Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Food Journey #27 -- Cafe Oasis of Clearwater Bay Country Club

An escape to the country-side on a fine Sunday in Hong Kong is always a brilliant outing. Out goes the skyscrapers, exhaust fumes and a big welcome to the countryside and the beauty of the green & blue colours of the hills, trees & the sea. ClearwaterBay Country Club has always been a hidden gem in the dining scenes of Hong Kong as 1) it is a private club 2) it s a major trek to drive all the way to the club. The Chinese Restaurant & the Cafe - Cafe Oasis are both a joy to visit and a few Sundays ago, we decided to hit the cafe once again to check out the Mid Autumn Festival Buffet which at HKD168, all you can eat, what a bargain!
Appetiser Buffet -- An abundance of choices including Fresh Mussels, Crayfish, Prawns, Crab Leg, Smoke Salmon, Variety of Salads, Italian Peppers, Fresh Pate on Toast, Meat Platter including Parma Ham, Salami, Ham which was indeed very attractive. The appetiser buffet itself had many items which I like and this itself can carry me through the whole meal without advancing to the mains. The taste was good, the seafood selection was fresh and the smoke salmon was a joy. This appetiser buffet was much better than the Antipasti Buffet which I had in my Food Journey #25a.

Downside to the buffet was that there was presence of a plate of Lo Shui (鹵水) or in real English, Marinated Tofu & Goose which was purely bizarre. Had no idea what this had to do with Mid Autumn Festival and it just some-how does not fit with other dishes on offer. Very strange!

-- Wide variety of mains on show featuring the likes of Roast Beef, a Tum Yum Goong Noodle Corner, Roasted Pigeon, Tandoori Salmon, Pasta Carbonara, Soup of the Day which was Mushroom Soup, Chinese Dim Sum including the likes of Spring Rolls, Pork Dumplings, Chicken & Mushroom Pies. However, the food was very geared towards the Expat Community therefore definitely not a very traditional Mid Autumn Festival dishes on offer.

Three very important dishes which I want to point out -

Roast Pigeons
are A MUST TRY - however, due to my audience being mainly Western therefore I decided not to upload such explict image of the pigeon. The pigeons are roasted as soon as you order therefore the skin & meat is very crispy & tender.

Roast Beef Corner
- The carving section for the roast beef consisted of a small trolley with this fat piece of roast beef and condiments on the side. The roast beef was nicely pink in the middle meaning that the centre of the joint is warmed but not fully booked which is the real traditional roast beef. Traditionally, roast beef is best served with Mint but I like the unauthentic approach which is mustard & ketchup. Never liked Yorkshire Puddings before but at ClearwaterBay Country Club, they do a Yorkshire Pudding which is very rare in Hong Kong.

Tom Yum Goong
- So far, I have talked about the good sides of the lunch and the major let down was the Tom Yum Goong and it was truly painful to eat this. Traditionally, Tom Yum is characterised by its hot & sour flavours and is quite possibly Thailand's best well known export. Your usual Tom Yum Gong will consist of Prawns, Chicken, Fish, Mixed Seafood and plentiful of Coriander as garnish. The Clearwater Bay Country Club version was simply very different to any other versions which I have ever had as 1) it didnt taste like Tom Yum Goong and tasted rather more like a Chinese Styled Noodle, 2) The spices were definitely heavily used as the taste was extremely pungent 3) Colour of the broth does not look anything like a regular Tom Yum Goong which should be yellow & red colour-ish. Very disappointed to what was a very decent brunch!

Dessert Buffet

This along with Tom Yum Goong was the major let down of the brunch experience at Clearwater Bay Country Club. Cheese cake, Tiramisu, Cone Ice-Cream, Chocolate Mousse Cake, Fresh Fruit, Minature Chicken Pies were all on offer but however, it all lacked substance & taste. Wouldnt go into too much details on the desserts as it was plain and definitely was not worth writing to home about. My strongest recommendation & hope is that ClearwaterBay Country Club will allocate resources and hire a half decent pastry chef, that can significantly improve.

Clearwater Bay Country Club is a members only club similar nature to the Hong Kong Football & Cricket Club which I have also previously visited for the Sunday Brunches. In my opinion, food quality here is better than both clubs and my overall brunch experience at ClearwaterBay Country Club has significantly improved from my previous numerous occasions eating here. Even though the so-called Mid Autumn Festival Brunch was not very authentic in anyway, the overall quality of the food has improved and there is also a much wider variety of dishes on offer which marks as an improvement.

A special point to mention is that for some very odd reason, I find that the Stellas (Stella Artois) are always much tastier in the club, could it be because I am drinking this on a Sunday morning?

: An Evening in Happy Valley!

Address: 139 Tai Au Mun Road, Clearwater Bay , New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: 2335 3725

Food Quality (5* the highest): ***

Price for Dinner (5$ = very expensive): ** (Cheap Meal because you have to pay for a STEEP Monthly Membership Fee)

Happy Eating!



