How did this all begin? I think it started
as an attempt to keep a record of the various private kitchens Ive tried.
(Private kitchens for those not yet in the know are secret, unlicensed restaurants
whose whereabouts are known largely through word-of-mouth.) Then in the midst
of writing, the urge to memorialise some of my favourite Hong Kong eating places
took over and the list inflated to include restaurants and hole-in-the-walls.
As a result, you might notice a difference in reviewing practice in the
different sections. The reviews in the restaurant and cheap eats sections are
all favourable ones as they are a gathering of places I love. The reviews in the
private kitchen sections are however rather more mixed as Ive recorded my
impressions as Ive collected each private kitchen under my belt. How can
I explain this discrepancy? Hmmm
. I cant really but youve been
warned that some sifting will be required with the private kitchen section.
I put these reviews in the public domain, I also feel the need to explain a bit
of my food philosophy and other personal quirks. Im a fan of gutsy, down-home
food. I can appreciate the refined but it doesnt quite grab me as simple
fare cooked lovingly does. I thus tend to favour places that are knowledgeable
and down-to-earth in their approach to food. Fancy fusion cuisine doesnt
cut much ice with me unless they are put together with intelligence and great
sureness of hand, something that doesnt happen too often in my humble opinion.
So there, Ive declared my bias, now onto the other idiosyncracies
of the price ranges listed in the restaurant section may be on the low side as
Im pretty much teetotal. If youre one for the wines, do be aware that
the prices will then drift upwards. This also means I have little to say about
wine lists. Yes, I will never be the complete food reviewer this way, which is
why Im not quitting my day job.
- Apologies for the lack
of proper addresses for some of the establishments. Ive listed information
on private kitchens as precisely as possible but for some of the places in the
restaurant and cheap eats sections, I simply list the street and the general district.
Well, this list did start as a personal thing, which is why I was pretty slack
with details. Ill try and update this as I go along if I can.
admit my weakness for good design, so occasionally you will find me going into
raptures (or not) about the look of an eating place at the expense somewhat of
the food. Ermm
what can I say? Sorry?
And finally, some advice
on private kitchens:
- Do book in advance. Most places require a minimum
of 3 days advance booking though some of the more popular kitchens will require
more advanced planning (sometimes bookings made more than a week ahead), especially
if you are aiming for a weekend dinner.
- Its usually cash only, so
leave the credit cards at home.
- Most kitchens will sell a limited assortment
of drinks at extra cost. Some are BYOB and depending on the establishment, corkage
will vary. Id advise checking with the private kitchen when you make your
- There is no service charge levied at private kitchens and tipping
is not usually expected. But as I usually find service at private kitchens excellent,
I am more than happy to leave something behind. It seems only right, especially
after a particularly memorable private kitchen experience.