Tag: buffet

Casa – All you can eat Pizza Aperitivo

Unfortunately Casa has gone bankrupt, and despite their best efforts have closed their doors for the final time. If you are looking for good nd affordable Italian try Brera

 

I first went to Casa Antonio, an Italian restaurant in Itaewon about 6-7 years ago for friend’s birthday. I didn’t go back, not for any reason in particular, I just didn’t. Since then, Antonio has left and he took his name with him leaving his wife with the restaurant Casa or Osteria Pizzeria Casa to use their full name. In all the years I have been blogging, 5 to be precise I haven’t heard anyone mention this place and it was on the verge of closing, when a fellow Italian restaurateur stepped in to give them a bit of advice. It is always sad when a long time restaurant in Itaewon closes its doors, and it was so nice that Brera despite being a competing restaurant have offered their assistance. It is one of the many reasons I love that place so much. To get people in the doors they have started doing  a new Aperitivo promotion, all you can eat pizza for 15,000 per person. Regular readers will know that I would never pass up an opportunity to eat as much pizza as I can, especially for such a bargain price. So I formed a motley crew of my friends and went off to give it a try.

The restaurant itself is uber fancy, they have a super nice bar and even a piano in the middle of the restaurant, not many places can say that. There is also a wine room, smoking room and little love seat in the loo. Its really quite posh, much fancier than the kind of places I usually frequent. The new AYCE deal is to replicate the Italian tradition that is aperitivo, where restaurants give you free food to get you to buy drinks in the evening. The all you can eat pizza is available every night form 6:30-9:30 for 15,000 and includes a drink too.

I honestly didn’t have high hopes for my free drink, but as it was included I couldn’t really complain. I started with an Aperol Spritz, which was lovely, then moved on to a caiprinha which was also fabulous. It is rare to find a half decent one under 15,000 in this hood, and here they are free with the pizza, or 10,000 each.  Word to the wise, the Peronis are miniscule, so you’ll probably get better bang for your buck with a cocktail.

Not long after I arrived, the pizza started showing up. They make them freshly and put them up on a buffet table where you collect them from. They come out reasonably often which is nice as we got them fresh. It was quite quiet during our visit, so we didn’t have to wait long. The margarita was pretty awesome, bubbly Napoli wood fired crust, topped with a simple yet flavourful tomato sauce, a little melted cheese and some fresh basil, eat it while it’s hot they told me and, eschewing my usual several minutes of photography, I did.

They switched up the pizzas too, each time they sent out a different flavour. Next up the four cheese, one of my favourites especially with a side of honey. I know purists will protest, but it’s such a good bloody combination. This was possible my favourite, it was lovely and cheesy, with a nice tingle from the blue cheese. Throw in the and the sweetness of the honey of the incredible chewy crust and it is party time.

The pizza kept on coming, and another one we enjoyed was the Italian sausage pizza. The meat itself was superbly flavoured  with plenty of fennel and Italian seasonings inside. There was also a salami version, which was crispy to perfection. After that the pizzas just rotated, and the slices were never left on the table for very long.

Also on the pizza table was a simple green salad, and two pasta dishes. Rigatoni is always a favourite of mine, one was topped with a simple tomato sauce, the second, plain with some ground beef and mushrooms. A nice addition to make a change from the pizza, but the pasta was too al dente for most of out table. A bit of bite yes, but I don’t want it hard.

By the end we were filled, and stuffed, there was more pizza left but we couldn’t finish it, we definitely had all we could eat. For the price this is really unbeatable, a great drink plus all you can eat pizza, plus a couple of other dishes. If it is busy this deal is here to stay, so if you like good pizza and are sick of paying far too much for it at other places, go support this place, I can believe anyone would walk away happy if they had what we did. I was more than happy to pay my 15,000 and ill definitely be going back.

Casa is located at 2F, 124-6, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight and take the second left. You will see Casa Antonia just up ahead in the right hand corner above Thursday Party. For more information you can call them on 02-794-8803, or check out their facebook page. The AYCE Pizza Aperitivo is on everyday from 6pm – 9:30pm, but the restaurant is open from 11am-10pm.

10 Must Eats in Hong Kong

If you have been following my foodie adventures, you’ll know that I took an amazing trip to Borneo a few weeks ago, but I also found time to live it up in Hong Kong! Hong Kong is one of my favourite food capitals in the entire world. It just has everything I could want and more, namely Chinese and British food. This wondrous city is a pure treasure trove of delicious goodies.  For anyone who is travelling there and looking for some damn delicious things to eat then this list should help guide you.

