CIAK

CIAK- In the Kitchen is brought to you from the same people as 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA… so the expectations were quite HIGH for this pasta/pizza restaurant. Situated inside the busy and bustling Landmark along with 8 1/2- its prime real estate for hungry diners! So one Friday evening, a bunch of girls gathered to see if the pastas were anything like 8 1/2!

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Bread Basket arrived first! (So did I ;) Prompt, I am…okay, early I was)…. the rest of the girls arrived shortly after and so did the food! We ordered a bit of everything so we could try a bit of it all.

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Seasonal Mixed Green Salad, Datterino tomato, shallots, balsamic vinaigrette | $110 | The mixed green salad was light, refreshing and a perfect fresh starter to begin our dinner.

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Baked Eggplant | Classic Parmigiana |$170 | THIS was spectacular though. I LOVEEEEEED everything about it. The baked eggplant was smothered with the perfect amount of cheese, and that orange/red parmigiana colored sauce was sooooo good. Even after we finished all the eggplants- we saved the sauce to use as a dip for our pizza crusts! Don’t waste, folks.

The pizzas are fresh from the bakery over, with 36 hours of natural fermentation!

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Norcina | Homemade sausage, mushroom and mozzarella cheese pizza | $210 | I really liked this pizza. The succulent peppery homemade sausages were juicy and meaty, and the pizza base was terrific. Just look at that thick dough….The crust was super thick. (I’m usually more a fan of the thin crust pizzas.)

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Proscuitto & Formaggi | Parma Ham, Gorgonzola, taleggio, mozzarella, and tuma piemontese | $210 | This was pretty good, but rather salty. The parma ham is especially salty and atop the salty mozzarella just made it a bit much. I would definitely recommend trying out the other pizzas (Actually, I wouldn’t mind coming back to try out the other pizzas.)

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Iberico Pork Neck 250 grams | Spain | $260 | The pork neck was nice and tender, but I personally preferred the other pasta and pizza dishes!

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Tagliatelle | Wagyu Beef Bolognese in traditional style | $280 | Oooooohhhhh…this I LOVED. This was sooo darn yummy, if only I had more stomach space. The tagliatelle pasta was so nice in texture and the thick wagyu beef bolognese sauce was perfectly aromatic and added just the right amount of balance for the pasta! YUM!

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Lemons Tart | Crispy praline, vanilla ice cream | $100 | This was pretty good, tasted just like a lemon tart- but its not a typical looking lemon tart. But really nice execution.

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Seven Layers Chocolate Cake w/ Vanilla Ice Cream | $90 | This looked wow worthy- but in fact, was not. Really dry and bland. It’s chocolate cake!? So we were all a bit disappointed. But do eat the pastas and pizzas!!

CIAK | In The KitchenShop 327-333, 3/F Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong | 2522 8869

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<3 Always, Jess

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Aberdeen Street Social

Aberdeen Street Social is one of the newest bars to open up in Central, I mean in Hong Kong thats been causing quite a buzz these days. With the new installment of the absolutely adorable 1600 pandas exhibit. PMQ has been buzzing with people and well, with buzz.

Opened by entrepreneur Yenn Wong and Jason Atherton- who had much success thanks to his profitable 22 Ships (post) and buzzy new spot Ham & Sherry. Atherton is finally coming to Central- in a big way…with Aberdeen Street Social. Its a huge social house/restaurant.

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Located right next to Police Married Quarters (PMQ)!! Currently showcasing the cutest panda bears!!

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The duplex has an upstairs restaurant with open kitchens and the downstairs bar/cocktail service area. The interior is more on the industrial, rustic side downstairs. Upstairs is a more serene, formal setting. We opted for the downstairs cocktail area.

We stuck with the bar bites and the mixed drinks!

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‘Get Lucky’ for Val! A healthy alcohol free drink….Check out her blog: THE CHOWDOWN!!! New food blog around town! And, its so pretty, simple AND full of good foodie stuff!

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Bloody English for moi! Two, to be exact…Slipsmith gin, tomato juice, “Full English” spice mix, lemon, Bristol cream sherry, egg on toast ($110) I’m a big fan of Bloody Mary’s…not sure since when? But this cocktail makes me happy! And they do a good job! Spicy and refreshing.

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Goat Cheese Churros, Truffle Honey ($78) The goat cheese churros were pretty bomb. Slightly crispy on the outside, and the strong creamy goat cheese (the inside goat cheese is warm and perfectly melted without burning your mouth). I didn’t use as much of the truffle honey sauce because I wanted to enjoy the goat cheese flavour!

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Pulled Pork Empanadas ($102) It’s been a while since I’ve seen pork empanadas on a menu…so we jumped at the chance to order this!! Like a baked dumpling/pastry. The outside pastry was perfectly browned and slightly flaky, while maintaining the pulled pork meat inside!

