10 Best Bang-for-Buck Michelin Restaurants

So I’ve been hibernating (yet again) and I was enjoying my long break from siuyeh when THIS came knocking on my door and woke me up! Forbes’ 10 best value Michelin restaurants … in the world. First of all … is there such a thing?! In relative terms, I suppose there is … but L’Atelier de Robuchon and Hutong?!

Apple Daily 10 Best Value Michelin Restaurants

Apple Daily 10 Best Value Michelin Restaurants

Lest you have forgotten, dinner for 2 set us back HK$ 3,300. Well, I blame my brother … his stomach is a bottomless pit (no one in the family knows how deep it goes, we tried throwing a light stick in there once, and we didn’t see or hear it hit the bottom) … but still. Well, in retrospect … I was pretty full to the point of gluttony by the time I was done with the sea urchin pasta (What do they mean by the “best value” Michelin restaurants anyway? What are their criteria?).

Does anyone know? I can’t be bothered to find out. The level of my laziness recently is beyond my comprehension.

Here’s the other 8:

  • Sushi Saito (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Quintessence (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Jean-Georges (New York, USA)
  • The Burger Joint (New York, USA)
  • Ad Hoc (California, USA)
  • Assaggi (London, UK)
  • La Bastide de Moustiers (Sainte-Marie, France)
  • Le Bar Plage Restaurant at the Royal Palm Hotel (Mauritius)

Oh, I found this the other day. Amazing. Hat tip to HaoKouFu (好口福).

Back to hibernating. Wake me up when September ends.

Advertisements

Soho Place (聚豪坊) on Caine Road

July 14, 2009 Edit: This restaurant is open for business again.

This new restaurant I’m about to talk about is one you’ll never be able to try (i.e. no amount of money will you get you a seat here) … because I think they closed down already … effectively making this the most pointless entry ever. Soho Place opened its doors to the public about a month ago … operated for about a week and was closed for the last 3.

The renovation and everything is pretty nice too (not great), but imagine throwing that kind of money into rent, renovation, kitchen equipments, utensils, staff, uniform and countless other things … only to try out for 1 week? Hmm … I wonder what the problem is. So, as the professional food blogger that I am … I will call to ask what’s up and to send my regards (another real time blogging here).

Wow. Their number wouldn’t even connect.

Anyway, during that one week that they were operating (maybe for trial?), I did manage to squeeze a Sunday lunch there. When we got there at 12PM, we were one of the first tables … but when we left at 1:30PM, I’d say 14 of the 19 tables were filled. So it remains a mystery why they place is closed if they’re doing well. But maybe on Sunday businesses are good … from Monday to Friday, I don’t think anyone would eat there.

The manager prides himself in the fact that Soho Place is the only Chinese restaurant on Caine Road (ever since Tai Woo 太湖 Seafood Restaurant on Castle Road closed its doors a couple months ago). Err .. I guess now we know why?

So here’s the menu at Soho Place.

Menu at Soho Place (聚豪坊)

Menu at Soho Place (聚豪坊)

And here’s what we had: Salt and Pepper Squid, which was pretty good.

Salt & Pepper Squid

Salt & Pepper Squid

Umm, I don’t remember ordering shark’s fin and I don’t think this was. It was pretty much the same kind of broth / soup but without the shark’s fin, which for environmental and ethical reasons, I really enjoyed. When we drink shark’s fin soup, its really the soup anyway 🙂

Shark's Fin Soup? I forgot ... I doubt it was though!

Shark's Fin Soup? I forgot ... I doubt it was though!

This spring roll was also pretty good (looks like their fried stuff is not bad). The shrimp is fresh and the amount is pretty generous … I mean the whole spring roll was like eating shrimp dumplings but the outside is crunchy. Definitely an A for this dish.

Shrimp Spring Rolls

Shrimp Spring Rolls

They had 菜螃蟹 (egg white and crab meat) on the menu, which I thought was pretty odd considering I saw somewhere that this place is a Cantonese restaurant. So what’s a Shanghainese dish doing here? Well, the manager claims that they intend to include dishes from most popular Chinese cuisine into their menu … eventually (but I guess never is more appropriate now).

This dish was so-so. I can only take the egg white … I don’t think I can taste the crab meat at all.

菜螃蟹 ... in a Cantonese Restaurant?

菜螃蟹 ... in a Cantonese Restaurant?

Yeh … maybe you didn’t miss that much.

But this is the fastest I’ve ever seen a restaurant fold. Or maybe business was so good the first week, they’ve decided to take a break.

Soho Place (聚豪坊)
Shop A-D, G/F., On Fung Bldg.
110-118 Caine Road, Mid-levels
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3968 0328
Fax: +852 3968 0327

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

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

Dakota Prime

THE. BEST. STEAK. EVER. PERIOD.

Yes, it was better than Morton’s Steakhouse.

Yes, it was better than the Steak House at the InterContinental Hong Kong.

Yes, it trumped all my other experiences involving steak.

And yes, the bill also topped the list.

Dakota Prime is not your average Steak and Seafood restaurant. I went there tonight with high expectations (I haven’t had a chance to come back since its grand opening) and the experience had probably exceeded my expectations.

Let’s get right down to business.

