Here’s the beginning to my long overdue posts on some of the places I visited in Hong Kong. I apologize for such the long hiatus but I’m back now! Here's the meal I had last week at 22 Ships with Michelin star chef Jason Atherton in the house.
Categories: Spanish, Tapas
Address: 22 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Hours: Monday - Saturday, lunch (12 pm– 3 pm) & dinner (6 pm -11 pm);
Sunday, lunch (12 pm – 3 pm) & dinner (6 pm – 10 pm)
Date visited: August 14, 2013
Price: ~$300HKD per person, not including tips (no service charge)
Takes reservations?: No
Verdict: Very reasonably priced. Comfortable & buzzy vibe. Superb service. Will be back!
This is my friend V’s favorite restaurant in Hong Kong and she’s been raving to me about it long before I even arrived in HK this summer. Last Wednesday was her birthday and it's no surprise that we decided to come here for dinner. The restaurant has a no reservations policy and thus despite the T8 typhoon status that day, we arrived early anyway to guarantee seats for dinner, knowing especially that Jason Atherton himself will be cooking in the kitchen.
[For those of you who don’t know who Jason Atherton is, he’s a British celebrity chef who’s worked with a handful of Michelin-starred chefs, including Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay. Pollen Street Social, Atherton’s flagship restaurant in London, currently holds one Michelin star and was ranked number 6 in the Good Food Guide’s Top 50 Restaurants in the UK 2013. Click here for the whole list.]
22 Ships is Atherton’s first restaurant in Hong Kong. Located in Wan Chai, it is a small Spanish tapas bar (only seats 35) that serves creative small dishes. Many of plates are subtly infused with Asian flavors, but please note that this is not fusion restaurant.
Red sangria ($70HKD). Textured red sangria, freeze-dried raspberry powder. It’s less sweet/fruity than your typical sangria.
Spanish breakfast, chorizo & potato ($98HKD).
This picture is what the dish looks like when served but it’s meant to be mixed. Underneath the creamed potato mash, sliced chorizo, tomato sauce and roasted potato cubes is a poached egg. The flavors were rich and blended perfectly together. I’d recommend this although I'd probably prefer to start off my meal with a lighter dish. The portion was quite small though; between the three of us, we finished the whole thing with just a large scoop each.
Steak tartar, smoked egg dressing ($118HKD).
Another restaurant signature, the presentation of the dish may surprise those of you who’ve been here and tried it before. The previous head chef Matt Bishop has apparently been replaced by a new head chef. Especially with Jason Atherton directing the kitchen for the night, I’m not sure if this is what the dish will look like from now on. Not the prettiest but definitely the tastiest. The steak was not mushy - soft but still textured enough to have that meaty feel. My favorite of the night! A must order!
Jamón, manchego, truffle toastie, quail eggs ($88HKD)
Sounded good and another popular dish here… but honestly I didn’t really get it. The tastes just didn’t really linger in my mouth and the toast was nothing special. I wouldn’t order this again.
Tuna & avocado tartare, watermelon dices ($108HKD)
The daily special. Very light and refreshing. A perfect summer dish! I liked it.
"22 Style" Roasted suckling pig ($178 HKD).
Be sure to ask if this if it is available early on because it’s frequently sold out before the end of the night. Like what excellent roasted suckling pig should taste like, the skin was very crispy thin, and the meat was pale, moist and tender. I haven’t tasted such amazing suckling pig since New Years Eve dinner at A.O.C in Los Angeles.
Goat cheese sorbet, nitro honeycomb, raspberry, oats ($78 HKD).
V’s favorite dessert here. I’m not really a fan of goat cheese but the honeycomb, raspberry and oats were delicious. We side ordered a scoop of their famous housemade peanut butter ice cream (the point was to mix it with the goat cheese sorbet). This sounds crazy weird I know, but trust me on this one, you'll be very pleasantly surprised!
Peanut butter ice cream.
It’s peanut butter. And ice cream. Really, what more is there to say?
Starstruck moment: Jason is very charming in person and was super friendly. He stopped by our table for at least 20 minutes that night, casually conversing with us and sharing his upcoming new projects in Hong Kong. Apparently he’s in the process of setting up two new joints in Wan Chai that are expected to open this coming fall. Can't wait to try them out!