Met some friends this evening in Wanchai and we were gonna head to Himalaya for dinner and then they asked if we’d ever tried The Spice House, a Thai restaurant, which we hadn’t, so that’s where we ended up.
It’s a tiny place on Amoy Street, right off Johnston Road. The front is nice, with the hand-painted sign and the greenery. Inside it’s bare white walls with a few small food photos taped up.
When I checked into the place via Foursquare, one of my friends rated this place highly, saying it was very authentic and as good as Chili Club. Yikes! I’ve been to Chili Club 3 times and not sure why I went back after the first time. Back when I was living with T (remember those days?) I took her there, let her do all the ordering, she took one bite from each plate and was finished. ”This is not Thai food. This is Thai food for foreigners.”
Well, Spice House is a step up from Chili Club but maybe not a huge step. Here’s what we ate, sorry no food photos:
Tom Yam Kung – this was very good, properly complex flavors nicely balanced.
Pad Thai – uh-oh. This was sweet.
Green mango salad – The green mango salad at Thai Farmer can start a three alarm fire. This one was sweet.
Chicken wrapped in pandan leaves – Okay.
Steamed fish – quite nice, well cooked, and relatively authentic
Morning glory – two women at the table meant we had to order a vegetable! (joking).
The price for all the above plus 2 beers and 2 lime sodas was just over HK$500, the fish being the only expensive dish. Not bad for dinner for four.
Perhaps if we’d specified up front that we wanted things “real” we might have gotten hotter versions of these dishes. At least there were several types of chili and sauce in small bottles on the table so we could adjust things a bit. However, this is clearly Thai food that has been toned down for foreigners. Thai Farmer remains my favorite but I could see coming back here again.
At the corner of Amoy and Johnston there used to be the second branch of perennial Wanchai favorite Hay Hay, but they didn’t last. It’s now been replaced by a small French restaurant and bakery called Passion By Gerard Dubois. (Apparently he’s the owner of La Rose Noire.) We decided to stop off here to get some goodies to bring home. I have zero idea who Gerard Dubois is but it is obvious that we share some of the same passions.
Here’s some of their cupcakes:
That one on the left is red velvet cake with “red berry” frosting and it’s one of the ones we brought home. It was really good though the mango vanilla cupcake was seriously good. These are $24 each and well worth it. We also bought some macarons and apple crumble (I know, but they had it and we can never resist it).
Here’s their selection of breads:
We didn’t look at the menu but noted a variety of sandwiches and salads available, of course coffee and tea. Here’s the young lady carefully packing up our goodies.
Okay, I just had one of the macarons. At $20 each, they ain’t cheap but I think that’s about the going price for these things in HK these days. It was a damned fine macaron too.
I will definitely be returning to this place.
By the way, it’s now Hungry Ghost time in Hong Kong. Time for mooncake ads everywhere. And fires on the street everywhere.
I don’t see how this is allowed. This guy lit a huge bonfire in the middle of the street, burning ashes and bits of paper flying everywhere. And he’s not the only one.
Usually these are at least done in red metal buckets (the go-go bars on Lockhart Road all do this every night, I’ve heard tell it’s to keep away the ghosts of all the customers they’ve ripped off) and that sort of contains the mess but it seems as if this time of year they’re bigger and more dangerous.
Call it religion, call it superstition, call it whatever you want, I think it’s dangerous.
UPDATE: An example of why OpenRice reviews are mostly useless. This excerpted from the review of Passion by “lcha073″:
1) Pain du Chocolat – it is similar to chocolate danish, it has chocolate sauce inside and the bread is like a crossiant. Highly recommended!
2) Vegetable Quiche – it is just an egg tart like baked with some mushroom and vegetables. Not very tasty, but worth a try if you haven’t triend a Quiche before.
3) Wellness sandwich – just a sandwich with turkey inside, the turkey was thinly sliced, which I think was way too thin. I could say it is thinner than an A4 paper. I think for its price, it should slice a much thicker piece of turkey meat. I hope the chef would take note and do a much better job in the future.
From the review by “Olivia=]”
It might be crazy to have 2 girls consuming 6 pieces of cakes (a total of 13 pieces in another cake shop), but it was worthy to try new things although I was dispassionate of the change, and this is the reality.
I loved the high ceilings and wooden fixtures, the whole place is just a wonderful place to stay for a rainy afternoon with people whizzing by while your divulging on delicious cakes.
The taste of the quiche was like savoury steamed egg because the egg taste was really strong and in the quiche filling were occaisionally pieces of broccoli.
(To be fair, there’s at least one review there that I didn’t quote from that has decent photos and makes sense.)