The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 16 October 2017

Easy brunch @ Le Pain Quotidien [Elements], Hong Kong

There's a new breakfast place that opened up in the mall downstairs from us, and we were pretty keen to try it out. Hubby and I are already familiar with the Le Pain Quotidien brand from our time in Japan and our trips to the United States, and it was interesting to observe how the brand altered its image to fit in the different cultures in the two countries. Now we have the opportunity to see it in a high end Hong Kong mall. We visited Le Pain Q twice soon after its opening, and we found the prices were affordable and the quality was good, presenting good value in such an expensive location. Service was friendly and efficient, and the food was delicious on both occasions. The menu had a wide variety, so there is something for everyone and every mood. The baguettes are really yum! The atmosphere is family-friendly, and we will one day soon have a family brunch with the kids at Le Pain Q.

Everything so bright, shiny and new:

Check out the size of our cappuccinos! Bigger than a soup bowl:

Frittata of the day (HK$115). Can't remember the specific ingredients, but it was delicious:

Spanish Omelette (HK$120) with chorizo, tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, onions and Spanish sauce:

Scrambled Eggs (HK$78), made with three eggs and done very nicely (soft, the way I like it):

Organic French Toast (HK$88) with maple syrup and crushed pistachios. I really liked this baguette version of the French Toast:

The Chocolate Bombe (HK$45) was so good, a must for chocolate lovers. The serving size is huge, even for hubby who has a big sweet tooth, but that's not a bad thing:

Le Pain Quotidien is an excellent option in Elements for breakfast/brunch/coffee!

[The prices quoted above do not include the 10% service charge.]

Le Pain Quotidien [Elements]
shop 1089C, 1st Floor
Elements Mall
1 Austin Road West
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2521 1377

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Brunch @ Gusto Food, Perth

When we were in Perth a few months ago, I escaped from the kids for a couple of hours and caught up with a dear friend over brunch at Gusto Food in South Perth. She'd warned me that the space was tiny, and she wasn't kidding. But the coffee and the food! So scrumptious with generous portion sizes. Plus, the service was friendly and efficient. I would love to come back to Gusto Food to try out other dishes!

Delicious cappuccino:

Potato Hot Cake, with poached eggs, oak smoked salmon, avocado salsa and hollandaise. This was really delicious, and I particularly enjoyed the avocado salsa:

House-made Crumpets with pear and berries, peanut gravel and yogurt. Very filling! The peanut, jam and yogurt made great accompaniments to the crumpets:

Gusto Food
86 Angelo St
South Perth WA 6151
+61 8 9367 3512

Gusto Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Anniversary lunch @ 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong

Hubby and I celebrated 13 years of marriage last month. 13 years! We celebrated in part with a delicious lunch at 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, a fine-dining Italian restaurant we first visited last year for dinner. The restaurant had a different atmosphere during the day, a more relaxed and laid back vibe, but the service was as attentive and the food as amazing as at dinner time. Our reservation was rather last minute, made the day before, and I was told there were no tables available, so I accepted the bar seating in the lounge. However when we arrived a little past 1pm, we were pleasantly surprised when we were shown to a table right by the window! We were presented with three menus, the a-la-carte, the Degustation 8½, and the Lunch 8½. Never one to shy from any degustation menu, hubby chose the Degustation 8½ (HK$1480), which contained five courses of deliciousness. The Lunch 8½ was more modestly priced at HK$480, for two courses, with a choice from three options for both courses, and an optional dessert or cheese course for an additional HK$100. The food were beautifully presented and had amazing flavours. Once again, an excellent experience at 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana.

Looks different in the daylight:

Delicious bread sticks, wafers and fresh focaccia, with fragrant organic extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar:

Amuse bouche of chilled sweet melon soup with melon balls and a slice of Iberico ham, a classic and safe pairing:

First course of the degustation menu, Marinated Tuna Tartare with citrus tofu emulsion and royal oscietra caviar. The tuna was smooth and silky, and the citrus tofu emulsion was a pleasant accompaniment:

For my first course, I chose the Marinated Snapper Tartare with seasonal salad, citrus oregano dressing and oscietra caviar. I loved the sliced fennel salad - the crunchy texture and aniseed flavour nicely complemented the tartare and salty caviar:

Second round of rye-type bread, warm and fresh out of the oven, and full of flavour:

We also enjoyed some delicious cocktails (HK$150 each) - Prelude (Plantation 2003 dark rum with passionfruit) for hubby, and the Negroni for myself:

Degustation second course was the Brittany Blue Lobster with braised matsutake salad and lobster jus. This was so rich in the umami fragrance of the ocean and the earthy flavours of the matsutake:

Truffle shaving right by our table for hubby's next course:

Third degustation course was Homemade Tagliolini, with butter, parmesan and "Melanosporum" black truffle fondue. Pasta doesn't get any better than this! It was simply adorned to allow each ingredient to shine:

Hubby's fourth course was the Short rib and beef tenderloin with whipped potato, red wine and plum sauce. The short rib had rich marbling with buttery flavours, and the tenderloin was tender and juicy:

