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Zafran, Central, Hong Kong

Zafran is Aqua Group’s latest addition, which is hidden down a little alley off Wyndham Street. I love the modern stylish space, and was pleasantly surprised how large the space is. It was divided into three different segments – bar, dining room and late night lounge. I do love the open bar seating, especially as you can see the chef in action. Zafran is led by Spanish chef Marc Lores and offers diners delicious ‘classic tapas’ and ‘Zafran tapas’

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I was here for lunch with the friend and was surprised at how reasonable it is – choice of 1 starter and 2 plates for HKD108. Between the two of us, we got to try 6 different dishes which were good.

We started with Spanish potato, tuna, carrot, olives ‘ensaladilla’ – it was beautifully plated and too pretty to eat!

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The mixed leaves, Manchego cheese, Serrano ham and cherry tomato were definitely light and refreshing. I love the texture of the cheese, and the Serrano ham was excellent.

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Next came the Iberico Bellota ham croquettes (4pcs). The balls were thin crispy and not oily. It was extremely smooth and absolutely delicious

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I love baked Portobello mushroom, especially stuffed with ham, peppers and Mahon Cheese.

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We definitely couldn’t go past the yellow miso and soy glazed pork rib with oregano and Spanish style potato (HKD28 supplement). This was definitely a winner for both of us! The pork was incredibly tender that it fell off the bone. The yellow miso and soy gave it that nice sweet taste which was just right and not too sickly.

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The Spanish breakfast – panaderas potato, homemade sausage, fried egg and padron pepper (HKD28 supplement) was divine. I would happily eat this for breakfast every morning (not that my hips would thank me!), the soft potatoes, and the oozy yolk and not to mention the delicious homemade sausage.

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We both enjoyed the food very much and I am very keen to try their dinner menu which has more options than the set lunch menu! Service was efficient and food came out relatively quickly.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Zafran

Basement, 43-55 Wyndham Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2116 8855

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Fofo by El Willy, Central, Hong Kong

Fofo by El Willy has been around since 2010 following the popularity and success of ‘el Willy’ restaurant in Shanghai. It’s been a while since my last visit, maybe 3 years ago? Fofo offers both traditional and contemporary Spanish tapas and rice. I was here with a friend for lunch, and opt for their lunch menu which consists of tapas (two choices) and mains (one choice) which includes tea or coffee for HKD218 – not cheap for lunch but it is good!

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V started with the foie gras mi-cuit with tomato chili jam which she enjoyed. She could have definitely used more bread.

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We both couldn’t go past the slow cooked egg, pumpkin cream and pancetta. OMG! This dish was a definite winner. I loved the combination of the yolk and pumpkin – it was creamy and oh so delicious. I wanted more!

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My second tapas were ‘coca de recapte’ catalan style flat bread with roast peppers and boquerones. After eating the slow cooked egg with pumpkin, this was disappointing. Had I eaten this first, I may have enjoyed it more. I do love roast peppers but that egg and pumpkin… oh my…

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V couldn’t go past the grilled squid with sauté vegetables and potato cream. The grilled squid were tender, and the potato creamy and a wonderful complement.

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I was craving steak – it definitely has been a while since I had beef and opt for the Argentinean beef sirloin with grilled vegetables and potatoes (additional HKD30). The beef was tender and cooked to perfection and the curly potato fries were excellent.

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We thought about dessert – perused the dessert menu a couple of times but were just too full. Will definitely have to come back for dinner and try their other dishes. It was definitely an enjoyable meal, I am dreaming yet again about the slow cooked egg and pumpkin cream… delicious!

Ga’s ratings: 8 / 10

Fofo by El Willy

20/F M88 2-8 Wellington Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2900 2009

Iberico and Co, Soho, Hong Kong

December 27, 2013 1 comment

I have heard wonderful things about Iberico and Co which can be located in Soho on Shelley Street. Part of the popular Enoteca Group – Iberico and Co serves Spanish and Portuguese food. The menu features a wide range of dishes to share which includes snacks, little plates, family-style bigger plates and a ham bar with some of Spain’s best iberico hams.

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I have tried making a reservation for dinner here many times and it is always fully booked! So finally decided to try for lunch and so glad that I did! The food certainly did not disappoint. There was a lunch set but we decided to go for a la-carte as I wanted to try a lot of things! We started with the salt rubbed crunchy pigs skin with smoked paprika mayonnaise – my goodness – these crunchy goodness were seriously sinful but fantastic! It was hard not to stop eating them.

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The chargrilled asparagus, shallot, sherry vinegar dressing and shaved Iberico cheese looked a little sad but surprisingly tasty!

