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September 18, 2008

While you were gone…

You spent the summer flitting between charming towns in the Mediterranean…eating five meals a day to sample every possible type of local cuisine, while somehow still managing to squeeze into your bikini. Your days were filled with titillating beach reads, your nights were spent dancing with whoever could keep up with you and your only commitment was working on your deep bronze tan. While you were gone, we’re sure you heard about the births of the Brangelina twins, the standoff between Obama and McCain, the ferocity of Hurricane Ike, and Russell Brand’s controversial commentary at the MTV video music awards. But, did you know that noteworthy news was being made in your own city? C’mon, what did you expect? In this town, you can’t close your eyes for a catnap without missing out on something amazing. Let us give you an update on the headlines…

This August gave us no shortage of glamorous places to lay our heads. First came the long awaited entrance of the uber-cool and super-chic W Hong Kong (3717 2222), with its array of unparalleled dining and drinking outlets, which will leave Hong Kong’s hotel scene forever altered. Next was the soft opening of the lovely Four Seasons Macau (853) 2881 8888), a luxurious oasis within the walls of the grander-than-thou Venetian (We think the Macau version of Venice may end up becoming larger than the Italian city itself!). Last came the total makeover of TST’s staid Miramar Hotel into The Mira (2368 1111), a sleek and urbane property complete with modern guestrooms and stylish restaurants to ensure that any hip traveler will feel right at home.

We said goodbye to two of our old stomping grounds on Elgin Street, Havana and Bizou, and hello to Café Annam (2545 9966) and Ocean Grill (2147 0100). Café Annam retains the island charm of its predecessor while adding colonial touches and authentic dishes that bring us back to Phu Quoc, while Ocean Grill sizzles with fresh seafood and veggies cooked up on a custom charcoal grill, resulting in dishes that please both your palate and your (hopefully shrinking!) waistline. The final Elgin street addition is Canucck (2524 4123), HK’s first attempt at modern Canadian cuisine, which doesn’t fail to delight. Hailing from Toronto, Chef Derek Furlani brings ingredients fresh from the homeland like Niagara river-region rabbit, Canadian rib-eye steaks, Sunshine Coast magic mushrooms and Prince Edward Island lobster to life with full flavour, and takes brunches to a sweet spot with french toast and Canada’s famous maple syrup for dipping.

They’ll be no more tummy rumblings on the escalator with the arrival of hearty eateries Gourmet Burger Union (2581 0521) and The Real Bread Café (2810 9326). Just when you thought you were spoiled for choice when it comes to burgers in this town, Gourmet Burger Union comes along to indulge you even more. To accompany your 100% New Zealand Angus grass-fed beef, New Zealand lamb, grilled Australian free-range chicken or soy protein veggie burger, you also have a choice of 27 toppings, 15 cheeses, 15 sauces (including truffle cream and basilica pesto) and 3 types of bun. Situated above Dozo on Lyndhurst Terrace, you may find yourself having an inner battle, deciding whether to have sushi or burgers for dinner. If you’re having a meat moment, why not go for it, you can always walk the rest of the way home! A little higher up, The Real Bread Café will lure you off the escalator and into its cosy surroundings with hypnotic aromas of freshly baked delights. 100% wholemeal flour from France and an authentic Italian oven is used to make a tempting selection of goodies including artisan breads, croissants and cakes. By day, it is a bustling café with an airy alfresco area and a deli counter, which offers continental cold cuts and tasty sandwiches. By night, it turns into a buzzing restaurant with a delicious a la carte menu and an extensive wine list.

The suitcases have been packed away, the jet lag has finally been shaken. Take off those flip-flops and put on your new peep-toe slingbacks…you’ve got some catching up to do!

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