I'll be out of town for a few months, so this will serve as my final review until I return to Hong Kong, I've had a really fun time going around and trying new restaurants, and cannot wait to do it again soon.
This restaurant was not easy to find! Located just off Gough street, you'll have to walk down a steep staircase to find it. Upon entering, the decor and atmosphere looked promising. It had an eccentric, off-beat setting that my girlfriend adores, and the music and lighting made it seem romantic, yet chic and relaxed. The raised kitchen was a nice touch, and the restaurant was surprisingly spacious.
The menu contained many easy-to-like items, so deciding was a chore, and our anticipation-levels were shot up a notch. We ended up going for the Basement Chef's Salad and Wild Mushroom Soup (with Porcini) for the appetizers, Seafood Angel Hair Pasta and Roasted Game Hen for the mains, and Vegetable Lasagna and Baked Baby Potatoes for the sides. Their drink menu did not strike me as particularly complete, but they did have Boddingtons Ale, which is always a good choice.
The appetizers came promptly (always appreciated), and the Chef's Salad
turned out to be roquotte accompanied by ginger-infused salsa stuffed in a tomato. The concept was good, but the staff did not offer any instructions, so we just dug in. At first we tried the ingredients separately, then together, but either way it just did not hit the spot. The salsa didn't contain much zing, and was horribly overwhelmed by the bitterness of the roquette. The ginger, though initially refreshing, become tiresome after a few mouthfuls.
The Wild Mushroom Soup
, on the other hand, was good. We were struck with the luscious aroma, which really whet our appetite. It was a thick creamy broth of real mushrooms with a generous dash of truffle oil. The soup was solid, but I can't help but feel (with some guilt) that it reminded me of a lesser version of the mushroom soup from Pizza Express (of which I did a review).
Our mains arrived shortly after. The Seafood Linguine
was deconstructed, with the broth and ingredients separated from the pasta. Again, the staff offered no instructions, so I mistakenly (I think) suggested to my girlfriend that she should pour some soup into the bowl of pasta. This was a bad idea, since it made the pasta even soggier. The taste of the broth was decent, but the noodles - which were cut up - were overcooked and a little disappointing. The seafood was not anything special.
I was hoping that the Roasted Game Hen
would redeem a so far mediocre meal, and in some ways it did. The taste was fantastic - a smoky and savoury barbeque flavour - it was grilled fairly well, and texture was extra gamey. However, there were places where it was charred a little excessively, and the reduction (sauce) that accompanied it didn't complement the taste much.
The sides, to put it bluntly, were disappointing. The Vegetable Lasagna
was unoriginal - pieces of veggies fit between flour with a tomato sauce. It's taste was mediocre but nothing special. The Baby-baked Potatoes
were infused with a cheese and ham mash, but was tasteless. Perhaps it was an off day, but I would not recommend their sides.
Still, we had a lot to eat and could only manage one dessert between the two of us. We decided on the Strawberry Parfait
. This was perhaps the most memorably part of the meal - it caught me by surprise, and the taste was refreshing and original. The dish was strawberries weged between two slabs of custard (though it tasted like sherbet). While not the most luscious dessert out there, it contained a nice balance between richness and freshness, which I enjoyed.
This restaurant really seems to have a lot of potential. Perhaps next time service could offer some help on how to properly eat the deconstructed dishes. Come here for an out-of-the-box experience, but don't expect to be dazzled.
Date of Visit: Aug 27, 2009
Spending per head: Approximately HKD300Other Ratings:
Value for Money 3