My 2nd Revisit That Shall Last For A While …@RyuGin Hong Kong

Date of Visit:  December 26 2014

So I am back at RyuGin Hong Kong again…this time with my Bro to celebrate his birthday.  My last visit with mom was enjoyable (here), so I thought I should splurge again for my Bro’s special occasion!  The 3 of us had been to Ryugin Tokyo earlier in the year too (here)

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Place setting

We didn’t order the signature RyuGin Sake this time, but instead opted for a more ‘competitively’ priced hot sake. 😆

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Hot sake

COURSE 1

Monkfish liver from Hokkaido and ‘aka’ clam with spring onion in mustard miso sauce 

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COURSE 2

Simmered abalone with winter vegetables served with grated radish sauce

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Love the presentation!

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COURSE 3

Shiitake mushroom egg custard topped with Matsubagani crab

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Whilst I had the substitute without crustaceans, due to my allergy

Shiitake mushroom egg custard topped with simmered scallop

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COURSE 4

Poached oyster and mashed turnip soup in winter style

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COURSE 5

Assortment of Sashimi 

Fishes flown in directly from Japan!  Try as I want to, I can never recognise the fishes – except tuna (pink)  and salmon (stripey orange)! 😁

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Loved how the chef plated the course: Using salt to draw a mountain scenery

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I really like this, I think it might be razor clam (?)

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COURSE 6

Charcoal grilled Alfonsino served with crispy scales.  

Yes, the citrus is from a province in Japan!

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The crispy scales were the highlight

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The lump in the middle is the salty preserved yuzu peel

COURSE 7

Wagyu ribeye sukiyaki with onset tamago

The egg is from Japan as well…😆

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Thinly sliced beef hidden under the simmered carrots, leeks and onions

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Brilliant gooey orange colour – double yums 😋

COURSE 8

Sea-urchin rice with pickled vegetables and miso soup

This is the traditional set denoting the end of the savoury course in a Japanese degustation meal.

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COURSE 9

Pear

Being spoilt with the theatrics of desserts, needless to say, I am quite disappointed with the rather under-whelming presentation…no theatrics of dry-ice…

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Pear

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Powdered sorbet pear

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Cooked pear added after I cracking open the miniature pear

COURSE 10

Deep-fried sticky rice spring-roll with ice-cream

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Quite a traditional dessert

Matcha, personally prepared by the maitre-d to finish off our meal.

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Matcha

Overall, the meal was good – utilising the freshest ingredients ALL air-flown from different regions in Japan – as expected of a 3-starred Michelin Restaurant 😗, but unfortunately a rather straight-forward text-book execution with not much of a ‘wow’ factor after a couple of visits.

But what is a birthday without a cake? So off we went to Robuchon for our 3rd dessert…😗

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The Royal Touch Bakery Café by Carolyn Robb @ Ocean Terminal, Hong Kong

Date of Visit:  July 19 2015

I had a good Sunday lunch today – which was a surprise – considering, it’s a small unassuming ‘restaurant’ (if you can call it that) in a mall, with a prominent display case of cakes and pastries!  It’s tiny with only 30 seats!  (Psst… here’s its digits for reservations: +852 3188 8086 ☺️)

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The Royal Touch is a brand created by Carolyn Robb, former executive chef to Prince Charles and Lady Diana, so without doubt, this cafe features some royal dishes! Those following the Royal Family will know that Ms Robb is also famous for being  the creator of Prince William’s Chocolate Biscuit Groom’s Cake!

Without further ado…

We had the Set Lunch Menu – simple British fare but really special!

APPETISER

Seasonal Fresh Fruit Salad with Raspberry & Passion Fruit Dressing

or 

Avocado & Papaya Salad with Papaya Dressing

I had the Avocado Papaya Salad which was very different to the salads I have had.  The combination is unusual – papaya and avocado (?), but very flavourful – slightly tart and not overly sweet.

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Avocado & Papaya Salad with Papaya Dressing

SOUP

Asparagus and New Potato Soup

or

Soup of the Day

I opted for Carrot Cream Soup was the Soup of The Day.  Normally, soups featuring carrots in Hong Kong is sweet, Ms Robb’s carrot soup is creamy and savoury.

