New Starbucks on Duddell Street

There’s this section inside a new Starbucks on Duddell Street (just down the staircase from Ice House Street) that’s totally retro, designed by G.O.D. This 1950’s Hong Kong tea house design was done extremely well and is almost an exact replica of some of the older tea houses you can still find in Mongkok and Yaumatei.

The attention to detail was quite impressive; they’ve got everything down from those red round plastic support for the glass (on the tables), the prints on the table, those old-school electric switches, adaptors and to even the type and colour of the blinds, the dusty old fans and folding chairs.

Here’s a photo of what it looks like. More to come later.

New Starbucks on Duddell Street in Hong Kong 1

New Starbucks on Duddell Street in Hong Kong 1

Oh, they even use the old tea house menu design for Starbucks’ menu. Unfortunately though, the drinks are the same. It would be great (not to mention a great marketing ploy), if they offer a special milk tea (奶茶) or ying-yang (駌鴦) to go with the menu that’s only available in this particular Starbucks.

New Starbucks on Duddell Street in Hong Kong 2

New Starbucks on Duddell Street in Hong Kong 2

Old School Power Sockets & Adapters at Starbucks on Duddell St.

Old School Power Sockets & Adapters at Starbucks on Duddell St.

New Starbucks on Duddell Street in Hong Kong 3

New Starbucks on Duddell Street in Hong Kong 3

Menu at Starbucks on Duddell Street

Menu at Starbucks on Duddell Street

This menu is done so well … the timeless green + red fonts … unmistakeably “Bing Sutt” (冰室)

I can see more of these Starbucks popping up not only in Hong Kong, but perhaps even in China with the type of tea houses they have back during those Dynasties.

Edit: Did you hear about that Starbucks in the States that serve alcohol now? What are they doing?!

Note: Photos taken with BlackBerry Curve 8900

Award: The Siu Yeh Stamp of Cool

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Foodlink Foundation First Fundraiser at M1NT

A good friend of mine recently started Foodlink Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization with a goal to prevent food wastage and to generate a sustainable food-recycling system by collecting surplus food from various F&B outlets and delivering the donated food to shelters in Hong Kong.

How worthwhile is that? If any (free) advertising shall be done on my turf, it should be this.

Here’s a summary of the organization:

Foodlink is responsible for identifying donors and beneficiaries.

Collaboration with donors is usually based on trust and the quality of the food donated. Reputable establishments (hotels and restaurants) are identified and highest hygiene standards maintained.

Recipients now include Home of Love (Shum Shui Po), Wanchai Shelter and St. Barnabas’ Society and Home. These partner agencies were chosen based on their geographical locations and the proximity of the donors to the beneficiaries, as well as the need of the shelters to feed the homeless and elderly who are in need of hot, nutritious meals every day.

Once the donors are matched with (a) beneficiary(ies), the food will be collected and delivered to the respective shelter(s).

For more information regarding the fundraiser, please visit here. Thanks!

August 11th EDIT: The event will now be held on 21st of August at Armani Bar, not M1NT as originally planned. Thanks!

Are You Cool Enough for Drinks at ZUMA?! Talk to The Hand!

Gee, this blogging thing really is a full-time job isn’t it?

I just realized I haven’t written anything in about 2 weeks! A week into this “honeymoon” period, I was already feeling a little guilty … subconsciously, I wanted to see how long I can go for without updating Siu Yeh. The threshold is 2 weeks people … TWO. WEEKS. I guess laziness got the better of me too … actually, I kept taking pictures whereever and whenever I ate, but I just haven’t gotten around to writing it. Now I have a backlog of about 1.5 month’s (45 entries) worth of stuff to write about … err, stay tuned.

Anyway. Yes. Zuma.

Known for its vast selection of rare drinks and innovative cocktails, Zuma “brings a sophisticated twist on the traditional Japanese Izayaka style of informal eating and drinking.” Yeeeahh, I can sort of see that. The place definitely fits the description of trendy and upscale but doesn’t quite hit me as pretentious (even though its “located at Hong Kong’s most pretigious address”) although they’re not far from the line. In fact, it was pretty chill just sitting at the lounge, mingling with friends … it wasn’t cozy per se, just … comfortable. Apparently they shuffle around their furnitures every now and then (or so I was told anyway) just to give people a different vibe when return customers visit.

