9 Star Street, Wan Chai
Tel: 2529 2300
Open: Monday-Saturday noon-2.30pm, Sunday-Thursday 6pm-11pm, Friday-Saturday 6pm-midnight
Cuisine: Primarily Spanish, with influences from other Mediterranean countries.
Ambience: The dining room is comfortable, although the banquette that runs across the low wall dividing the restaurant from the bar has tables that are too close together. The clientele is a mix of groups and couples.
Price: About HK$225 per person without drinks and 10 per cent service charge.
Pros: The menu has a mix of tapas-style 'small plates', which enables diners to taste many dishes. The wine list is interesting with some unusual bottles and a good selection of wines by the glass.
Cons: The meal came out too slowly and the waiters were inefficient. My guest wanted a second glass of wine and was promptly given the list but we had to flag the waiter down to remind him to take the order. I requested grilled oysters (HK$32 each) but the waiter brought raw ones. When the correct order came, the breadcrumb and butter topping was nice and crusty but too thick. We had to ask twice for the dessert menu. The fruit mosaic (HK$44) dessert sounded more interesting than it was: a mix of under-ripe strawberries and melon, and acidic pineapple and kiwi, although the accompanying limoncello sorbet was refreshing.
Recommended dishes: Sauteed goose liver with grape sauce (HK$98) was perfectly cooked: seared on the outside and pink within. Baby octopus salad (HK$58) was a light and refreshing contrast to the rich foie gras. The paella risotto with sauteed prawn (HK$88, above) was enjoyable. Beef tartare (HK$125) was too smooth and over-processed (it's better with texture) but the flavour was perfectly balanced. The accompanying fries were limp.
What else? There's a good cocktail list. A DJ spins tunes on Friday and Saturday evenings.