Sublime Dines

By Michael Zee 2019-09-09 12:01:46

With its effortlessly chic, open kitchen in the middle of the room, walls covered with art works and family photographs from years gone by, you’d be mistaken for thinking BOR has been around for years.

Climbing the stairs up to this Scandinavian sanctuary is like entering the apartment of an extremely stylish friend that you have living in Sweden that has suddenly decided to turn it into a restaurant for plebs like us.

Something as simple as smørrebrod, is a prime example that the easiest things are the hardest to get right, but chef Kasper Pedersen absolutely nails it. The fried halibut filet with dill and shrimp salad (98 RMB) is like a perfect summer day spent at Louisiana Art Museum outside of Copenhagen.

Who knew that a chicken salad with butter lettuce, pickled onion, black sesame and anchovy dressing (78 RMB) could be so transformative? Pedersen says he eats one every day and I could do the exact same. The two day sugar cured, hot smoke salmon with grilled jiaozi skins and sweet mustard (188 RMB) are small bites of pure ecstasy, each one assembled to your own taste.

My only suggestion at BOR is never skip the desserts. My personal favourites are the honeycomb smash (60 RMB), now with better styling than it had previously at Pelikan but still as good, and the salted raspberry sorbet with pine nut oil (50 RMB) a spritely taste of summer on the tongue.

Kasper Pedersen has created something very special here, and even though it’s at the busy end of Anfu Lu it’s hidden in plain sight. Located above an embarrassingly named “Funk & Kale”, it serves as a magnet that will no doubt keep the riff raff out.

 

Find it: 2F, Number 11, 322 Anfu Lu

安福路322号11栋2楼, 近武康路

Phone: 62667909

 

Peruvian chef Carlos Sotomayor is cracking out the barbeque on Sundays this summer to supplement the already excellent menu at Up on Shaanxi Bei Lu.

 

I went on the opening day by chance for my partner’s birthday and the menu reads like a chef that has travelled extensively and enjoyed every minute of it. Mykonos to NYC is a grilled chicken gyro on lafa bread with sriracha aioli and fries (58 RMB) and the Szechuan B-Fast Omelette (58 RMB) are both generous and reasonably priced.

The Bar Bites menu reflects Carlos’s Nikkei interests, fusing Peruvian and the larger spectrum of South American cuisine, traditionally with Japanese but now in Shanghai, a larger Asian canvas. East Meets West Wings (68 RMB) and the Upper East Side Take Away Box (68 RMB) perfectly express this amalgamation that is uninterested in conversations about authenticity. It’s purely about deliciousness and rather than preaching at you with a cheffy rant, he lets your taste buds be the judge.

We finished by sharing a portion of Poutine It Up made of waffle fries, brisket gravy and truffle moliterno (88 RMB) but stopped short of the sweet options. I have my eyes on the Up Pain Perdu, a croissant French toast with apple ginger compote and spiced cream (68 RMB) but I need an excuse for a second, third, twentieth visit and if you ask me, its one of the best places to eat for a no fuss brunch.

 

There is no doubt that Sotomayor’s infectious smile, hospitality and generosity shines through on this menu. Make sure you don’t miss out.

 

Find it: 2/F, 688 North Shaanxi Road, by Wuding Road

陕西北路688号2楼, 近武定路

 

Austin Hu’s latest venture Heritage by Madison, finally gives us something other than overpriced sushi and faux European fine dining when you’re over on the Bund. The interior is sharp, with a large copper chandelier above the bar that resembles a music video by DEVO.

 

Hu is a master of fusion. Looking back at previous iterations of Madison and his time at The Diner, the American (via Wisconsin) blended with a new generation of Chinese cooking brings some delightful surprises for the first menu.

Star dishes are the golden rye mantou with edamame hummus (32 RMB) with a chefy swirl around the edge of the plate, you’ll polish them off in record time, so maybe order two portions. If you ask me, there isn’t nearly enough hummus in Shanghai. The proteins have also been given the Hu treatment. Crispy pork belly with day kimchi and homemade mustard (108 RMB) and the charred octopus with saffron aioli (108 RMB) are instant classics. For those of you who both love sharing but also loathe sharing small plates, the impressive 1kg of double aged USDA prime ribeye with sides (1388 RMB) will satiate even the most ravenous of your dining companions.

I stayed with white wine for the whole meal, a stunning chardonnay from Xinjiang. Both floral and vanilla but soft on the buttery oak, it is the perfect partner to many of the dishes especially for those watching their wine miles.

 

With ample outdoor seating it’s a great spot for lunch with kids (there is a huge dancing fountain in the centre of the Bund Financial Centre) but also a relaxing evening without the children.

