Kanazawa Katsuzo, Ark Hills, Tokyo, Japan

When I first stayed at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo several years ago I stumbled across a great little katsu restaurant, Tonkatsu Wako, in the adjacent Ark Hills complex but when I went looking for it last year I found that it had closed.

Good news though, another great katsu restaurant, Kanazawa Katsuzo, has recently opened up in the complex.

I walked into Kanazawa Katsuzo early evening and there were a decent number of people already dining.

The Set Menu gives you several choices of Noto pork cutlets, rice, cabbage, seaweed miso soup and pickles. One of the pork choices is a rib roast which is what I ordered.

The pork rib was exquisitely cooked and tasted superb!

Highly recommended.

Craft Beer Market, Toramonom, Tokyo, Japan

I’d arrived in Tokyo the previous evening for my 4th holiday in Japan and after exchanging my JR Pass I’d hopped on the Yamanote Line heading towards Shimbashi Station and started walking back towards my hotel.

As I was heading through Toramonom I bought up the magnificent map of Japanese craft beers to see what was on offer and open for lunch in the area which pointed me towards a bar that I visited during my last trip, Craft Beer Market, Toramonom.

I was the first in the door around 11:45am and was offered a seat at the bar. Within about 15 minutes though the place was packed!

There were several lunch deals available so I chose the spicy curry (which was pork), salad and soup. The soup and salad turned up pretty quickly, and the curry about 10 minutes later. The meal was extremely tasty and not over-the-top spicy.

Of course you can’t eat at the Craft Beer Market and not have a drink, so I chose a New England IPA from Sennan Schinken Factory based in Kakuda in Miyagi Prefecture. It was a relatively good brew.

InterContinental Grand Stanford, East Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

I’ve been staying at the InterContinental Grand Stanford in East Tsim Sha Tsui for around 13 years. Probably stayed here 20 times, maybe more, over the years.

Back when I started staying here it was slightly run down, but still a good hotel. The good news is that it’s recently been refurbished, especially the bathrooms, to bring it back upto a great standard.

The location is away from the touristy areas of Nathan Road and the rest of Tsim Sha Tsui but close enough to walk in less than 15 minutes. There’s a decent number of restaurants and bars in the area, and heaps of high end watch stores if that’s what floats your boat.

I used to take a taxi from the airport but this trip I decided to get smarter and take the Airport Express that dropped me off at Kowloon Station from where you can jump on a courtesy hotel transfer bus to many of the local hotels.

After landing from Amsterdam pretty much on time around 6:30am, I was walking into the hotel close to 8:30am.

Luckily my room was ready and I’d been upgraded to a harbour view room that gave me panoramic views of Hong Kong Island across to Wan Chai and Causeway bay, and of the water traffic on this very busy harbour.

The beds and pillows here are always top quality and you’ll get a very sound sleep.

The new bathrooms are very modern but still have the same amenities as have always been provided.

One thing that has changed over the years is that you no longer get a complimentary newspaper every morning. I used to enjoy reading the South China Morning Post to see what was happening while I was visiting.

Great hotel!

Kai Kee Restaurant, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

The final day of my holiday had arrived and I wanted to have one roast meat feast before heading off for the airport.

I wanted to try somewhere new that I’d walked past a number of times in the Tsim Sha Tsui area and so I found myself walking into Kai Kee Restaurant on Prat Avenue.

Arriving around 11am thinking that I’d have a brunch of BBQ meat before heading out on the town for the rest of the day, I was sadly told that I could only order the breakfast menu until 11:30, my heart sank a little but it was quickly pointed out that there was one meat dish on this menu… roast goose leg!

For breakfast I had a set menu of roast goose leg, rice and a soup, and I ordered a coffee.

The coffee came out first, I don’t know if it was instant coffee or from a machine but it wasn’t the best although it did taste like coffee which I needed.

Soon I had the goose leg, rice and soup on the table in front of me and I dived in. There’s no really good way to eat a goose leg so I picked it up and gnawed away on it. The rice and the soup rounded out the meal.

All in all I was happy with the meal and would return, but I would head there after 11:30am so I can get a larger selection of meats.

Pizza Express, East Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Pizza Express is where the Eastside Tavern used to be.

I dropped in late on a Friday evening. The place looked fresh and has been totally refurbished since the Eastside Tavern days. Gone are the TVs that adorned the old sports bar.

There were still many diners eating when I arrived close to 9pm but I was able to get a table.

The menu looked good with plenty of choice.

I quickly ordered a beer, in this case a NZ wheat beer – Mac’s Great White. I didn’t mind it!

For dinner I ordered a garlic bread and added Gorgonzola and Parmesan cheeses on the top. The Gorgonzola added a zingy bite to the bread.

For my main course I ordered their signature 13″ rectangular Calabrese pizza. The pizza was large and tasted good although it was a little oily.

Dessert was the Big Brown Brownie with vanilla gelato and caramel sauce – probably the dish of the meal.

While the food was good, it was certainly overpriced for what you got.

However, the service was absolutely abysmal. I had to put my hand up and wave it like I was back in primary school to get attention. I could have sat there for an hour ignored if I’d just sat there.

My empty beer glass sit in front of me for an extended time without anyone asking if I’d like another.

Despite the over the top prices, the thing that really pissed me off was that, unlike most Hong Kong restaurants, the prices in the menu are NOT inclusive of the 10% service fee… so I had the pleasure of paying 10% more than I thought I would be paying while having endured some really crappy service. Not impressed!

Truth be told, life is too short, give this place a miss.