And traditional Japanese with a sophisticated twist it was. The first thing that caught my eyes were “Sparkling Sake”. How often do you hear that? It was my first. I had to get it.

Sparkling Sake, Kotsuzumi, Sparkling (Yuzu Flavour)

Sparkling Sake, Kotsuzumi, Sparkling (Yuzu Flavour)

The quality of the photos taken with the my new *ahem* BlackBerry Curve 8900 is pretty darn good, huh? I was pretty amazed myself … and that flash (in that environment we were in) was blinding. I kid you not. Go RIM! Go Waterloo!

Here’s how the Kotsuzumi was served. In an equally Japanese-y Japanese wooden box and in it, the Yuzu sparkling sake with Japanese writing on the label that looked almost like it was written in Egytian hieroglyphs. This sophistication was too much for me to handle. I am a young, energetic, dare-I-say trendy (and good-looking) individual born, bred and lived in Hong Kong 75% of my life … but clearly, at Zuma, I felt like I came from the boonies just yesterday.

Yuzu Sparkling Sake at Zuma

Yuzu Sparkling Sake at Zuma

And to add salt to the wound, Yuzu (as the ultra-hip would know) has apparently been quite the cult ingredient lately. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus that tastes like a mix of lemon and lime.

We took a whiff from the opened bottle and it smelled like the ginger aroma oil from Thai massage/spa! Seriously. Anyway, they serve the sake in double-shot glasses (tall ones) that are chilled, which was a nice touch … and nothing short of what I would expect from a place like that. Once you drink it though, the imaginary ginger smell goes away, but came the citrus taste (more citrus than lime I would say). It was also a little too sweet for my liking.

Zuma Signature Cocktails

Zuma Signature Cocktails

My second drink was the Rubabu, which is a “rhubarb infused sake shaken with 42 Below vodka and fresh passion fruit” … served as a martini. What the heck is a rhubarb anyway? Gotta Wiki …

(don’t you love how this is like real time?)

A Rhubarb.

Right, okay … I didn’t taste that at all. Not that I would know anyway. What I did taste (and liked) was the strong passion fruity scent and taste. Again, this was a little too sweet but there’s a bit of sourness to it too, which was a good touch … not by the bartender, but probably the passion fruit itself.

After I was done with the drink, I also felt my oestrogen level hit an all-time high.

Rubabu at Zuma

Rubabu at Zuma

In a nutshell, I was a man from the city going into Zuma. I left feeling like a woman from the countryside.

Siu Yeh Rating: 8/10

Note: Photos taken with BlackBerry Curve 8900

Zuma
The Landmark, Level 5 & 6
15 Queen’s Road
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3657 6388
Fax: +852 3657 6399
Website: www dot zumarestaurant dot com/zuma_hk.html

Its Pinot Noir Night on April 7th!

The Good Grape Wine Appreciation

HK$ 250 per person
7:00PM
Tuesday, 7th April 2009 at Zest
57 Wyndham Street, Central

Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grapes varietal used for making wine. Its complex nature creates full bodied and rich wines with intense flavours and aromas.

Learn more at this tutored Pinot Noir tasting session.

A special 4 course set dinner menu and wines by the glass, at fantastic prices, are available at Zest after the tasting session. all guests are encouraged to stay for this fabulous offer.

Reservation and pre-payment for this Good Grape session may be made via Culture magazine.

Maggie Chow
goodgrape (at) culture-hongkong.com

Sponsored by ASC Fine Wines & Culture Magazine

Good Grape Group Shiraz Evening

So I was invited to this wine tasting event that was co-sponsored by Zest, ASC Fine Wines and Culture Magazine. There were about 20-30 guests, all (or most) of whom are wine lovers, of course. The group is called “Good Grape” and apparently, they used to have this once a month and then it stopped for a year (for reasons I am not aware of) and this particular event was the first in 2009. The hosts will continue to organize these events once a month from now on.

