Southern Seafood Boil and a New Argentinian Steakhouse
This week's new and noted restaurants.
Upper Modern Bistro
Upper Modern Bistro has recently welcomed a new chef de cuisine on board: And if the tastefully revamped brunch menu is anything to go by, we hope he’s here to stay. With years spent at top establishments in both France and Japan (Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée and Restaurant Kei Paris under chef Kei Kobayashi), chef Julien Cadiou seems to be a natural fit for the buzzing Sheung Wan bistro, which for the past few years has followed the discipline of light, modern French fare and techniques interwoven with the clean Japanese aesthetic and some choice Japanese ingredients.
The brunch menu ($390 per person, Sat-Sun 11:30am-3pm) excites from the get-go, with a complimentary glass of champagne followed by a dizzying array of starters to share—each served in its own unique tableware, similar to the Japanese kaiseki-ryori multi-course tradition. Although bite-sized, the marinated bigeye tuna bursts with big, bold, citrusy flavors, while the foie gras brulée is smooth and creamy under a cracker-thin torched sugar ceiling. The mussels and oysters taste of the ocean, and the pop of salmon roe on top of the avocado guacamole is another cheeky nod to Japanese cuisine. Choose from six main courses which feature hearty proteins such as the roasted Finland pork loin and 88-day-reared free-range chicken, as well as more rustic dishes like strozzapreti rustici pasta with mushroom, baby spinach and lobster sauce. The brunch ends with a platter of nine mini-desserts which cover the spectrum from hot to cold, sweet to citrusy, and crumbly to crispy—we really couldn’t decide which one took the cake.
Moonshine & The Po' Boys
“Always imitated but never duplicated” seems to be a fitting phrase for Hong Kong’s restaurants when it comes to regional styles of western dining, whether it be southern soul food or Tex-Mex, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few places that actually get it right. On a recent trip to Moonshine & The Po’ Boys, we rolled out with our faces stuffed with good ol’ fashioned southern comfort food, from seafood boils to fried chicken to baby back-ribs and more. The team behind Po’ Boys serves up the real deal here—and the prices are well within reason, from $250 for a platter of flavor-packed baby back ribs with a Jack Daniels and peach bbq sauce, to $150 for crispy pork belly and $250 for a whole fried chicken that’s fried, well, whole. Unleash your inner caveman and rip apart the crispy, crunchy, batter-coated legs, thighs and wings to uncover the ultra-tender meat inside, complemented by fresh, tangy coleslaw and more fantastic house-made dipping sauces.
We highly suggest coming in numbers so you can take full advantage of the two monster dishes on the menu: a bone-in black angus tomahawk with bourbon jus ($680) and the Cajun-style bayou bucket ($980 half, $1,480 whole) which arrives brimming over with fresh king crab legs, blue crab, tiger prawns, clams, mussels, andouille sausage, sweetcorn and new potatoes. It took about eight of us to take down this massive seafood bucket, which makes the value for money more than worth it if you’re rolling in a large group. And if you can still manage dessert, the gooey skillet cake with vanilla ice cream ($80) and apple crumble with salted bourbon caramel aren’t to be missed.
Buenos Aires Polo Club
It can’t be easy to say goodbye to your baby… unless you’re Black Sheep Restaurants and have the anatomy of a hydra: cut off one head and two more grow in its place. Following the successful launch of Parisian bistro Belon and Middle Eastern restaurant Maison Libanaise—both instant hits with the SoHo dining crowd—the ubiquitous restaurant group has turned its attention back full circle, with plans to replace its first restaurant Boqueria with Buenos Aires Polo Club (opening mid-May), a refined Argentinian steakhouse. Riding with the equestrian theme, the new space will pay homage to the golden era of Buenos Aires and specialize in Argentinian grilling, with a menu helmed by executive chef Felipe Lopez.
On the menu you’ll find free-roam Argentinian beef grilled in the asado tradition, with the meat cooked over an open flame, alongside a supporting cast of salads and sides. It wouldn’t be a Black Sheep restaurant without an extensive and thoughtful bar selection; unsurprisingly, BAPC will feature a curated list of mainly Argentinian wines, as well as classic cocktails and an impressive vermouth library. There will also be distinctly masculine touches throughout, from rich woods to vintage equestrian antiques and a sleek selection of steak knives. We can’t wait to dig in.