|VOLUME XI No. 21||W E D N E S D A Y||February 4, 2009|
RESTAURANTS OF HONGKONG ...
AND THE WORST !
|Name of Restaurant||Fire, W Hongkong|
|Address of Restaurant||No. 1, Austin Road, Kowloon, Hongkong|
|Date of Visit||Saturday, January 17, 2009|
|Attentiveness to Customers’ Needs||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Product Expertise of Serving Staff||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Speed of Service||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Cleanliness of Uniform and Serving Staff||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Storage of Wine||Good||Poor||Unknown|
|Expertise of Sommelier -- None||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Total Cost of Meal|
|Moderately Expensive||Very Reasonably Priced|
|Name of Director of Food and Beverage||Mr Kaya Sadettin|
|Name of Executive Chef||Nil|
Whereas, The Kitchen at W Hongkong (hotel) was, and, probably, still is somewhat of a disaster area, Fire, at W Hongkong, which could be likened to the fine-dining outlet of the luxury hotel, has all the makings of a very nice restaurant.
Comparing The Kitchen with Fire, they are, as they say, like night and day.
TARGET (泰達財經) visited Fire on Saturday, January 17, 2009, at 7:45 p.m., having been told by the telephone operator that the restaurant is, always, fully booked.
Well, that is, clearly, not the case because the restaurant, which seats about 90 people, was only about 30-percent full on the day of this medium’s visit and, one is told by the serving staff, that this is, usually, the case.
Be that as it may, the experience and the food at Fire, at least on the day of TARGET’s visit, was pleasant and, generally, very positive, all things considered.
Still, as this medium pointed out in TARGET Intelligence Report, Volume XI, Number 9, published on Wednesday, January 14, 2009, locating W Hongkong, in the rabbit warren, commonly known as the commercial complex of Elements in Kowloon, which is one of the newest, 5-star hotels in the Hongkong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), is difficult – even on the second attempt.
Fire has a number of very positive aspects, which contrast markedly with The Kitchen:
1. The food and the presentation are far superior;
2. The service is much more polished;
3. The serving staff bend over backwards to accommodate all guests; and,
4. When something is not, exactly, correct, it is rectified as far as is possible – which is the way that it should be.
Also, there is an experienced Chef de Cuisine at Fire, a Mr Chris Woodyard, who appears to be in complete charge of the entire restaurant and seems to make demands on the entire restaurant staff to know who are the guests and, perhaps, more importantly, he wants to know whenever there is a complaint about his food.
Of course, Mr Chris Woodyard is an Australian, but one cannot have everything, can one?
On the evening of TARGET’s visit to Fire, this was the menu, chosen for the evening:
Potted Rabbit, Foie Gras and
Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
with Goat Cheese, Olives and Crisp Potato
Mustard Crusted Lamb Loin, Honey
Wood Fired Pigeon with Speck
Soufflé of Raspberry and Rose
Port Butterscotch Soaked Date
Decidedly so especially considering where one is eating and the difficulty in reaching this restaurant from the Central Business District of Hongkong Island.
With the above meal for 2 people, TARGET selected a bottle of Australian wine, a Penfolds ‘Private Release’, Vintage 2007, made from Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
(This wine was selected long before this medium realised that the Chef de Cuisine was Australian.)
The cost of the wine was $HK480 per bottle.
The wine was a very good choice as many wines from this South Australian producer are – See, not all of the products and people from this Antipodean country are bad!
This wine is a large, dark, ruby red with an alcoholic content of about 13.50 percent by volume.
It tasted of cherries and raspberries and, perhaps, an overtone of red currents. It was only slightly acidic.
It went down very well with the meal.
Lastly, about the wine list at Fire, as with The Kitchen, the wines on offer are terribly over-priced and something should be done to rectify this situation – unless, of course, management of this food outlet is not interested in selling bottles of wine.
The only real negative about the above dishes was the Linguine Vongole because the linguine was served lukewarm.
This is the same comment that TARGET had made about most of the dishes, tasted at The Kitchen on Saturday, January 10, 2009.
The Potted Rabbit dish, which was meant to be an appetiser, only, in any event, tasted very much like Cantonese flaked pork pieces, used as a type of condiment on congee.
Indeed, on enquiry of TARGET’s waitress, named Teepee, this was, in fact, true: A type of Chu Yuk Soong (豬肉鬆) had been used in the dish on the ratio, it appeared to this medium, of about one part rabbit meat to about 10 parts of Chu Yuk Soong.
The strong flavour of this typical Cantonese condiment completely overpowered the taste of any rabbit meat.
The rest of the food was good and nothing really negative could be said about the dishes, all of which could stack up well against most, top-of-the-line, fine-dining restaurants in the territory.
The good thing about the food was that, on departure, one felt that a return trip might well be just as rewarding as the first visit.
One could never say that of The Kitchen: Once shot of this outlet, one does not want to return.
Some of the highlights of the meal were the lamb and the pigeon dishes.
The meat of the pigeon, the dead bird, having been imported from France, could be cut with a fork; it had been only about 70 percent cooked.
In this manner, one could still taste the delicacy of the bird’s flesh without it, having been invaded by other flavours, during the cooking process.
The lamb was Australian – naturally – and, as with the pigeon, it has been cooked to absolute perfection.
The presentation of this dish was on a par with the taste of the meat.
As for the soufflé, it was, in a word, perfection.
After the meal was nearly over, Mr Chris Woodyard appeared at TARGET’s table without an invitation – which is typical of many Australians – and asked for a comment about the Linguine Vongole, following this medium’s veiled complaint to Teepee.
On hearing TARGET’s rather minor complaint, this tall, good-looking Australian said that it was a constructive comment and he thanked the TARGET team for taking the trouble to make known the situation.
At this point, this Australian had no idea with whom he was talking and, within minutes of his appearance at TARGET’s table, he volunteered the intelligence that he had only been installed in his present post for 3 days, the Executive Chef of the hotel, no longer in his former position.
‘I have inherited a bit of a headache at The Kitchen,’ Mr Chris Woodyard lamented. ‘I shall fix it. I am in charge of that outlet, too. Many complaints about it.’
TARGET is of the opinion that this chef, with obvious drive and passion, will turn things round at The Kitchen – it, dearly, needs something to be done in a hurry.
On leaving Fire, this reviewer left the TARGET name card to Teepee – who turned a little of the colour of the red wine that had been drunk on realising what had taken place, during the 90-minute dinner.
‘I’m not worried,’ she said at last, taking in a deep breath. ‘I know that I have done my best job.’Indeed, she had done a wonderful job as had all of the serving staff of this food outlet!
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TARGET cannot be held responsible for any errors and/or omissions.