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Carrot Cream Soup

MAINS

We decided on different items for our Mains.  The price of the Set Lunch is dependent on the Main course one chooses:

My bro got Corned Beef Potato Cake with Black Truffle Scrambled Eggs (HK$218).  The creamy eggs with truffles were highly recommended.

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Corned Beef Potato Cake with Black Truffle Scrambled Eggs

I had the Slow Cooked UK Dingley Dell Pork Collar with Wild Berry Jam (HK$288).  I ordered it medium, but parts of it was a little bit undercooked, but nevertheless not bloody and tasted good. What I especially liked was the cute Romanesco Brocoli or Buzzy Broc, the potato mash with truffles was divine!

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Slow Cooked UK Dingley Dell Pork Collar with Wild Berry Jam

My mom had the Royal Classic Cod Fish Pie (HK$228).  it arrived piping hot, but not enough fish she said…😏

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Royal Classic Cod Fish Pie

The mains are heavy in potatoes and all used campari tomatoes as garnish.

DESSERT

Dessert was chocolate cupcake with different butter cream frosting – I had the Earl Grey frosting, the others were Blueberry and Pistachio…

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Chocolate Cupcake

COFFEE OR TEA

I also have to mention that the coffee (included in the Set Lunch) is very good – strong, not bitter – definitly better than those from the speciality coffee bars around… seriously!

A look at their menu says that we shall be back for their afternoon tea set!  The waiters are very polite and attentive, and the price very reasonable, so pinkies up, everybody! ☕️👌🏻 Next time, Royal Afternoon Tea!
Where is The Royal Touch Bakery Café by Carolyn Robb?

Shop G02, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

A Perfect Summer’s Day @Tin Hau Temple, Joss House Bay

Tin Hau Temple at Joss House Bay is the oldest and largest Tin Hau Temple in Hong Kong, built in 1266.

There are many Tin Hau Temples in Hong Kong because Hong Kong was originally a fishing village, and Tin Hau is the patron saint of the fishermen.

Who is Tin Hau? She is the Goddess of the Sea or Queen of Heaven.  She was taught by a Taoist priest at 13 to predict the future and help those who were sick and weak.  Legends had it that she travelled about the sea on a raft made of reed to save people from drowning in the sea.  Hence, she was revered as the ‘Goddess for safety in the sea‘.

How We Got There:  We boarded the private ferry at Shau Kei Wan Typhoon Shelter (Exit A from Sai Wan Ho MTR, then walked to the Grand Promenande). The boat service is a round-trip service between Shau Kei Wan and Tung Lung Chau, only available during Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.  We had made a separate alternative arrangement with the boat company for a drop-off and pick-up at Joss House Bay. (Handy info: info@boatpeople.com.hk; call +852 2337 6568 or call the captain directly: +852 5114 676)

Shau Kei Wan Typhoon Shelter

Leaving the metropolis

Tung Lung Chau has 2 drop-off points on the island:  Nam Tong Pier and Fat Tong Mun Pier

Fisheries in Tung Lung Chau

Fishing pontoons

Fishing pontoons

Tung Lung Chau is a pristine unspoilt island east of Hong Kong with beautiful scenery.  It has an area of 2.42 sq km with only 100 inhabitants.  As we travelled on the boat, we could see waves crashing into the rocks, steep cliffs and evergreen vegetation on rolling hills, which makes a very secluded place for camping hideaway.

Hen Hill, Tung Lung Chau

Beacon at the northern most tip of Tung Lung Chau

We arrived at Tin Hau Temple, Joss House Bay which is opposite to Tung Lung Chau after about 45minutes.

While not a fengshui expert, I can tell that Tin Hau Temple sits on a good fengshui spot at the foothills of the peaks.  (Shall I also divulge that I was taught geomancy in uni by an Australian lady?  How’s that for learning ‘sha chi‘ and ‘chi‘, from a foreigner? 😛)

Great Feng Shui spot: Tin Hau Temple

Why was the Temple built?  Historical records noted that the Temple was built by 2 brothers from Fujian Province in the salt trading business.  Whilst at sea one day, they were hit by strong winds and were swept from their boat.  Struggling in the sea and desperate, they shouted to Tin Hau for help.  They later drifted  safety ashore to Joss House Bay.  From then on, they built a temple in honour of Her.