1. Char Siu Pork Bun – Tim Ho wan is renowned for their fantastic char siu pork buns, probably because they are one of the worlds cheapest Michelin starred foods (18HKD for 3). I never miss an opportunity to eat them so we put them top of the list of things to try. We arrived on bank holiday Monday and the queue to get a table was absolutely insane, luckily as seasoned eaters at this place we knew we could order a take out order which was ready in less than 10 minutes. The IFC Mall where we got ours has plenty of places to sit outside so grab your order to go and have yourself a picnic.

2. Wonton Noodles – There nothing like a good bowl of noodle soup and Maks in Central is a great place to get one. We tried the shrimp wanton noodle soup and the fried noodles topped with pork in a slightly sweet and spicy bbq sauce, they were so good I wanted to lick the bowl clean, and cheap as hell too (around 60HKD) for a quick and delicious lunch.

3. Xiao Long Bao – Obviously dim sum is a must in Hong Kong, but my favourite of all the different dumplings in the world are Xiao Long Bao (aka Shanghai Soup Dumplings). Some of the best are found at Crystal Jade. And although they are traditionally from Shanghai, Hong Kong has some pretty good ones too. I’m sure there are better ones out there but I have always preferred Crystal Jade over Din Tai Fung. We ordered a couple portions of the original which were filled with the most delicious flavourful soup. There are plenty of other dishes to try on the menu too.

4.Char Siu – I already covered char siu pork buns but you really need to have it as a main course too. In Central there are dozens of restaurants with meat in the windows all with Michelin stars offering lunch plates for around $60HKD a piece which include a fabulous Hong Kong lemon ice tea. I love that tea so much I nearly gave it a place on its own. The melt in the mouth meat is typically served with rice or noodles and some bok choi, and if you are lucky a bowl of soup. Don’t be afraid if they have no menus in English on the outside, they will almost always have one inside.

5. Egg Tart -These little eggy custard tarts can be found in bakeries all over the city and cost next to nothing (8HKD). We ate a variety of different ones including a green tea and chocolate variety, though it’s best to stick with the classic. Be warned though they are incredibly addictive so make sure you get yourself a couple.

6. Champagne Brunch – If there is one thing that Hong Kong knows how to do well, it’s a champagne brunch. Virtually every restaurant in the city offers up a free flow package from as little 200HKD (25,000 KRW) for free flow wine, cocktails and champagne. It’s not called Sunday Funday for nothing, right? We enjoyed an extra special one at 2 Michelin starred restaurant Duddells to celebrate my birthday. Ours cost 750HKD per person which included unlimited dim dim sum, Chinese food, champagne and cocktails on their fabulous roof top terrace. But there are hundreds of other place to try throughout the city.

7. Roast Goose – Roast goose can be found hanging in the windows of many a meat shop, but the golden and crispiest goose in the city is found at Kam’s Roast Goose in Wan Chai. The place is exceedingly popular thanks to its Michelin star. We went for lunch and were able to get a set including goose over rice, a bowl of soup, a side dish and delicious and refreshing lemon ice tea for 75HKD which is about 10,000 won. One of the cheapest Michelin starred lunches ever! They also have a variety of different roast meats on the menu, the char siu came a very close second.

8. Egg Waffle – I guess Hong Kongers really love eggs in their desserts. You’ve tried the egg tart, now it is time to try the egg waffle. These little things are the absolute cutest. I stumbled across an adorable one when walking around Wan Chai, but I am told that other much more pimped out versions filled with ice cream can be found elsewhere in the city like at Oddies in Central.

9. Sweet & Sour Pork – By far and away one of my absolute favourite dishes in the words. In fact if I was on death row and I was having my last meal, this would be on my menu for damn sure. I love the lurid orange sweet and sour sauce, and the crispy chunks of battered meat, served with a pile of egg fried rice and I am pretty much in heaven. I didn’t get to eat nearly as much of this dish than I was planning but this one came from 2 starred Duddells, so I certainly got the cream of the crop.

10. British Food – Hong Kong has a huge population of Brits making it a great place to get some good old British fare, I mean they have proper M&S Food Halls!  So what better place to get yourself a roast dinner than Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen. We indulged in their fabulous lamb & beef roast, which came with all you can eat roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, veg, and gravy for 350 HKD. This really was epic, it was even better than my mum’s(sorry Mum), I was so happy. We also added an all you can drink element to the meal where we supped on free flow champagne,  and Bloody Mary’s which were some of the best I have ever had.

