Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nothing to envy (Barbara Demick)

Los Angeles Times journalist Barbara Demick spent several years in the US, Seoul and even North Korea itself, interviewing North-Koreans and defectors and collecting first hand accounts of the daily life in what is still, today, the most reclusive country on the planet: the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The individual stories she recounts are heartbreaking: living conditions of unimaginable poverty, lives of hardship dedicated to the regime, mind-numbing propaganda, ferocious repression… and everywhere, the same absence of questioning of the party line and the legitimacy of the “Dear Leader”. I hope there comes a day when the North Korean people will rise against its oppressors and be reunited with its brothers in the South. Barbara Demick’s book is not only an outstanding work of journalism, it is set to become a contemporary history reference.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

15 seconds of fame

The M Word was featured in the South China Morning Post!!

My somewhat hectic lifestyle does not afford me the luxury to read the papers every day, but reading the Sunday papers over a caramel soya latte at my neighbourhood Starbucks is one of my favourite things to chill on a Sunday morning. When I opened my copy of the Sunday Morning Post today, I almost had a heart attack...

Here it was, my humble foodie/bookworm blog, featured in Susan Jung's "" column in the Food & Drink section of the Post Magazine!! I am honoured and humbled that she found this modest effort worth writing about...

Merci, Ms Jung, for your coverage - this Frog is a big fan of your articles too :-)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Meet Jimmy

Jimmy's Kitchen (G/F South China Building, 1-3 Wyndham Street, Central) is one of these classic Hong Kong restaurants which have been around forever - more specifically, since 1928, which at the going rate of mortality in HK food joints is like the dinosaur era. It whips up some "Western" classics and also has a decent selection of more Asian offerings. The service is so slow it is an absolute torture if you are really hungry, but for what I could tell, the food was well worth waiting for.

Gratinated onion soup

The soup came in a ceramic bowl with a very generous layer of fragrant gratinated cheese...

... and was everything you would expect from a French bistro under the cheese crust (note the nice brown colour). Delicious and warming  - true winter comfort food.

Oxtail stew

Without question one of the best I have had in a long time. The tender meat came in a very generous portion. Plenty of sticky collagen and also a few small fat bits made the dish very tasty. The jus was flavoured by the sweet and almost fruity carrots and was absolutely delicious. I barely touched the tagliatelle (pretty good, cooked al-dente) to focus on picking the bones clean. This dish made my day :-)

One of my fellow lunchers ordered a Baked Alaska and I could not resist having a couple of small slices. It was very good (even though we should have put out the flames earlier to avoid burning the meringue). Creamy meringue, plenty of fruit and good vanilla ice-cream, flavoured with a good dose of rum.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Return to On Lot 10

The first time I had dinner at On Lot 10 (34 Gough Street), the Chef totally wow-ed me. Period. So I was very much looking forward to giving Boss Man another opportunity to demonstrate his fine cooking skills, and was only too happy to join a foodie gathering organised by the Queen Foodie. This time again, we were up for an absolutely amazing dinner. As game is in season, we mentioned we would love to have some wild boar, but otherwise left Chef David carte blanche on all the other dishes - amazing ingredients and faultless execution all along. Chef David Lai is a very humble man who takes pleasure in making his clients happy; that is rewarding enough for him and he does not wish for himself or his restaurant any fame and recognition beyond that. But my foodie friends and I all strongly agree that he should be up for a Michelin Star next year (Bibendum if you read this, take note). Such talent and passion deserve to be recognized and shared. So thank you, Boss Man, for giving me every time this taste of home so far away from home... I am already looking forward to my next visit in the spring.

Appetizer 1: babylonia

Nutty and slightly chewy, as they should be, and served with a slightly garlic-y dip with a texture in-between aïoli and vinaigrette. Very nice.

Bread basket: some warm & fluffy mini-baguettes. Very good. I think the quality of the bread has even improved since my first visit.

Sea urchin in the shell

I am unsure where these were sourced (probably Japan ?). Creamy and not too briney - enjoyable even for someone like me who has never been big on urchins.

Belon oyster

Let me just say... wow. Impeccably fresh, briney/nutty... the real taste of Brittany.

Mackerel crostini

Mackerel crostini

This was absolutely delicious. The mackerel meat melted in the mouth. The marinade was simple: salt, pepper, olive oil. The crispy bread was topped with a thin layer of black olives tapenade. I could have gobbled down 3 more of these - gorgeous.

Duck ham

In Froggieland, this would be called magret séché. I have had plenty of this (it is a traditional salad topping in the south west of France, sometimes with foie gras or gizzards and nuts) but this has to be one of the very best I have ever tasted. Good fat/meat balance, not too salty and not too dry. I was impressed.

Wild boar pâté

This was excellent. The meat had been coarsely ground, and tasty bits of liver had found their way in the preparation. I can only regret that there were too few of Chef David's delicious home-made gherkins as a garnish... (I love the condiments mix used on these gherkins)


Who needs greens, huh ?? Nice and refreshing for the palate. I am normally not a huge fan of red chard, which I find to earthy, but this one was very young and quite good. A drizzle of good olive oil, some crunchy buttery croutons and parmesan shavings garnished the salad. Pretty nice.

River turtle soup

Absolutely delicious. The broth, meaty and peppery, was superb, and my bowl came with chunky bits of meat and skin. I would have had a second bowl without hesitation.

Baked stuffed scorpion fish

This dish triggered a wave of "oooh-s" and "aaah-s" when it was brought to the table - quite spectacular. And the aroma had us all salivating in a second...

Baked stuffed scorpion fish

The stuffing was made of rice (probably cooked in a seafood broth) with quite a few condiments and spices (I could taste mushrooms, semi-dried tomatoes, fennel seeds, onion, a mix of various herbs including probably parsley and maybe marjoram). The turned potatoes had been cooked in the sauce and soaked up all the juices from the fish. The fish itself was tender and sweet. There was quite a bit of this dish left over (as we were all trying to save space for more boar which we knew would come later in the meal....) and I was lucky enough to get a large portion of the fish and stuffing (including the head!!) in my doggie bag. I reheated it in a pan over high flame to make the rice a bit crispy - it was even more delicious the next day. What an awesome dish!

Tartiflette with a twist

The chunky lardons had obviously been hand-cut from a large piece of poitrine fumée and were very delish. The potatoes were fondant. This was an interesting take on the original recipe (which includes normally lardons, onions, potatoes and reblochon) in that it included a very generous sprinkle of chopped black truffles and used mature brie instead of the usual reblochon, which brought plenty of ammonia in the rind which reblochon does not have. I could not stop munching on this - delicious... and part of my doggie-bag too ;-)

Leg of boar, polenta

Tender, juicy meat, plated on top of creamy polenta with sweet corn and the reduced cooking juices.

Boar loin with chards

I love chards and only too rarely get to eat any. The boar loin was stuffed with foie gras and wrapped in slightly crispy boar fat. Another delicious dish.

My plate - oiiink!!

I was feeling very full ay this point but made a point to wipe it clean to honour the Chef's efforts. Everything was so delicious, it would have been a sin to waste.

A very welcome light dessert - La France pears from Japan, perfectly ripe and deliciously sweet. A refreshing way to end a very rich meal.