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Best Bites: 4 dishes we loved this week

Best Bites is a roundup of the outstanding dishes we had within the last week: Those which renewed our love for established venues, caught our attention at a new opening, or freshly impressed upon us the creativity and skill of Hong Kong’s talented chefs. From casual street snacks to meticulously prepared tasting menus, these are the best dishes to try in Hong Kong, and the plates we’d recommend you make a special trip for.

The best dishes we supped on and savoured this week:

Bluhouse

The dish: Lasagna alla Bolognese (HK$220)

As a New Yorker — I’ll leave you to figure out what that means — there’s nothing better than a decadent brick of lasagna swimming in red sauce. Crispy edges and exterior. Nearly liquified meat bits. My July healthy eating plan is in agony just thinking about it. In Hong Kong, it’s tough to find spots that do it right — but I’m happy to say the newly opened Bluhouse in Rosewood is one of them. Make it your cheat day go-to, if you allow yourself one. You deserve it. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief

Bluhouse, Tsim Sha Tsui, Salisbury Rd, 18 號Victoria Dockside 香港瑰麗酒店

Chutney Tandoor House

The dish: Chicken 65 (HK$128)

Wyndham Street’s new Indian eatery, Chutney Tandoor House, is unlike others. It’s leans toward a contemporary ambience that lets you have your evening fun (see: cocktails) while tucking into a familiar spread of classic, spice-laced fare. Some things still stick to tradition though, including the restaurant’s condensed menu of cuisine favourites and under-represented regional serves. Chicken 65 falls under the latter category, a Southern Indian staple inspired by the Tamil Nadu dish of bite-sized chicken coated in a spicy masala marinade, then deep-fried. At Chutney, the dish is recreated to mirroring perfection, bar a few “upgrades” that can only be added under the well-trained eye of a seasoned chef. Made with local yellow chicken, the usually dry-crispy crust is coated with a saucier rendition of the spicy marinade for a juicer bite, while a final sprinkle of pomegranate seeds burst open for sharp tartness against the sticky, mildly sweet and satisfyingly spicy glaze. Wafer-thin, flash-fried curry leaves adds texture to the tender boneless chunks — but only after you bite past its crunchy shallow-fried coat. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor

Chutney Tandoor House, 4/F, Carfield Commercial Building, 77 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong

Yakiniku More

The dish: Pork Kimchi Pancake (Part of a HK$768 set for two)

My unexplainable affinity for chewy carbohydrate-rich savouries is part of my personality, no joke. In a sea of Yakiniku More’s bright red raw meat, standing out to me was the Pork Kimchi Pancake, radiating warmth from just leaving the pan merely moments ago. One bite reveals its texture to be some of the most soft, starchy I’ve ever come across. If you’re feeling daring, ditch the dip to truly experience the bounciness of it all. I’m in love. — Michelle Chan, Editor

Yakiniku More, Shop 5-6, G/F, 8 Minden Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 2750 8800

Café 103 at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

The dish: Bo Bo Gastronomy Journey Afternoon Tea (HK$448 for one, HK$748 for two from Monday to Friday; and HK$478 for one, HK$798 for two on Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays)

I’m gonna be honest with you — I’m not much of an afternoon tea girl, but when the opportunity for afternoon tea arises, I’m not going to object. Especially when the afternoon tea in question is a playful collaboration between luxury jeweller Qeelin and The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong. Personally, I love that The Ritz has chosen to work with a Hong Kong brand — support local and all, y’know.

The “Bo Bo Gastronomy Journey” Afternoon Tea is themed around Qeelin’s panda bear, starting with the multi-tiered Bo Bo tea stand, which cutely greets diners with one paw in the air. Can we have an awww? Foodwise, Chef de Cuisine Jacky Lo has created a whole menu of small bites made with Chinese ingredients and inspired by Qeelin’s oriental origins.

Savoury items include the Smoked Duck Breast with Plum Gel and Charcoal Mini Bun; Pickled Ginger & Smoked Salmon Tartare Éclair; and Crispy Sesame Balls with Barbecue Pork (the first is my favourite). Sweets include the Red Bean Coconut Tart; White Chocolate Berries Violette Mousse Cake; and Lemon Black Tea Chocolate Verrine (the last if my favourite). And of course, we can’t forget the scones, both classic and raisin versions, aka the backbone of any afternoon tea set.

Here’s what I think — if you’re looking for a fun way to spend your summer afternoon, perhaps in the sun but not directly in the heat, then head over to Café 103. Grab your friends, family, partners, whoever and enjoy the creative tea set while you take in Hong Kong’s beautiful skyline 103 levels above ground (the weather should get better soon). The afternoon tea set is available from 11 July to 18 September. — Charmaine Ng, Editor

Café 103, Level 103, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, +852 2263 2270

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