Review: 22 Ships

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 9:51am

22 Ship Street, Wan Chai

Tel: 2555 0722

Open: Monday-Saturday noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm

Cuisine: tapas

Price: about HK$330 without drinks. There's no service charge.

Ambience: buzzing and convivial. The focus of the room is the open kitchen/bar, around which are tall stools for diners. There are a few small, high tables, as well as chairs for counter seating along the walls.

Pros: the menu is brief but tempting. Each category, which includes eggs, seafood, meat and vegetables, has a maximum of seven offerings.

Cons: although the squid pieces in the paella with parsley dressing (HK$128) were tender, the rice tasted more like Italian risotto, and was too salty and tart. The baked smoked bone marrow (HK$68) didn't have much smoky flavour and was more like meat rillettes.

Recommended dishes: the inherent oiliness of the fish in a dish of miso grilled mackerel with wasabi avocado and cucumber chutney (HK$148) was balanced by the brightly flavoured toppings. Suckling pig (HK$148), served in a small copper roasting pan, was a tasty dish, with moist, tender meat (we were lucky enough to have the rib portion) and delicately crisp skin. The accompaniment of roasted and spiced apple purée was tart and refreshed the palate when eaten with the rich meat. Desserts were inventive, delicious, beautifully presented and well-executed, giving a good mix of textures and temperatures on each plate. The PBJ (HK$68) was a quenelle of tart blueberry sorbet with peanut parfait and salted peanut crunch. Goat cheese sorbet with honeycomb (HK$68) sounds like an unlikely combination, but the smooth, creamy funkiness (in a good way) of the sorbet with the bittersweet caramel flavours of the crunchy honeycomb were delicious.

What else? No reservations are accepted. We arrived for lunch at noon and were able to get a table immediately, but it filled up quickly.