18/F, The One, 100 Nathan Road, TST
Actress Carina Lau has recently opened three ventures on the 18th Floor of The One: Tapagria, Kyo-Shun and Zurrolia. Andrew and I chose to check out Tapagria for a more casual Spanish dine in. Zurrolia, also on this floor, is the fine-dining alternative.
Unsure what to expect, but secretly aching for an authentic, masterfully concocted sangria, I crossed my fingers desperately. One sip from their deep red jar of Wild Berry ($330; 1/2: $290), embellished with blackberries and all manners of sweetness in Cachaça, and my fingers weren’t the only things happily loosened.
I do remember looking at their food menu online as I was on my way (read: trying to work out the frustrating puzzle of elevators and lifts leading up to this mysterious floor at The One), and wondered dismally if the illustrations were a half-assed Windows Accessories Paint job. I suppose, in some ways, one shouldn’t judge the restaurant by its menu.
The stand-out was without a doubt the paella*! Incredibly rich, perfectly-seasoned rice was jeweled with a few fresh treasures from the sea – mussels, clams, and prawns. I loved the delicious depth of flavour, and might have to admit that it’s probably one of the better paellas I’ve tasted in Hong Kong. Sadly, it’s tapas-sized, so you might have to be the better man and let your partner steal away the lone prawn.
4-B, G/F, Hang Hau Village, Tseung Kwan O
I’m not sure whether an introduction for Lardos is necessary. This steakhouse has been around for the last 13 years, and I’m sure a ton of reviews have been written with far more gusto than I could ever amass in my dark, loathsome, fatigued lack of a gut, but I will say that if you are a steak lover and you have not trekked at least once to Lardos, you are missing out on a super deal. And hell, if I can haul my lazy ass over to this village, so can you. I don’t doubt that whatever Lardos is doing, they’re doing it right – apart from their complimentary salad bowls. (That, I don’t understand, and I will never be a fan of stale lettuce, sorry.) In any case, the place always seems to be fully booked for dinner service and you can understand why; when a 38oz Tomahawk steak on the special, grilled to medium rare perfection, comes to but $800 – yes, 38oz for 8hundo hongky hunky dollars… – allow getting swagged up for Soho, allow decking out on dinners where you’re selling your stomach short and where you can hear your wallet wailing and wishing you’d stop pulling and pinching his leather cheeks so damn hard. Be kind to yourself. Live, eat, pray… Love.. Eat.. Fuck it, just eat.
My boyfriend and I eat too much. And when it comes to premium pieces of protein at damn pretty prices, we are so there. We are there and we don’t care how to get there. We’re there! Before we went inside, we had a good look at the signage across the street and already knew this was going to be a hit or miss. Having checked out openrice reviews, I was optimistic, but still anxious – a gem of a steakhouse tucked between chaan tengs and dai pai dong style eateries in a comparatively remote little village with unpretentious, no-fuss food at incredibly reasonable prices? That’s like a foodie wet dream. We walked in, admittedly an hour earlier than we booked because we didn’t know what else to do around there. (Note: Hang Hau Village is actually quite close to Clearwater Bay Beach, but I’m sure HKUST kids already know this.)
2/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai
Since we couldn’t wait another six months to fine dine, the boyfriend and I went to the Grand Hyatt Steakhouse to cheers to our half year anniversary (when I was in Hong Kong). Anyone who knows me knows how terrible I usually am with relationships, which is why I preferred to shy away from them for the last two years. But I suppose what applies to food can also apply to men: if you already have a quality ingredient, then you don’t need to work too hard to make your dish perfect. Aww yeah.
The setting/atmosphere is very ‘Boardwalk Empire’ cool; dim-lighting, plush leather chairs, dark ominous colours, dark wood panelling, little statues in little corners that you see in the corner of your eye. This is a manly man’s club, fully decked out with a cigar room too near the exits. The booth style tables are actually near to the buffet table (you can opt for a seasonal buffet) but the floors in that part of the restaurant are wood planks, and the noise is less appealing than in the carpeted area on the other side. Which is where we were sitting. Which was nice. Because you know all that new couples want to do on a date is whisper sweet nothings to each other in peace.
Then the menu. First thing I noticed about the menu was how simple it was. I love this! I hate menus that beat around the bush and don’t actually tell me anything about anything I want to know, or worse still: when they give names to dishes that mean absolutely nothing to me, like “Mom’s Pie” or “Stacy’s Gumbo” – What did your Mom put in her fucking pie? Who is Stacy and was she or was she not familiar with Creole cuisine? There’s always a backstory. Allow this backstory, your food should be a story in itself. Let it speak for itself! Let it scream on the plate, not from your paper, fool!
The GHS went straight to the point – “PAN FRIED DIVER SCALLOPS – TOMATO AND BACON SALSA”. Boom. The server actually asked us after we made our order whether we were hungry enough for all the items. Little did she know what we were capable of….