77 Wyndham Street, Central
Tel: 2525 9808
Open: 11am-3am (food is served until midnight)
Cuisine: Californian wine bar
Price: about HK$160 without drinks and the service charge.
Ambience: doors that open onto Wyndham Street make the small restaurant seem slightly larger than it is. Diners perch on high stools at small tables that are close together.
Pros: this Californian had a hard time deciding between the seasonal menu's dishes, which are listed according to the wine they would best accompany.
Cons: the California sliders with porchetta and garlicky greens (HK$78) sounded much more flavourful than they were; the jus, served in a small ramekin, was more fat than rich meat juices. The California tacos with grilled flank steak and chimichurri sauce (HK$68) were also disappointing: the meat (medium rare) was tender but the parsley, coriander and lime juice sauce was indistinct. The fruit tart (HK$38) dough was too heavy.
Recommended dishes: we liked the California tacos with carnitas and salsa roja (HK$63 for two), which had moist meat and a lightly textured, well-flavoured sauce. Baja fish tacos (HK$72) were the freshest of the three tacos we tried, despite the battered and fried fish. Served with shredded cabbage, pico de gallo and small pieces of avocado, they needed only a little more salt. We loved the baked Laura Chenel goat cheese with roasted piquillo peppers (HK$74) that we spread over crostini. Opinion was divided about the rotisserie chicken tostada with salsa verde (HK$78): I disliked the chicken (which was cubed, rather than shredded, as described on the menu); one patron disliked the beans; while another couldn't get enough of the whole thing.
What else? True to its name, California Vintage serves wines from the Golden State. The restaurant offers a set lunch with appetiser, soup and main course for about HK$65 to HK$95.