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We really loved the mushrooms sautéed with cherry tomatoes and Jerez sherry vinegar. It was so full of flavour – the mushrooms were cooked to perfection.

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G couldn’t go past the tartar of salmon, traditional garnishes, smoked paprika and quail egg. I didn’t have any of this but she did say that it was delicious. The salmon fresh and the garnishes a wonderful complement

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I was getting a little bit full by now, however, there were two more large dishes to come. The lemon and paprika chicken with borlotti beans, coriander and garlic came in a little stone pot. The crispy skin, the tender meat – it was delicious.

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Last but not least, the cracked black pepper hanger steak with madeira. OH MY! Tender and succulent meat, it was a little on the rare side for me but it was good!

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We were both stuffed – dessert sounded good but we were just too full! Will definitely be back to try more food! Could be  my fav tapas place in HK

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Iberico and Co

G/F, 18 Shelley’s Street,

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2752 8811

Catalunya, Central, Hong Kong

There’s been a lot of hype about this place, and has been on my list of places to try since it opened. Reservations has been a complete night mare, especially for dinner on either Friday and Saturday night. We managed to get a booking one Saturday night but had to cancel. I was so gutted, but thankfully, a couple of my dear friends also wanted to try this and we opt for lunch which was SO much easier to get reservations!

I was rather impressed with the large space, and the team of culinary experts – headed by Executive Chef, Alain Devahive Tolosa, who haas worked alongside Ferran Adria of el Bulli, and a team of 20 chefs who come from many of Spain’s top Michelin three-starred restaurants. The menu vast, it took a while for us to go through…

We started with the suckling pig tapa (HKD170) – two cube pieces, the skin was incredibly crispy and the meat, tender, so tender that Dragon ate both pieces! We had to order another two servings!

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I really enjoyed the steamed green asparagus with soft boil egg and black truffle (HKD160), it was scrumptiously good!

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The jamon iberico croquettes (HKD100) was a favourite amongst the diners – extremely smooth potatoes and indulgent.

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The black rice with red prawns (HKD160) – squid ink black rice with red prawns and garlic escense was a bit of a hit and miss with my fellow diners. Some loved the strong prawn flavours whilst others thought it was too fishy. I didn’t have any of this but ‘The Mother’ seemed to have enjoyed it.

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I didn’t have any of the cod fritters (HKD90) a tribute to one of the most popular Catalan bites was another hit. ‘The Mother’s’ words – crispy and very creamy inside! ha!

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Unfortunately the calamares with lemon mayonnaise (HKD110) was a little ‘meh’ – too oily and too much batter. ‘The Mother’ believes he has had better, so did my dining companions.

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The ham, cheese and truffle ‘bikini’ (HKD 120) was ok – it tasted like a normal ham and cheese sandwich and a pretty expensive one at that!

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I really enjoyed the scrambled egg on a potato bed with chorizo (HKD85) – eggs, potatoes, chorizo? Perfect breakfast!

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Bombas from barceloneta (HKD95) – meat and potato concoction with Brava spicy sauce – not very spicy but definitely delicious.

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The prime natural beef rib eye (HKD445) – 18 months, 400 days grass fed was incredibly delicious. Tender and succulent that it just melted in your mouth – could definitely have eaten this on my own!

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The seafood paella – scampi, prawns, muscles and clams (HKD850) was infinitely better than the one at Quemmo (post to come) but still lacked a little umph. R thought the prawns weren’t cooked enough, ‘The Mother’ thought it was just ‘ok’.

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We were getting full by one but thought we would share some desserts. The Cheese Flan (HKD70) was surprisingly better than I had anticipated. The cheese was subtle, it was fluffy and light.

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We all wanted to try the Torrija (HKD70) soft and sweet warm bread with smoked milk ice cream. Not sure what we were expecting in terms of smoked milk ice cream, but the bread reminded me too much of a bread and butter pudding. Not that I am complaining as I LOVE bread and butter pudding.

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The chocolate (HKD95) – a promise to end an indulgent meal on a delectably sweet note was the perfect end to the meal.

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In hindsight I am glad it wasn’t just ‘The Mother’ and I dining here, as we wouldn’t have tried that many dishes. It was so lovely to catch up with Jason Bonvivant and Mochachocolata Rita – let’s do it again!

Service was polite and food was pretty good overall. There were some that was meh but definitely keen to try their other dishes on the menu!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Catalunya

G/F, Guardian House,

32 Oi Kwan Road

Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2866 7900

Numero 15, Central, Hong Kong

I have walked past this place many times – it is on the way to and fro gym. Apparently, Mesa 15 used to be here, which has now moved to Grand Progress Building on Lan Kwai Fong. Numero 15 is the younger sibling and offers diners tapas and wine.

