Monday, August 15, 2011

not taipei: HONG KONG


Notes for my next visit from the amazing meals our family friends hosted us at. I liked the ultra fresh lobster sashimi, plucked from the tanks moments before our meal, but even better are the pan fried pissing shrimps or mantis shrimps, which are like baby lobsters with juicy meat to dig out of its bug like shell. It's a dish that's hit the mark at almost every restaurant we've ordered it at.



Also, does this picture make you hungry or turn off your appetite?


For me,a  mixture of both, but carnivores that have had perfect crackling skin from a roast suckling pig at Fook Lam Moon will be thinking about it for weeks afterwards. Paired with a soft cushion of a steamed bun, I wanted more than my two piece portion of the thin squares. If the suckling pig isn't in your budget, then the crispy chicken has some delicious crunch going on too.


Advance reservations recommended at both.



FOOK LAM MOON
35/45 Johnston Road
Wanchai
+852-2866-0663

CHEUN KEE
53 Hoi Pong Street
Sai Kung Seafront
Hong Kong
+852-2791-1195

Monday, August 08, 2011

dessert/taiwanese: KLEFUN CREPE



KLEFUN CREPE
at Xinyi Vieshow, 2 FL
No. 20 Song Shou Rd

MRT: Taipei City Hall

hours: 11AM - 11PM

$

Kid friendliness: sure, why not.

Visit reviewed: 6/7/2011


If you've ever tried a crepe from a food court in Taipei, you might have been confused when you bit into a crispy paper-like texture rather than the softer, pancake kind, as I was since I was used to the latter from my crepes in the states (and Toronto!). 

Klefun Crepe at Xinyi Vieshow foodcourt is no exception to that rule.


I usually stick to the Whoppers at Burger King when I'm catching a movie, but my vegetarian friend wanted to try his luck with a vegetarian crepe. The shop's menu is only in Chinese, but there's an English plastic menu available if you ask. Most of the crepes are around NT$80, and there are also boba milk tea and other drinks available.


When I was watching the crepe maker roll out the batter with expertise, I thought it might not be so bad, until I saw the toppings. The salad vegetable crepe had three tiny strips of cheese, corn, pineapple and salad. Only in Taiwan. When I commented on how little cheese there was, she replied, you can add more for extra money.


The end result is kind of like a salad in a thin cone. Kind of a noisy snack food for a movie, but we were watching X-Men: First Class (which was really good by the way!), so we could sneak bites during the action scenes.

The dessert crepe is a bit better with a thin layer of chocolate spread all over the crepe though the banana slices fell mostly into the middle, though it definitely can't compare to the more classic crepe from Paul. I ran out of hands to take pictures and was running late to the movie, but it's hard to mess up bananas and chocolate, though note the chocolate is a generic type, not Hershey's or Nutella, and tastes like it.

One good thing about the traffic cone like structure is that it makes it quite portable and no fork is needed.

Monday, August 01, 2011

revisited/swedish: i still strongly recommend FLAVORS


FLAVORS
No. 13, Alley 26, Lane 300, RenAi Rd, Sec. 4
(02) 2709-6525

website: flavors.com.tw

hours: Closed Mondays; Tue - Fri: 6PM - 10:30PM
Weekday lunch by advance reservation only
Sat/Sun 12PM - 2:30PM & 6PM- 10:30PM

$$-$$$

Kid friendliness: no kids allowed

Visit reviewed:
Previous visit reviewed: 5/1/2009


My friend mentioned to another friend about how she had heard about an unusual restaurant in Taipei... Swedish, was it? And of course, I had to pop in and ask, do you mean Flavors? So another lunch date was made with a group of friends to introduce a new restaurant to.





I had fond memories of my first visit and visits after that went unblogged, but since we had made advance lunch reservations, the natural lighting for the pictures made for a perfect opportunity (since Flavors typically has the romantic mood lighting at night, terrible for food photos).




The menu has slightly changed since I last reviewed it- the meatballs are no longer available as an entree (boo hoo), the lunch menu sets are the same as the dinner menu sets, priced at around NT$890 and up, but apple cake is part of the set for every meal.

Everyone enjoyed our meals, shared bites of our main entrees, raved over the swedish meatballs and bread and delighted in noisy conversation which was okay since we had the restaurant all to ourselves at lunch.

Housemade bread is on the sweet side and served with olive tapenade and a pea spread. Resist the urge to fill up on this or sneak some to take home to eat.


The soup choices that day were cauliflower which was a nice creamy puree with a chopped parsley,


or a cold tomato soup.


Amuse bouche was watermelon infused with balsamic and mint, though mine tasted just like a cube of watermelon.


I savored the meatballs & new potato with brown sauce and ligonberry (NT$220) as I really wanted the whole plate of 12 that I had the last time, but until Chef Ola brings it back as an option, it's only an appetizer.  The meatballs are fluffy and the sauces are sweet, but I like it that way.


A warm mango and mozzarella dish (NT$250)  my friend ordered.


The main dishes at Flavors include veal, lamb, beef, salmon, venison, halibut, pork chop and what I ordered, the black cod. What was neat to observe was that each of the potato sides on the entrees had a different preparation/presentation.



Organic sous vide pork chop with caraway potato and blue cheese sauce (NT$1080)


Sous vide lamb chop and Flavors potato with marinated wine sauce (NT$1280/set)


Beef fillet with hasselback potato & cafe de Paris and garlic butter (NT$1280/set) is probably my favorite out of all the entrees I've tried and what I would probably recommend one to order.


Aside from the few bones in my first two bites of fish, I liked the black cod with potato gratin and caviar sauce (NT$1280/set).


With a thin layer of caviar spread atop of the cod, as well as plenty mixed into the sweet sauce, it provided a contrast of textures to the flaky fish. My friend noted that many of Flavors' sauces do lean towards the sweet side, even for the savory entrees, so if you're not a fan of mixing the two, you might want to let the chef know.


And finally, the apple cake which is more like an apple crumble island in a sea of vanilla cream sauce.



For chocolate lovers, the hot Death by Chocolate (NT$180) is a must try.


Quite a few readers have told me about how they loved discovering Flavors after I wrote about it last time and many also about how they found Chef Ola and his wife Stephanie to be so warm and integral to the experience of dining there. You might spot him in the semi-open kitchen, or if he's not too busy, you might be able to catch a conversation with him and let him know what you thought about your meal.

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