Frites Belgium on Tap
Shop 6, 1/F Causeway Centre,
28 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
Tel: 2877 2422
Cuisine: Belgian pub fare
Price: about HK$300 per head without drinks and the service charge
Ambience: the tall ceiling imparts the same dark wood, beer-hall feel as its older sibling in Central, with a more open and spacious layout inside, and large outdoor tables lining its corner spot on the first floor of Causeway Centre. On a balmy Tuesday night, all the outdoor tables were full; we sat at a comfortable booth inside near the entrance.
Pros: Frites has revamped its previously wurst- and potato-heavy menu to include bistro fare - an improvement, in our opinion. The portions are as big as ever and easy to share at the table.
Cons: the poached egg served on the roast chicken frisee salad (HK$80) came with the yolk cooked solid and cold (though our request for a properly poached egg was kindly met), and the slices of rye that accompanied our mussels were slightly stale but overall, the food was satisfying both in presentation and taste.
Recommended dishes: my guest and I thoroughly enjoyed the appetiser of baked chevre tart with watercress salad (HK$85); the generous medallion of melting goat's cheese lay on strips of lightly grilled and dressed bell pepper and courgette and a golden square of crispy puff pastry. The combination of creamy soft cheese, tangy and sweet balsamic and the buttery puff was delicious. Our order of mussels in a creole broth (HK$195 per 500 grams) had a nice spicy kick to it - the onion, garlic and Cajun seasoning made for a long impression on the palate, even after the mussels themselves made it down the gullet. We also enjoyed the Zee Brugge burger (HK$145), a crumbed sole fillet burger with melted cheese and heaped side of fries. The two sole fillets were substantial, moist and fresh, and, with the cheese and tartar sauce between two toasted half buns, made a perfect fish sandwich.
What else? Half-price happy hour is every day from 3pm to 7pm, which gives patrons plenty of time to sample more than 80 varieties of imported artisanal bottles. There are branches of Frites in Central (tel: 2179 5179) and Quarry Bay (tel: 2250 5188).