A birthday dinner @ On Lot 10

It was a Sunday, and our mission was to find a restaurant to celebrate my dear friend DL’s birthday three days later.  At first we booked Tango, but when they asked us for a deposit (which is understandable, considering it was a booking for 14 people), AND a minimum spend of HK$750 per person (which I thought was utterly preposterous), I decided to find another option. Regardless of the fact that we most likely would have spent that much anyway,  Tango is not fine dining. It is not a private kitchen, nor were we booking a private room, and it was a rather hoity-toity of them to ask this of us!

The table setting

The table setting

I called around and amazingly, On Lot 10 was able to seat us! I’ve been there once before and I had good memories of it, but I must say, this visit really secured it a top place position in terms of favourite restaurants in my mind.

Spread over two floors decorated in clean whites and chocolate brown, On Lot 10 is an unassuming and understated gem serving French cuisine in large portions made to share. I am a fan of David Lai’s restaurants, and whilst Bistronomique in Kennedy Town is a bit far away for me, I always have to pop by Boulangerie Bistronomique whenever I am in the area, and I’m a regular at Kushiyaki Beco, one of my favourite places to go for a fun dinner with friends.

The menu is seasonal, and consists mainly of classic French dishes with a focus on what is in season and freshly available on the day. As a result, there are always daily fish and meat specials which are not on the menu, and other daily specials that can only be pre-ordered because of the longer cooking times.

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Beef Sirloin Tartare “Batutta” – foie gras, mushroom, celery, anchovy, parmesan HK$165

Hold the celery and this is one of the best versions of beef tartare that I’ve seen (the one at Upper Modern Bistro is pretty original also). I love the mandolin-sliced champignon de Paris, and the fresh foie gras adds an element of irresistible over-the-topness that is just so deliciously tempting!

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Boudin Basque “Christian Parra”, pimente d’Espelette HK$140

A little birdy told me that On Lot 10 uses the same boudin noir as La Cabane a Vin. Some interesting facts were gleaned from my further research – I found that Christian Parra is a 2 Michelin-starred French chef of restaurant Auberge de la Galupe in Urt who is famed for his boudin recipe, which is sold commercially and … it’s canned! I can’t wait to get my hands on some the next time I go to Paris.

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Bone Marrow Risotto – shallot, beef jus, aged “Acquerello” rice HK$170

This was just bursting with so much rich flavour and a perfect combination of textures that I could have ordered it for a main and been perfectly content for the rest of the evening. It was a favourite of the table – big chunks of marrow, creamy Acquerello risotto topped with a wonderful beefy sauce and crispy shallots.

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Scallops Crudo, preserved lemon, horseradish, watercress HK$165

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Whole Steamed Breton Artichoke, truffle anchovy dressing HK$150

Next came the main courses. The menu states that the large dishes are for two to share, but really by two they actually mean three (and for the whole roast chicken, even four).

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Tangerine – Thai Tapas and Daily Specials

If you visit the Tangerine Facebook page (like I did), you will be overwhelmed by the number of daily specials there are – quite literally every day of the week apart from Sundays. If that isn’t enough to draw you to this restaurant, then perhaps the super-friendly staff, or the decent food (at a price that is kind to your wallet) will.

Myself and a couple of girlfriends chose to go to Tangerine on a Wednesday – that would be “free welcome drink day” – Thai Mohitos that started us off quite nicely. They carried us through as well – we had two each and both were complimentary. I’m not sure if that was a normal thing, or if they just liked us. Either way, we were off to a good start!

I don’t think I have ever been served an amuse bouche at a Thai restaurant before, but these ones, small cubes of fried tofu topped with a mildly-spiced curry sauce, pleasantly piqued my appetite for more. As an amuse bouche, they served their purpose!

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Amuse-bouche: deep-fried tofu cubes with curry sauce

For our ‘something healthy’, we opted for the sizzling deep-fried tofu with basil and chili (who were we kidding, right? Ha – let’s call it relatively healthy). The portion was generous, a mound of tofu mixed with chilies, fried basil, chopped beans, lettuce and onions, thinly covered in a sweet-sour dressing.

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Sizzling tofu with basil and chilies HK$ 70

The prawns also went down a treat – what can I say, we like things that sizzle! Large meaty prawns served on a sizzling cast-iron plate, mixed in with lots of beansprouts and spring onions.

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Garlic Sizzling Prawns HK$ 88

There are a few dishes that really demonstrate just how good a Thai restaurant is in my book, and I always rate restaurants with their peers according to these dishes: Thai Beef Salad, Tom Yum Kung and Pad Thai. I know there are many, many other dishes that could be on this list, but these are my benchmarks. Why? Because they are dishes that can be made oh so well (and when they are good, they are GOOD!), but can also be very easily screwed up.

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Traditional Tom Yum Goong HK$108

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