Mango Festival – Hilton Hotel

A food festival is always going to be music to my ears, so when I was invited to come and try the mango festival at the Hilton Hotel, well, I was very excited indeed, number one because I love mangoes and number two because mangoes generally cost an arm and a leg here. Fruit themed buffets are really popular at the hotels here in Korea, and with strawberry season being over and Spring in the air, it is time for mangoes to take centre stage.

I would best describe the event as a mango themed afternoon tea. It costs 45,000 per person which includes access to the buffet for two hours, either 2:30-4:30, or 5:00 – 7:00, and all the mango tea and juice you can drink. The mango festival is located inside the lobby of the hotel rather than in one of their restaurants. Personally I quite enjoyed watching the hordes of guests going by as I’m quite partial a bit of people watching, whereas my friend didn’t appreciate it so much. I guess it depends on whether you like everyone looking at you or not, which I clearly do.

Once we had settled in and enjoyed a relaxing cup or two of tea it was time to check out the food. There was certainly quite a wide array of different sweet goods and a couple of savoury options. There are too many to mention but off the top of my head there were cronuts, mousse, tiramisu, tarts, meringue pie, macarons, vol a vents, cheesecakes, and ice cream. There were also of a couple of savoury options of meat balls and chicken legs which seemed like a bit of an afterthought.

There was plenty to choose from and we ended up trying most of the different items. To me the stand outs were the freshly fried Namsan Cronuts. There was a chef doing a demonstration of how to make them so these were fresh as can be. The cronuts were filled with mango creme patissiere and covered with mango frosting and a fresh strawberry. Being a child of the 80s I was also very happy to see a mango chicken vol a vent, I certainly ate more than my fair share.  I also really enjoyed the slices of fresh mango that were served at the chocolate fountain, I just wish they had more things to dip into it besides the fruit.

In regards to the rest of the offerings I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed. While I thought they offered a good selection of different desserts, they didn’t really do it in terms of flavour for me. They all looked pretty enough, but I would have enjoyed them sweeter and with a more intense mango flavour. I assume that their target audience is Koreans who don’t tend to like their desserts quite so sweet, but for me it was a bit of a miss. I left the buffet before my time was up, which unfortunately kind of says it all.

The Millennium Hilton is located at 50, Sowol-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Seoul Station (lines 1 & 4) and come out of exit 11. Follow the road around and take the third left, then walk straight. you will see the Millennium Hilton on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-753-7788, or visit their website.

Sponsored Post – Dream Phuket Hotel & Spa

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As I told you on Monday, this week I am having some fun in the sun in Phuket. Today is my birthday and I’m turning 32, which is a little bit scary, so to deal with it I though being pampered in 5 star luxury while medicating myself with delicious tropical cocktails would just about soothe my nerves. Luckily for me and my bank balance I was invited to stay at the brand new Dream Phuket Hotel and Spa. The beautiful hotel is located on the North west coast of the island close to Layan beach. With several airlines now offering direct flights from Seoul to Phuket, it was amazingly easy to get here, just a hop, a skip, a plane, and a taxi ride away. (more…)

The Four Seasons – The Market Kitchen

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Last week my best friend from England came to pay me a visit. It’s been a couple of years since her last jaunt to the land of the morning calm so I wanted to make her trip extra special. A few weeks before I was very kindly invited to come and give the Four Seasons restaurants a try so I decided to save the champagne brunch at The Market Kitchen just for her. (more…)

Park Hyatt – Cornerstone

It’s not very often I get to go to super fancy meals at hotels, but my beloved’s birthday was just the occasion I needed to justify a pricey meal. So I scrubbed myself up and took my man out for a slap up meal. After scouring the net for hours  I’m pretty sure I checked out every hotel in the city to see if they offered an all you can drink champagne brunch like the ones we have enjoyed so many times in Hong Kong and Singapore, but there were none to be found. Then just when I had given up The Park Hyatt messaged me back and said they would be willing to give us free flow Laurent Perrier Champagne for an extra 30,000 per person, on top of their 100,000 brunch at the Cornerstone, which I considered totally worth it, Though as mentioned this was at our request, you will need to email the hotel directly to see if the offer is still available.

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Once seated we were given a menu to choose from and a glass of champagne, which was the first of many. The standard menu includes a glass of champagne or cocktail, appetizer buffet, hot individual appetizers which are brought to your table, your choice of main course which included fish, steak, lobster, lamb, pork belly, a dessert buffet and tea and coffee. Not a bad way to spend 100,000 at all.

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Once we had chosen our main course it was off to the buffet. TFB headed straight to the seafood bar. There wasn’t really a whole lot for me there but if you like oysters, expensive cuts of raw fish, and sushi made on the spot then I’m sure you’ll be in heaven.

