Saturday, 29 May 2010
Thursday, 27 May 2010
Went to Hix on Brewer Street last night for dinner. Not impressed.
We were made to wait an extra 20 minutes for our table in the bar
downstairs which was dark and loud. The cocktail list was interesting -
but the lighting condition didn't encourage reading nor exploration. The main
restaurant was overwhelmingly noisy - a harsh nosiness rather than
buzzy noisy. The waiting staff was slightly disorganised.
As a starter, I had the battered monk fish cheeks. It sounded good on the menu. I have eaten many fish cheeks before and they definitely were not cheeks - more like medallion of monk fish fillets. The tartar sauce was nice though. My venison salad was disappointing - served in a wooden bowl (why?) the venison was tough and bordering flavourless. The beetroot chunks were good though. Desserts improved somewhat - I had a taste of my friends' chocolate tart and Bakewell pudding which were both rich and decadent.
So I cannot understand what the fuzz is about this place. Perhaps there is no fuzz - just good marketing and PR. There are plenty of decent eating places in Soho and I don't think I will be returning to Hix anytime soon.
Sunday, 23 May 2010
Jacques Imbrailo, as Billy Budd, had the quintessential innocent and youthful quality. Master-of-Arms Clggart was sung by Phillip Ens who gave it plenty of vindictiveness: shades of Iago emerged during his monologue towards the end of Act 1. The Glyndebourne chorus was splendidly masculine.
Michael Grandage, making his operatic debut, did the job well - the acting and movements were great. The lighting, by Paule Constable, was good too given the relatively complex stage set. Sir Mark Elder together with the London Philharmonic Orchestra delivered
fantastic team work even with this difficult Britten score - and the
woodwinds and brass were particularly brilliant.
Friday, 14 May 2010
Micaela Carosi (as Aida) had a powerful voice and delivered some good acting. Amneris (Marianne Cornetti) had the right kind of highly strung and gutsy voice. The decidedly-chubby Marcelo Álvarez sang a decent Radames - though his opening aria Celeste Aida could have been sung with greater sensitive and observance of the morendo marking at the end would not go amiss. There were lots of people on stage, but my guess was that less than half were singers (there were acrobats, lots of dancers, some muscle-bods) - so while the Royal Opera chorus came out strong, the sound lacked that big chorus feel.
Nicola Luisotti (conductor) didn't hang about in the pit: the tempi were very progressive which made this potentially long and stogy opera exciting and punch.
Monday, 3 May 2010
Finger sandwiches form an integral part of an English afternoon tea (together with scones and clotted cream, cakes and of course tea). Most hotels in Hong Kong would do a half decent afternoon tea. The Clipper Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental has been offering afternoon tea for decades.
I was meeting up with some out of town friends in Hong Kong and I thought tea at the Mandarin would be lovely. We sat down. We ordered afternoon tea. The food, as usual, came in a multi-tier contraption as well as a basket of piping hot scones. What intrigued me first were the boxy objects on the top tier (see picture below) - what were they?