Restaurant review: Townhouse, Lan Kwai Fong - fusion
A menu representing a mix of Asian and Western fusion, as well as classic Italian, proves a delightful surprise
I approached Townhouse with some trepidation. The restaurant was opened by Gaia Group, best known for its Italian restaurants such as the long-running Va Bene (closed now as it's moving from Lan Kwai Fong to Sai Ying Pun), Gaia and Isola. The group has expanded into fusion by opening branches of the Bangkok-based Greyhound Cafe, as well as Glasshouse in IFC.
Townhouse's menu is similar to that of Glasshouse, which I tried once and disliked. The long menu listed various types of "bites": small, bigger, robata, garden, pizza, main and sweet bites, and the dishes didn't sound appetising — a confusing mix of Asian and Western fusion, as well as classic Italian. But the food was much better than expected.
Hamachi sashimi with green apple wasabi ice and yuzu (HK$128) was a great start to the meal. The slices of fish were topped with three tiny quenelles of the refreshing sorbet which had just the right balance of tart apple and sinus-clearing wasabi. Salted quail (HK$108) was moist, with a delicate fried crust.
From the robata section we tried the red prawns charred with sea salt and shrimp sambal sauce (HK$48 each). The prawns — served in the shell — had succulent meat, and there was plenty of juice in the head.
The description of "shelter crab, spicy, deep fried" (HK$138) didn't lead us to expect the weird but delicious mix of flavours: soft-shell crab with spicy tortilla chips, slightly sweet cereal, dried chillies and fried shimeji mushrooms. This dish, with its sweet-savoury-spicy flavours, was served at the same time as the clam spaghetti with anchovies and chilli (HK$138), which shows the kitchen can also make classic Italian.
The only dish that disappointed was dessert: the banana and chocolate crêpe with coconut (HK$68) had too much whipped cream and not enough banana, and the crêpe was pale and flabby.
Townhouse, 23/F California Tower, 30-36 D'Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 2344 2366. About HK$340 without drinks or the service charge