What’s for Lunch?

Pasta Set Lunch at Biodinamico in Shibuya, Japan

The Menu

House-made Bread and Pork Pate

Crunchy Salad

Pasta Bowl with Tuscon’s Spicy Tomato Sauce

The price of the lunch set is 1,200 yen plus tax.


The Most Extravagant Chinese New Year Menus in the US: Macarons, Cordyceps and an 8-pound Crab

From Bloomberg News . . . . . . . . .

Five hundred lanterns. More than a mile of twinkling red lights. Thousands of willow branches. And 1,000 paper pigs adorning the place. The Temple House, a luxury hotel in Chengdu, China, has put in hundreds of hours of labour for Lunar New Year, an indication of the effort hospitality organisations devote to the holiday – and the returns they stand to gain.

Tuesday, February 5, will kick off the Lunar New Year holiday – also known as the Chinese New Year – marking the transition from the Year of the Dog to the Year of the Pig.

During the holiday, hotels and restaurants worldwide mark the period with opulent decorations and decadent meals, all laden with symbolism, invariably for health and wealth. The price tag for Chinese consumers last year, including sales at restaurants and shopping malls, was US$146 billion, according to Bloomberg.

“Chinese New Year is the Temple House’s top performing week of the year,” says Kurt Macher, the hotel’s general manager. “We are expecting to grow these [2018] numbers this year, with an increase of around 8 per cent to 10 per cent.”

Those numbers exceed overall projections made by Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agency, for Chinese New Year. “Chinese people are expected to spend more than US$74.2 billion on domestic tourism during the holiday this year,” a slightly more than 5 per cent jump over last year’s US$70.5 billion, and an estimate that doesn’t factor in retail sales.

Mandarin Oriental properties in Washington, Miami, and Boston have deployed Rolls-Royce’s first SUV, the Cullinan, in lucky red for guests to celebrate the holiday.

Each day, Wing Lei at the Wynn Las Vegas sells about 300 jiaozi dumplings – whose shape is likened to gold ingots, symbolising prosperity. The restaurant also offers US$268 bowls of double-boiled black chicken soup with cordyceps, a very pricey Himalayan fungus that is thought to have virility powers.

At Crustacean in Beverly Hills, California, the US$198 holiday menu includes an “eight-hour massaged suckling pig” with “good luck” sticky red rice, spring onion confit, and truffle ponzu.

At RedFarm on New York’s Upper West Side, dumplings generally average four for US$16. The holiday menu features a US$20 pair of black truffle chicken soup dumplings and – more spectacular – an eight-pound Alaskan king crab with truffled cauliflower sauce for US$750.

Nearby, at Atlas Kitchen, a recently opened, art-inspired, modern Chinese restaurant, special dishes include udon noodles with crumbles of golden fried dough and foie gras for US$48. (The number 48 symbolises a lifetime of wealth, while the long noodles represent long life.) In Midtown at Hakkasan, the US$128 prix fixe menu offers such items as wok-fried lobster with spinach and lily bulb. That is, if you can get a table.

“In New York, the increase over a regular busy week is 9 per cent,” says Gert Kopera, Hakkasan’s executive vice-president of global restaurants. “In Las Vegas, it’s a 10 to 12 per cent spike. And in San Francisco, it would be 37 per cent – although in San Francisco, we are full every day. Instead of the first diners coming in at 5pm, they come at 3pm, so dinner starts at 3pm and ends at midnight.”

Do extra revellers bring prosperity to the restaurant?

“That’s easy,” says Kopera. “The answer is no. People do spend more because they drink more. But we spend much more. We spend more on uniforms. On decorations. We spend more on the macarons. But we do it for the party.”

Indeed, a high-end Chinese restaurant such as Hakkasan can’t afford not to participate. The delicate macarons that end a meal instead of the usual fortune cookies have fortunes that are written by notable figures at each of its 12 locations around the world.

In New York, this year’s author is Sex and the City creator Candace Bushnell (“Every woman needs not just a room with a view, but her own penthouse that she bought with her own money”); London has novelist Will Self (“You are about to come into a considerable sum of money – if, that is, you’re paying by card, and your companions in cash”); and in San Francisco, the restaurant group tapped former mayor Willie Brown, with a prediction appropriate for a year in which symbolic decor tilts toward flying pigs: “You will live long enough to buy real estate in San Francisco.”

Source: SCMP

New Menu Items of Gudetama Cafe in Osaka, Japan

The new luncheon mat

My Food

8 Courses Fusion Tasting Menu I Cooked on 2108 New Year’s Eve

Pumpkin soup, toasted pumpkin seeds, black truffle oil, and home-made sourdough pretzel

Lobster salad with fresh fruits

Himimatsutake (姫松茸) and shimeji mushroom stuffed in chicken broth-braised daikon

Grilled sea scallop on squid-ink spaghetti nest with truffle cream

Braised abalone and asparagus with abalone sauce

Tea-smoked pompano (煙鯧魚) with daikon spaghetti and Japanese mayo

Rack of lamb, carrot spaghetti, cabernet merlot balsamic reduction

Avocado chocolate pudding with fresh berries, dried pineapple flower, and chocolate-dipped candied orange peel

What’s for Lunch?

Grilled Meat Set Lunch at Yakiniku Like in Shinjuku, Japan

The Menu

  • 300 g Calbi Beef Slices
  • Kimchi
  • Korea-style Salad
  • Soup
  • Cooked Rice

A smokeless grill is provided for each customer. The price of the lunch is 1,500 yen plus tax.