Sun Above, Sin Below. SCARLETT and Maggie Choo’s Makes Nightlife Lush Again

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Bangkok is quite good with super “Designed” Wallpaper*-esque nightlife concepts and offerings and has been since the emergence of “IT” joints like Bed Supper Club, FACE Bar, and Fallabella in the last decade.

While those bars are a memory of what they once were, making waves as of late are two new hotspots located high above the city with, SCARLETT, perfect for those wanting a sunset with a scene, and a new “speakeasy” very low underground, at the new/old Maggie Choo’s, for those wanting a bit of naughty privacy.  

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If you plan on going to SCARLETT, make sure you get reservations first because patrons come here early to catch the sunset with pre drinks, and then follow-up with delicious Tapaz, cold cuts, and cheese, with wine pairing. In addition, the menu is formulated by 2-star Michelin Chef Manuel Martinez

The original SCARLETT is located in Beijing. The Bangkok bar is the sister location.

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Designed by friends of mine at P49 DEESIGN, one of Asia’s top hospitality design studios, SCARLETT’s has plenty of greens for that softer touch and nice comfy outdoor lounging areas, plus indoor share tables perfect for big groups or impromptu meet ups. Tables are lit with exposed pendant bulbs to have that floating candle-light effect, and are framed by by colorful black, white, and red graphic tiles on the floor to add a bit of that Spanish fun and color but in a modern and subdued way.

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It’s located centrally on the 37th floor of the Pullman Bangkok Hotel G where I stayed earlier this Spring. Its very easy to get to.

The sunset views are really the best part of the Pre-Dining experience here.

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That same week, my friends and I were trying to figure out where to go for nightlife. And thinking that I wanted to blog about something new, a friend mentioned to me that a new bar, called Maggie Choo’s, just opened up by the same team which includes “IT” designer and “Nightlife Baron”, Ashley Sutton.

You may know Perth-born Sutton’s work via his other destination bars, Iron Fairies and Fat Gut’z. And recently he’s just opened a family friendly eating establishment at Siam Center, Mr. Jone’s Orphanage, and a bookshop/bar called Bookshop Bar. Funny that.

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Just when you thought 1920’s Shanghainese fetishism in design has gone been-there-done-that… well, you can change your mind again with Sutton’s version of the concept… a concubine’s haven run by head-mistress, a character named, Maggie Choo.

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What’s great about Maggie Choo’s, is that it’s truly a “speakeasy”, even the theatre of the sense of arrival gives you a feeling of naughy (using the word again) anticipation. 

The door (as all faux-speakeasies tend to be) is a side door on the Ground floor of an old Novotel on Silom Road. You walk in, see a tiled wall with a picture of men eating noodles, then you notice you’ll need to walk down a flight of stairs (hand carved) and enter a what seemingly looks like an old-school dai pai dong Cantonese noodle bar.

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"Is this it?", you ask yourself, "Where are the concubines on a swing I keep hearing about?". Just when you thought you’d give it all up, a lady tells you to follow her through a door with curtains.

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And then just like some magic trick, the space expands… into this…

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…A lush cavernous bar lined with vaults clad in steel and brick, a plush central bar that looks like a bank teller… and swings… everywhere. That night I got there too early so there were no concubines on swings, (they were swinging on their own… ghastly), but I got the point.

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You’ll be surprised to know that all the bricks, steel, and vaults were actually already there and were just incorporated by Sutton for the design… so no faux “Disneyfication” here.

The site was originally a 1947 East India Company Bank underground vault. The concept works great with the space. Each vault has a VIP sitting area, and i’m sure you can close it up for privacy. Also each vault area connects to the other vaults so you can have one big party.

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We ordered yummy “cantonese” snacks of friend dumplings and chicken wings plus fries and fried peanuts with house cocktails which tasted like the 1920’s. 

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These two served us.

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It’s very well done. Although next time i’ll really want to try the noodles and dumplings at the cafe out front… which you can do before or after drinking!

According to their Facebook Page:

Maggie Choo’s was named after Shanghai cabaret owner who fled her hometown in 1931 following the Japanese invasion that tore the city.

Shortly after arriving in Bangkok, she found a 19th century Thai Chinese shoe box restaurant crammed into a basement 10 meters below Silom road serving authentic Thai chinese shophouse food.

When one day, she discovered behind the walls in the corner of the restaurant an entrance that lead to a derelict 19th century East India company bank built in 1847 used for storing porcelain and spices that the British used to carry back to England for Queen Victoria, her past caught up with her and she converted the old bank into a cabaret, just like when she used to back in Shanghai.

Today the cabaret is yet to be revived again…

Have a great night in Bangkok! We always do!

