Hong Kong for first timers

Yes the same shot of Hong Kong you see in every Hollywood movie featuring the city


They say – a minute in New York is a second in Hong Kong. And I could why. My first trip to HongKong was nothing short of spectacular. The glamorous billboards and ubiquitous skyscrapers, glitzy pubs and cafes of Lan Kwai Fong, the melt in the mouth din sums, the nostalgia inducing boat rides at Victoria Terminus…


Walking the streets endlessly for hours watching locals and ex pats going about their business never felt so good.


But what I loved most about Hong Kong is the vibe — throbbing and pulsating with energy. For someone who loves the city life,  it’s infectious and addictive.

Hop on board the Star Ferry  

To get an up close look at life in the charming city, hop on board the Star Ferry. For just 3HKD you will be treated to one of the most scenic boat rides in the world. The boat ferries passengers from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and back.


The Victoria Harbour also happens to the most photographed harbours in the world. So be armed with your cameras. The best time to ride it is in the evenings.

The Mid-Level escalator in Hong Kong

It’s quite astonishing to find an escalator (the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator) cutting through the hustle bustle of the city. The Life spills over on to the streets on both sides of the 2624 ft escalator. They only move in one direction, and go with rush hour — in the mornings they go down, and in the evenings they go up. It’s not only a touristy must-do, but very practical too.

The night is always young at Lan Kwai Fong – the party district of Hong Kong

Lan Kwai Fong is where you head to paint the town red. The atmosphere saddles from stylish wine clubs, sedate cafes and raucous sports bars.  The area comes alive at night when the action spills on to the streets. Even if you are not a party animal, LKF is a great place for people watching.


Strolling along Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade is one of the best ways to see the beautiful views of the Hong Kong skyline and bustling Victoria Harbour.


This amazing city is a melting pot of food, culture and fun just waiting to be discovered.



I met the Demon Chef at JW Marriott Michelin pop up

Why would a chef call himself ‘The Demon Chef,’ I wondered as I drove to JW Marriott Juhu for the second edition of the Michelin pop up with three star Michelin chef Alvin Leung. Was he ill-tempered? Maybe he looked…you know… or maybe he’s demonic in the kitchen…all these thoughts crossed my mind as I entered Spices our venue for the chef’s table.

As I took my seat I kept turning towards the open kitchen at the back to catch a glimpse of the Demon Chef but all I saw was a rock star looking guy with a funky hairdo. Could this be the chef? Well he definitely was! I decided to reserve my questions (and my judgement) for later and get down to doing what I do best – eat!

Chef Leung doesn’t look like the average Chinese chef and that’s probably because he isn’t. He’s doing to Asian food what Ferran Adrià is doing to Spanish and European food. Chef Leung has invented what he calls ‘Xtreme Chinese’ where he presents heirloom Chinese dishes with a modern twist. Newer ingredients, innovative cooking techniques, dramatic presentations and novel tastes – that’s Chef Leung’s forte.

The first course of dim sums was refreshing. I loved the shrimp dumpling with truffle on top. It was miraculously light with a translucent skin. The Sichuan lamb dumpling was filled with a soup that shot out when you pierced the casing. Chef Leung deconstructs traditional Chinese food and brings them back in a completely different form. So the dishes taste new but not without a strong sense of déjà vu. It shocks you in the beginning but delights you in the end.

pic5The best dish for me was the delicately poached lobster on a bed of spicy Sichuan hollandaise and chilli sauce. The dish stunning to look at, was a veritable explosion of flavours, colours and textures.  Interestingly this tattooed demon chef is one of the only two self-taught chefs in charge of a professional kitchen that has ever received Michelin stars, with the other being Heston Blumenthal. Impressive.

pic6The next course of organic chicken with Arborio rice, wood ear fungus and sand ginger cream was sublime and beautifully presented. Though the rice had a nice bite and the chicken a crispy skin, the ginger cream lacked a punch. I missed a strong element in the dish.  The concluding course of coconut ice-cream with glazed pineapple and tapioca pearls was delectable.

pic7For the Michellin popup at JW Marriott Juhu Chef Leung has consciously raised the heat bar. “I won’t call it spicy but I did turn on the heat a little for Indian palate. But hot doesn’t necessarily have to be more chillies,” he added. Carving a dish out of the Mumbai stable the Bombay Duck is something the chef is toying with.

