Restaurant review: Awtar, SoHo – Mediterranean food mostly forgettable
The dips are the best thing on the menu at Awtar, where some of the dishes are bland, overpriced or amateurishly made. Your best bet may be just to go there for the cocktails
Price: about HK$185 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: crowded – tables are very close together. We were initially seated upstairs but we asked for a table downstairs, where we hoped it would be warmer. We were then given a table next to the folding doors, which staff kept opening so they could go in and out of the restaurant, but they didn’t always close the doors all the way so cold air blew in.
Pros: our waiter was friendly enough…
Cons: ...but he should have written down our order instead of trying to memorise it – he forgot one dish. Some of the dishes are not worth the price. The Mediterranean meat pie (HK$108) featured a small amount of minced lamb spread thinly over flat bread; while the flavour was fine, it was expensive for what it was. Our initial thought when we saw the halloumi sandwiches was “Is this a joke?” It was amateurishly made: thin, measly slices of bland halloumi that might at one point have been melted, but which were congealed by the time they were served, with unripe tomatoes and wilted romaine lettuce between flat bread. The description of the “casserole d’aubergine” (HK$138) sounded enticing: “eggplant grilled and slow cooked in a casserole with Mediterranean spices”. Instead, it tasted as if the ingredients – soft pieces of eggplant, undercooked zucchini and acidic tomatoes – had been simmered together without any seasoning. We each tried a couple of bites and left the rest.
Recommended dishes: the dips were the best part of the meal. The Awtar hummus, made from “a family secret recipe” (HK$88) was fine, but far outclassed by the others. The bazenjan (HK$78) – also known as baba ganoush – had a great smoky flavour, while the satsivi (HK$68) – made with nuts and spices – was complex, coarsely textured and delicious. Our last dish, the one that the waiter forgot – was the filo rolls stuffed with mixed cheese (HK$78), which were hot and crisp.
What else? Friends have been raving about this place for their drinks – so perhaps it’s a good idea to come here for just the cocktails.
Awtar, 22 Staunton Street, SoHo, Tel: 2530 5900