15 Hollywood Road, Central
Tel: 2362 0881
Open: noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm
Cuisine: modern tapas
Price: about HK$330 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: the décor has changed slightly from when this space used to house Mesa 15: the low-backed padded chairs have been replaced with uncomfortable backless stools, the paintings on the walls are bright pop-art, and the whole feel of the place seems younger.
Pros: some of the dishes had two pieces, but our waitress offered to adjust the order so it would feed three of us.
Cons: the service is no longer as friendly, helpful and accommodating as when it was Mesa 15. We asked if we could move to one of the booths after its previous occupants left, and the waitress said she thought it was reserved. But she made no move to check, and it remained unoccupied for the rest of our meal. Ox tongue (HK$69) was under-seasoned and overcooked. The 12-hour confit boneless suckling pig (HK$119) was bland, and the skin wasn't crisp. The churros (HK$59) were too salty, and we couldn't taste the passion fruit in the too-thin white chocolate dip.
Recommended dishes: volcano balls (deep-fried wagyu meatballs with melted cheese, HK$89 for two) were moist and oozy within the delicate crust. AFC (Alejandro's fried chicken, HK$99) tasted of Chinese fermented bean curd, and once we got over our surprise, we enjoyed the boneless pieces of meat with a crisp crust. The meat in the slow-cooked Iberico pork belly bun with kimchi mayo (HK$80 for two) could have been browned better, but the bun to meat ratio was fine. The wagyu beef mini burgers (HK$99 for two) were tender and juicy. While the shrimp in the gambas al ajillo (HK$119) were nothing special, the garlicky sauce was so good we asked for an order of bread (HK$12) to mop it up.
What else? Sister restaurant Mesa 15 is now in Lan Kwai Fong (tel: 2530 1890).