Tokio Joe and the Sony Cybershot RX100

Tokio Joe is  a LKF stalwart and part of the Lan Kwai Fong Entertainments Group, it has been there for yonks and is always packed for lunch, and I had never been there!  I needed to try this place out, and since it’s my mum’s birthday week, I decided to treat her to some raw fish.  Tokyo Joe has a great selection of lunch sets, both single dish sets and combination sets, and all are served with complimentary miso soup, daily appetiser, tea and dessert.

As a side note, I have started to use my new Sony RX100 camera to shoot my food porn (my photographer bro gave it to me for my birthday, thanks so much little bro!) – it has a Carl Zeiss lens and is said to be ‘the best pocket camera ever made’. I have to say, I am inclined to agree! It takes amazing shots with razor sharp image quality and professional-looking depth of field, as well as great low-light performance for when I’m out for dinner. I love the adjustable flip screen, which helps to take direct overhead shots of plates, and also the bendable flash (although I’m afraid that breakage risk is a bit higher) for bouncing the flash off the ceiling for more ambient lighting.  I must say, my focusing skills are a little out of whack in some of these photos, but I’m still learning how to use it’s many functions and settings.

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Complimentary Tomato Salad – the daily appetiser

We started off with a wonderfully refreshing appetiser – fresh tomatoes, in a soya sauce/olive oil dressing and topped with sweet and crunchy caremelised red onion. Really nice.

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Horen So Goma-Ae (Spinach Salad with Sesame Dressing) HK$ 75

This spinach salad was very nicely presented in a roll-shape – you peel off the crisp stalks of cold spinach and dip them (or rather, drench them, as I do) in the creamy sesame sauce.

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Spicy Toro Tartare HK$ 290

This toro tartare is one of Tokio Joe’s signature dishes, and for good reason. A generous mound of spicy, crunchy, creamy tuna tartare sits on lettuce for easy transfer from plate to mouth. I really want to try making this at home, so we made an effort to dissect the tuna tartare and put together a recipe – tuna, spring onion, fried spring roll wrapper, (maybe a touch of) some minced shallot,  La-Yu chili oil, Japanese mayonnaise.

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Deluxe Lunch Box HK$ 225

I love the choices available in the deluxe lunch box – it’s a great selection of everything one might want from a Japanese lunch, and I thought it was extremely well-priced for what you’re given.

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La Rotisserie comes to Wan Chai!

I had heard stories about La Rotisserie in Sheung Wan, when it first opened.

“The line goes around the block!”

“Whenever I go they are always sold out 😦 “

“Their chocolate cake is like crack – seriously addictive.”

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I wasn’t about to go all the way to Sheung Wan from my office in Wan Chai, only to be disappointed and cheated out of my chicken. So imagine my glee and excitement when I found out that La Rotisserie has opened in Wan Chai, and that at long last, I finally had the opportunity to try it! For the first few days of opening, they were having a promotion of HK$50 (instead of $68) for a lunch set – 1/4 chicken, a portion of sides, and house-made iced lemon tea or soup of the day (cauliflower and coconut milk = yum) – well, that’s over now folks, sorry! But really, the regular price of HK$68 is very affordable, and what you get for it is worth ever dollar.

I have very fond smell-memories of walking down the street in Paris and seeing a huge oven cabinet full of crispy brown-skinned chickens spinning slowly on a spit, around and around and around they went. I could smell them from all the way down the street, far sooner than before I actually saw them. La Rotisserie has brought this beautiful method of chook-cooking to Hong Kong. The do it simply, efficiently, and effectively. The focus is on the ingredients, corn-fed free range chicken from France. They even go so far as to advertise the French producer, Picalou, on their menu (although try to find anything about them online and you’ll be at a loss). Their chocolate and their cream is also imported from France, and these ingredients go into that wicked chocolate cake (laced with sel de guerande) and their quiches.

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There are a few stools to sit on in-house, but really these chooks are meant to be taken away – a smart response to rising shop rents in HK, and the need for good food, fast. And since these meals are meant to be taken away, attractive packaging was also well thought out!

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The chicken is succulent, juicy and so very tasty. Make sure you specify (when you are ordering) whether you would like breast or thigh meat. I’m a thigh girl, and whilst this free-range chicken leg didn’t have as much meat on it as I would have liked, I was comforted in the fact that this chicken was happy, and therefore healthy.

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The herby potatoes, cooked underneath the spit in chicken juices and fat, and seasoned with herbs, were incredible. As I was sitting on my stool eating, I glanced into the kitchen as they were chopping and preparing the biggest carrots I have ever seen grown in Hong Kong – all of their sides are made on-site.

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I couldn’t resist getting a slice of their chocolate cake (and another slice to take home for PB so he wouldn’t get jealous) – it’s more of a tarte than a cake. Made with Valrhona chocolate and the secret recipe of the chef, I took it home and followed their instructions – put it in the microwave for 10 seconds and ate it slightly warm. The sel de guerande really cut through the sweetness – I always love a little bit of salt with chocolate.

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Saturday “Daytime Bites” at Blue Butcher

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The bar seats, and the picnic table-style seats at the front, are the only ones available for Saturday lunch, and there are no reservations

One fine Saturday, we were  deciding on a place to have a casual and quick lunch before heading over to The Space to check out Green Queen‘s very first Made In HK Local Artisans Pop Up Market.

As The Space is located on Hollywood Road, we decided to check out Blue Butcher; hoping to catch their brunch but then realising that it’s only on Sundays, we opted for their “Daytime Bites” instead. On Saturdays, only the al fresco ground level bar area of the restaurant is open, offering bar stools and a couple of picnic tables as seating, and it’s walk in only. We were lucky to have a table free, and the menu is  short, which whilst limiting (3 choices each of starters, mains and deserts), is quite refreshing in that you’re not overwhelmed with choice. We skipped starters and went straight to mains – quite simply: burger, pork sliders, chicken.

Seeing that I am on round 3 of the Bikini Fit programme, I attempted to at least look like I was trying to follow the nutrition plan, avoided the very tempting pork belly sliders (grrr), and went for the charred French chicken instead, and a Wagyu burger for my mister.

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Starting off with a refreshing Liberty Ale

The Liberty Ale was tasty and not too heavy, served in cute little mason jars.

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The Wagyu Beef Burger, presented nicely on a wooden chopping board with thin fries

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A close up – Wagyu Beef Burger, Tomato Jam, Balsamic Onions, smoked Gouda cheese, truffle aioli – yum! HK$200

The Blue Butcher burger is definitely one of the better ones that I have tasted in Hong Kong! Many burgers claiming to be Wagyu on the menu are unextraordinary, but this one actually has a thick, juicy patty with nice flavour. The additions of tomato jam and balsamic onions add tasty dimensions to the burger without being too overloaded, and the bun was very nice as well.

Free Range Charred French Half Chicken, Baby Carrots, Pearl Onions HK$180

Free Range Charred French Half Chicken, Baby Carrots, Pearl Onions HK$180

I really loved this dish! The French chicken has a flavour that can’t be beat, and (forgetting for a moment that charring is carcinogenic) the charring was just perfect and so tasty. Those baby carrots and pearl onions were the perfect accompaniment for this rustic dish, although the pan did move around a bit on the table. Soak up that jus with a nice piece of bread!

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