Hong Kong’s biggest and oldest Tin Hau Temple, built 1266. Also called ‘the Big Temple’

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External worship altar

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Incinerator for burning offerings to Tin Hau

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A second, smaller incinerator

Let’s take a tour inside the temple…

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Main Entrance to the Temple

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Elaborately craved Tin Hau’s vessel in front of the Main Portico

Hanging coiled incense

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A model of Tin Hau’s boat which is taken out for procession every year

I didn’t take pictures of the Gods and Goddesses out of respect.  I believe that they should have their privacy and moreover, it’s disrespectful to delete their pictures or misplace them… 😇

Interesting stuffs inside the temple:  Joss sticks, incense sticks, cocks, wind mills… everything auspicious!  

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I made a donation to the temple and prayed for good health for my family

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I wonder why the cocks are considered auspicious 😏

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Wind mills for Good Luck

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Offerings to the Goddess

Ahem… I did take a picture of the Laughing Buddha…His altar is outside of the Main Temple, in the enclosure to the right.  I certainly hope He’s OK with it!😊

Matreya Buddha (Laughing Buddha): Located on the left side hall

The temple also houses Lady Golden Flower (Patron of Pregnant Women) where pregnant women or women who want to fall pregnant comes worship.

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Lady Golden Flower (Patron of Pregnant Women)

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Guardians of the Temple

Architectural motifs made from Shiwan porcelains (Shiwan is now an extinct art)

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Shiwan Tiger

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Shiwan Fish

Carvings

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Lunch was a seafood fest at Po Toi O village.  The restaurant was a very basic timber structure but it was packed with people, speaking volume of its food!

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View from the restaurant

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One of the biggest fish ever! 😛

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Dried seafood for sell

It was a perfect summer day out, away from the scorching heat and humidity in the city!

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Contrast between fishing village and high-rises

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Typical trawler

Alternate way to get there on weekdays:  MTR Po Lam Station Exit A, take the green minibus route 16 (Po Lam to Po Toi O), get off at the Clearwater Bay golf & Country Club, walk for about 10 minutes down the steps nearby.

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A Quickie @ Jamie’s Italian, Harbour City TST, Hong Kong

Date of Visit:  July 2015

Lunch today was at Jamie’s Italian in Harbour City.  Since it’s summer, the best thing to do is to hit the mall for free air-conditioning! The normally busy mall with trolley totting tourists is surprisingly quiet… I guess they are all queuing at LV and Channel at Champs-Élysées! 😜

I have been to Jamie’s Kitchen once when it first opened.  There was a huge queue so I was surprised that my mom had scored a table without a reservation.  As I was doing an errand, my mom and brother bombed me with texts urging me to drop everything as the wait time for guests is only 15mins and we can only have the table for 1.5hours max!

I’m no stranger to Jamie’s Italian as I’ve been to their Sydney branch many times – so it’s good to do a comparison between Sydney and Hong Kong…

My 1st experience with Jamie’s Italian in Hong Kong…was their Superfood Salad.  A mouth-wateringly tart plate of avocado, shaved fennel, candied beets, pulses, Italian sprouting broccoli, creamy cottage cheese, pomegranate, smashed nuts & seeds and served with a fennel blossom Sicilian harissa.  I had also added beetroot-cured salmon.  Lots of stuffs, but still not very filling.😁

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SUPERFOOD SALAD WITH BEET-ROOT CURED SALMON Instagram:https://instagram.com/outforalonglunch/

Today we ordered…

Burger Italiano:  Chargrilled beef burger with melted fontina cheese, sweet tomato salsa, schiacciata piccante, pickles, chilli, crispy fried onions & chips.  The burger was good, but the chips was a tiny bit disappointing as I don’t think it’s been double-fried, hence did not retain the crunch.

BURGER ITALIANO

Mom ordered the Sausage Pappardelle:  Braised fennel sausage ragù with incredible Chianti, Parmesan & crunchy, herby breadcrumbs.  The sausage ragu were akin to minced meats…so it might be ‘deconstructed’ sausage!

SAUSAGE PAPPARDELLE

…and the pappardelle looks like instant noodles!  Not the large, broad flat pasta noodles that we are accustomed to but ‘reengineered’ pappardelle! 😇

PAPPARDELLE = MAGGIE MEE 😶

I ordered the Fish in A Bag:  Fish of the day with clams, mussels, fennel, chilli, anchovies & cracked wheat, topped with fiery arrabbiata sauce.  It’s very simple dish that I can cook at home – all the seafood packed in butter-paper and foil! What I don’t like about my order is that it’s too tart?  I like fresh lemon juices over my food, but not slices of lemon cooked with my food – and I don’t like an overkill of tomato sauce!

