Catharine Nicol

Correspondent

  • Hong Kong, China, Asia

Catharine Nicol has lived in Hong Kong since the British handed the colony back to China in 1997, during which time she has worked as a freelance travel writer and photographer. In 2004, she became editor-in-chief, later editor-at-large, of AsiaSpa magazine, where she reported on the spa and well-being industry and wrote features on travel, food and design. Her favorite trips include horse riding along the shores of Lake Hovsgol in Mongolia; paragliding with Egyptian vultures in Pokhara, Nepal; and weeding rice paddies, knee-deep in mud, beside Indonesian women in Java.

  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    What is the scene like at Jade Dragon?

    The scene at Jade Dragon can vary, depending on when you visit the elegant Cantonese restaurant in Crown Tower in the City of Dreams. At dinnertime later in the week, you might find the restaurant filled with businessmen entertaining important clients,VIPs from a nearby casino or couples on dates. During the day, it attracts families who are interested in an authentic dim sum lunch.  The memorable interiors at Jade Dragon mix contemporary décor seen in the metallic silver and gold VIP rooms with curving walls with the classic elegance of dark wood furniture and traditional Chinese symbols. You’ll notice blue-and-white Chinese tableware, the jade dragon chopstick holders and hand-painted walls featuring traditional scenes. The Macau restaurant offers a balanced 11 tables in the open dining room and 11 VIP rooms, reflecting the popularity of privacy for executive and family groups. One of the VIP rooms with a turquoise-colored wall and a view of the waterfall outside is perfect for a small event, as it holds four tables of eight to 10 people.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    What is the dress code at Il Teatro at Wynn Macau?

    The theatrical experience at Il Teatro at Wynn Macau calls for a smart casual dress code. Men are encouraged not to wear short pants, sleeveless shirts, open shoes or baseball caps, while women should also dress in a casual elegant style. On each side of the restaurant are two terraces for alfresco dining overlooking Performance Lake. In winter, when the temperatures drop, it’s wise to wear warmer clothing if you would like to book the terrace. There are also two private dining rooms at Il Teatro, which can seat up to 12 people each for a more secluded dinner or celebration.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    How do I get a reservation at Il Teatro at Wynn Macau?

    It’s a good idea to make a reservation at Il Teatro at Wynn Macau, seeing as it is only open in the evening, and you’ll want to be sure to request a window table or a seat on the outdoor terrace for the best view of the water show. The indoor VIP rooms also have great views. In addition to the a la carte menu, there’s a tasting menu that can be ordered with or without wine pairings. Several dishes are suitable for children, too, who are welcomed from the age of five and up. Call 853-8986-3663 to reserve a spot.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    When is Il Teatro at Wynn Macau open?

    Il Teatro at Wynn Macau is open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday; the restaurant is closed on Monday nights. Dinner service begins at 5.30 p.m. and goes until 11.30 p.m. Chef Anthony Alaimo is renowned for his signature dishes such as the Sicilian prawns with black angel hair pasta, herb-crusted rack of lamb and Maine lobster risotto. The nicely edited wine list is heavy on Italian and French wines. Diners can begin their evening at the semi-circle bar with a view of the restaurant below or order aperitifs from their dining table.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    What is the dress code at Vida Rica Restaurant and Bar?

    The dress code at Vida Rica Restaurant and Bar is smart casual. The restaurant is upmarket so men should avoid shorts or open shoes and women will want to look pulled together. The layout of the restaurant allows for a number of private hideaways but the overall look is chic and elegant. The restaurant’s bar has the same dress code.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    Where is Vida Rica Restaurant and Bar located?

    Vida Rica Restaurant and Bar is located on the second floor of the Mandarin Oriental, Macau. The 108-seat restaurant overlooks the South China Sea towards Taipa, while the 60-seat bar features a view of Macau over Nam Van Lake. The waterfront Mandarin Oriental Macau is located in the city center. The downtown location is just ten minutes from Macau International Airport and the Macau-China border, and only five minutes from the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal. In addition to Vida Rica, guests can eat Macanese cuisine at the Lobby Lounge and buy delectable goodies at the Mandarin Oriental Cake Shop.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    What is the scene like at Spring Moon?

    Spring Moon’s dark wood flooring scattered with Oriental rug runners along with dark wood tables and paneling give The Peninsula Hong Kong restaurant a very high-end and formal yet intimate feel, evoking the atmosphere of an elite Chinese home. Tables are set with silver, and the service is flawless yet friendly. Diners wait with anticipation for well-loved signature dishes and take time to choose between the teas, which are prepared by professionally trained tea masters according to Chinese tradition. For something special, book the Spring Moon Chefs’ Table, set right in the hustle and bustle of the Chinese kitchen; it’s only available for dinner, for up to six people. Signature dishes that epitomize Spring Moon’s authentic take on Cantonese cuisine include steamed crab claw with homemade red pepper sauce accompanied by abalone roll, wok-fried Wagyu beef with rice cracker in black pepper sauce and sautéed tiger prawns accompanied by honey-glazed ham.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    When is Spring Moon open?

