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Hong Kong park: an oasis of calm amidst the skyrise






Today dawned as clear and bright as I have seen Hong Kong for a long time. Cool too. I almost wished I had a pullover on as I walked through Hong Kong park.

I become increasingly fond of green tea and the tea museum in the park is just the place to stock up. One can spend a pleasant half hour opening the glass jars and sniffing their contents, much like a witch in an apothecary.

I walked on into Central to browse the wine shops, stocking up for meals tonight and tomorrow.

I have been eating extremely well, some of the restaurants new to me.

On Wednesday night I dined at Bacar and can highly recommend it. Right on the escalator, just upstream of Hollywood Road, this hole-in-the-wall tapas eatery produced dish after dish, none less than utterly more-ish. The daily special was a plate containing small rounds of curried wrap: unexpected, but good enough for us to order a second helping.

I would like to recommend the Alion on the wine list, but we were told that we had pinched the last bottle. I am sorry to say that I have forgotten the vintage, but this entry level wine from Vega Sicilia in the Ribera del Duero offered a wonderful purity of blueberry fruit: quite delicious.

Thursday lunch found me at La Terrasse at the top of Old Bailey Street. A number of people have mentioned it to me, so I was keen to find out what was going on. It's a small, bright restaurant serving excellently made French food. The wine list is short and pithy and we drank a Cru Bourgeois claret that was new to me: the 1999 vintage of Chateau Dasvin-Bel-Air. It was still richly fruity and wonderfully aromatic and went very well with my chicken cooked with wild mushrooms. The walk back back down the hill into town was welcome!

That evening I was sitting in the Bowling Alley Bar of the Hong Kong Club, drinking the 2005 Pouilly-Fuisse of the Chateau Fuisse (cannot find the accents on my laptop; apologies). It's a good wine and a young one, full of fruit of crystallised lime and pear.

Later on at dinner in the Red Room in the club, we had another bottle of the same. I thought it tasted rather different before noticing that we were drinking the 2006, a vintage change unannounced on the wine list. It was also very good. The food in the Hong Kong Club is always dependably superb. I did feel very spoiled.

Yesterday lunchtime I met an old school friend - now also a client -at another restaurant that's been much talked about in Hong Kong: The Pawn in Johnston Road in Wan Chai. As it sounds, this is an old pawn shop; a large colonial style building with shady balconies on which one can eat semi-al fresco. We ate inside and boy, I had a good Dover sole. Cooked in butter, with capers and little rounds of sliced red chilli, it was done to a T and mercifully light after several days of delicious, but continuous consumption.

As ever in Hong Kong, I have been feeling a tightening in my chest as the city air rubs up my bronchial bits the wrong way. But on a day like this, when one can clearly see the mountains in the New Territories and the sunlight glints off the water in the harbour, one feels fortunate to be visiting the place.

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