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September 13 Ming Court's special menu till 30 September is 'Four Corners of China'. Highlights include chilled sliced foie gras in sake, prepared using Beijing techniques ($168) and braised wagyu in a distinctly Sichuan style ($288). Degustation menu of 7 courses is $680.
September 13 Frites new daily Happy Hour is 3-7pm, half price on all draught beers and house wine.
September 13 Spices celebrates Lantern festival with an Asian buffet featuring lots of seafood, curries, lamb chops and more $408/adult, $204/child (free lantern for children).
September 10 The Repulse Bay has a wine tasting evening on 17th September at The Marquee $398 includes wines from around the world, buffet and wine glass gift set
September 10 Don't miss Red Soho's Cosmopolitan Ladies Night. Thursdays 6-8pm ladies get free Cosmos, while men get happy hour prices till 9pm.
September 10 Till end September Rocksalt in Stanley has a Surf 'n' Turf promotion - a king prawn and ribeye with a glass of Alice White Shiraz or Chardonnay for $288.
September 5 The new Blue Smoke BBQ (3/F, 15-16 Lan Kwai Fong, 2816 9018) is offering daily buffet lunch 12-3pm from only $98
September 5 Staunton's has free wine tasting every Wednesday 7-8pm.
September 5 At the new l'Hotel Island Sound (55 Wong Chuk Hang Rd, 3968 8833), Bar LIS has 30% off till 12 September.
September 2 You could win an iPhone 4 at any Shakey's Pizza during September. Msut spend $250 to enter draw.
September 2 Saigon in Stanley's new 'oodles of noodles' menu (till end Oct), feautres Soft shell crab and asparagus with egg noodles ($118), pan seared scallops with caviar on vermicelli ($98), and Vietnamese rice noodle Cakes amongst others.
September 2 Grissini has a special porcini mushroom menu through September.
July 28 Duke's Deli is offering kids cooking parties for up to 8 kids on weekends and holidays. $288 covers 1 kid and 1 adult.
July 28 On 4 August, The Pawn's Roving Steakhouse night means champagne and canapes at 7pm and a 4 course meal with Porterhouse steak to follow for $888.
July 27 Through August, Duetto marks 63 years of Indian independence with a special menu including Chicken Tiranga ($78), Jash-ne-Kashmir ($108) and Kesari Laddu ($42) for dessert.
July 27Ben & Jerry's today celebrate the opening of their latest branch at 45-47 Cochrane St, Soho with free ice cream 5-7pm.
July 2 St George restaurant in Hullett House are hosting a five-course Spanish wine dinner on July 8. $688 per person call 3988 0220 for reservations.
July 2 Eight new seafood dishes celebrating the flavours of Italy and India have been added to the menu at Duetto.
July 2 The buffet at the Coffee Mill will be featuring Dungeness crab from 13 Jul–5 Aug. Adult $178, Child and Senior Citizen $118 (Mon-Fri), Adult $188 and $128 (weekends & public holidays)

Akira Kushiyaki

Akira Kushiyaki restaurant, Hong KongI keep seeing little Japanese places all over town, it seems every time I turn a corner a new one has opened. Is it my imagination or has there been a sudden explosion of them recently Either way it's all good.

Akira Kushiyaki is in Causeway Bay. I stopped in for a late lunch and wound up enjoying an early dinner. It was late afternoon when I arrived so I had the place to myself. The decor is typical Japanese dark wood with seating for about twenty-four in the front area around the bar. There is another area to the back that could probably seat another twenty or so.

There are no real surprises on the menu, all the sushi and sashimi choices are there of course as are a number of tempura options. What did appeal to me was the set meal for one. For $180 it appears you can enjoy quite a spread. I needed no more convincing.

Akira Kushiyaki restaurant, Hong KongMost of the dishes actually arrived within moments of each other and I'm not even sure if they followed the order given on the menu. According to that the first dish was crab roe salad. This for me was the weakest of the dishes but that might be due to my lack of affection for mayonnaise. This had rather more than I felt it needed.

Next came cold bean curd in a little pool of soy sauce followed by a section of skewers which included asparagus wrapped with pork, chicken wings, grilled Japanese mushroom, Angus beef tenderloin, chicken soft bone, and grilled cod. Chicken soft bone is actually cartilage. I'd never had that before. It was tasty enough but the texture was a little odd at first, I'll reserve judgement until I've tried it a few more times.

The star of the show was the salmon rice soup which arrived after the skewers. This was was rich and tasty and came with a daub of wasabi on the side to be mixed according to taste.

The last act was mochi filled with sesame ice cream. I love sesame ice cream.

G/F 32 Cannon Street
Causeway Bay
Tel 2838 6738

Al Basrah cow Pampa

Al Basrah cow Pampa restaurant, Hong KongThere are a few of these dual cuisine type restaurants around. This one mixes middle eastern with an Argentinean grill. It’s not such a stretch as it might sound as barbecued meat is used in middle eastern cuisine anyway.

The steaks are served simply with salad and fries. I’m sure the fries could be swapped for pitta bread if you preferred. Along side the steaks are options for lamb, chicken or fish.

But the main part of the menu is dedicated to middle eastern cuisine so that is where I decided to focus.

There are the familiar kebabs but there are also a range of middle eastern curry dishes available. I was intrigues by the Iraqi Lamb Quzi which, if you order in advance, can be made using a whole leg of lamb ($599). Though it is also available as a smaller serving.

Al Basrah cow Pampa restaurant, Hong KongI decided to start with The Grand Dip ($48) this is actually a combination platter featuring Hummus, Babaganoush and Couscous and is served with pitta bread. To go with it I ordered a fresh lime soda ($25).