Leung’s dishes are not without the drama. So expect fumes, powders, foams, unrecognisable reductions and scientist like cooking methods. But despite all that Leung’s food is what food should be – tasty!

IMG_1350At the end of the meal the demon presented himself and I couldn’t help but notice the calm on the chef’s face. After all, the first night (which is generally the most difficult) was done with and he was now facing a bunch of happy diners.

So why does he call himself the demon chef? “Well not all demons are bad. Moreover nice is boring,” says Hong Kong’s most innovative chef. I agree.

Michelin pop up at JW Marriott

Date: 25th-28th Nov, 2015

Service: Lunch & Dinner

Price: 4500 per person+ taxes(without alcohol)


Michelin popup at JW Marriott, Mumbai

I like the concept of pop up restaurants. They give a theatrical sense of another place and time. Pop ups also deliver a unique experience and an intimate feel especially when the venue of the pop up is something out of the ordinary and the theme unusual.

JW Marriott Mumbai has lined up two such unusual pop ups this April. Fashionablyfoody attended the first one – fusion of traditional French and Japanese cuisine by Michelin star chef Laurent Peugeot from Burgundy. The other pop up is by renowned chef Giovanni D’amato which is traditional Italian fare.

The table setting was lovely and the food arrived on beautiful white ceramics and brass pots that threatened to upstage what they’re meant to support. The dishes are a tasteful blend of French and Japanese influences. Everything in the 8 course menu is served degustation-style, whether it is wild sea bass with white turnip fondue and sesame broth or Canadian lobster served with morel mushroom sabayon. There is a definite “gastronomic” feel to the whole dining experience.

Watermelon cube , ricotta , garlic clam , tomato water ravioli and marmalade olive oil
Watermelon cube , ricotta , garlic clam , tomato water ravioli and marmalade olive oil

A simple watermelon and ricotta starter with olive oil marmalade was a juicy, vegetal, meaty combination that hit on many pleasure sensors at once.

Organic Chicken breast , yuzu koshio , beetroot salt crusted , melted curry ball - Chef Laurent Peugeot
Organic Chicken breast , yuzu koshio , beetroot salt crusted , melted curry ball

But it was the chicken breast with yuzu Koshio (Japanese lime and chilli mix), salt crusted beetroot served with melted curry ball that took my breath away. Plated like a painting you almost feel bad eating it!

Strawberry, espuma kapao ( thai basil) sorbet rocket cream cheese
The dessert of Strawberries thai basil sorbet, rocket cream cheese

The dinner climaxed with the dessert of fresh strawberries paired with Thai basil sorbet and cream cheese. It was the gastronomic equivalent of a Kenny G composition.

Chef Laurent Peugeot with a dish of wild Seabass , crispy scales with fondue white turnip and sesame broth
Chef Laurent Peugeot with a dish of wild Seabass , crispy scales with fondue white turnip and sesame broth

With every bite the young and handsome chef Laurent gets us to experience both countries with a clever blend of different ingredients in French and Japanese cuisine. The chef also caters to veggie lovers with a vegetarian menu with dishes such as Risotto of Hazelnut, Pumpkin Espuma and Shiso Leaves and the Green Asparagus, Morel Mushroom Sabayon and Crisp Vegetables.

With my French-Japanese cravings satiated, now I am looking forward to the Italian pop up with Chef Giovanni. Stay tuned for that…

Venue: JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, Juhu Tara Rd, Juhu, Mumbai- 400049

Dates: Chef Laurent Peugeot (8th April-12th April 2015)
Chef Giovanni D’amato (15th April-19th April 2015)
Pricing: INR 7,000/- per person+ taxes