FISH IN A BAG

I guess Jamie’s recipes must have been tweaked to the local Hong Kong taste, as I find them quite ‘powerful’.  Also, this is the first time that a customer is obligated to choose to tip their server 10%, 12.5% or 15% – pre-calculated on their docket!

Nevertheless as with any celebrity chef’s franchise it will surely be a tourist must-visit resto!

CX’s First Class Meal Inspired by Mandarin Oriental

Date: June – July 2015

I had just returned from my exhausting but extremely rewarding trip to Europe encompassing 6 cities – Milan, Venice, Zurich, Basel, London and Paris – courtesy of my brother! Surprisingly, I did not experience much jet lag at all while in Europe, it was only when I returned to Hong Kong that the lack of sleep and fatigue struck!  Let’s see how long I shall remain in European time! 😁

Everyone knows the perks of travelling First and Business Classes – the use of lounge service!  Needless to say, the lounge was jammed-packed with people.  After checking in and going through customs and immigration, I gladly headed left into the First Class Lounge.

Relaxing lounge not, this is akin to a cafeteria in peak hours!

… Whatever, I finally found a seat, settled down and relaxed with free-flow Billecart Salmon Brut Rose with some nuts. 😁

Some tidbits…

As our flight is taking off at 1am – I sampled some dessert from the buffet.  A sugar hit is the perfect way to counter any hangover.

Pralines, Pear Tart and a modern-take on the Chinese mango pudding. The egg yolk look (mango puree on mango pudding) and in a boat-shaped bowl topped with pistachio bits was the reason I chose this dessert. 😋

On-board the flight before take-off, I was served a chilled scallop. It’s nice to have something tangy and zesty to chew.  I was nearly asleep but wanted to stay up for the dinner menu especially created for First Class passengers on Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to Milan, aptly called “Inspired by Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong“.

Chilled scallop ceviche with pomelo, lime and lavash

Here’s the dishes created by Michelin-starred Executive Chef Uwe Opocensky.

First Class Meal from Hong Kong to Milan

Starter:  A very fresh summer salad of prociutto ham and vegetable salad served in olive oil and lemon juice.

Vegetable a la Grecque

Soup: The lumpy soup was very heavy and extremely filling

Courgette Soup with Ricotta Tortellini

Main:  A REALLY lovely piece of fish, perfectly cooked and rival that in restaurants on-land! 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

Line-caught Seabass, crushed potato, summer vegetable, caviar

Dessert:  Would be a Chocolate Dome, mousse, rapsberry, sauce… but I skipped that as I was too tired and stuffed…

The next morning, I had…

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Coffee with biscotti – very Italian! 👅

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Chocolates that I missed last night!

Breakfast…

Fruits and muffins

After the highlights to Milan, on my return leg from Paris to Hong Kong, the inflight meal was very anti-climax. 😓  (Aside: I noticed that most of the lady passengers have in their arms, new Channel bags! 😍)

Business Class Meal from Paris to Hong Kong

Starter:

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Foie Gras, Brioche, Peach and Peach Chutney

The accompanying toasted brioche for foie gras was soggy so I got a piece of bread which was the highlight of the meal!

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Warm Damper

Salad:  Wilted Salad leaves did not fare well either…

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Salad

Main:  I wanted to have beef but seeing unappetizing gravy drenched on top of the beef on the lunch trolley, I opted for lamb instead.  There are 2 pieces of lambs, edible with side of soggy onions and potatoes.

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Lamb

Dessert: Cheese

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Cheese Plate with glass of Penfold’s Port

So the ‘moral’ of the story is, if there’s any, First Class meals rocks!😄

Expedition To Canberra

Date of Visit:  April 18 2015

A quick pictorial post of my visit to the capital of Australia, which is not Sydney but Canberra.  I made this trip primarily to see James Turrell’s Retrospective at the National Art Gallery in Canberra (my post on his Skyspace installation here).  It was also the first time that an art tour in the buff was introduced in the NGA (here)

Unfortunately I can’t post any pictures from the exhibition because photography was prohibited.  However, I do remember, that I was quite blown away by the surreal experience of immersing myself in the lights, fully clothed – so those in the nude would have had an out-of-this-world experience!  In any regards, if you are interested, do check out Artsy’s James Turrell page for more in-depth information on the artist.

