108, Hollywood Road, SOHO, Sheung Wan
And rightly so! See here: http://www.restaurantweek.hk
Admittedly, I didn’t go to the Press Room for Restaurant Week, but have been quite a few times – including during their Promotion Period (May 27 to August 31, 2013) for 40% off on Tuesdays. I love their simple yet humbling take on French-European cuisine, and the fact they are a restaurant that stays true to the notion of casual dining.
The portions are anything but pretentious, and their policy of actually taking reservations is a breath of fresh air. It’s always nice to know when you’re allowed to dig into your dinner, and that you won’t be stuck in a queue like you’re outside Volar wearing Crocs with socks. It’s also rather nice to know that what you do end up digging into will actually fill you up – you know, like a dinner should. So snaps for the Press Room for actually sticking to their guns and congratulations on a much-deserved ‘Best Restaurant’ award at Restaurant Week!
I present a few photographs from my latest Press Room foodie trip. They were taken a few weeks back so I apologies if the details are a little blurry. I have the memory of a goldfish. (Which is another reason why I blog.)
The oyster selection is impressive, with 6 oysters setting you back $186. The French type at the front here was incredibly creamy, plump and full-flavoured. If you prefer the brinier options, they also have Tasmanian oysters with high salt characters. Check the blackboard for their selections. I’ve still not gotten around to ordering the Plateux de Fruits de Mer ($220 per person; with lobster: $396) but from eyeing up other tables, it’s a whopper.
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.