Alicia Walker – Editor in Chief
We think this might have been the biggest year for new openings in Hong Kong, and then we consider everything we have eaten from other countries, and get all in a tither and find we need a bubble tea.
In an attempt to relive our exciting food endeavours, we asked three of our editors what their absolute favourite eating experiences were in the jam-packed year of 2014. So behold our favourite experiences, which towereth over all other dining experiences
Thirty-Eight – Hong Kong
Bene – Sheraton Macao Hotel, Macau
My colleagues will be weary of hearing me speak so glowingly about a bowl of pasta, but I still dream of this carbonara served in a wheel of castelmango cheese.
NUR - Hong Kong
Celia Hu – Editor at Large/Food Nomad
Nakamura – Kyoto, Japan
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons - Oxford, EnglandIt’s tough to decide on a runner up, as I’ve had so many amazing meals this year. But one experience that truly stands out is when we visited 2-Michelin starred chef, Raymond Blanc, at his culinary haven, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford, England. The 30-year old dreamlike estate is set in 30-acres of picturesque English countryside, and houses a fine dining restaurant, an acclaimed cookery school, and a vast vegetable garden and orchard. Part of Les Grandes Tables du Monde, the model in the kitchen spells “Push Ya Self” and that’s exactly what the chef team brings to the table.
Kandy House – Sri LankaAnother favourite this year has to be one of our latest Food Nomad adventures to Sri Lanka, at the historical Kandy House, built by the last minister to the Sri Lankan royal family in 1804. Against a soundtrack of soft chirps and moody howls from the surrounding jungle’s rich animal habitants, we sampled more than 12 different curries on the outdoor veranda, each with its own distinct flavour. Unlike Indian curry, the Sri Lankan variety is incredibly light, yet still rich with flavour. We loved the dahl, which was incredibly vibrant and much lighter and sweeter than Indian dahl, but our favourite has to be the breadfruit curry, with a texture close to potato, yet a hundred times creamier and silkier.
Keshia Hannam – Digital Editor
This is a terrible question. This is like the Sophie’s Choice of food.
Onyx – Budapest
One of the few Michelin-starred restaurants in Hungary, it was here I tasted some of the most delicious vegetables I have ever eaten, and was glad to see it start as the main course. The meal was Hungarian white asparagus and caviar with a tarragon sabayon and my word, it was sublime. The tarragon was present but not overbearing and the white asparagus was so sweet I can’t even look at those thin green stalks masquerading under the same name.
Sushi Shikon - Hong Kong
Every part of this three Michelin-starred omakase restaurant is refined, yet the chef remains engaging, charismatic, and approachable as ever, as he plated up some of the most beautiful Japanese cuisine I have ever tasted. The highlights for me were the abalone and the octopus, which were as fresh as they possibly could be, being flown from Japan daily, and more tender than anything I can compare it to. The octopus fat surrounding the tender ring had been so expertly prepared, the experience was more akin to eating a succulent piece of pork than the many legged sea creature. This is simple, immaculate cuisine in its most honest form.
Ps. We also ran our first , rather successful, Secret Supper Club this year, hosted at Andrea Oschetti’s industrial loft in undefined. The middle course was a white truffle ravioli, lovingly handmade by the Italian chef himself, slathered in a light parmesan sauce and topped with pistachios. Oh my gosh, I loved every part of this indulgent dish, from the textured and umami pasta to the cheesey sauce and crunchy nuts. I ate this way too quickly and then felt ill–and I would do it all again without hesitation!
Pps. On the subject of Hong Kong, I give a special shout out to the madeleines at Le Port Parfume, that are handmade and glide over to your table hot from the oven (take a moment to envision that with me; little fluffy french cakes making a beeline for you straight from their cooking cave), as well as the pizza that was available in the lobby lounge of the Intercontinental, TST in September. I don’t even really go for pizza in a big way, but now have been ruined for it ever since.
Sushi Samba – London
I do love this Brazilian-Japanese hybrid, especially as the British incarnation sits loftily on the very top of the grand Herron Tower to the east of the city centre. Stunning views and a black cod that is done in a miso glaze and grilled over open flame. The char on this meaty fish is out of this world good. This, this is what splendid is. Oh, and they serve it with corn! J’adore corn.
Ps. Another great shout in London is the STREET FOOD. Omigosh, it is so great. Especially on Thursday at lunchtime, our corporate saviour was to savour (you like that..?) the bao at Kerb at the Gherkin in Central London, that I find even Asia has trouble rivalling for bang on flavours. Bao serve a fluffy cloud like soft steamed bun (made with milk), that is then filled with miso glazed (you must be noticing the pattern by now) mushroom, spring onion and walnuts. Everything works so nicely together and is a cracking alternative for vegetarians! So basically, put a miso glaze on anything and I will mention you in my top list next year…
Pps. Last comment I promise; the Belgian waffles (well to be accurate, they were Leige waffles but details details) in the Maison Dandoy in Brussels are mind-bendingly fantastic. Smothered in warm melted Belgian chocolate (your decide the race of your choc) and crispy on the outside, the soft and voluptuous traditional biscuits are aimed at “making your senses twinkle and dance” in the words of the owners. I attest, this outcome is very much achieved. My senses practically started a ballet company after this experience.