Sunday, 30 August 2015

Hong Kong Lucky Restaurant (Dim Sum & Hong Kong style food)

When we talk about dim sum in Chiang Mai, there are several usual suspects - Yang Zi Jiang;  Fujian (at Dhara Dhevi); the China Kitchen at Shangri-La Hotel (which now also has great Sichuan food); and China Palace (at Holiday Inn) - which has been my family's go-to dim sum place due to the very reasonable costs and quality (about 30-40 baht / dish).

Now, we have a newcomer, Hong Kong Lucky Restaurant, owned by the same owners as Hong Kong Lucky Cafe at Nimmanhaemin Road.

Could this be the best dim sum restaurant in Chiang Mai?

Certainly the variety is there. Hong Kong Lucky Restaurant serves 35 dim sum dishes, including favourites like Hakao (steamed prawn dumplings), Siew mai, Deep Fried Taro Dumpling, Steamed Chicken Feet in Black Bean Sauce (my personal favourite!), and some other dishes that I haven't really seen in other dim sum places in Chiang Mai eg. Baked Bun with BBQ Pork.

I must say pretty much everything I tried was great.

Of particular note:

The Pan Fried Turnip Cake was lovely and full of flavour. There is a jar of homemade chilli oil on the table. On the first couple of visits, I piled on the chilli oil (I loved the chilli oil!), and it tasted great. On the third visit (in 3 weeks), I realised that the turnip cake tasted pretty amazing just by itself. Actually, on this visit, I did not use much of the sauces provided on the table at all.

Deep Fried Dumpling with Shrimp - This was excellent. The dumpling skin was light and crispy on the outside, and lovely and soft on the inside. Very nice texture and taste.

"Lava Custard Bun" - sorry, I don't know the name of this bun, but it's absolutely delicious. Served steaming hot (be careful, the lava is hot!!), the bun is filled with creamy eggy custard that oozes out of the bun like lava when "opened". Mmmm,... heavenly! Perfect as an end to the meal.

As mentioned above, everything was very nicely done. As we order the dishes a-la-carte, everything comes out steaming hot.

The atmosphere feels very much like a Hong Kong restaurant. There are even a few karaoke rooms upstairs. The teapots even have the plastic spouts attached to them to prevent tea from dripping.. which I think is a mark of a true Cantonese restaurant!

As for the price, the price of the dishes range from 60-130 baht, most of the dishes were around 80 baht. On my visits, we paid between  200-300 baht/person, depending on how much was ordered.

The Kitchen
Definitely a place we can keep going back to time and time again, especially since there is a whole heap of other non-dim sum dishes. Incidentally, I have been to dinner at Hong Kong Lucky Restaurant as well, and the food is also great. I especially liked the prawn wonton soup (you can choose to have it with or without noodles).

Hong Kong Lucky Restaurant
Facebook page:
5/6 Soi 7, Ratchadamnoen Road
Sriphum, Muang, Chiang Mai
Tel: 099 535 8883
Parking is a little difficult, but the restaurant saves 3 parking spots for customers in front.

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Sunday, 16 August 2015

Italics Restaurant @ Akyra Manor Hotel

Italics, Innovative Italian. Pretty cool name! This hip and happening restaurant is in the lobby of Chiang Mai's newest boutique hotel, Akyra Manor.

The decor is rather fresh and modern. The ambience is sophisticated, stylish and cool (air-conditioning cool)!

As it was a lovely day out, my friend and I decided to have our early lunch on the terrace, which happens to also have more of a relaxing atmosphere. It was nice to just sit there, chill out and slowly enjoy the meal and do a bit of people watching.

Love the tree!
And the food? That's what we're here for, and Italics does not disappoint. The menu is very interesting, with a variety of innovative dishes created by the Executive Chef Phubase that you won't find elsewhere.

Highly recommended was Chef Phubase's signature dish, the Coffee Braised Short Rib ( 695 baht) . This is beef marinated in coffee, and slow cooked in duck fat for over 24 hours, resulting in super tender beef that's packed full of flavour but still had kind of soft roundedness to it (from the duck fat?). The beef was served in a little pot over some spinach, and also with gnocchi cooked in duck fat. The gnocchi was wonderful - slightly crispy and hard on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. It was like, wow, when everything was eaten together. The only downside for us was that this dish was quite rich and we couldn't finish it all. Lucky we had some green salad that we ordered separately. I didn't think of it at the time, but I think the beef would have been perfect with a glass of red wine.

Now the Garden Greens Salad (220 baht) was no ordinary "green salad". It also contained marinated pepper and grilled vegetables, coated in a light balsamic dressing, and served with a generous amount of parmesan. It was a great salad, very enjoyable to eat. Eat slowly to enjoy the different flavours and textures.

As for the appetiser (sorry, we're going backwards!), East Meets West (250 baht) was suggested to us. This is almost like 2 dishes - a selection of "cured and smoked" sausages, and a sweet potato and edamame salad. The sausages were very strongly flavoured and quite salty, but they went well with the lovely, milder tasting sweet potato and edamame salad (in a kind of mayonnaise dressing). The salad is a bit like a Japanese style potato salad with edamame added to give a little crunch. Great idea!

The sweet potato edamame salad is served in a sardine can. Great presentation!
For dessert, we had the Banana Ricotta Cheesecake (220 baht). This wasn't what I was expecting in terms of taste and texture. The cheesecake itself was incredibly smooth and surprisingly not sweet at all. The base also had an interesting texture, (which I can't work out!), but it wasn't like other cheesecakes that I've had. All in all, it was quite lovely.

Towards the end of the meal, Chef Phubase, and the Hotel Manager, Chris came round for a chat and asked for feedback. The restaurant (and hotel) was opened just a couple of days before. Apart from a couple of minor things, I think pretty much everything was great.

The staff was very friendly, from the guy who valet parked my car (yay! parking is available!), to the restaurant manager, Cy, and the waiters/ waitresses who took turns to man the terrace, making sure our water is topped up - very attentive service indeed!

Incidentally, Chris mentioned that they will be implementing a "Resident's Program" where residents can get 15% discount. So, if you live in Chiang Mai, it would be worth asking about this when you visit the restaurant.

Italics is an interesting addition to Chiang Mai's food scene. The service and food is great. If you're looking for somewhere for a special night out, or even just looking for something a bit different, the restaurant is worth checking out.

22/2 Nimmanhaemin Soi 9
T Suthep, A Muang
Chiang Mai 50220
Opens: Daily 11am-11pm
Tel: 053 216 219

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