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Chorizo, Iberico Ham Flatbreads 6″, ($98) This was my favourite out of all the pizzas. I loveeeee my some pizzas. And this chorizo, iberico ham flatbread did the trick. The meats all added a nice spicy kick to the tomato based pizza with a nice amount of cheese atop it. Loved the dough pizza base! Not too bad at all.

I’ll be back to try the formal dining restaurant upstairs. But overall, its a nice chill area to go for drinks and catch up with friends!

Aberdeen Street Social PMQ, G/F, JPC, 35 Aberdeen St, Central, 2866 0300

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<3 Always, Jess

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Akrame

Akrame is one of the newest modern French restaurants to have opened up in Wan Chai…on the ever popular Ship Street, might I add. I went to a tasting one Sunday afternoon, and was I surprised by the space, food and service. I had some high expectations because chef Akrame Benallal has caused such a buzz in the culinary world. Being an alum of both culinary wonders: Ferran Adrià and Pierre Gagnaire, Akrame opened his first Restaurant also named: Akrame in Paris in 2011, with this Hong Kong branch being the second restaurant! Boy, are we lucky. I personally had an awesome time. The restaurant is moody, sleek, with black and bare concrete walls. We sampled the 6 course lunch menu at $580 per person! (But theres so much food actually! Well worth it) They also offer 3 course at 280, 4 courses at 380. For dinner they offer 4 courses at $788, and 6 courses at $988.

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We started with some amuse bouche. Above is my favorite, which was the Endive and Salmon Roe...I loved the fresh salmon roe popping in my mouth!!

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Loved the presentation of each dish. Even the cutlery was so beautiful and constantly changing!! Yummy bread and butter.

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Soup- White Asparagus, Orange Blossom, Smoked Haddock, Almond, and crushed almonds...so interesting! Light, frothy,

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Vegetable- Zucchini, Crab, mayonnaise, brown butter, and squid ink sauce. I loveeeed this. It was a nice, artistic, and beautiful piece of work. I loved the simplicity of the lightly sauced crab meat sandwiched between two slimly cut pieces of zucchini. Yum!

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Pearl- Oyster, Mayonnaise, Risotto: What makes this dish special, is the mayonnaise sauce is blended in with oysters…so the fragrant oyster smell is even more strong! I personally looooove oysters- but not the biggest fans of cooked oysters…yet, Akrame still did a good job with it. The risotto on the other hand was divine! I loved every creamy, delicious bite.

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Ooooh...cool presentation!!! The Surprise dish came out like this!

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Surprise- Lobster, Smoked Beef..Love, love, love! I loved the plump lobster meat enveloped inside the smoked beef from Holland. I loveeeed the mix of salty beef and smoky taste of the juicy and succulent lobster meat. Perfect. And, look how pretty each dish is! I loved how they change each and every plate setting!

So…I thought the Surprise dish would be my favourite…but then….I encountered…..

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Sailor- Snapper, Risotto, and Endive…SO freaking beautiful, delicious and absolutely savoury.

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This snapper with rice crisps, and creamy risotto was the highlight of the meal. Perfectly cooked snapper fillet over the most awesome risotto. The risotto is creamy, with a strong seafood taste and I loved the black rice complexion, taste, and texture. The snapper was cooked perfectly. The meat was so fresh, delightful and added with the rice crisps…made this dish perfect! LOVE.

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Basil Ice cream to clean the palette…..I just wish they gave me 3 or 4 scoops of these! SO goooooood. Absolutely loved it! Hehehe.

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Pigeon-Jelly of Raspberry, Grilled Leeks. So, I’m not the biggest fan of pigeon, but this was really well executed. It was soft, tender and succulent. But, of course its for those who like to eat pigeon! :)

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Milky- Comte Cheese, Mushroom, and mushroom consomme …Ooooh oooh oooh! I LOVEEEED this. I’m a fan of comte cheese, and I looked the thinly sliced mushroom pieces sandwiched between the sharp cheese strips! SOOO GOOD.

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The Sweetness Section…. 3 Desserts!?!?!? WOW…This meal was WAY worth it! And, much more than 6 courses!!!

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Milk Froth, Ginger, Strawberry Jam, and Pepper: wow! I really enjoyed this dessert. It was light and smooth. Absolutely delicate and love the frothy-ness of this dessert. There’s a subtle ginger taste that was super refreshing!

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Clafourtis w/ Cherry, Emulsion of Honey Lavender: I loved the honey, lavender taste of this dessert. Akrame’s homemade ice cream is beyond incredible. So milky, creamy and perfect!

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So full by this point! But…its CHOCOLATE! How could I resist.. Plus, the desserts were all really light! Creamy milk chocolate, tonka, crisped rice, coffee ice cream. Wow! Really liked all the textures, taste and balances of this dessert. The rice crisps pop and fades into your mouth. The coffee ice cream (another homemade masterpiece)….was really impressive! Great job!

I really enjoyed my tasting at Akrame! And, I’ll be back to try out the ever changing menus! Welcome to HK Akrame :)

Restaurant Akrame 9 Ship St, Wan Chai, 2528 5068

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<3 Always, Jess

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