My second course was Amberjack with clams, tomato and orange emulsion, and Jerusalem artichoke salad. I enjoyed the large juicy flakes, and the citrus emulsion brightened up the dish appropriately:

A surprise treat, our waiter whipped up Limoncello Sorbet right by our table:

It was so satisfying watching him serve up the sorbet:

I loved it! What a great palate cleanser before dessert:

Hubby's choice of dessert was a good one: Hazelnut and Chocolate - hazelnut crunch with warm chocolate mousse and hazelnut gelato. It tasted so good:

My dessert was the Tiramisu with mascarpone cream, coffee meringue and marsala gelato affogato. Enjoyed alongside another cocktail we shared, the Chocolate Martini:

Neither of us are fans of tiramisu (something about soggy cake, but ever since that awesome tiramisu we had in Venice six years ago, we've been searching for something like it. This was the closest version to that one (with a much more aesthetically pleasing presentation):

Petit fours! I love these cute little freebies at the end of the meal at fine dining restaurants, and I was sad to see many tables ignoring these gorgeous little bites:

Our waitress came by with a huge box of chocolates that were made in the kitchen, and basically told us to have as much as we wanted. And we would have, if we weren't already so full! I picked two pieces, and hubby tried a piece of all the types. So delicious:

8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
Shop 202
2nd Floor, Alexandra House
16-20 Chater Road
Central, Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2537 8859

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Girls' lunch date @ Mom Tri's Kitchen, Phuket (Thailand)

Last month, my friend and I left the husbands at home and went to Phuket with our kids and nannies for a short holiday. My sweet friend and I were trying to plan this family trip together for at least a year, but unfortunately when the time came to bring this idea to fruition, her husband's boss refused to give him time off work during the summer school break! So we just decided to go ahead with a trip without the men! Thankfully my hubby was pretty good about me taking the kids on a vacation without him - and why would he refuse having five days of peace and good sleep? I was doing him a favour by taking the kids on a trip! My friend and I chose Phuket, somewhere we'd both been to before, so we didn't feel like we had to do and see everything with 7 kids in tow. Yes, we had 7 kids in our travelling party. We did the smart thing and stayed at a resort near the beach with a cool pool and a kid's club, so that there were always things to do with the kids. Travelling with kids is not easy, but my friend and I both share a common love for travelling and refuse to let having kids stop us from travelling.

Travelling to lunch in a tuk tuk:

Though Perth is home for both of us, she also became an expat wife a few years ago on a completely different continent, so we have not been able to meet up in person for years. So during our trip, we had a lunch date together without the kids, and it was so good to connect and just talk, one-on-one without the distraction of kids and husbands and life. I couldn't think of a better place for a date in Phuket than Mom Tri's Kitchen (though that is largely due to a lack of knowledge and experience rather than a lack of options in Phuket). I had a lovely experience at Mom Tri's Kitchen before, six years ago with hubby when our oldest was just a toddler before any siblings came into the picture. The setting was as beautiful as I remembered, the service was as attentive and courteous as before, and the food was delicious. The lunch menu was solely focused on Thai and Asian cuisine, and we enjoyed everything that was served. Great company, beautiful setting, and delicious food - quite the perfect experience!

Our table by the window overlooking the ocean:

My friend's calamari was so good! Fried to perfect crisp without the grease:

The fresh spring rolls were refreshing and contained the right ratio of chewy noodles, crispy vegetables and fresh prawns:

My friend's soft shell crab burger looked so good, I had serious plate envy:

My salmon dish was simple and delicious, and the accompanying papaya salad was awesome! I know this looks healthy, but after a few days of holiday eating, this was just what I wanted:

My friend could not resist ordering the pavlova after spying it on the menu. It was actually not too sweet, like I expected. Look at them beautiful fresh fruits!

Coffee, of course:

Mom Tri's Kitchen
Mom Tri's Villa Royale
12 Kata Noi Road
Kata Noi, Phuket 83100
Hotel Tel. +66 (0) 76 333 569

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Revisit: Sunday buffet @ Yamm, Hong Kong

A few months ago, we invited our Hong Kong-resident relatives over to our side, which is jokingly known amongst expats as "the dark side" (no offence meant to any locals reading this - we ourselves have lived on Kowloon side for seven years, so the joke is at our expense as much as any Kowloon-side locals). We had Sunday brunch at Yamm at The Mira, which we had previously enjoyed five years prior. Back then, there was only our boy at preschool age, and we could enjoy the ease that Yamm provided for dining with children. With two more little ones to join our brood, the buffet brunch at the Yamm once again proved to be a good choice to dine with children. Service was attentive and excellent as before, and the food was delicious. There was a good variety of dishes from Japanese, Indian, Western and South-East Asian cuisines, and the price (HK$438 per adult) was reasonable for the offering.

Salads and cold dishes:

The carving station:



Homemade pandan waffle station! With a variety of ice cream flavours in addition to various cakes and sweets:

My first plate:

Hubby's choice of desserts:

[Prices quoted above do not include the 10% service charge.]

Ground Floor
The Mira Hong Kong
118 Nathan Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Tel. +852 2368 1111