EAT SCARLETT Wine Bar & Restaurant, 37th Floor, Pullman Bangkok Hotel G, 188 Silom Road +66-2238-1992 / DRINK Maggie Choo’s, Novotel Bangkok Fenix Silom Hotel, 320 Silom Road 02-63506055

JJ.

A Mad Man’s New Watering Hole at the Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge

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Here’s something different for urban Hong Kongites, and for my blog… it’s a new Tiki Lounge in the center of the city and let me tell you, it’s fun, fresh, sexy, and refreshing all at once. In my view the newly minted Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge is a welcome addition to this often “too serious” city that needs to teach it’s urban dwellers to have fun and relax and that good afterwork cocktail drinks can be had in cool places beyond the super pretentious members-only bars or the token Karaoke destination.

Read More

Hot Balmy Nights Call For Cool Vodka Inventions

I know the word “speakeasy” is easily spoken to describe any out-of-the-way bar destinations in this day and age, but the new tucked away bar with a fantastic outdoor deck, Wyndham on the 4th, is just a perfect example of the secret “speakeasy” trend.

To their credit, Wyndham on the 4th and its star mixologist, Tom Wood, never described the bar as such, but to a growing number of Hong Konger’s repelled by super-clubs with questionable clientele, anything “speakeasy” is actually a breath of fresh air.

ChristingC, her partner Dan, and I were recently invited by the 24hour concierge group, Quintessentially, for happy hour cocktails care of CIROC Vodka at Wyndham on the 4th and I was just impressed. The interiors were modern yet whimsical, there was space, it was clean, and most of all, the drinks that night were perfect concoctions. We all had three kinds of refreshing CIROC Vodka cocktails perfect for drinking under the starts on a warm balmy Hong Kong evening.

We all learned plenty about the history of vodka  and all its incarnations. The CIROC Brand is the first premium vodka from France to be created with wine production methods and five times distilled for that crisp fresh flavour and amazing aroma… I know… I whiffed plenty of it in the first go. 

Overall I was impressed. CIROC is also good to drink straight up or on the rocks, but I prefer it with a bit of tonic and and lime.

I’ll definitely come back to Wyndham on the 4th. It’s really a perfect getaway, and in addition, the branding and aesthetics, quite well done, was produced by Danielle Huthart at WHITESPACE Design. I had no idea until she told me on Instagram that was one of her projects. It’s great work.

Im now itching for some CIROC under the stars and on those big back-lit potted plant bar tables. The weather is starting to agree with me…

PARTY Wyndham on the 4th / DRINK CIROC Vodka 

JJ.

Seen&Scene: Booze, Photography, Rock n’ Roll… Aiming to Hit All the Notes at WOOBAR, W Hong Kong

Gone are the Living Room days at W Hong Kong… and when I say gone I mean the cool chill bar next to the hotel’s main reception on Level 6 has been rebranded as an official WOOBAR; aimed to be the “city’s epicenter of new style, redefining the city’s nightlife scene in its’ inimitable progressive way”, according to the press sheet.

But what’s more exciting is that the WOOBAR Launch ushered in a photography exhibition titled ROCKED, featuring a selection of images by famed music photographer, Mick Rock a.k.a. The Man Who Shot the Seventies… which included the likes of David Bowie as Ziggy Startdust, Debbie Harry, Queen, Andy Warhol, and Madonna. We actually got to meet Mr. Mick at the event.

Mick below right, with David and Sharon.

The exhibition is on now until September 2012, so you have two months to still catch it.

Stephanie w/ her look alike, Debbie Harry.

Despite several snags, (ie. Mick addressing the crowd saying it’s his first time in New York City and loving it… Mick… we’re in Hong Kong… although I guess we’ll take it as a compliment)… the event went far better than I anticipated, actually drawing a crowd that was far beyond the “Tai-Tai/Banker” Scene that this hotel’s parties are generally known for… (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, #JustSaying).

My friend, W Hotel Creative Director, DJ Angus Wong brought in the cool hipster/fashion crowd tonight, which is a nice change for the hotel.

The party also had its share of local gay mafia (you cant have an epic party without the gays) and you know… your finance crowd and some photograph-ready Hong Kong celebs.

It was all a spectacle which included special guest indie punk band from Beijing, Queen Sea Big Shark… which is a great move on W Hong Kong’s part to be able to fly them in and perform. Their session just rocked the house… again different for the hotel… unexpected even. I loved it.

Overall it was a great show/party for W Hong Kong, and a great attempt to make the hotel a Destination hotel. It reached out to the right people that night and it was good to see some of my crowd of friends party there for a change.

Popcorn Network’s, Casey with his pal John Metcalf from Demand Analytics.

Dawn Austin with Wandergirl, Cheryl Rodriguez.

Gierdre giving me the “Face”.

W Hong Kong’s DJ Miss Yellow and Brew&Post Blogger, Carmen Chan.

Harry Potter is angry.