If your Birthday is this month, you are one lucky bugger just like myself. Just recieved this eDM from Awfully Chocolate, very decent chocolate cakes & ice-cream with locations in Causeway Bay & Caine Road. Please visit Awfully Chocolate on 28 October at 8pm sharp and the first 100 people will recieve a FREE CHOCOLATE CAKE. This is very exciting stuff indeed and see you all there! Happy Eating! Geoff View Larger Map

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Food Journey #26 - Dim Sum The Art Of Chinese Tit Bits (譽滿坊)

Have been exceptionally busy this week at work and thus, haven't had the time to blog about my previous adventure. For a change this round, I will be blogging about Chinese Cuisine with a peculiar name of Dim Sum The Art of Chinese Tit Bits located the heart of Happy Valley. Our group visited this restaurant on the eve of Mid-Autumn Festival and it was definitely worth every dollar spent. Chinese cuisine is not something which I particularly enjoy every so often as I always find it very time-consuming & greasy. My experience at Dim Sum The Art of Chinese Tit Bits changed me to have 2nd thoughts on this perception and it is a restaurant whereby I will re-visit very soon. Ambiance: Very traditionally Chinese styled restaurant in Happy Valley with wooden chairs & tables and even accessories such as teapots are also very authentic. Not a very large spaced restaurant but nonetheless, it was very cosy and our visit on the evening wasnt too busy which was perfect for the occasion. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED & MUST ORDER Dishes: 1) Chinese Soya Chicken (Signature Dish): Flavourful, Tender, Succulent and one word -- MARVELLOUS. Can totally see why this is the signature dish and why a 3-day in advance pre-order for this chicken is required. Only question which I have is, since the restaurant used a fresh chicken for this dish, I wonder how much more the taste will further improve if an organic chicken was used? 2) Steamed Fish Maw Stuffed with Minced Shrimp: This was a dish cooked to perfection -- the steamed fish maw was very tender & soft and the portion of the minced shrimp was very generous. The shrimp was also very sharp & fresh in flavour which was extremely important. Portion sizes were just perfect and everybody on the table at least had 1 portion. Ladies out there - fish maw is mainly consumed by woman as a source of collagen which is good for your skin! 3) Steamed Cod Fish: This sounds & appears like a very simple dish but yet I have seen many restaurants totally screw up on this. Key area is not to over-steam the cod fish or else the fish will become very dense & flakey which is not something you want. The timing of the steaming procedure was spot on and apparently, the soya sauce used on the fish is a secret recipe from the restaurant. This is the sort of dish I am happy with to pair with a bowl of rice! 4) Prawn Dumpling: Sounds very odd to have dim-sum at night time but this restaurant serves it up in style. At $35 a pop at 2 Prawn Dumplings, they better be good dumplings and I was not disappointed. The Prawns were MASSIVE, I mean absolutely massive and you know it is fresh prawns by thd freshness of it. Slight let down was the pastry was slightly too thick which is not to my liking. Perfect pairing for this will be some Gui Lin Chilli Sauce. Should Try Dishes: 1) Vegetable Stew: Refreshing, Healthy, Fresh vegetables boiled together with ZERO OIL CONTENT in the broth. Enough said. There is a sense of pure-ness about the broth and unlike many other vegetable stews around town, I am very certain this does not contact any MSG content. 2) Fried Scallops with Broccoli: This was a hit & miss dish because the broccoli's were skill-fully cooked as it was not tough & to the stage of difficulty to chew. However, the scallops were the let down as you can still taste the frozen flavour as it was literally just been taken out from the freezer in the kitchen. Disappointment! 3) Fried Egg with Prawns & Scallops: Egg dishes are always my #1 choice of comfort food when one is extremely hungover and I can never get bored of such dishes. Again, the prawns are generously large & fresh but the scallops were same as above which you can taste the frozen flavour out of it. Nonetheless, regardless of the scallops, this is my favourite dish to go out steamed rice with a dash of Gui Lin Chilli Sauce! Dishnes NOT TO Order! 1) Chinese Style Lobster & Shark Fin Clam Chowder -- When I first ordered this, everything was the name of this dish was attractive and thinking it was HKD35 per bowl, what an absolutel steal. When I got the bill, realising that it was $85 per bowl, I was stunned. This was claimed to be the restaurant's signature dish and I really did not see why this was so highly praised. The Clam Chowder was extremely watery unlike the thickness of the American style Clam Chowders. On top, it was extremely difficult to find or even locate where the lobsters were. MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT but if you have a fat wallet with cash lying around, please go ahead and order this. 2) Pork Siu Mai's (Pork Dumplings) -- I took one bite of this and was not pleased about it. It was extremely greasy and the taste of an inch of oil in your mouth is not very appealing. The Pig's skin that is used on the top of the pork-ball was in my opinion very grotesque. I dont think this will be the sort of dim-sum which the expat community in Happy Valley will be pleased to see. One should never regret about food but this dish is something which I will always regret in ordering. Our overall experience was very pleasant and it is the new discovery of Happy Valley. This restaurant has also become the hub of the Japanese and foreign expat community. Good hearty food along with flavourful Chinese tea is the key attraction. However, eating at this restaurant can be considerably pricey and some of their prices cna rival a 5 to 6 Star Hotel Chinese restaurants. Do check out the restaurant and let me know whether you think it is worth the money! NEXT UPCOMING REVIEW ON GEOFF's TWITCHEN : CLEARWATERBAY COUNTRY CLUB SUNDAY BUFFET Happy Eating & Drinking! Geoff Address: G/F, 63 Sing Woo Road, Happy Valley, Hong Kong (跑馬地成和道63號地下) Tel: 2834 - 8893 Food Quality (5* the highest): 3/1/2* Price for Dinner (5$ = very expensive): ***