We were adamant about getting some fresh grilled seafood while we were in Bali. We thought some kind of beach cafe would be a good place to start. So after we finished tanning on our hotel’s rooftop pool (amazing) and watched the sunset high above like Greek Gods – liquored, slightly bronzed and clad in gladiators too – we set off on our seafood odyssey.
Echo Beach House
Jalan Pura Batu Mejan, Echo Beach, Canggu, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Echo Beach House is a huge set-up, but hard to find. Actually, that’s their slogan: “Hard to find, hard to forget.” It might be helpful to organise a driver to and from Canggu beach because once you’ve finished dinner, it’s not going to be easy to hail any cabs or haggle a ride back to your hotel from such a remote spot.
19 Hollywood Road, SOHO, Central
The origin of tapas is nothing short of cool for any history buff. ‘Tapas’ means ‘lid’ or ‘cover’, and food at bars in Spain were, once upon a time, placed on little plates used to cover the glasses of wine or beer or whatever Spanish yuppies were drinking back then after a hard day of siesta. Other variations include how it prevented the peasants or lower classes, who could not afford a full meal, from drinking on an empty stomach. However, out of all these explanations for why the Spanish take little meals with their drink, I quite like the story of the once ill stricken King Alfonso X – also known as Alfonso the Wise, and wise he was indeed – who issued a decree that all wine must be served with a small meal. If he had the reins over LKF, I’m sure we’d find much fewer underage kids throwing up in the public toilets next to Beijing Club.
I would’ve thought tapas would have more presence in HK. For one, people of Guangdong province are notorious for talking about food way more than any of its neighbours (I’m not even going to give the Northern provinces a second thought), Hong Kong itself is a foodie heaven, and the drinking culture in the more Westernised districts of Hong Kong, like Lanks, could do way more to cater to this Hongkie love for food. I suppose that’s what we’re seeing with Ronin HK and Three Monkeys in Sheung Wan, with delicate bites (albeit not ‘tapas’) paired with premium whiskies and elaborate cocktails, but with a price tag like 50 bucks for a single skewer of ox tongue, who is really going to get even remotely full as fast as they get fucked?
This is where Tapeo comes in, and where tapas bars should make some headway in the Hong Kong dining scene. With the incredibly reasonable prices for Soho and delicious, uncomplicated, authentic Spanish fare, I love this place and will be returning. From 5 to 7 they offer an early bird dinner special, and it is rather small, so booking is a must. An unpretentious open kitchen greets you as you slide the simple glass doors and settle yourself on their plush, burgundy stools – surprisingly comfortable – and in true tapas bar style, we changed our seats around to talk to eachother as we munched through dishes and chugged our jug of refreshing red sangria. A jug of sangria is a no-brainer here, by the way.