian delicacies alongside signature cocktails in a restobar concept that is as cool as the location on Wan Chai's trendy Ship Street. The restaurant's statement of intent is unabashedly delivered from the moment of entry, through a nicely-done motif of sleek, modern tables, chairs and fixtures punctuated by flashes of bright crimson and twinkling tiles to add a dash of Indian sizzle to the interior. The menu's headliner, the Gunpowder Chicken ($98) similarly screams modern Indian, taking fried chicken and infusing it with Milagai Podi – or Gunpowder – which is a robust spice mix that the owner Rajeev Bhasin grew up on and after which his latest restaurant is named. Delicious and with a nice kick, the chicken is a great lead-in before getting onto other highlights like the coconut paste-tempered Peri Peri Scallops ($118) and the Bollywood Bravas ($88), which give a cheeky and scrumptious Spanish twist to the Indian staple of spiced potatoes. The signature cocktails aren't bad either, with especially The Masala Mary – a Blood
The newest addition to Lan Kwai Fong, Fang Fang has a broad pan-Asian menu that’s rich and diverse. With experienced names from Hong Kong and abroad heading the bar and kitchen, both food and drinks consistently deliver. Occupying the former Casa Lisboa spot in LKF Tower, Fang Fang is a spacious, chic space with touches of Asian flair. There’s one of those now compulsory half-baked fictional backstories (thanks Mrs Pound, Foxglove et al) claiming the restaurant is named after a mysterious Chinese opera singer, but that’s of little interest compared to who’s running the show. The kitchen is helmed by chef Kent Lee Chin-heng, formerly of Hakkasan Mumbai and London’s Kai Mayfair, while the bar is managed by Gagan Gurung, who earned a stellar reputation during his time at Zuma. Quite the formidable pair when it comes to contemporary Asian cuisine and cocktails, then. Settling in for a drink first, we start with an Omikuji Girl, a mix of chilli tequila, barley sochu, yuzu, cardamom, shiso and five spice powder that comes served in a cup shaped like a female doll. A fragrant and spicy lass, the well-balanced ingredients and aesthetic appeal make for a fine combination. The Trai Dat, is an even cuter drink served in a panda-shaped vessel. The adorable cup is filled with turmeric gin, coconut milk, pineapple, lemon and ginger. The result is a tropical drink much like a pina colada with a Thai twist. Another winner. Moving from bar to dinner table, we start with five spice squid an