I met a friend of mine attached to the Foreign Affairs, so he took me for a walking tour of Canberra.

Trees are especially pretty in autumn, one of the ideas for the design of the ‘Garden City’ is to promote a distinctive European feel…And walking by the artificial lake was very relaxing.

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Hues of Gold

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Hues of Reds

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Flags of all countries with an embassy in Canberra

Canberra is a geometric city with radials and axis… The direct axis from Parliament House to War Memorial

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Parliament House

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War Memorial

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The National Carillon on Aspen Island

A walk on Anzac Parade with many sculptural memorials…

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A hike up Mount Ainslie – the highest point in Canberra

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Panorama of Canberra

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Note the distinctive axis

I stayed at Hotel-Hotel, the newest and coolest hotel in Australia at the moment…

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Entrance

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Rear of Hotel-Hotel linking to cinema, offices and alternative exit to the street

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Small, tight hotel reception

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Restaurant/ Cafe

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A play on linear-planes using recycled timber

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My room

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Artwork on walls

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External artwork – more bikes

We had a good dinner at the hotel.  Prices are comparable to Sydney.

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Octopus with smoked curd (?)

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Duck breast with figs and cherries

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Apple crumble

This breakfast cost $14.50!  Very steep for 2 crumpets – and a cup of Long Black! Totally not worth the $$! 😓

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2 small crumpets, honey and butter

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Cute salt container

External of the hotel at the back…

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Facade treatment at the back, sun-shades and vertical gardens…

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Origami facade at the frontIMG_2586

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The art gallery outside the hotel (at the back)

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More artworks… an eagle crafted from metal

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Overall, I enjoyed Canberra and look forward to visiting it again – although my friend told me that it’s small and dull! 😉

Quivo, Pavilion KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visits:  Various since April 2015

There are many, many restaurants in Pavilion KLCC – and the thing is, they all serve practically the same stuff!

I have been frequenting Quivo quite often when I’m in town.  I like the interior decor – pretty and swanky, like sitting in a furniture shop 😜 – and with the opened terrace, I can indulge in my favourite activity that is people-watching, while sitting high up in the high chair by the bar area!

Pretty swish interior

The barman is entertaining too when he’s juggling the bottles to mix drinks! 👯👯

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Bar area

Art-deco-mod Menu Cover! (Slightly tired nonetheless…)

To drink…

A fruit juice combo (carrot, berries,etc..?)

Vino blanco💃🏻

There’s also a wide range of alcoholic beverages and cocktails which I shall try and Instagram (check me out here ) next time instead…

Even though I have been there a few times, I only just realised that Quivo is a ‘Mediterranean inspired restaurant’ when I googled it!  😜  Ex..see..Q..see..mee!  Anyway, here are pictures of stuffs I’ve tried!

A piping hot Cheesy Spinach Dip with toasted pita bread.  Nice snack while waiting for the mains to arrive.

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Spinach Dip

The healthy Meze share plate.  There’s hummus made from chickpeas and spicy salsa with roasted peppers.  There’s an inflated pita bread to dip the hummus and salsa and crunchy crudités and olives for munching.

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Mezze Platter

Chicken Caesar with an overly generous coating of shaved parmesan cheese, but only a skewer of chicken.  Although, I like the salad, I didn’t like the rock-hard cold chicken nor the poached egg with a just-thawed yolk!

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Chicken Caesar Salad

We have tried a couple of the burgers on the menu. Here’s a picture of the Spicy Fish Burger that I’ve tried, it was good – and rather healthy with grilled barramundi and extra jalapeños for a kick!

Spicy Fish

The Philly Style Wagyu Steak Sandwich was seared beef stacked with onions, grilled peppers, stir-fried mushrooms, cheese and mustard-mayo in a hoagie roll.  It was very American! So, I don’t think it is Mediterranean at all! Still, it was a nice stomach filler.

Philly Style Wagyu Steak Sandwich

The paddle board pizza selections are highly recommended!  If I recall, you can choose to have either the regular or thin crust pizza base.

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Pizza Margherita

And last but not least, the Fish and Chips

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Fish and Chips

…’til next time!