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I was more interested in finding out what was happening at the salad bar. One of the chefs was making individual Caesar salads for anyone who wanted one which I thought a great idea. They also had a whole host of fresh salad ingredients so you could build your own and lots of lovely antipasti style veggies to add in. On the opposite side of the island there were a variety of hot and cold appetizers, and pastries and cereal for those who are still thinking about breakfast.

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Once seated with our platters filled with treats from the buffet the individual appetizers started to arrive. My favourite of the day was probably the poached egg on hash brown, but we also tried a creamy pumpkin soup,  foie gras with plum jam and celeriac puree, and a ricotta and eggplant penne. I liked the idea of getting extra dishes brought to us for our consumption, they added a touch of class that a buffet just can’t give.

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After we had enjoyed our starters our server asked if we were ready for the main course, TFB got the rack of lamb so for variety’s sake I got the lobster, which was lovely. My lobster was topped with a thick and rich hollandaise sauce, and served with potato puree and seasonal vegetables. I was very happy with my half lobster, a full one would have been way too much with all the other courses, and it always makes me feel special every time I eat it. I was graciously offered a piece of the lamb and found it absolutely divine. It was cooked to a perfectly medium rare as requested and served with the most glorious mint jelly I’ve ever had. It was one hell of a dish.

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After the main course we took a little break, before going to raid the cheese bar. They had about 5-6 different cheeses on offer (don’t ask me what they were) with a variety of crackers and olives etc. I was in love with the fresh honey comb they had which paired so perfectly with the light and sweet cheese selection. I actually enjoyed the cheese and honey combo so much I went back for seconds!

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After the cheese buffet you think I’d be full but no, I’m a power house, especially when drunk on unlimited champagne. After perusing the dessert cart I just asked for one of each, and we also got a couple of scoops of their homemade ice-cream too.

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The dessert platter was the perfect amount to share and we got to try a little bit of everything. Again none of the dessert names were listed but we were both quite taken with the crunch chocolate moose in the middle and the tiramisu. We also got a round of coffees to accompany our dessert which was a lovely way to end to the meal, along with a couple of pieces of their hand made chocolate bark.

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Overall we had a fantastic brunch and we left stuffed to the gills and delightfully giddy on too much champagne. The buffet we had will only be available until the end of the year as the restaurant is going to be renovated in January. But once the new restaurant opens the manager told me they are definitely planning to include a free flow champagne option on the new menu, so I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

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The Park Hyatt is located at 606, Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, 135-552, South Korea. To get there take a train to Samseong Station (line 2) and come out exit 1. You should see the enterance on your right. The concierge will then pop you in the elevator and direct you to the restaurant. For more information you can call them on 02-2016-1220-1 or check out their website.

Texas de Brazil

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When word gets around about a luxurious all you can eat Brazilian meat feast, it doesn’t me take long to drag my fat arse over there to give it a try. Nothing gets my juices flowing like the words “all you can eat meat.” A few years ago I was lucky enough to spend some time traveling in Brazil and feasting in the numerous rodizio restaurants was one of the highlights, so I was very interested to see how this one would compare. (more…)

Feast

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Last weekend I finally got around to using a voucher I won during Halloween at The Great Korean Beer Festival. I won second prize in the costume contest for my Chi-Maek (치맥) costume. I know always the bridesmaid, never the bride but still a prize is a prize. Included in my gift basket along with a selfie stick was a buffet lunch for two at Feast, to which I took the Fat Boyfriend along with me to enjoy. (more…)

Beijing & Singapore

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Happy New Year everyone!!! Hope you are looking forward to 2015 as much as I am. I really think this year is going to be my year when everything in my life finally comes together.  I’m not usually one for resolutions, but I have some really cool new projects coming up later this year and I’m going to give up teaching to write full time which is a bit scary but you have to be in it to win it right?

Sorry if I have been a bit lax this past fortnight but I’ve been enjoying a well earned rest after such a busy year. I had an amazing vacation with TFB where we traveled to Beijing and Singapore, both really cool cities that I have never been to before and a wonderful way to end the year. (more…)

Bar Rouge

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Last week things got classy when we ventured to Rouge at the JW Marriott Hotel in Gangnam. We went there in celebration of my wonderful friend’s birthday. 5 nights a week Bar Rouge operates a wine buffet (really a buffet of wine). For a paltry sum of  45,000 you can eat and drink as much as your heart desires between the hours of 6pm – 9pm. That’s 3 hours of unadulterated drinking and gorging. Of course I lived up to my name and made sure I got my money’s worth. (more…)