Newly opened: Spanish fare at Wan Chai’s The Optimist
Relaxed vibe and well-cooked dishes make this Northern Spanish eatery a winner
Either The Optimist’s phone (tel: 2433 3324) does not have a call waiting function or the line is always jammed. We called several times throughout the day before we finally spoke to a person. And although the confirmation email they said they would send us never arrived, we know our booking was secured when they called us on the day to confirm.
We thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed vibe of the “Barcelona chic” bar on the ground floor. Located in Wan Chai, the three-storey restaurant is the brainchild of Christian Talpo and Manuel Palacio, the team behind Pirata which is in the same building.
Instead of the homey Italian cuisine of Pirata, the duo’s latest mission is to offer a northern Spanish experience and asador (grill) dishes.
We loved the tuna tataki (HK$220). The two different textures of the red tuna were delightful and the creamy sauce – almond soup with a Japanese dressing – was so good we wanted to wipe the plate clean with our bread. Grilled octopus (HK$220) was disappointing because the mushy chunks don’t taste of much, but the grilled Boston lobster (HK$420) was fresh, sweet, juicy and cooked perfectly.
They were out of the dry-aged bone-in Galician rib-eye, and the whole grilled turbot was too large for our group, so we tried the entrecote (HK$420) instead. The meat was nicely charred and cooked to our requested medium rare.
We thought it was better without the overly tart sauce, though, which luckily comes on the side. The part that we enjoyed most about the meal was the potato sides. Be it the boiled ones sharing the same skillet with the octopus, the chips that came with the lobster, or the cheesy Josper potatoes served with our beef, they were all very delicious and comforting.
The Optimist, G-2/F, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai