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Newly opened: Townhouse, Lan Kwai Fong and Lex Coffee, Kennedy Town

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 May, 2015, 6:55am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 May, 2015, 11:09pm

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The Gaia Group's new restaurant, Townhouse (tel: 2344 2366), on the 23rd floor of the new California Tower, is a cavernous space with a semi-open kitchen.

The menu is confusing - it's a bit Western here, a bit Asian there - without adding up to much. We visited on the day it opened, and the meal started well with the small fish tempura with a mild kimchi mayonnaise (HK$68) on a bed of assorted salad leaves.

The duck noodles with sizzling hot spicy broth (HK$128, above) was described as "amazing", but we just found it puzzling. Arriving in a stone bowl was a mass of deep-fried dried noodles topped with mushrooms, measly strips of roast duck and peppers on which we drizzled the supposedly spicy sauce. The ingredients didn't gel and the dish tasted flat.

Equally disappointing was the black truffle, prawn, salted duck egg and cauliflower pizza (HK$138). You'd think that with such assertive ingredients the flavours would be strong, but instead the pizza was bland.

The meal ended with the overpriced fondue set with egg puffs (HK$108), featuring a Chinese egg waffle accompanied by cloyingly sweet custard, broken bits of Oreo cookies, berries and mini marshmallows. We left full, but hardly satisfied.

The gentrification of Kennedy Town meant that Starbucks was ready to open in the area, but Lex Coffee (tel: 2345 1128) got there first. It sells sandwiches and pasta dishes, with coffee and tea.

Opening a bar or restaurant? Contact 48hours@scmp.com