Bromance. Daniel of Hungry Hong Kong and Wanderboy, Andrew.

Brew&Post Blogger, Jason of TOUGHLOVE.HK and my sis, Bernadette.

With Vivian Chen, Scene and Style editor of South China Morning Post.

My friend Jade with her playdate.

DJ Angus Wong vs. DJ Lincoln Medley from New York City, both from the inaugural 2011 W Hotels DJ Lab which began last year in Ibiza and celebrated its second year this year in Bali.

DRESSMEBLOG and ELLE HK Blogger, Jasmine Webster.

Gents of Moustache, Alex and Ellis, who just returned from a fabulously successful pop-up launch of their brand in Tokyo!

Spotted, Mr. Henry Temple.

CIPHER’s Gregg whom I just met that night for the first time.

Natasha Kaye Whiffin with Designer, Johnson Chan.

The party REALLY rocked, I have to admit… and not just because Mick Rock hosted it. (Okay you dont have to laugh.)

And my mates. All Brew&Post Bloggers (without Carmen and Melinda Wang and Derek Ho unfortunately.)

What a night.

Jason with SUPERWOWOMG.

Hello?

Thanks so much to Angus who gifted me with this autographed copy of the exhibition’s booklet from Mick Rock!

This one is my favorite picture of Madonna before she was English and just a mere “Jersey Girl”.

The ROCKED exhibit will be open to the public until the end of September 2012. ROCKED will then travel to W Hotels across Asia. For updated information on the ROCKED tour, please check out www.facebook.com/whotels.

http://www.w-hongkong.com

JJ.

At 8 Years Old, FINDS IS The Destination For Nordic Exposure

Food on theWanderlister+ by Elfie C. / Photographs by Manyi Choi

Do you like meatballs? How about meatballs in mash? With gravy? And some lingonberry sauce on top? Sounds a bit familiar, huh? I bet you’re thinking what I’m thinking, but no, I’m not going to talk about the food that you get from that blue and yellow flat-pack furniture store. I’m actually going to introduce you to a restaurant that will be celebrating their 8th Anniversary this month!

Remember FINDS? In Lan Kwai Fong (LKF)?

Well, they’ve moved to the dark side to set up shop in a boutique hotel called The Luxe Manor and have been there for over a year now. The interiors are fluid, warm, and modern, which fits the hotel’s dream-like atmosphere.

I’ll be honest, when it was in LKF, I was unaware that FINDS had such amazing food! I only thought it was a bar. Oops. I stand corrected.

We were invited to a bit of a feast, and I swear I’ve never had such yummy mashed potato before in my life. It was like having a full on Sunday roast… complete with a pot belly afterward… except, when we went there, it wasn’t really a Sunday.

+ Starting Strong

Let me introduce you a little to what was served…

For starters, on a plate of cold rocks (the type used in saunas), we had some black peppercorn seared salmon, cold smoked salmon, pickled salmon, smoked prawns, blue mussels, and gravad scallops which were served with olive oil and red peppercorns.

This was accompanied by house made black bread slices, served with a mustard dill sauce and a salmon mousse.

To clear our palates afterward, we were served a frozen spirit called Nordguld, enjoyed in frozen rock shot glasses. One word: strong.

We were delighted to actually be chin wagging with Chef Jaakko, who told us that he had moved to Hong Kong 7 years ago, just to open FINDS, which actually stands for Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden. He came here so that he could open a Nordic restaurant, with truly Nordic dishes (of course with some dishes fused with a more Asian flare to suit the market), to introduce to Asia a truly Nordic experience. That was his purpose and continues to be his aim.

+ Fancy Pots

So, as usual, we allowed the Chef to surprise us with his choice of  “wow” dishes for mains.

In moments, colorful Le Creuset pots appeared on our table filled with Root Vegetables and Mash

Hot Smoked Salmon and Fingerling Potatoes served in a Dark Dill Sauce

Roasted Zucchini and Eggplant

And of course Jaakko’s Grandma Ida’s Meatballs (we asked, this really is his grandma’s recipe!) served with mashed potatoes, cognac gravy and crushed wild lingonberries.

+ Sweet Finish

And it didn’t end there.

Chef Jaakko came back to us, even after we had decided to pack some of the food to take home, with some luscious desserts. On the plate, the dessert taster, complete with a “Daim” Dessert that tastes just like a real Dime bar (if you’ve never had one, it’s that candy that comes in a red packet with blue writing on it… inside, a chocolate wrapped around crunchy nougat), a milk chocolate mousse, and my all-time favorite, a banana-toffee pie (aaaaahhhhh!!! BANOFFEEEEE PIIIIIIIEEEEE!!!).

Needless to say, I was beyond satisfied.

With a bit of tea to finish off everything…

Or… something else for those who expect a BIG NIGHT after dinner…

Time to go again!

