Restaurant Review

Newly opened: Fish School serves up intriguing combinations of ingredients

David Lai and Yenn Wong's first joint venture a rough gem that is ready to shine

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 November, 2015, 12:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 January, 2016, 10:27pm

Fish School (tel: 2361 2966, but make reservations online at fishschool.hk) in Sai Ying Pun, the first collaboration between restaurateurs David Lai (Neighborhood) and Yenn Wong (Chachawan, 22 Ships, Aberdeen Street Social) may be hard to find at first – just go down an alley and you’ll see the sign – but it’s a cute although rough gem that needs polishing before it shines even brighter.

We love the cosy interior, especially the hand painted outlines of fish on the wood panelled walls, a fish tank by the open kitchen and the bar seats where customers can watch their food being prepared.

The menu features local seafood and produce, with intriguing combinations that we just had to try.

The first dish that arrived at our table was the heirloom vegetables and herbs garden gargouillou (HK$160) –  a delicious, beautifully presented cornucopia of fresh leaves, sweet potato chips, carrots, mini radishes and eggplants, pumpkin purée and cauliflower  garnished with edible flowers.

Next came the fish soup, using local pike and eel (HK$95). The thick brown concoction had the consistency of bisque with quenelles of the above-mentioned fish. While we liked the rich flavour, it was quite salty.

Another that had us drinking lots of water was the marinated raw crab with sea urchin and oyster rice (HK$225). The sea urchin and raw crab were presented in a crab shell, and then the server mixed the ingredients together. However, someone in the kitchen very liberally seasoned the dish with so much salt that we felt our blood pressure jump up after each spoonful.

We were curious about the mantis shrimp popcorn and cured duck yolk (HK$175), which turned out to be the shellfish covered in a crunchy batter that  was so thick it overwhelmed the main ingredient.  The salted duck egg yolk powder was unevenly applied.

We really enjoyed the curious combination of sea cucumber with braised oxtail and porcini mijote (HK$250). Who knew the jelly-like texture of the sea cucumber would marry so well with a meaty stew to add another layer of texture and taste. The dish also included turnips and mashed potatoes to soak up the rich oxtail sauce. For dessert, the lemon marigold sorbet with poached plum and roselle (HK$85) sounded refreshing and for the most part it was. Unfortunately, the poached plum was actually raw and not quite ripe, although the rest of the ingredients made the dish a light finish to the meal.