The theme for the night was Shiraz. And for those of who (like me) who are still learning about wine, this varietal is more lending towards “spicy” flavours with descriptions (thanks JC) such as pepper, spice, cinnamon, thyme, liquorice and/or cedar. And if you can taste the fruits within, they usually are cherry, blackberry, blackcurrant, raspberry and/or strawberry.

Here’s the tasting menu.

Wine and Canapes

1. Two Oceans Shiraz 2008
Wild mushroom risotto spoon with smoked porcini, perorino and rocket

Two Oceans Shiraz 2008 paired with Wild Mushroom Risotto with Smoked Porcini, Pecorino, and Rocket

Two Oceans Shiraz 2008 paired with Wild Mushroom Risotto with Smoked Porcini, Pecorino, and Rocket

This was my favorite pairing. The risotto had really strong mushroom and truffle flavours and it goes really well with Shiraz, which as I’ve just mentioned, is very spicy. The parmesan shavings on the risotto definitely helped too!

***
2. Maison Bouachon Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2006
Poached chicken and onion tartlet

Maison Bouachon Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2006 paired with poached chicken and onion tartlet

Maison Bouachon Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2006 paired with poached chicken and onion tartlet

This pair, I wasn’t too fond of. For one, the Maison Bouachon is considered an “Old World” and as I’ve learned from JC from Grande Passione, rather than to make a Shiraz, old world wines tend to reflect the wine itself for what it is (i.e. all the hundreds of factors that made it a Maison Bouachon). The fact that it was 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre also made it not-so-Shirazy. But hey, what do I know. Since this wine wasn’t as strong as the other 3, the chef paired it with a chicken pie, which wasn’t as strong as the other dishes, so I guess it was a good complement.

***
3. Bridgewater Mill Shiraz 2005
Grilled beef fillet slice, red onion compete, salsa verde

(There’s no photo here because I was busy talking to JC, and when the food came, it looked so good I just shoved it in my mouth)

***
4. Leeuwin Estate Siblings Shiraz 2006
Black fig with gorgonzola

Leeuwin Estate Siblings Shiraz 2006 paired with black fig with gorgonzola

Leeuwin Estate Siblings Shiraz 2006 paired with black fig with gorgonzola

The Leeuwin is known to be a very solid wine and so it neither exceeded or fell short of our expectations. What was interested about this pair was the fig and the gorgonzola. The fig is, of course, very fruity and refreshing, but it was topped with a really powerful, buttery gorgonzola. Almost reminded me of my foie gras-raddish experience in Japan not too long ago; an unfamiliar taste mixed with an unfamiliar texture. Totally messing with my head.

Of the 4 Shiraz, I like them in the following order:

1. Two Oceans Shiraz 2008

Origin: Western Cape, South Africa
Varietal: 100% Shiraz
With aromas of strawberries, spices and black pepper. A medium-bodied wine with slight tannin, an abundance of berries with spicy and peppery nuances.
Pairing: Serve with red meat, game and pasta

4. Leeuwin Siblings Shiraz 2005

Origin: Margaret River, Western Australia
Varietal: 100% Shiraz
The wine is strongly fruit driven by lifted ripe mulberry, blackberry, and blood red plums, floral violets, mocha with balanced dusty vanillin pod also showing is hints of white pepper and spice. The palate is of full to medium weight with intense sweet black cherry, blackberry and plums, earthy spiciness, and long finish, fine grain tannins.
Pairing: Meat, grilled meat, game, pasta

2. Bridgewater Mill Shiraz 2005

Origin: Adeleide Hills, South Australia
Varietal: 100% Shiraz
The palate shows a natural dark berry spectrum with smooth tannin. This is a wine to savour now or shall thrive under careful cellaring conditions given the chance.
Pairing: Meat, grilled meat, game, pasta

3. Maison Bouachon Cotes du Rhone 2006

Origin: Rhone Valley, France
Varietal: 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre
Little red underwood fruits smashed (strawberry, blackcurrant, raspberry) with notes of peppermint. A supple attach, it reminds the over ripe fruits associated to sweet spices like vanilla with toasted notes.
Pairing: Chicken, lamb tajine, pot roast, game

And if you had stayed behind for dinner, here’s the menu at HK$ 178 per person:

Braised lamb ravioli, tomato, truffle butter
***
Slow-cooked duck, cous-cous, Morrocan spice-infused red wine sauce
***
Goats cheese souffle with beetroot puree
***
Pear and almond tart with mulled red wine reduction

If you’d like to join, feel free to leave a note and I’ll put you in touch with the organizers!