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Came here for lunch with a friend, you can never go wrong with Tapas right? I notice that there are a lot of them around Hong Kong – not all are great unfortunately! The set lunch – tapas and rice lunch for HKD138 is not a bad value. Diners get to choose two tapas, then rice / pasta as well as dessert! Not bad for a 3 course meal.

I started with the slow-cooked egg, smoked potato foam, chorizo and chorizo croquettes. Loved the chorizo croquettes, the croquettes were soft and pillowy.

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The smoked potato foam weren’t very smoky, it was good but a little too creamy for my liking.

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V had the deep fried calamari with aioli, and sautéed mixed mushrooms with baby asparagus. Loved the sautéed mixed mushrooms but then again, i am a huge fan of mushrooms. The calamari was pretty decent too I thought – light batter, and who can say no to aioli?

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For mains, the clams and Iberico pork belly rice had my name on it. Asked for no clams and they were very accommodating. The rice was risotto like, the pork belly was succulent albeit not enough!

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V opt for spicy mussels and prawns rice with chorizo which she enjoyed.

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The banana-toffee, baileys, frappe and greek yogurt foam was again very creamy for my liking – probably should have picked the chocolate mousse. I may have read it wrong as I was expecting banana banoffee – obviously two very different things!

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The 70% cocao chocolate mousse was decent, great with coffee or tea.

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It wasn’t very busy at lunch when we went. Would be interesting to see what dinner is like. ‘The Mother’ is on the hunt for tapas places, might suggest this place next time he wants tapas.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Numero 15

G/F, 15 Hollywood Road,

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2362 0881

Ole Spanish Restaurant, Central, Hong Kong

‘The Mother’ loves Spanish food – he is always on the hunt for good tapas in Hong Kong. He’s been talking about Ole Restaurant which is located in Central for a while now so finally, one evening on Saturday, we decided to have an early dinner and went to Ole. The place was relatively empty when we rocked up at 6.30pm. We were presented with the menu and some bread, olives and nibbles to start. Everything on the menu sounded wonderful, I wanted to eat everything.

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‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the garlic prawns. I didn’t have any of this, but he said it was one of the best he has eaten – big call i know. He said the prawns were cooked to perfection, it was garlicky and the butter sauce was tasty.

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The traditional spanish iberico ham was quite tasty. Eaten by itself or with some bread… hmhmhm delicious

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The jamon ham croquettes were pretty good I thought, even Dragon enjoyed it and she is not usually a fan of croquettes

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The dish of the evening would have to be the suckling pig – tender pork meat, crispy skin, it just melted in my mouth. I am pretty certain that I could have eaten the whole thing by myself if we didn’t order anything else! IT WAS GOOD!

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For dessert, ‘The Mother’ opt for caramel flan. I was surprised he didn’t choose the churros but he wanted something different. The flan wasn’t for me, it was too ‘firm’ for me, I would have preferred it to be much softer and silkier. Shame, as I really wanted something sweet.

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Overal service was good and tentative, they kept giving us bread as Dragon would not stop eating it! When we are out at restaurants she would happily sit and eat bread, as she knows they are the ‘good stuff’. I buy the crappy cheap ones according to her!

The waitress and waiter loved Dragon – kept her entertain whilst I indulge in some suckling pig!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Ole Spanish Restaurant

1/F, Shun Ho Tower,

24-30 Ice House Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2523 8624

1/5 Neuvo, WanChai

1/5 Neuvo on Star Street has been around for a while now. I have been here many times for drinks but never really to eat. It is opened by the Elite Concept Group who also owns ye Shanghai, Quemo, He Jiang and Nanhai no1. 1/5 Neuvo serves diners Spanish food and for lunch, we were offered lunch set menu which consists of entrée and a main.

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The restaurant was relatively busy for a Friday. We started with some bread – toasted. I do prefer to eat bread fresh, straight from the oven.

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V couldn’t go past the shrimp and grape fruit salad. I didn’t have any of this but V thought it was light and refreshing.

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The spinach soup was creamy but was a little bland.

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V had the grilled calamari with saffron. It looked good, and V did say it ‘wasn’t bad’ but thought the calamari was a little chewy.

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I couldn’t go past the grilled chicken with Cajun which was tender and pretty tasty I thought.

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We decided to share some tiramisu, it was light and fluffy and was the perfect size for the both of us.

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Service was friendly, however, food was a bit of a hit and miss. Company was good though which is the important thing.

GA’s ratings: 6.5 / 10

1/5 Neuvo

9 Start Street

Wanchai, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2529 2300