New Rolls at Lobster Central And The Best Blueberry Pancakes in Hong Kong
This week's new and noted restaurants.
Go On, and Be Happy
If you work or live anywhere in the Wan Chai area, you’re probably already familiar with The Optimist’s happy hour, where you can enjoy their killer cocktails and bar bites—think ham croquettes, beef sliders, oysters and eggplant fries—for $48 each. But it’s not just the bar vibes that the ground floor space has going for it—awash in greenery, shades of turquoise and an open window façade for people gazing, the street-level venue is perfect for all-day dining, now available from 11:30am-6pm daily. If the massive asador-grilled steaks on the second floor are too heavy for you, go light at the bar with crostini and vegetable crudités ($85), shrimp tempura ($95) and octopus with chickpeas ($120) for sharing; along with a range of Spanish mains including Spanish omelette with chorizo ($55), the juicy Optimist Burger with bacon and Manchego cheese ($120), and the quintessential broken eggs, or “huevos rotos” ($80). Top it off with the buttermilk pancakes ($65) which are some of the best we’ve had in Hong Kong—golden brown on the outside, gooey on the inside, and dotted with a handful of plump, sweet berries.
Mon-Sun 3-7:30pm, 239 Hennessy Rd., Wan Chai, 2433-3324.
Surf ‘n’ Turf Rolls
There’s been a lot of debate about who does the best lobster roll in Hong Kong, but while most stick with the spiny crustacean as the central ingredient, Lobster Central is taking it a step further to include scallops, shrimp, crab, and even pulled beef as the main event. Their assembly is pretty fool-proof: a split-top bun, pan-fried in butter, and stuffed to the brim with fresh, chilled seafood whipped together with mayo and more melted butter. Their lobster roll is already one of the best around (it’s modeled off the original Luke’s Lobster in New York, mind you), but we won’t say no to the pan fried scallop roll ($118) stuffed with six large scallops, poached and pan-fried in butter to order. The crab roll is another winner, with shredded fresh crab meat lifted with a sprinkling of pepper and still tasting of the sea. If seafood’s not your jam, go for the brand new pulled beef short rib roll ($108) and dig into a quarter pound of cooked New Zealand prime beef, rubbed with peppercorns and spices, and slow-cooked in an oak wood smoker for more than 10 hours. All of their rolls are finished off with a sprinkling of “secret seasoning”—and yes, it’s a closely guarded secret.
Shop E, G/F, 50 Stanley St., Central, 3565-6725.
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Meet Me at Ab Street
A hot spot for casual group dinners and Friday date nights, Aberdeen Street Social is upping their game with a new menu for both lunch and dinner. Served upstairs and in the more laidback ground floor bar, the new focus is primarily on chilled crustaceans and premium cuts from the grill, while staying true to the spirit of Jason Atherton’s contemporary British cuisine. From the à la carte menu, dine on sole meunière, swimming in a burnt butter sauce with potatoes, capers and lemon ($345); a whole-dressed brown crab with brown crab mayo, apple and coriander ($200); and a 10oz grass-fed Angus ribeye steak ($280) with a selection of sides. The “Lunch Social” set menu Mon-Fri ($238 for two courses; $288 for three) also includes new offerings such as leek and potato soup with 63-degree egg and sea bass with baked potato purée and roasted celeriac. Finally, you no longer have to wait until Friday to enjoy the crispy fried fish & chips—feast on beer-battered cod and triple cooked chips for $215 any day of the week.
G/F, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St., Central, 2866-0300.