Archive | February, 2012

The Flying Pan – Hong Kong diner

22 Feb

flying pan signThe Flying Pan. I would rate this as my favourite brunch place on the name alone, so the fact that it plays cracking 80s tunes and serves spot-hittingly decent brunch 24 HOURS a day is definitely a bonus.

The menu is exactly what you want from an all-day breakfast place, or exactly what you don’t with a hangover, as it is so exhaustive as to include virtually every western brunch dish I think I’ve ever heard of, with every conceivable combination or taste apparently catered to. As well as eggs done any way you like with various meaty accompaniments, or poached on muffin with hollandaise in endless variations on the classic Benedict, or in omelettes, or the Full English, or in ‘Sunrise Sandwiches’, they also do scrambled tofu. If that’s what you’re into.

Other options include savoury crepes, pancakes and waffles or French toast, and there are some good value meal deals where you can add sides like baked beans, salad or lyonnaise potatoes.

On paper, then, perfect. In reality: not very perfect. The plates were cold, they were a bit stingy on the spinach for my eggs Florentine (poached eggs, spinach and bacon on muffin) and the lyonnaise potatoes were a bit under. The Benedict across the table looked better, though, with a  large slab of gammon nestling under each egg. On another occasion I had the eponymous Flying Pan – bacon, eggs, sausage patty and ham. Again the food was only lukewarm and the porky products on my plate had the texture of processed meat. No, no, no. Sorry, just no.

It’s not ridiculously cramped for Hong Kong but on a Saturday afternoon was heaving when we arrived and there were queues outside by the time we left, so be warned, although there’s also a Wan Chai and Discovery Bay branch if it just has to be the Pan.

I can’t decide whether I’m pro- or anti-Pan. On the one hand it sums up everything that’s good about Hong Kong – mixing all sorts of cultural breakfast heritage from English to Continental to North American and even Mexican. It’s just that the execution isn’t very good and the heritage of some of the meat is obviously not great. Certainly not as good as The Brunch Club and pretty much only passable if you’re so hungover you can’t speak or so drunk you don’t care

The staff are lovely, though, and it’s pretty cheap. If I can remember next time, I’ll stop off there immediately after the club to nip any potential hangover in the bud before it has a chance to fester until the following day…

The Flying Pan; Old Bailey St, Central

Expect to pay about HK$60-80 a head

Ten things I now know about Hong Kong…

20 Feb

hong kong panoramaHong Kong is a great place, but there are some things I wished I’d known before I arrived. In no particular order:

1) Security guards smell horrible.

2) Politicians are sly little f***ers. I mean, I know they all are, but seriously, If you’re a politician in HK and you’re in trouble with the press, just blame the wife. It works for everything from housing illegal underground structures to money laundering.

3) There are a LOT of bankers, I mean the French…actually, they’re the same thing really.

4) The locals are pretty polite until they get in a car. You WILL get honked at in Honkers.

5) If you don’t like ambient house or jazz funk then leave or be prepared to stick your headphones on in the bar.

6) Don’t ride the buses if you’re feeling queasy.

7) Public transport is insanely cheap – TFL should probably tear up London and start again.

8) There’s free Wi-Fi in just about every bar, restaurant and public space, it just doesn’t often work.

9) There’s no such thing as a gentle stroll in Hong Kong.

10) Some of the shortest people I have ever seen stroll the streets of Sai Ying Pun.

Wang Fu – do you dumpling?

7 Feb

outside of Wang FuDumplings. Big fan. And apparently they don’t come much better in Hong Kong than at Wang Fu’s.

This tiny hole-in-the-wall café-style dumpling diner has been serving up Ms Wang’s delectable Beijing-style potstickers for years now and has even been mentioned in the Michelin guide. It would have been rude not to give it a try on my first weekend in the big city.

Normally I’d choose the lighter, altogether more sophisticated wanton over the Beijing dumpling, but after a few early evening happy hour liveners, the latter actually come into their own. Insanely cheap, filling and quick. Wang Fu’s are among the best I’ve tasted – the skin not too thick, the filling rich and packed with flavour, and plenty of choice too.

The décor won’t win any awards, ditto the solitary toilet, which is basically located in the kitchen, but the lovely friendly staff and low prices will. Seeing as a huge bowl of dumpling noodles will barely set you back HK$32, we elected to forgo the extraneous stuff and get 3×10 lots of the little beauties sans broth.

Pork and chive ($HK39) were moist and wonderful while pork, scallop, shrimp and yellow chive (HK$49) were a little lacking in the allium kick I was hoping for but delicate and moreish with a wonderful depth of flavour.

However, my tip for the top that particular night were the mutton and green onion (HK$45). Bit of a novelty having sheep and not the usual pig or seafood in a Chinese dumpling and the earthy richness of the meat combined nicely with the onion.

Add in a slug of chilli sauce, or some soy and vinegar dipping sauce and you have a perfect lunchtime snack or mid-evening pit stop. Just remember those breath mints afterwards.

Wang Fu; 102 Wellington St, Hong Kong

About HK$75 per head w/drink, depending on how much you love the dumpling