Category Archives: Restaurants

The fat Japanese ramen chef is back on Tai Wong East Street

The ramen shop that we used to frequent on Amoy Street changed hands about a year and a half ago. The fat japanese chef with the cheerful smile was replaced by three not so fat local chefs who barely acknowledged any of the customers behind those thick vapour clouds of steaming broth. We went back once after a long while, the food was decent but the service unremarkable.

On my walk along Tai Wong East Street last week, I was noting all the new coffee shops that have sprouted up.. the hipster lifestyle choices are now increasing after the launch of BakeHouse (fantastic breads but the pretzel is best in HK). I suddenly see a new lantern hanging and saw that it was a ramen shop. Curious, I stopped to check out the menu.

Hello, long time no see” (said in Cantonese), it was the waitress I knew in the previous ramen shop. She still wore her glasses but not as heavily rimmed.

She said that their previous shop had been sold and now they opened this one on their own. I told her I’d come back to try it and that’s exactly what we did last Sunday.

We ordered two of the kamitora ramen and one black garlic oil ramen. SW commented that the black garlic oil ramen used to come with black coloured noodles as well… I suppose some things have changed.

Now, there’s no longer the order chit where you get to customise your noodle thickness or toppings. But you still help yourself to iced lemon water and the condiments like chilli powder at the table. The chilli beansprouts are now a side serving that you’ll have to order.

The bowls are tall and narrow based, I thought that the portions were a bit smaller than before but this didn’t really bother us. The slice of pork was decent sized and tender. Two pork meatballs replace the other slice of pork. I wasn’t a huge fan of the meatballs… a little small and gristly for me. Just help yourself to ice lemon water in jugs on the table (how very japanese) or order a soda from the fridge.

The wordings on the wet wipes are the most hilarious… see what I mean.

There’s ample space in the restaurant (open kitchen), but it’s mostly 2 person or bar seating. There’s only one area where they can 6 people as a group so this isn’t really a big group out sorta place. We brought our stroller and it was fine. Plenty of space for it during non-rush hour.

Overall it’s not bad and as I quite dislike having to queue for anything, this place is worth checking out. Look out for the red lantern as you cruise down Tai Wong East Street.

This blackboard with opening hours was placed indoors (yes, facing IN) when I went to eat there. I suggested to the chef that he place it outside so that clients could see when they are open or shut.

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New Japanese lunch spot on McGregor Street

After promising to have lunch together for at least 4 months, my friend PB and I finally agreed on a date.

“What are we having?” asked PB, “I can have anything.”

Since we went to Samsen on our last date, I thought we should try something new.

“A few options… new Thai place, new Japanese place, burger joint, fish n chip joint…”….”Pick one”.

Japanese it was. Full disclosure to her that I’d never been and was curious to check it out.

It’s one of these hole in the wall restaurants that does not make any effort to welcome you. The window panes are frosted so you can’t peer in, the menus are written in chinese (only an issue if you can’t read it) -and most of it is sushi or skewer based- but the restaurant goes through the effort of having an English name printed on the signboard. It’s called Silver House Japanese Restaurant (首庫居日本料理).

I remember seeing it on the launch day when a row of flowers lined the street in front of the restaurant and people stood on the pavement looking in. I thought it was all a bit odd as staff and presumably owners brought in large plastic bags of packed food and they sort of stood around consuming it. Shouldn’t a launch party have a bit more organisation to it than that? Anyway.

We got there promptly at noon when the restaurant had just opened and was completely empty. The waitress presented us with a lunch menu consisting of about 8 different sets and told us that the a -la-carte sushi and skewers wee only available for dinner.

We settled on sharing a quick seared salmon sushi bowl and an eel bowl.

First came the salad, a small but tasty portion, I forgot to take a photo.

Next came a simple miso soup.

Then the eel bowl arrived.

The eel tasted fine with the teriyaki sauce but the texture was a tad soft.

This salmon bowl was nicely done. I could definitely have this again.

Dessert finals, a small fruit palate cleanser. The melon was ripe, succulent and sweet. The grapes weren’t bad, but they definitely weren’t japanese 😉

The salmon set was $128 and the eel bowl was $88, very reasonable lunchtime prices.

The restaurant was full to maximum capacity when we left. Some fashionable types, some office types and some singles looking to tuck in alongside their mobile phone.

Will New Life get a NEW LIFE?