 

Find it: 107, N1, 600 Zhongshan East 2nd Road, by Dongmen Road

中山东二路600号BFC外滩金融中心北区一层N1栋107, 近东门路

Reservations: 6312 9089

Whether you’re in town for a visa run or simple transferring through, Hong Kong has a long reputation for being a food destination. If it’s classic steamy dim sum or something spicy on the beach, there is something for everyone.

Repulse Bay on the south side of Hong Kong Island has always struggled to lure good restaurants. Packed with beach goers, you’d have two options, bring your own sandwiches or, visit unadventurous chain restaurants that serve abysmal children’s menus that look like 1980s school lunches. Compared to the rest of the Hong Kong dining scene, something wasn’t quite right.

Newly opened Sip Song at the very end of the Pulse shopping arcade approaches Thai cuisine with a clear understanding of its many regions but without the rigidity of sticking to authenticity. Main dishes like the Jungle Clams (255 HKD) take inspiration from Chiang Mai, whilst the Son-in-Law Scotch egg (55 HKD) is the perfect fusion of Thai and British, served with a sweet sticky and ever so warming spiced jam, its a perfect introduction for children to a world of chilli. My favourite was the Drunken style spicy noodles, with free-range chicken and green peppercorns that was enough to feed two for sure.

Finally the desserts, I would give the mango sticky rice a miss, but the Ube and Coconut ice cream (65 HKD), topped with jackfruit crisps, salted peanut brittle and Thai whiskey caramel is as sublime as the colour and the Banana Roti Pancake (75 HKD) is off the charts delicious. Its also very conveniently cut into bite sized pieces perfect for a sharing with a gaggle of hungry kids or just slowly one piece at a time for yourself.

 

Find it: The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay Hong Kong

+852 2328 8385

Buried deep inside the Standard Charter bank building in Central Hong Kong, (and I mean seriously deep down inside) is a portal to an opulent den of dim sum and glamour. The mirrored cascading staircase is enough to send you into a dizzying fit of hunger and is the perfect photo op for kids and parents a like.

I went for Sunday brunch and called ahead to preorder the char sui, a gloriously fatty and honey glazed slab, I love that in Cantonese cuisine, the fattiest cuts are reserved for the most special occasions or guests.

 

From wagyu puffs to turnip cake there is very little wrong with the dim sum selection, in fact its some of the best you can get anywhere. However, the only dish I would avoid, is the lobster har gow, the usual crystal skin was flabby and wet as if it had been sat on the steamer for too long, served with a plastic pipette of lobster oil, it was well intended but really needs a serious redesign.

After the one blip, it’s a star list of heavyweight A-list dim sum fame. The truffle sui mai, each with a whole quail’s egg inside, is the very best of everything excessive and are eggsplosions in the mouth. The Iberico filled pineapple buns, slightly smaller than the usual jumbo carb bombs at a regular cha chaan teng, perfectly elevate something so everyday to stardom.

Find it: Standard Chartered Bank, 4-4A Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong

Superstar British chef Simon Rogan has made the leap from England to Asia with the opening two restaurants, Roganic and its sister, Aulis, a twelve seater private chefs table hidden inside Roganic. The original restaurant in England’s Lake District, L’Enclume opened in 2002 and set the bar high. Rogan’s style has remained innovative, almost visionary and 17 years later with four Michelin stars under his belt, he has been careful not to simply copy the successes back home.

I went for lunch and had the Long menu (980 HKD), which consisted of a very pleasing 15 courses, with the non-alcoholic pairing (there are business lunch and a Short Tasting menu, as well as wine pairing options) I left later during a category 8 typhoon with my wits intact. The first four or five courses consisted or one or two bite dishes, exploring the skill of the chefs and the provenance of the ingredients. Its like being walked through a forest hike in the New Territories with your tongue as your guide. A delicate pea, cod roe and caviar tartlet followed by a truffle pudding, a mackerel, apple and oyster bite and a crab with carrot combo come with quick fire speed. Before the mains arrive, soda bread muffins topped with oats, and housemade, hand churned, cultured butter land in front of you, definitely ask for a second portion. What utter bliss.

To finish, a savoury ice cream, made with English Tunworth cheese and married with cranberry compote and shaved hazelnut will seriously mess with your senses. Mini doughnuts flavoured with rose and battenburg flavoured with pandan are all subtle nods to the flexibility of modern English cuisine.

  

Find it: , UG/F 08, Sino Plaza, 255 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. 

Email: reservations@roganic.com.hk

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