Tonight, June 8th, FINDS celebrates its 8th Anniversary with DJ Romi. RSVP is strongly recommended.

FINDS / 1F, The Luxe Manor, 39 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon / MON-THUR 6.30am - 12.00mn FRI – SAT 6.30am – 2.00am SUN 6.30am – 11.00pm / For reservations, please call 2522 9318 / For more information about Le Creuset, please visit www.lecreuset.com.hk

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Elfie C. is trained as a workplace and lifestyle strategic planner based in Hong Kong with a mean penchant for whipping up delicious and healthy pastries and desserts. Catch her here on theWanderlister+ Asia as she hops around Hong Kong and the region at large for the must-taste in dining and cuisine in your neck of the woods. For more information on this and any other related item, email Elfie C. at  elfreda.chan@gmail.com. Or read her own blog at http://elfiec.posterous.com/. You may also follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/elfiec

All Photographs from this post are a copyright of HK Based Photographer, Manyi Choi. You may contact Manyi at choimanyi@googlemail.com.

From 8pm to Midnight, Manila By Night

With my mom attending a Manila conference last week, coupled with my sister Bernadette yearning for a break from Hong Kong, and my weekend suddenly having cleared up, an impromptu family reunion in the Philippines was made possible! It really was one of those “nothing much” trips, just a time to get away and and gain some much needed perspective. Living in Hong Kong, decisions about having to escape are made that much easier by the vicinity of travel to Asia and the many options of getting there at extremely more than reasonable prices. That past weekend Priceline Hong Kong was selling Manila-Hong Kong Roundtrips quite cheap, at about 200USD in total with tax. The price was beyond reasonable and there was no question that I was going to have a last minute Manila trip!

The view from my mom’s hotel close to her conference. Surprise Surprise… it’s a Mall. Which is very typical of Manila.

To be fair, this was the other view… Sunset at Manila Bay poolside, which alone made the decision to come here… priceless.

While Manila trips for me are always connected to a family obligation (ie. a refrain from blogging), “Wanderlisting” for the first evening in the city turned out to be inevitable since I was with my very chic graphic designer cousin, Kara, who agreed to play host to my sister and me for a “Manila-By-Night” Itinerary. The itinerary thankfully involved all the things that we love here at theWanderlister+ Asia. We’re talking feasting on amazing cuisine, checking out the latest in the city’s art scene, and sipping cocktails in fabulous bars.

+ 8PM FOOD // DRAFT Gastropub at The Fort

The traffic wasn’t easy, but after a two-hour drive from our hotel, we finally made it The Fort Complex’s newest gastropub, DRAFT. Kara is a self-proclaimed connoisseur of beer and apparently DRAFT has some of the best selections of foreign and local beers on tap. It’s a bit like the Manila version of Hong Kong’s The Globe, a favorite of mine. Additionally we were also rushing because, surprise surprise, they were going for the trendy “No Reservations- First Come, First Served” policy.

When we got there, we were told that we only could sit at the bar or sit outside because all the tables were taken and the restaurant was full. I’m from Hong Kong. I know what a “full” restaurant is supposed to look like. Does this look full to you Hong Kongers?

One booth had one guy sitting there for two hours and a few 4-seaters had only a couple of people occupying each table setting (see above). Another booth that could clearly fit 6 only ended up sitting a “VIP” couple, which had a “RESERVED” plaque sitting there prior. NOT COOL Manila.

So after an hour of sitting at the bar drinking blondies, I had enough of staring at empty tables and actually complained. When I went there, no one was at their booth, so I checked out a list to see what number we were, and surprise, surprise the list was actually two lists, one that said “Reservation Guests” and the other that said “Non Reservation Guests”. The list was weird for a “First-Come-First-Served” Restaurant, but not weird because we were in Manila where you always have to pull something like a “Media” card or a “politics” card to get a table. Guess which card I was forced to play? We immediately had a seat after.

DRAFT Gastropub at the Fort, Interiors.

I hated pulling that “Media” card, but for the Philippines, you just have to. Note to DRAFT, do what they do at Linguini Fini and Yardbird in Hong Kong, no reservations applies to everyone, even the media and the bosses’ friends AND wait until all parties arrive, then they get to sit. Please do not let one customer hog up a whole table for 6 people waiting for his friends. SERIOUSLY.

Now that we’re done with the lowlights, lets focus on DRAFT’s highlights, and thank goodness we’re talking about the dishes served by celebrity chef, Carlo Miguel.

Cauliflower and Cheese. Crispy at the top, cheesy in between, and fresh steamed cauliflower within. HMMMM…..

The best fried calamaris… in the world.

Angry Drunk Mussles in garlic with fries.

And THE Best Chicken Tenders. Ever.

Sausage and Mash.

A healthy enough Burger.

and of course greens, soaked in Garlic Butter.