5 Nov 2017: I was amazed to see that after a whole year of non starting, the vegetarian place Soul Food was getting a new signboard put up today. Apparently the vegetarian concept was not going to work (taste the veg place round the corner, it’s not very good in my opinion) and the management has now decided on New Life- Thai cuisine instead. Hmm.


I think this wall needs NEW PAINT.


The guy was still in process of taping the NEW SIGN on the corner.

Let’s see whether 2018 will be a time for them to finally launch and if the New Managers can make it a success.

Read this post to see what it was supposed to be.

Update 13th November: Looks like this sign was not up to standard and taken down again…

Jacomax Pizzeria has a very cool interior. Star Wars fans alert!

It was Friday night and we didn’t want to head out for dinner. My in-laws were here and we couldn’t decide what to eat. No surprise when #1 jumped and whooped for joy when pizza was put forward as a suggestion. 

Pizza Express, unsurprisingly, was full. The table availability only started at 9pm. Perfect! A chance to try something new. 

I remember seeing this little pizza place with funky lettering called Jacomax on the junction of Hennessy and Luard, a very bold location. The exterior was sort of dark and it didn’t look that welcoming but I had a look at the menu when it first opened and it looked like a very traditional pizza parlour with all the conventions. 

So off we went to order pizza! 

The one man pizza factory
Pizza menu Drinks menu
The bar

Some photos of the quirky interior decor . 

Naked lady in recline and deer mount in rainbow technicolour
More seating areas behind
Painted horse or rainbow zebra? Note the craft beers available in the fridge below (unseen in photo)
Seating at front of house

Small person was mesmerised by this Star Wars infused painting. “What’s the stormtrooper doing?” This painting which looks rather grand scenic style was quite unexpected and a nice touch. I asked the lady waitress where they got it but all she knew was that her boss chose it. 

Can you spot the AT-AT walkers?

We left with 3 pizzas. A 13″ magherita for small person, a 13″ Hawaiian and tuna half half and a large 20″ pizza salami and mushroom half half. 

We lugged the boxes home and ate with so much relish that I forgot to take a photo of them. Well, my hands were full of pizza. 🙂

Click here for Jacomax branches, opening hours, telephone numbers and location. 

The Satisfaction of Samsen

This Thai casual style eatery is NOT kid friendly. Do not bring your toddlers or babies, there are no high chairs (bar chairs), no kiddy utensils and no kids menu. So you gotta go alone or on a date!

Note: it’s open Mon-Sat lunch 12 noon to about 2.30pm then dinner 6-10pm. Shut on Sundays.

We have done takeaway from Samsen several times, all delightful eating even out of cardboard boxes. The only dishes Samsen doesn’t allow takeout for are their noodle soups or “boat noodles”. 

One day last week, I found myself liberated and alone for lunch. I gleefully took myself to Samsen at 12 noon and promptly got seated at the bar counter. Perfect. 


There are hooks thoughtfully placed beneath the counter to hang your bag (love restaurants that do this) and I had a great view of the working kitchen which always helps to manage time and expectations. 


It was a boiling hot day. The Thai iced tea was perfectly shaved and sweetened with just the right kick of lime acidity. It was a pleasure I sought to extend by drinking it very slowly. 


My Wagyu beef boat noodles arrived. Oooh first….inhale the aromas. Then follow up with a taste of the soup. Be careful not to slurp it all down. The Wagyu beef was super tender and the beef balls chewy. The noodles were done just right, smooth texture with a good touch of elasticity. 

The bowl looked small but by the time I got to the end of the broth I felt strangely satiated. 

No dessert for me today but definitely next time.

Samsen requires no introduction given its high profile chef and nightly queues for dinner. It’s a thumbs up from me, a welcome addition to the Wanchai dining scene. 

I’m already craving the next visit. 

Maureen Noodle Shop leaves Wanchai 

My pregnant friend YK was craving salmon spinach noodles yesterday and headed over to Maureen’s. To her great disappointment, Maureen’s was not only shut but the little eatery was shuttered. 

On the door, a hurried hand written note:

“CLOSED! We are moving to Citic Tower. See you there or at the Foodtruck!

Thank you for your patronage and support over these 5 years!”


And with the interior of the shop in complete disarray, she’s gone. 

April 2017 Appetites: Burger Eating Contest in Wan Chai

First of all, Happy April 1st everyone!! Ok this is not an April fool’s joke…. at least I hope it isn’t…

Maybe you’re a burger fanatic, maybe you’re just a really competitive person or maybe you’re just super hungry… here’s one event that’s right up your alley.


Come over to Wanchai and see if you will win? Find Ted’s Lookout here.