By: Claire Locking
Fish & Meat
32 Wyndham Mansions (entrance on Glenealy Street)
2565 6788 | fishandmeat.hk
In Hong Kong, a gastronomic hive of fusions and foams, sometimes you just crave something less fussy; a place like Fish and Meat, perhaps. This new restaurant on Wyndham Street uses Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous quote “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” as its marketing strapline and promises a focus on fundamentals: fresh produce and great cooking techniques.
The first floor restaurant, former home of Sal Curioso, is cosy and welcoming. Polished concrete floors, white-washed tongue-and-groove walls, and rustic reclaimed wood tables all create a perfect backdrop.
The menu is a surprise in view of the claims of simple farm-to-table cooking, with plenty of unusual flavour combinations. We kick things off with a couple of sharing plates from the “Smalls” section of the menu. The hand-ground Dutch veal and pork meatballs with Fontina cheese and pepperoni sauce (HK$95) are a highlight of the meal: succulent meat and mellow cheese balance perfectly with a pepperoni kick. The most expensive starter is roasted New Zealand langoustines with charred Sicilian lemon aioli and wild oregano ($195) but it’s a bit of a let down. The portion is very generous but the langoustines themselves are small and the flavour combinations bland – the lemon and oregano barely evident.
Mains are described as “Large” on the menu but that should read “Enormous”. We choose one of the signature dishes, slow-cooked Spanish Teruel pork belly porchetta wrapped with Italian fennel sausage and apple marmalade ($360). To accompany this huge chunk of meat, we order crushed broad beans, peas, pancetta and mint ($70) and roasted Tuscan potatoes ($70). The pork belly is a disappointment, even for my meat-addicted dining partner, with the fennel sausage overpowering the pork flavour. The saving grace is the crispy crackling that goes perfectly with the sweet apple marmalade.
More enjoyable is the roast monkfish, cauliflower, caper berries, lemon thyme and charred daily greens ($320). The fish is cooked to perfection – tender and meaty – and the cauliflower puree works almost as a sauce; again, though, the lemon feels lost among the stronger flavours.
The pudding menu is a less extravagant affair with just four tempting choices. We opt for whipped mascarpone “cheesecake” with raspberry sorbet and shortbread crumble ($80). The presentation gives a nod to cheesecake but it’s more of a soufflé with the lightness of the whipped mascarpone and the crumble sprinkled on top. Delicious.
Fish and Meat offers expertly executed food with an intimate and enjoyable ambience but we can’t fail to feel that the marketing just doesn’t quite match the reality. The website claims to offer simplicity, letting ingredients “speak for themselves”, yet the chef (who trained with Gordon Ramsay) has devised a complex menu with very bold flavour combinations.
Must try dish: Hand-ground Dutch veal and pork meatballs with Fontina and pepperoni sauce