We ate more than what can fit in this blog post, but these were the best of the batch. Overall we were a happy bunch because the food was really amazing, but they really should work on their restaurant policies. It’s pretty uncool.

Me, Kara, and Bernadette with our huge beers below.

DRAFT Gastropub / Fort Strip, Taguig City / Tel: 846-9725 or 0906-248-1214

+ 10:30PM ART // Vinyl on Vinyl at The Collective

Because Kara has plenty of friends in the art, fashion, and design circles, she and her mates took us on our next stop, an opening for a graffiti pop artist exhibit at Vinyl on Vinyl at The Collective, which is Manila’s newest compound for all things art, music, bars, and fashion, all under one roof.

Oops what did we get ourselves into?

Wrong turn.

Basically The Collective is a big factory-like shed, where inserted are a series of intimate spaces that run as shopfronts, work areas, coffee shops, bars, and galleries. Anything goes.

I felt so voyeuristic.

I think we’re almost there.

Found it!

The room was really floor to ceiling stuffed with characters both real and imagined by graffiti artist and illustrator, Jovencio Tiu Mayor III or Ungga as he is more commonly known.

According to Vinyl on Vinyl, “Graffiti” in Manila has evolved into a new form of art, and deviating away from what used to be vandalism. Some artists choose spray painted tags, installation art, stenciled imagery, while others opt for the immediacy and aging characteristics of stickers and paste ups. Through “Graffiti” art, Ungga saw an opportunity to express himself, and his new love for creating public art attempts to bridge the gap between the urban art scene and traditional art and representation in the Philippines. His vision is to “create art that society will accept. Armed with a spraycan, a bucket of paint and a blank wall as his canvas.”

Ungga’s works filled the whole gallery.

Someone who I thought had amazingly cool hair checking out the work.

Turned it out it was the artist, Ungga, shown below left with the rest of the crew from Vinyl on Vinyl.

More artists from the gallery.

Kara’s gal pals, Paulina (left) and Mikki (right).

Paulina checking out the melting popsicle.

We had a great chat with the team of Vinyl on Vinyl and then we had to go to our next venue because my sister wanted to dance. On the way out we passed by all these hidden restaurant and cafe stalls at The Collective. If only we weren’t crazy full from DRAFT.

This one was Japanese.

This other one was Pizza and Beer. I really recommend checking out The Collective the next time you’re in town.

Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery at The Collective / 7247 Malugay Street, Makati / www.vinylonvinylgallery.com / vinylonvinyl@gmail.com / +63-922-8487427

+ 12:00 AM DRINKS // Robot

Since my sister really insisted on dancing, Kara’s friend suggested that we check out a certain “edgy” DJ Buzz at Robot. Well, “edgy” in Manila terms is quite far from what I would call edgy, unless playing ABBA, then N.E.R.D., then BoyzIIMen, in a row for no rhyme or reason and without mixing was edgy to YOU. In any rate, Robot was still a great time nonetheless.

The interiors for Robot are inspired by Japanese anime and Japanese pop-cultural influences. For me, the whole interiors was all fun and very much a techno-fantasy come to life. It was very Blade-Runner-esque.

I love the wavy cieling and the space’s vertical lines.

And the transparent floor with white pebbles. A bit of old and new Japan in a very red space.

They had all the standard cocktails. I settled for a Bailey’s and Coffee.

I love Manila. It’s fun in it’s own special way.

Robot Restaurant Lounge / 7912 Somerset Building, Makati Ave. corner Sto. Tomas St., Makati City, Philippines / Phone: (632) 8128800 / info@robot.ph / www.robot.ph

JJ.

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DJ Spooky; Sound Unbound and Rebirth of a Nation

This week, international DJ/VJ and a bit of a political activist, DJ Spooky, will be in town to perform a few groundbreaking shows (both structured and loose) that will be quite special and unique experiences in itself.

Starting Thursday, XXX will be playing host to DJ Spooky for SOUND UNBOUND, a live and loose electronic and trip-hop freestyle event in collaboration with the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble. Additionally at XXX he will be launching his new book, The Book of Ice of which a few signed copies will be available for purchase.

RELATED ARTICLE: XXX, First Class

After the party; on Saturday, DJ Spooky will be at the Hong Kong Arts Center to perform one of the highlight performances of his entire career, the much anticipated Rebirth of a Nation, which is his own re-worked/re-mixed play on the classic (1915) film; Birth of a Nation, which is notorious for its overtly racist overtones.

Rebirth of a Nation has actually been performed by DJ Spooky all over the world. The Los Angeles Times called the work, “Groundbreaking”. While the Sydney Morning Herald touted it as, “Chilling, Gripping, and Astounding.” I haven’t seen the work myself, but i’m expecting an audio-visual experience from DJ Spooky as well as commentary on the film’s narrative.