I also ordered an Argentinean chorizo ($48) which, as I suspected, went perfectly with the dips.

After much consideration I finally opted for the Lamb Ribs Targine ($88). This is, I believe, a Moroccan style curry made with dried apricots. The ribs are all chopped up so all the little cubes of meat also contain a section of rib. This helps to bring out the flavour of the meat. It is served with saffron rice and a small salad.

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For dessert I opted for the creme brulee over the chocolate mousse. These were the only two available. I must admit I was a little surprised that there were no middle eastern options.

G/F 37 Catchick Street
Kennedy Town
Hong Kong
Tel. 2986 5455

Al Pasha review

Al Pasha restaurant, Hong KongAl Pasha is on level 4 of ‘Gourmet Tower’ in the new K11 mall in Tsim Sha Tsui. When you stepping out of the lift you find yourself in a dimly lit lobby looking at two huge red clay urns. It’s dimly lit and there is a hint of frankincense. A smartly dressed young man steps forward and ask me if I have a reservation. I tell him I don’t and ask if it matters. “Just for one only?” He enquires “I’m sure we can find you a table.” He leads me off through the restaurant.

It’s a large place but it’s already quite crowded. I’m led to an outside area which is lit almost entirely those charming Turkish lanterns. He ushers me to a table, presents me with a menu and leaves me to read up on what, exactly, “Silk Road Cuisine” is.

It’s a large menu which, as one might expect, covers dishes from both the middle east and central China. From barbecued meats and tandoori to stir fried dishes. If you are a large enough group you can order a whole lamb for $1,380 but you do need to order a day in advance.

I couldn’t have the whole lamb but quick fried camel saddle with white asparagus ($85) I could and since I’d never tried camel before I decided I must. But I wanted something for starter. Chicken cigar rolled in filo pastry with mint was a strong contender but in the end I plumped for the cold shredded chicken salad with pear and bell pepper in chilli oil ($78).

Al Pasha restaurant, Hong KongAn excellent choice it was too. Fresh and fruity and a generous serving to boot. I would question the chilli oil though. This didn’t set the roof of my mouth on fire the way I would normally expect chilli to. Instead it made my tongue and lips tingle in the way that the fagara pepper does in those wonderful Sichuan dishes.

The camel itself wasn’t all that spectacular, though I think that is the camels fault rather than the chef’s. The meat was a little on the chewy side for my tastes. Still. I had no problem with eating it and the rest if the stir fry dish was just fine.

To go with it I had ordered braised wild mushrooms with bean-curd, chilli and garlic ($78) and a nan for mopping up. There appeared to be at least three types of mushroom in a hot pot kind of dish. Both this and the camel were spicy dishes but there are plenty of non-spicy dishes to choose from. There are also plenty of vegetarian choices.

While I was waiting for dessert the back ground music, which had been vaguely middle eastern pop with a disco beat, stopped and was replaced by loud drumming. Inside there was a belly dancer and another girl with a tray of candles balanced on her head.

It was good fun, everyone was up taking photos and having a good time but I was happy to get back to the final instalment of my dinner which was to be almond and chestnut puree pancake ($55). The puree was piping hot and I had to let it cool for a few moments but it was otherwise a pleasing end to a very satisfying and entertaining meal.

Shop 401, Level 4, K11
18 Hanoi Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel 3122 4444

Merhaba review

merhaba restaurant, Hong Kong This is a lively Turkish restaurant towards the Observatory court end of Knutsford Terrace. It’s been there for some time and my last trip to the terrace a few weeks ago reminded me that I still hadn’t been here. I decided to rectify the issue.

I arrive quite early but here were quite a few people there already. They can still find me a table with ease. After eight o’clock it would not have been so easy. The decor is pretty well what you would expect for a middle-eastern restaurant. Red ochre coloured walls and plenty of souk lamps scattered around.

There is a small al fresco area but it didn’t really look inviting so I opted to sit inside. Along the bar the dining area is quite narrow but it opens out at the back and is quite spacious.

The boasts a fairly wide selection of mezz or small dishes which can be served as starters or just snacks with beer. I decided to order two and see how it went.

merhaba restaurant, Hong KongThe first up was deep fried lamb ribs ($70). These were seasoned with salt and paprika and very tender indeed. They went rather well with the Efes Turkish beer ($35) and I soon found myself ordering another bottle. Efes is made with rice which gives it a very clean dry flavour that goes down well even without the lamb.

Hot on it’s heels were sardines on barbecued on swords ($40). They weren’t very big swords of course and the waiter did remove them. I presume the point is that the heat conducts along the length of the metal cooking from the inside as well as out. They were very moist and tasty and erm.. a rather good accompaniment for Turkish beer.

I ordered another bottle and also put in an order for their ‘Hot Pan’ speciality Circassian Chicken ($145).

This would take a while to prepare but that was fine with me. While I waited the lights dimmed and the music grew louder. A lissom young thing in flowing pink silk and golden bangles floated in and performed an approximation of a belly dance. She was way too slight to carry it off effectively but it didn’t seem to matter. She was pretty and graceful and she earned herself a round of applause before floating out again.

merhaba restaurant, Hong KongAs if on cue my chicken arrived just as the lights went up again. This is a dish that comes from the European corner of Turkey in the north-west. The chicken id seasoned with walnut and paprika and in this case was serves with fresh vegetables.

Although I was fairly full I still felt I had enough strength left to push a slice of date tart with walnut ice cream ($55) around the plate. I finished off with a regular coffee and, since it was a pleasant evening, took myself for a stroll along the harbour front.

G/F, Yiu Pont House
12 Knutsford Terrace
Tsim Sha Tsui

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