Aug 03, 2006|
Wasabisabi founding chef Tatsuya Iwahashi is back after a two-year culinary journey through his native Japan. He was hoping to gain inspiration for new ingredients and fresh takes on the classics, and it looks like it paid off. Our favorite new dish at his restaurant is the Wasabisabi Tataki Sushi Platter ($398) with 12 different kinds of fresh seafood, wagyu beef and foie gras rolled in finely-sliced cucumber sheets. But you know the one thing I really liked? The deep-fried prawn’s heads, which I heretofore had no idea were edible. 13/F, Food Forum, Times Square, 1 Matheson St., Causeway Bay, 2506-0009.
I almost had my ass knocked to the curb last week by a gang of tattooed, shirtless louts gutting the Wyndham Thai restaurant at high speed – tables, chairs, the booze behind the bar, complimentary toothpicks – nothing was safe as the interior disappeared in a matter of minutes. It joins the closures of Goulash, Atlandis, Le Bouche A Oreille and several rug and antique merchants across the street - that's a lot in a short time. Looks like there’s a free space at Shop 3, The Centrium, 60 Wyndham St., Central.
Supersize this: Burger King, the world’s second-largest burger fast-food chain, is expanding from its near-hidden location at the departures lounge in the airport to serve “the best flame-grilled burgers in the business” at its new flagship location at the new-look Peak Tower (from mid-August). Outdoor seating? Check. Spectacular view? Check. Gut-busting Whoppers? Check. “Have it your way” philosphy of granting customers freedom to modify their meals anyway they wish? Check. Shop 1, L/1, The Peak Tower, 2849-2275 / Hotline 3171-1984.
We’ve got confirmation that the Forrest Gump-themed Bubba Gump Shrimp Company is set to open this September at the newly renovated Peak Tower and it’s looking for staff in case you’re a huge fan of the movie. Also coming to Hong Kong in late summer/fall is Lawry’s The Prime Rib, established in 1928 in the United States by of m.a.x. concepts – will it fill the gap left by the closure of Hugo’s Steakhouse at the old Hyatt Regency? Time will tell.
The Thai Restaurant Ayuthaiya on Festival Walk has had a re-think on its pricing and service policies and is now open for all-day dining and what it calls “more competitive pricing in line with the local scene and competitive nature of Festival Walk.” Good news for your stomach and wallet. Shop G23, Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, 3105-5055.
The overhaul spirit continues at Spoon by Alain Ducasse with a totally new menu featuring a split of three styles: “original,” “classic touch” French-inspired and a section called “SPOON Travel” with signature dishes from sister restaurants around the globe. This summer SPOON des Iles in Mauritius is featured. Also don’t forget the Phantom Dinner until Aug 20 before or after the Phantom of the Opera show at the Cultural Centre, if you were one of the lucky ones to snag a ticket. InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2313-2256.
Re: The InterCon - Another quick tidbit to add here is the closure of YU restaurant last week in preparation for the grand opening of the much-anticipated Japanese restaurant, NOBU. Nobuyuki Matsuhisa served a rigorous apprenticeship at sushi bars in Tokyo before heading to Peru and eventually to Los Angeles where partner Robert DeNiro (yep, the actor) convinced him to set up an outlet in New York. How good is he? Zagat guide called him “the man who might be the best Japanese chef in the world, creating dishes that have no equal in a cooking style that’s part Peruvian and part Nobu’s alone.” Set to open in the fall, only the second in Asia - can’t wait!
About a year ago, I battled the Japanese world eating champion and local eating champ Johnny Wu in an eat-off. Johnny and I tried vainly but no one could match the wily 26-year-old Kobayashi. And this year, four-time World Woman Eating Champion “Black Widow” Sonya Thomas headed the women's lineup of hopefuls at last week’s “Whampoa Asia Eating Championship,” along with more than 100 others vying for the, um, pretigious title. Our own Wu and local women’s champ Chang Wing Man played host at the Din Tai Fun Restaurant in Whampoa Gourmet Place. The first round competition will be on Aug 5 and 6 while the semi-final and final will be on Aug 12 and 13. In this king of sports, may the best eater win!
Aqua was the winner of the HK Reader’s Choice Awards 2006 for “Best Place to Charge to Your Expense Account,” and we just want to let our posse know that the sample menu provided in that issue was in fact the most expensive on offer. But I was there the other day, and they have some good deals there too. It's still ideal for a major splash-out though. 29-30/F, One Peking Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 3427-2288.