The Gene has taken over the space in Causeway Bay, which was once occupied by China Jump. The new restaurant and bar has retained the look of the former nightclub - with the dentist's chair intact - but not the feel, as the clientele is distinctly different, with locals taking the lead.
Despite the friendly greeting by model and sometime actor, Le Bon, at the door, the service here has room for improvement. By the end of the evening, the DJ next to us must have been tired of flagging down waiters on our behalf. Since we were seated next to two large parties, it was probably a miracle the waiter got our order at all.
The main menu features Asian cuisine, but a separate menu with burgers and pasta is there to cover all the bases.
We started with the roasted fresh-water eel ($68). It was tender and had no bones, but would have been better minus the bits of charcoal. The chicken-feet salad ($48) was a refreshing and spicy dish with plenty of crunchy onion slices to complement the chewy feet. The charcoal-grilled chicken a la Pattaya (half portion, $68) was also a good choice with fragrant Thai herbs and was grilled just long enough to retain its natural juices.
Tom yum soup ($88 for two) was hot and spicy with a generous amount of prawns and straw mushrooms. The fried broccoli with garlic ($52) was too salty, a fault also of the dry whole charcoal-grilled fresh crab ($138).
We ordered red seafood curry ($78), but it arrived looking suspiciously like green curry. Still, it had a nice, mild coconut-based sauce with plenty of fish, prawns and squid pieces. We finished with more seafood; the char-grilled squid starter that had got lost on its way to our table.
Dinner for four with service charge (and 20 per cent off credit card promotion) came to $775.