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Showing posts from July, 2008

Easy brunch at the Brunch Club, Hong Kong

As I was walking along Caine Road, I thought "where is this brunch club"? Anyway, past Shelly Street was Peel Street and there it was - an inconspicuous eatery on this otherwise quiet street in the Hollywood Road area.

The menu has everything you would want for a Sunday brunch - croque monsieur, mixed grill, continental breakfast. Like many places in Hong Kong, the orange juice was freshly squeezed (rather than just squeezed in big factory hundreds of miles away).

Simple food, nicely done.

Pierre Gagnaire cooking at "Pierre" in Hong Kong

Monsieur Gagnaire was in Hong Kong presumably checking up on his name sake restaurant "Pierre" at the Mandarin Oriental, and in the process offered a "menu d'été" for the locals to enjoy.The summer degustation menu included many delightful dishes - the champagne sole chaud froid and apricot leaves, jellied fennel infusion with cuttle fish and green olives sorbet, etc. While the eight-course menu had many interesting textures and tastes, it was interesting to note previous few ingredients were local - was it because monsieur Gagnaire wanted to deliver consistency by sticking to European ingredients, or was it because there was no time for him to visit local food markets to see the wealth of local and regional produce? Hard to tell. And "Pierre" should definitely invest in some sauce spoons for punters to savour the delicious sauces.

A private and intriguing dinning experience at the Krug Room, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

It seems most top hotels in Hong Kong can offer a private dining experience where precious guests are cocooned in a hermetically sealed environment served by attentive waiting staff. The Mandarin Oriental cannot just have any old private dining room: it has created the Krug Room which is adjacent to the "central kitchen" of the hotel where all manners of gastronomic delights are concocted right in front of us (well actually the room faces the "hot" kitchen: there is a "cold" kitchen round the corner).

The Krug Room offers the "expect the unexpected" menu - dishes that are created using scientific and unusual techniques, many of which had derived from Herald McGee and his followers. The classic 'blackened cod' was juicy and succulent (which incidentally is also available on the Grill Room menu). The results were a series of delightfully flavourful dishes sometimes combined with unusual textures. Let's hope more locals are able to expe…

Fabulous The Rake's Progress at the Royal Opera

It was to be a fun evening. Director Robert Lepage and designer Carl Filion gave glitz and glam to the Royal Opera's new production the Rake's Progress. Charles Castronovo sang the part of Tom Rakewell wonderfully - with the acting skills and look to match. John Relyea was Faustian in his portrayal of Shadow. Tom Ades conducted the show with much precision, though the orchestra could have been a wee bit more rhythmic.

A very wet RHS Hampton Court Flower show

The Met Office said the sun will come out a 19:00. Looking out of the train window at 18:30, I could only see a menacing cloud with rain pounding the carriage. After a mad dash from the train station to the show entrance, my friend and I took refuge in one of the floral marquees. We were treated to some sensuous roses and lots of fabulous looking carnivorous plants.

It didn't take too long to find the show garden by my friend Philippa Pearson. It's a fab "Room with a View" double-decker garden with lovely flowers (don't know what they are called). And while we were there, a Silver-Gilt Medal was presented to Philippa!

Figaro at the Royal Opera

The current revival of David McVicar / Tanya McCallin's production of Figaro delivered much lighthearted entertainment for the end of the current Royal Opera season. Ilderando D'Arcangelo's voice,  acting skills and dark hair Latin look really suited the Figaro role. Aleksandra Kurzak also made a wonderfully playful Susanna. Barbara Frittoli was just too matronly for the role (and that wide vibrato didn't help).

Charles Mackerras, an octagenarian, continued to inject energy into this tried-and-tested work. Tempi were varied enough to give the performance variety - and he clearly refused to let any of the soloists to wallow in it ... good for him!