Restaurant review: Commissary in Admiralty – a slice of Southern California in Hong Kong
Fish tacos are a standout on this California-inspired menu, despite the slight disappointment of the tortillas. Brisket tamale is a winner but the chicken sandwich and the shrimp and grits were not completely successful
Sitting on level four of the Pacific Place shopping mall with a view of the taxi queue doesn’t evoke the “lively Southern California” feel that the creators of Commissary are attempting. The menu, though, is something else – it will make any homesick Californian want to order one of everything, please – especially the fish tacos.
We’re happy to say that the fish tacos with green goddess dressing and cabbage slaw (HK$138 for three) were almost as good as the ones we’ve eaten in Southern California. The moist fish had a light batter and was generously portioned, the slaw was crunchy and fresh, and the tomatillo sauce (served on the side) gave a welcome tanginess. The dish was let down by the tortillas, which were insubstantial and pasty; perhaps serving two per taco and lightly toasting them on a griddle would have worked better.
I was worried that my guest wouldn’t like the brisket tamale (HK$108) because Brits often find the cornmeal dough strange. To my surprise, she liked it a lot: while the flavourful brisket wrapped inside the masa could have used a little more sauce, the tamale was enjoyable, because the layer of cornmeal wasn’t too thick or heavy. The herb and onion salad served on the side went very well with the tamale.
My guest loved the chicken part of the southern fried chicken sandwich (HK$198). But it was too large to eat neatly and she ended up taking the chicken out of the bun and eating only the meat. We wondered why they didn’t just serve a dish of fried chicken, instead of a fried chicken burger. The fries tasted like they were frozen, and were coated with too much spice.
My main course of shrimp and grits (HK$158) had – strangely – too much shrimp and not enough grits. The flavour was good, but there was no point to the softly cooked egg; if you add egg, it’s because you want more creaminess or moisture, which this didn’t need.
Commissary, Level 4, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel: 2602 0707. About HK$330 without drinks or the service charge.