We scour Hong Kong’s restaurant scene to bring you the new and the noteworthy – it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it! Here, Karl Woodbury checks out Bones & Blades in Sai Kung.
Best on the Block
Among the greatest movements in dining over the past decade is the idea of food transparency – that is, restaurants being informative and open about where they source their ingredients. Not just where, in fact, but also how, when and from whom. Bones & Blades is a new butcher and restaurant on the block in Sai Kung. As the refreshingly honest name suggests, when they opened their doors they also opened up all aspects of their operation for people to see – bones and all!
The whole hog… and more
This tantalising prospect was too good for us to miss. Nicely situated on a quiet seafront strip in Sai Kung, Bones & Blades has a very welcoming entrance, from the shelves of wine to the left, to the glistening butcher’s counter on the right – a real showstopper. This is a nose-to-tail concept, with cuts of thick steak, wonderful pork and lamb, homemade sausages and burgers, not to mention homemade pâtés and rillettes, all vying for attention. Also, when you buy from the butcher’s counter to cook at home, the prices are extremely affordable for such quality.
We were warmly greeted by Jessica who showed us to our table. One thing you quickly notice on the butcher’s page of the menu is the reassuring disclaimer that items are “on availability” – this is because the restaurant supports sustainable farming methods, and supply varies accordingly.
Moving on to the dining section of the menu, the three categories of Grass-fed Beef, Pasture Raised Pork and Grass-fed Lamb soon had us salivating – so many outstanding options to pick from! Happily, Jessica gave us some lovely suggestions, and our order began to arrive shortly after. First up was the Hogan’s Caesar with Applewood Bacon Nibs ($93). Classic, crunchy and fresh with garlic croutons and DOP parmesan, it really hit the spot. Pork Belly Bites ($68) followed, the crispy cubes of naturally sweet pork pepped up with a sriracha mayo on the side – and a squeeze of fresh lime for balance. The Signature Beef Tartare ($160) was succulent, with nice acidity from the capers and gherkins, and a side of lightly toasted sourdough.
Top-notch burgers and a winning condiment
A short break followed, and we sipped our cabernet sauvignon. Then our younger dining companions’ eyes lit up as their burgers arrived. The Crispy Chicken ($80) was exactly that, with juicy, melt-in-the-mouth chicken inside the crumb. The accompanying honey mustard slaw was delicious too.
The BB’s Cheese Burger ($98), meanwhile, was rated “best ever burger” by both our younger diners – high praise indeed given the renaissance in burgers over recent years around Hong Kong. They were spot on. The grass-fed beef patty was juicy and well paired with the raclette. And the secret winning ingredient? Homemade black garlic aioli. It was so good we asked for a bowl of it for the table!
It’s worth noting that there isn’t a big brand-store condiment in sight here. Everything is proudly homemade – and far superior. We opted for two different styles of accompanying fries; Sweet Potato Fries ($55) – caramelised beautifully and a welcome change – and Piggy Fries ($55) with garlic parmesan. These shoestring fries are cooked in rare-breed Mangalitza pork fat and are gloriously crispy and flavoursome. It’s a detail that elevates what is usually such a humble dish.
We had earlier ordered our own mains – Ribeye ($90/100g) and Chipolata Sausages ($125 for two) – and they’d been proudly presented for inspection by Andy from the butcher’s counter. The marbling on the steak looked superb and, after giving him our nod of approval, he passed it to the chef. Another perfect example of the transparency on show at Bones & Blades.
The sausages were meaty and full of flavour, and the ribeye, not surprisingly, was out of this world. Medium rare with gorgeous fat content, it went brilliantly with the wine, the black garlic aioli and the homemade mustard. A side of Sautéed Portobello ($50) sealed the deal on a triumphant meal.
A final word
Jessica had one last trick up her sleeve: a couple of desserts to taste. Chocolate Praline Pot ($95) was a 70% dark Belgian chocolate and toasted hazelnut extravaganza, with some homemade honeycomb on top for good measure. It was rich and way beyond decadent – and a surprisingly good match for the Crozes-Hermitage red wine we were drinking. Last but not least, the Lemon Verrine ($60) combined lemon curd, vanilla bavarois and almond biscuit. It was yet another joy to behold.
Bones & Blades is a magnificent dining experience from start to finish. The transparency of the operation here is crystal clear. Every ingredient is traceable, every element of each dish homemade. The staff are warm, efficient and knowledgeable – and also passionate about everything they serve.
Another nice thought is that in this city where most residents don’t have the room or facilities to barbecue at home, there’s a barbecue out the back for hire (for up to 20 guests). It’s this kind of innovation, and the aforementioned quality and transparency, that makes Bones & Blade a cut above the rest.
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