The Trailer.

+ ABOUT THE ARTIST

DJ Spooky is a global visionary DJ/VJ and renowned video artist and writer. He has worked alongside top-notch international personalities including Ryuichi Sakamoto (Academy Award-winning musician) , Yoko Ono (Recipient of Hiroshima Art Prize), Kronos Quartet (Grammy Award-winning string quartet), Steve Reich (Grammy Award-winning electronic music pioneer).

DJ SPOOKY; SOUND UNBOUND ONLINE / XXX Gallery, Thursday Oct. 13 10:30PM

DJ SPOOKY; Rebirth of a Nation ONLINE / Shouson Theatre at the HK Arts Center in Wanchai, Saturday Oct.15 2:30PM and 7:30PM

http://www.djspooky.com/

JJ.

All comments moderated. To get more info on comment moderation for this personal blog project, please visit http://www.wanderlister.com/DISCLAIMER

Wine. Food. Wine. Food. Wine. Wine. and Then More Wine.

Last Tuesday, (thankfully, a day before my diet started) the folks at ILoveLKF invited a few foodie and lifestyle bloggers to three restaurants on Whyndam road to take a take a sneak peak at the ambiance and flavours that we may get to see and taste at the first annual ILoveLKF Festival of Wine next weekend on Saturday, September 24th from 2-7pm. A 1 Day Only Affair!

The intimate dinner preview was hosted by ILoveLKF at three restaurants. For Appetizer and First Course, we had rustic Southern Italian fare, paired with a selection of Italian Wines at GOCCIA. As a second course, we were treated to French Australian fusion and French Wine at La Perouse. And the final course, an after dinner cocktail and a Japanese dessert, was treated at a brand new yakitori boutique restaurant called, Robata Zawazawa.

The bloggers that were present were English foodie bloggers; e*ting the world’s Janice, Joie de Vivre’s Gary, Jessica who contributes for SASSY HK and An American Girl in Hong Kong, You Got Me Bloggin’s Razlan, and us here at theWanderlister+ Asia. Chinese foodie and lifestyle bloggers also represented. I was able to meet HK’s wine connoisseur AM, Panpansang, and Eunice.

Faces I only knew online… until now. Panpansang to the left and Raz to the right.

Jessica representing Sassy Hong Kong to the left, and Gary from Joie de Vivre.

Even though it was generally new faces and we were dining out, the way we all sat quite intimately together, and were all into the same things, like good food and good wine, it felt more like a nice supper club meetup at a private kitchen, which I love. Topics of conversation ranged from our favorite restaurants, our favorite wines, to life blogging in general, as a first job or as a side hobby. Needless to say there was much bonding over food.

Trading notes on our favorite restaurants, with e*ting’s Janice.

To add to the cool factor of the night, we were all able to meet the people who made each of these restaurants successful. The chef at GOCCIA, Fabrizio Napolitano, was very informative and educational. He explained to us exactly where most his ingredients came from (Sicily), and his reasoning for pairing his wines, a Chardonnay from Umbria, and a Red from Montepulciano. At La Perouse, we met the creative head, Simon Yuen who explained to us his love for both French and Australian cuisine. Owner Kenji Sato, welcomed us at Robata Zawazawa, and enthusiastically introduced our Houji-cha Pudding and Rice Pop as well as prepared the Plum Sake Cocktail just for us.

+ GOCCIA / Southern Italian Seafood in a Contemporary Setting

There’s tons of Italian places in town, and you know what they’re all very different from each other. Some places are Italian from an American perspective, in a home-cooking sort of way. Other Italian restaurants are more focused on general robust fare, underpinned by traditional cooking/baking methods, even going so far as to import ovens from Italy itself. If you go to GOCCIA on Wyndham street, you’ll discover that this particular restaurant is all about Classic Seaside Sicilian flavours within a warm (very Italian) contemporary dining atmosphere. Lush comfy round dining tables and subdued warm lighting, with curtains and classic light features make you feel that you are a guest in some modern Italian home, which exactly describes the Menu. By just looking at the selection, you feel you’ve had this all before. The importation of ingredients from Sicily, coupled with perfect wine pairings, make all selections and flavours feel like an entirely new experience. I studied in Italy for awhile, and these were new flavours by Chef Fabrizio Napolitano.

Modern yet Classic Italian Home-like Interiors at Goccia Make for a Familial Dining Atmosphere.

Prosecco all around as we first munched on Breadsticks. Im showing this because I just started a healthier diet the day after, so I munched as much of these as I could. Not the right way to deal with it I know.

Now to the real food of course…

The first dish was a Sardinian Smoked Swordfish Roll with fennel and mini ratatouille. This delicious dish was crunchy and salty, yet fresh and tender at the same time. It was great with the Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Col de’Sallici. All ingredients from Sicily. Even the Fennel.

