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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.

IMG_1846The 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.

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It must be said, I was never a fan of Macau.  The last time I visited was almost five years ago, before the City of Dreams and Venetian and all that Vegas jazz.  As you might imagine, I was taken aback when we drove down the Cotai Strip (still undergoing some construction in parts) with the palm trees and main road leading up to something reminiscent of a mini-golf version of Vegas, with the sun blinding you through the small cab windows because no silhouette of skyscrapers decided to block its glare.  I managed to catch a glimpse of street corners with pebblestone pavement intermingling with both the glassy fronts and wooden shutters of uneven, period-clashing buildings, with similarly uneven, cobblestone steps gallivanting in the city scape next to modern, glossy escalators.  I’m not sure whether I liked this landscape; I wasn’t sure whether it was simply confused or capriciously eccentric.  But I wasn’t here for the view, unless that view was set upon some tableware, between a knife and fork, some chopsticks, a little white linen napkin… or maybe even just in between my thumb and forefinger.

And so, cue the pork buns (豬扒包).

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