Recently opened Morty’s on Star Street in Wan Chai tries to cater to all tastes, with varying success

Highlights include Craig’s moreish pig candy and the well-flavoured French onion soup, but a mushy short rib sandwich was a mess to eat and the poutine wasn’t anything a Canadian would recognise

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 September, 2017, 12:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 September, 2017, 3:23pm

I was excited by the opening of a new branch of Morty’s on Star Street in Wan Chai – tagline: “slow cooked with love” – because the smoked meat sandwiches at Morty’s in Jardine House are the closest thing to the type you can find at delis in New York. The new branch was also offering a larger menu.

The interior resembles a diner, with stools by the bar and banquette seating along the opposite wall. In addition to the classic pastrami and Reuben served at the Jardine House branch, dishes include 30-day dry-aged tomahawk steak (a departure from the original branch’s prime rib), kale burger and smoked duck fried rice.

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But I have to ask: why come here for a kale burger? And if I wanted fried rice I’d go down the street to a cha chaan teng. It seems as if Morty’s is trying to cater to all preferences.

We started with a few new menu items. The buttermilk bacon jalapeño corn bread (HK$88) was on the crumbly side but went down smoothly with some maple butter.

Craig’s pig candy (HK$78) – thin slices of home-made bacon generously slathered in a sweet and spicy dry rub – was addictive. It was quite oily, but the sweetness and spiciness was so good we ate one piece, and then another.

The French onion soup (HK$88) had a good amount of well-flavoured broth with a thick layer of melted cheese on top.

The 72-hour sous-vide short rib sandwich (HK$158) looked impressive piled high on a brioche bun. The kitchen helped us out by cutting it in half, but eating it was a downright mess. The ribs were so soft they were almost mushy, but we liked the combination of finely diced mushrooms and onions. As for the artichoke cheese sauce, we could hardly detect it.

Our sandwich came with a side of so-called poutine, but it wasn’t anything a Canadian would recognise. Instead of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy, the fries came with melted cheddar, which was disappointing.

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By the end of the meal we were much too full to have other calorific items like a milkshake, New York style cheesecake and chocolate chip cookie sundae. An ice cream sandwich, though, might have tempted us.

Morty’s Delicatessen, 8-10 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai, tel: 3665 0890 (no reservations)

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