Having been to Jason Atherton’s sister restaurant in Singapore, Esquina, I was wondering if that venue’s creativity and quality of ingredients could be reproduced here. They most definitely were – and if the queue outside is anything to go by, the diners of Hong Kong agree.
This is a tapas restaurant, and we were advised to order at least five dishes between the three of us. We were all starving so we opted for six and we weren’t disappointed by any of them. The vegetarian in our group was particularly impressed by the baked beetroot with goat’s cheese and red sorrel, and the artichoke, king oyster mushrooms, miso and truffles. Both dishes were packed with flavour and freshness.
Favourite dish of the night for the others was the slow-cooked lamb shoulder with sweet potato and cumin. The dish not only looked impressive, but was the perfect balance of “meat and veg”; incredibly tender, too. Suckling pig with pineapple and piquillo peppers was another standout. The crackling was crunchy and not too thick, and the meat pulled gently and easily onto my fork. The portion size was pretty large, so it’s definitely a dish to share.
Textures of Chocolate, Mint was a lovely way to end the meal. It’s like a chocolate after-dinner mint, but with fresh mint and chocolate with a high cocoa content. For a dish that sounds like it could be rather rich, I found it incredibly light and even refreshing, thanks to the mint, with just the right amount of sweetness. (Always good to find a pudding that is palette cleansing – it makes you feel less guilty.) Meanwhile, the goat’s cheese ice cream with raspberry and granola garnered mixed reactions; it’s an interesting combination of flavours that you’ll either love or hate.
What I liked most about 22 Ships was the buzz it had, even on a Monday night. The place was rammed, and yet the service was friendly and quick. I think it’s an ideal venue for a quick glass of wine or a sangria, and a few bites with a friend, on any night of the week, especially for those living and working in the area.
22 Ships, 22 Ship Street, Wan Chai, 2555 0722