Tastings Wine Bar in Central

I’ve always wanted to visit the Wine Room at the Sheraton for the Enomatic wine dispensing machines, but I still haven’t had the chance to make that trip across the harbour. Coincidentally, I was introduced to Tastings Wine Bar located in an alleyway on Wellington Street, which also has the wine dispenser I was looking for. Here at Tastings, they had 5 machines! In comparison, Wine Room only has 3 and each machine is capable of holding up to 8 bottles of wine. That’s right! We’ve got 40 different bottles of wine to choose from at Tastings Wine Bar.

5 Enomatic Wine Dispensers at Tastings Wine Bar in Central

5 Enomatic Wine Dispensers at Tastings Wine Bar in Central

There are 3 amounts of pour to choose from: a taste (25ml), half glass (75ml) and a glass (150ml). Prices, obviously, are different depending on which bottle you choose, but the selection is quite vast and caters to a wide range of palette, so there are the relatively more affordable ones (South African and even Lebonese wine) and then there’s wine from Bordeaux (on the far right). Apparently, the wine can be kept for up to 3 weeks in these dispensers but most bottles are consumed on a daily basis, except for the Chateaus, which may take a little longer to consume.

Wine Stock at Tastings Wine Bar

Wine Stock at Tastings Wine Bar

I had a half glass of Opus One from the 2004 Vintage. I’m not an expert on wine (I’m learning), but if memory serves me right, it was a bit oaky and had a tinge of smoked berries. Here’s a description of the ’04 from their website:

The harvest of 2004 ended October 1st with the lowest per-acre yield since 1987. Showing a lustrous dark ruby, the 2004 Opus One presents aromas of violets, cedar, black tea leaves, black pepper and brioche. A soft, creamy entry gives way to a concentrated mid-palate; elements of cassis, toffee and cocoa round out the rich flavors of the wine. Intense.

Varietals

Carbernet Sauvignon 86%
Merlot 7%
Petit Verdot 4%
Cabernet Franc 2%
Malbec 1%

Skin Contact

25 Days

Barrel Aging

17 Months
New French Oak

Tastings was opened in July of 2008 and so its been around for only 7 months. They also offer a decent selection of cheese to pair with wine (and a box or 2 of chocolates as well).

Tastings Wine Bar
Basement, Yuen Yick Building (Close to Tsui Wah in Central)
27 & 29 Wellington Street
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2523 6282
Fax: +852 2523 6300

Hotdog Eating Contest in Hong Kong?

Eating Contest at The Big Dog in Lan Kwai Fong, Central! That interesting … I wonder if Takeru Kobayashi would make a trip out to Hong Kong for this … but the prize actually doesn’t seem like much incentive.

Hotdog Eating Contest at The Big Dog

Hotdog Eating Contest at The Big Dog

Not to mention, the most wieners in 5 minutes for the final? Nathan’s allows 10 minutes (although, its been argued that the actual contest is only 3.5 minutes)

Participation
– Applicantion Form and $30 One-Time Entry Fee

Prizes
“The Big Dog” (Final Champion) gets:
– $2000 coupons redeemable at Duke’s Group outlets
– 9 hotdog coupons
– The Big Dog Champion’s Belt
– Entrance into The Big Dog Hall of Fame (photo in-store for 1 month)

Qualifying Rounds
– Jan 23 – Mar 7, every Fri & Sat, 9PM – 10PM
– Top 16 fastest to eat 2 hotdogs (1 min time limit will go to SEMI-FINAL)

Semi-Final
– Mar 13 at 9PM
– Top 4 fastest to eat 10 hotdogs will go to FINAL

Final
– Mar 20 at 7:30PM
– Winner eats the MOST hotdogs within 5 minutes