By: Claire Locking
Combine the words “pub” and “Lan Kwai Fong” and the image that instantly springs to mind may not be that appealing if you’re in the mood for a good meal out.
Don’t let this put you off Harrington’s! This is the first of a new breed of gastro pub, and the latest offering from Castelo Concepts, the culinary brains behind some of the city’s consistently excellent and popular eateries including Oolaa and Wagyu.
This is no pint-and-a-packet-of-pork-scratchings kind of place; the pool table and dartboard have been banished, replaced by starched white tablecloths, low lighting and vases overflowing with lilies. The creative here may have called it a pub but they have certainly modeled the place more on The Ivy that The Queen Vic.
The chef has a long pedigree with Castelo, having decamped from Wagyu up the hill. The food is good – not drop to your knees and shout hallelujah good, but certainly well worth a return visit.
The individual breadboard with hot focaccia and pesto Genovese was an indication of what was to come. We chose a mix of east and wesr for starters; my pan-fried scallops in pancetta with pureed cauliflower were cooked perfectly, but the delicate tastes were sadly overpowered by the vegetable. The Peking duck rolls were not your average deep-friend nonsense, but very light instead – almost a mix between a spring roll and a tortilla.
Main courses include everything from rotisserie chicken to lobster salads, but we opted for more hearty affairs. I sampled one of the trademark dishes, the chicken and mushroom pie: light and fluffy pastry and a creamy concoction of chicken, mushrooms and carrots served with green pea mash. Delicious, but possibly a bit too much when the thermometer is creeping towards the 30s outside. My husband went for sage roasted pork belly with roasted root vegetables and baked apple and seemed to be transported back to the heaven of his mother’s kitchen.
The mains are huge, so dessert could easily be forgotten, but if you do manage to find space then the selection includes something for everyone, from forest fruits with lemon crème fraiche to filo Toblerone parcels and honeycomb-laden Eton Mess.
If I had one complaint it would be the slightly over-eager staff. There is almost one staff per mucher and no sooner have you taken your last mouthful that your plate is whipped away leaving you feeling slightly lonely and gluttunous. I also have a bugbear about plates being removed while others at the table are still eating and this is certainly a black mark on Harrington’s overall high levels of service.
Harrington’s does remarkably manage to tick two boxes, as it’s both a great pub and a pretty decent restaurant. This is neatly summed up by an order I overheard coming from an adjacent table: “I’d like the cheeseburger, well done, but hold the mash – truffle fries instead, please.”
First floor, Ho Lee
17 Lan Kwai Fong