The Second Dish was one of the best Spaghetti’s I have ever had. This was a Spicy Spaghetti and Sicilian Red Prawns. The spiciness came from the chili in the cherry tomato sauce. The chef reiterated that everything, tomatoes, prawns, and chili/chili oil are all imported from Sicily.

You can really taste the flavourful tomato in each and every bite. The wine, was a Chardonnay from Umbria via the Castello della Sala of the Antinori Family. Each sip of wine even revealed more of the flavour and spiciness in the spaghetti. And each bite of spaghetti made each note in the chardonnay that much bolder. It really was a great pairing.


I love taking photos like this. The spaghetti was cooked so well. Nothing was sticking together and the noodles moved nicely around the plate and my fork. It was a good sized portion too. (Id feel guilty eating more.)

The official last dish was a great Fillet of Red Gurnard with Florentine Panzanella and a Fish Soup Reduction.

The fried fish was cooked in its own sauce and juices. The Panzanella next to it is made up of day-old Grissini Breadsticks and Tomato Juice. The breadsticks and juice were mashed together to create a nice subdued side to the fried salty fish. The tangy wine it was paired with was a Rosso from Montepulciano from the La Braccesca estate.  The dish with the wine was so perfectly paired, our guest wine connoisseur, AM, told us at the table that the spiciness of the fish was only brought out after tasting the wine. That the pairing did exactly what it was meant to do. The wine is paired to encourage the main dish, not the other way around.

We were not supposed to have it, but Chef Fabrizio spoiled us with a whole dessert platter that was not even in the menu.

Needless to say, it was a huge hit with all of us. We all fought to take photos. Even Jowie from the restaurant (to the right) couldn’t contain herself.

After photos were taken we had to go because we were 45 minutes late for the next venue. Below is our tour guide team from ILoveLKF, Tricia Ling (left) and Christine Dormeier (right) with our hosts from Goccia, Francesco and Jowie.

+ La Perouse / Rustic French, Australian Style

Our Second course, the main, was served next door at La Perouse. I’ve been here for a few barbecues and cocktails, but never for a sit-down meal. The second course was a juicy Grilled Baby Lamb Chop, served with pan fried potato slices, baby carrots, with rosemary gravy and & vinegar sauce.

The wine it was paired with a Kressman Bardeaux Chateau David that sat about 3 hours before serving. We had a second glass which sat open for 15 minutes which was much better. It was a nice straightforward simple dish with no frills. Lamb usually tastes too gamey and it wasn’t so for this dish. It was cooked so well, we only tasted the smokiness of the grill and that was about it. After the ambiance and the quadruple performance of GOCCIA, the whole experience at La Perouse was overshadowed. Maybe I should give it a try next time on its own merits.

+ Robata Zawazawa / Pop Japanese Yakitori

By the time we all scarfed down the lamb, we were all pretty much done with eating for the night. But we all signed up for three restaurants, and we WERE curious about how a Japanese desert could really end it for us, after Authentic Sicilian and Rustic Australian/French fare.

After La Perouse, we immediately strolled towards Hotel LKF when everyone stopped to check out a billboard we all never really saw before.

This was not just a typical billboard, it was signage for Kenji Sato’s hip Japanese Yakitori joint, Robata Zawazawa. Past the billboard we moved down the stairs…

And walked into an open door to see this! That on the bottom part of the pic is friendly owner, Kenji Sato welcoming all the bloggers.

And immediately we were served this; Houji-Cha Pudding With Kuro Mitsu Honey and Pop Rice Pop.

While we were finishing our tasty pudding concotion, they immediately commenced work on our Plum Sake Cocktails.

It looked and tasted a bit like a martini and a bit like a mojito.

I couldnt wait to taste it. And I love this kind of Plum too. I cant get enough of it!

If there was a perfect kind of desert cocktail, even for any cuisine you’ve eaten beforehand, the Plum Sake Cocktail at Robata Zawazawa would be the perfect drink to finish off a nice dinner out.

We all even took home a copy of the “LKF Insider”, ILoveLKF’s handy bar and restaurant guide for this entertainment district.

It really was a great night out. I love exploring new food with new faces and friends. There should be more supper clubs like this that I can be a part of, right? The Festival of Wines will not actually be a sit-down like I had, but it makes sense because if you’ve got 10 restaurants to visit in 5 hours, you really won’t have time to sit down, you’ll basically only have time to literally just taste and drink. And they did tell me, that similar fare will be available as bites and snacks to go with the paired wines.

Basically how it works is that each ticket will get you a Wine Passport, so you’ll know how to get around from one restaurant/bar to the next. Each passport will get you 8 tokens, and you can use these for wine and food available at each location. The more you stamp your passport, the more chances you can win prizes like a tour of The 8th Estate Winery, Travel vouchers from Flight Centre, Food Vouchers worth $1000 HKD and much more.