We started off with 1.5 dozens of “White Pearl” oysters (I arrived late, so I didn’t make that order and hence, I don’t know where these oysters originated from). They were really fresh … but most importantly, they was paired with a very fruity sauvignon blanc, which the waiter had recommended. I later asked for the bottle (so I can take a picture) and found out it is called Highfield from Marlborough, New Zealand! You can’t go wrong with white wine coming from that region … it almost tastes the same as Cloudy Bay.

Oysters from Dakota Prime

Oysters from Dakota Prime

New Zealand Marlborough Highfield Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand Marlborough Highfield Sauvignon Blanc

Then came the Dakota Green Salad, which was dressed with the right amount of vinigrette and it also came with fried cheese around it (pictured). Dad had a lobster bisque (pictured). I can’t tell you how that was, but from what he told me, it was damn good.

Dakota Green Salad

Dakota Green Salad

Lobster Bisque at Dakota Prime

Lobster Bisque at Dakota Prime

Dad was on a roll tonight and went for a grilled lobster (pictured) before his steak even arrived. We all dug in and it was really juicy … again, grilled to perfection.

Grilled Lobster at Dakota Prime

Grilled Lobster at Dakota Prime

And finally came the reason why I was there tonight: 21-day Dry Aged New York Strip at 14 oz or 380 g. Apparently, they’re also branded as “Meyer’s 100% Natural Angus USDA Nebraska Beef”, which is “Fully Traceable From Farm to Table, No Hormones and No Antibiotics” (pictured)

21-day Dry Aged New York Strip at Dakota Prime

21-day Dry Aged New York Strip at Dakota Prime

My brother had the “Snake River Farms American Kobe Beef ‘Gold Label'” with Bms of 8-12 at 14 oz or 380 g (pictured).

Snake River Farms American Kobe Beef "Gold Label"

Snake River Farms American Kobe Beef "Gold Label"

The steaks were paired with Cabernet Sauvignon called Unity from Napa’s Fisher Vineyard. Very smoky / oaky, dry and quite smooth (easy to down) and doesn’t leave much of an after taste, which I like.

Wine List (Wine by the Glass) at Dakota Prime

Wine List (Wine by the Glass) at Dakota Prime

We ordered 2 Macaroni & Cheese with Truffle sauce (pictured) as side dishes for our steaks, but we later found out that these “side dishes” are meant to be shared. They came in a pan and the 1 portion is enough for 2 … (at HK$60 for a side dish, they better be!). We thought they’d be a small scope of Mac & Cheese next to your steak. If you are going to visit the restaurant, here’s an advice: Don’t order 2 of the same sides dishes!

Macaroni & Cheese with Truffle Sauce

Macaroni & Cheese with Truffle Sauce

After all that, we couldn’t handle dessert so we called it a night.

It was definitely not cheap, but it was very satisfying. For:

  • 18 “White Pearl” oysters
  • 3 glasses of New Zealand Marlborough Highfield Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2 bottles of Voss still water (800ml / bottle)
  • 3 glasses of Napa Valley Fisher Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 Lobster Bisque
  • 1 Dakota Green Salad
  • 2 Meyer 14 oz NY Strip
  • 1 Snake River 14 oz Rib Eye
  • 2 Macaroni & Cheese with Truffle sauce
  • + 10% service charge

The damage came to HK$ 5,600. Ouch. But it was so good.

Siu Yeh Rating: 10/10

Dakota Prime
7/F., LKF Tower
33 Wyndham Street
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2526 2366
Fax: +852 2526 3626
Website: www dot dakotaprime dot hk
Email: info@dakotaprime.hk

Dakota Prime Now Open in Hong Kong!

Edit: New Entry on Dakota Prime (December 5, 2008)
The talk of the town last night was the grand opening of Dakota Prime, a steak house … that apparently isn’t really a steak house. Their slogan is “Hong Kong’s first ‘Anti-steakhouse’ steakhouse” and when I asked what that really means, the simple answer I got was: “Well … we serve seafood too”
The poor branding didn’t stop the crowd from checking out this new restaurant, which falls under the Prive Group portfolio.
I got in at around 9:30 and was satisfied to find that there was a free flow of most alcoholic beverages; champagne, red wine, white wine, branded water, etc. and the servers were very attentive to making sure everyone had a full glass of whatever they were drinking. A sign that their service is equally as attentive when they restaurant begin operating? Perhaps, let’s wait and see 🙂
Dakota Prime Grand Opening Invitation
Dakota Prime Grand Opening Invitation
Grand Opening at Dakota Prime

Grand Opening at Dakota Prime

Chefs at Dakota Prime

Chefs at Dakota Prime

View from my Seat

View from my Seat

What’s even more impressive is that the restaurant was serving steaks and mini-burgers (with mini steaks inside) for tasting, which I can only smell and hear about … but never tasted. The restaurant was so packed that I can only hear about how good the steak was, without ever setting my eyes on them. Rumors began to spread that guests were infiltrating the kitchen so get their hands on the first pieces of beef that comes off the grill.

Alas, the free-flow champagne got the better of me … but that’s because I had an empty stomach.

Now I know when “Kobe” and “Wagyu” is overused and tried, you need to come up with other places that serve “fine beef” and I’m guessing that is where “Dakota” comes into play. In any case, it looks like Dakota Prime is off to a good start. They did especially well with hiring those 2 hotties who dealt with the guest list last night by the VIP lift.

Disclaimer: The author of this blog is acquainted with one of the investors of Dakota Prime.

Dakota Prime
7/F., LKF Hotel, 33 Wyndham Street
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2526 2366
www dot dakotaprime dot hk