Reviews & Analysis

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  1. Provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry has been the calm, reassuring and authoritative voice of the Covid-19 pandemic in British Columbia.Her near-daily press conferences (with BC health minister Adrian Dix) have become essential viewing, and have earned her a Twitter fan club with more than 7,000 followers, and supporters who literally sing her praises online.“Dear Dr Bonnie” (based on “Dear Theodosia” from Broadway’s Hamilton) includes lyrics such as “you will lead us through self…
  2. On my way home from work on March 11, I received a WhatsApp message from a friend in the hotel industry telling me she had heard that Rech by Alain Ducasse in the InterContinental Hong Kong was closing that evening, and that all the kitchen staff and servers would be laid off.It was shocking news. A big name like Ducasse and a Michelin star retained for three consecutive years was not enough to keep the restaurant going. I checked the hotel’s website and the fine dining contemporary French…
  3. The main problem for Richmond’s Aberdeen Centre food court, in the heart of the most Chinese city outside Asia, used to be a lack of seats.It heaved around meal times, with tray-toting diners pouncing on tables as soon as an incumbent so much as dabbed their lips with a napkin.Not any more. The crowds are gone. Most tables are empty. It looks like someone pulled a fire alarm.In the Aberdeen Centre, and at Chinese restaurants and other businesses in the Vancouver region and across Canada, trade…
  4. When I met Ian Gillespie a few years ago, he gave me a book of his thoughts and reflections on a career that has made him Vancouver’s most prominent and polarising real estate developer.It weighs 2.8 kilograms (6.2lb).The dashing founder and boss of Westbank Corp is not a man overburdened by self-doubt.Long regarded as one of the city’s most powerful people, Gillespie has been downright ubiquitous this past month, dominating discussions about art, affordability and city-building.The first…
  5. The newest kid on the block in Tai Ping Shan in Sheung Wan is Crit Room, an Italian restaurant. What does Crit Room mean? I’ll get to that later.Sleek-looking with shiny black walls and tableware to match, the restaurant is diagonally opposite Nordic restaurant Frantzen’s Kitchen in the historic Sheung Wan neighbourhood towards the western end of Hong Kong Island. The food, at least that which we tried, needs some work, but owner Barrie Ho Chow-lai says he isn’t concerned about making money.The…
  6. The decor is still decades old – for now – at Petrus, but the menu has gone from multi-page to minimalist at the Island Shangri-la hotel’s 56th floor fine-dining restaurant under new executive chef Uwe Opocensky.A single sheet is enough to contain its new lunchtime menu, for example. There are four appetisers (two cold, two warm), two meat and two seafood options for main course, and two desserts.There are no descriptions of the dishes, just a short list of ingredients – reminiscent of the…
  7. If you’re a fan of the avocado, there’s a restaurant in Hong Kong that can fulfil your cravings.The aptly named Avobar, an import from London, it’s in the new K11 Musea mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, in the Food Playground or food court area. Staff wear T-shirts with the words “sex” and “drugs” crossed out and “avocuddles” below. Cute, but how’s the food?We were among the first to be invited to try the Avobar menu – the chef had literally stepped into its newly completed kitchen only that day, and in…
  8. Last week’s announcement that German chef Uwe Opocensky had closed his eponymous restaurant and would leave the group behind the Beef & Liberty restaurants to return to the hotel industry surprised the Hong Kong hospitality industry.So which hotel was he going to work for? We had to find out.Reached on Monday, Opocensky was playfully evasive.“I got an amazing offer. Six or seven months ago different players came to me and I saw the possibility to grow further. It has nothing to do with my…
  9. With Manchester United victorious in all six preseason games including Saturday’s penalties win over AC Milan in Cardiff, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left the Welsh capital in a better frame of mind than five years ago. He was sacked by Cardiff City near the start of the 2014-15 season when his supporters in the dressing room felt other players had taken advantage of his trusting, relaxed nature. “He wanted us to play dominant football which was all he’d known at United and in Norway,” explains full…
  10. Alfresco dining is a bit like Chinese opera. Everyone claims it’s great to encourage and promote it as a part of local culture, but the truth is few people want to endure an entire evening of it. From what I see, the new generation finds eating outside about as appealing as a night of clanking cymbals and shrieking songs. Have you ever tried to digest a meal sitting outdoors at a dai pai dong (street stall) in Hong Kong in the middle of summer? If it’s not the heat, humidity or pollution…