For the latest list of participating restaurants go to http://www.festivalofwine.hk/

The 1st Annual Lan Kwai Fong Festival of Wine, Saturday September 24, 2011. From 2pm-7pm. Hosted by ILoveLKF.HK. / Tickets Available at Robata Zawazawa and 1 Lan Kwai Fong the day before or the day of. $350HKD Day Before and $400HKD Day Of Event / info@ilovelkf.hk

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theWanderlister+ Asia FREE TICKET GIVEAWAY:

From Now until Thursday September 22, simply email info@wanderlister.com with the subject “I LOVE LKF FESTIVAL OF WINE” or TWEET @thewanderlister #FestivalofWine for a chance to win A Free Ticket worth 8 Tokens to the Festival of Wine! Emails and Tweets will be combined to be raffled off together. You can email once, but Tweet as much as you want. The more you Tweet the more chances of winning a ticket worth $400HKD. GOOD LUCK!

JJ.

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Your Weekend Party Agenda, Wanderlisted 11.08.25 // Giving Back To Charity

The party theme of this weekend is CHARITY. Starting Friday two charities will be making a splash into the Hong Kong Party scene with events aimed at attracting new donors, raising funds for their charitable causes, and helping spread recognition of their name and their works and efforts by targeting exactly where Hong Kong people will be during hot summer nights… at a pool or a club.

FLY Hong Kong will be hosting an event titled “Iron Bartender Season 2”, just like the famous show “Iron Chef”, two sets of teams will be battling it out making drinks and cocktails behind the bar for a solid two straight hours. The winning team will receive a prize from FLY, but additionally a portion of the proceeds from the earnings for these two hours will go directly to Operation Smile China Medical Mission. For those who don’t know, Operation Smile is global. Operation Smile China has completed over 52 missions at 23 sites in China since 1991. These missions are aimed at giving newborn babies, children, and young adults (so far about 8,500 in total) free facial reconstructive surgeries to relieve them of “cleftings”. The cleft on the lip can have drastic life effects disabling children from general day to day activities like eating, speaking, hearing, or even adequately breathing.

Support this organization on Friday night by going to Iron Bartender Season 2, choose to go to FLY from 11pm - 1:30AM because every time you get a drink your money goes to Operation Smile!

http://operationsmile.org.hk/

FLY on Facebook: / FLY on TwitterGF 24-30 Ice House Street . Central . Hong Kong / party@clubfly.com.hk / 28109902 / FREE ENTRY and RSVP Recommended


CRAVES’ food critic Debbie Soo has asked me to spread the word about an event on this Saturday night which will sponsor the work of Hong Kong’s Foodlink Foundation. As we know Hong Kong people love to always over-order their meals, and really, a bunch of this food ends up going to waste and going to the trash bin.  Meanwhile thousands of people, even in Hong Kong, are suffering from poverty and hunger. Through partnerships with Hong Kong’s F+B and Hospitality community, Foodlink is able to bridge the gap of this gross inequality by creating an infrastructure to connect food excess to the people who need it most. Currently, Foodlink works with 13 organisations and shelters to feed over 1000 individuals on a weekly basis. But with nearly one sixth of Hong Kong’s population classified as underprivileged, Foodlink seeks to expand their reach.

Saturday August 27th from 9pm till late marks the date for Foodlink’s Pool Party. With live entertainment along with a DJ spinning tunes all night, the best shisha in town, a fully-stocked cash bar, lucky draw, and photobooth experience, the party has a lot going on to make for an eventful and memorable evening. All proceeds will go directly to Foodlink Foundation’s operational costs. It promises to be a welcome change from the regular Central Saturday night routine.

(PS. I was at a “Carnival” Themed Party here this year at this same house/pool. It was amazing. The view alone was breathtaking. So don’t miss out!)

http://www.foodlinkfoundation.org 

Place: 12 B, Bowen Road / Early bird price (before Aug 20): HKD $250 / Door price: HKD $300 / HSBC Account: 640-102398-838 / For inquiries please email: poolparty@foodlinkfoundation.org

JJ.

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Great night out with a bunch of friends at FLY and Halo. Thank you so much PAUL S. for your hospitality.

All Photographs By Carmen Chan. Find her at http://www.carmen-chan.com

Paul S. is the Media Saavy Party Guru, find him at http://pauljs100.tumblr.com/

JJ.

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carmen-chan:

little #hkfashionblogger get together to send daniel off (he’s going back to uni, youngin’!!!) with christing (fashionhedonism), denise (superwowomg), jasmine (dressme), j.j. (thewanderlister), sam (samishome), sybil (style voyager), and tania (tlikebubbletea). thanks to paul for showing us a good time at halo & fly :)