    Spring Moon, in The Peninsula Hong Kong, is open for lunch and dinner every day. Book a table for lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays and between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays, and for dinner from 6 to 10:30 p.m. daily. Predictably popular is the traditional lunchtime dim sum, over which chef Yip Wing Wah presides. Meanwhile chef Frankie Tang is dedicated to replicating the most authentic Cantonese dishes possible, while presenting them in a fresh and modern way akin to a gourmet work of art. Between them the pair is famous for producing more than 500,000 mooncakes each Mid-Autumn Festival, a historic annual Hong Kong harvest celebration.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    Where is Spring Moon located?

    Spring Moon is spread over two levels on the first floor of The Peninsula Hong Kong, with the upstairs balcony overlooking the downstairs dining area. Upstairs the walls are decorated with evocative prints of old properties owned by the Kadoorie family (the original owners of The Peninsula Hong Kong) printed on silver leaf panels and semi-private dining areas are lit with Art Deco stained glass windows. Private rooms are in popular demand for special occasions. Large circular tables bearing the traditional lazy Susan to facilitate sharing dishes in the usual Chinese style are joined by smaller, more intimate tables perfect for couples or business meals, where dishes can be served by the waitstaff from a rolling table.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    When is Felix open?

    Felix is open every day for dinner only. The restaurant, plus the American Bar and The Balcony in The Peninsula Hong Kong serve drinks from 5 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. Dinner service runs from 6 until 10:30 p.m., but late arrivals can still order snacks from 10:30 p.m. until 12:30 p.m. Felix is serving a reasonably priced Sunset Menu from 6 until 8 p.m. for early diners. Many guests like to arrive in time to watch the nightly 8 p.m. light show that plays off of the skyscrapers on either side of Victoria Harbour, while sitting in the elevated American Bar or the restaurant. For a more casual experience, the iconic Long Bar gives a quite different feel, where guests sit up on the “stage” of the restaurant near the constantly flowing theater of the bar.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    What is the scene like at Felix?

    Felix was launched in 1988 and yet Philippe Starck’s timeless creation still looks fresh and relevant. Most diners start with an aperitif at either the sleek American Bar or its sister bar, the more intimate Balcony Bar, descending the backlit catwalk staircases to join the fun, elegant buzz of the restaurant for dinner. Chef Yoshiharu Kaji, who studied European cuisine in France, brings his innate attention to detail together with a flair for innovation to the Felix menu, which is all about fresh and seasonal ingredients and a clean taste — healthy yet sophisticated. The Hong Kong restaurant offers several signature dishes, which change regularly, such as the slow-cooked sea bass-shrimp with lobster foam with poached baby vegetables in lobster stock from The Felix Experience menu or the light goat cheese mousse “cigar”, caramelized green apple and fresh fig from the Chef’s Signature Menu.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    Where is Felix located?

    Set on the 28th floor of The Peninsula Hong Kong in its Tsim Sha Tsui location close to the water, Felix has commanding views over Victoria Harbour on one side and across Kowloon’s roofs on the other, stretching north toward China. The restaurant’s easy accessibility makes it popular for business dinners, although it is equally beloved for celebratory and special occasions. Felix’s high ceilings give a sense of grandeur to the Hong Kong restaurant’s contemporary design, while the staff portraits on the chairs exude a sense of history. For example, one shows the face of bartender Johnny Chung, who at age 14 started working at the hotel when it first opened — and who went on to mix Hong Kong’s first Screwdriver cocktail using a recipe dictated by none other than Clark Gable.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    What is the dress code at Mandarin Grill + Bar?

    The dress code at the Mandarin Grill + Bar in Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong could best be described as a smart casual style. It’s requested that guests not wear very casual clothing such as short pants, sportswear, torn jeans and short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts, and men should refrain from wearing open shoes. Women should also dress in an elegant way to fit the opulent surroundings, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The chic surroundings of the Mandarin Grill + Bar, which is where Hong Kong’s elite businessmen and visitors gather to relax and make business deals, just may inspire you to dress up.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    Where is Mandarin Grill + Bar located?

    Mandarin Grill + Bar is located on the first floor of Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, directly overlooking Statue Square. The entrance leads directly into the bar, where cocktails with a twist are served with the restaurant’s signature warmed, mixed nuts. Lunches feature the market specials, which change weekly, while for dinner the two gourmet and experience tours are tasting menus that offer the best of chef Opocensky’s cuisine, changing seasonally. The oyster bar offers crustaceans from around the world, or guests can choose à la carte, with dishes bearing chef Opocensky’s famous quirky descriptions: Flower Pot, for example, is a starter of “organic, leaves, vegetable, cress, soil, Earl Grey,” while the Light Bulb dessert is described as “coconut, pineapple, glass.”  The dinner menu and the other tasting menus offer similarly intriguing descriptions for what turns out to be stellar cuisine.
  • On September 23, 2013
    Catharine Nicol answered the question: Catharine Nicol

    What is the scene like at Mandarin Grill + Bar?

    While the Mandarin Grill + Bar in Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is a fine-dining extension of the office for many Hong Kong denizens the popular restaurant attracts locals and visitors to the city as well. Expect to find sophisticated and well-travelled clientele in Mandarin Grill + Bar’s modern setting, which still features the oversize signature vases of lilies. While the carving trolley and the Dover sole have been inherited from the restaurant’s previous reincarnation, throughout the rest of the menu chef Opocensky’s penchant for delicious food cooked and created in a creative way dominates. If you’re lucky enough to sit by the open kitchen, you’ll find it creates a fascinating ongoing panorama of activity within the restaurant.