Newly opened Mad for Garlic in Causeway Bay – could do better

A preponderance of the pungent clove, questionable food quality, and lacklustre service collectively make it hard to sink your fangs into this Korean newcomer

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2016, 12:37pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2016, 12:42pm

With the opening of Mad for Garlic in Times Square, there’s no need to fear Dracula. The chain restaurant from Korea uses Korean garlic in almost every dish. We visited a few days after the restaurant opened, and hope that they can improve the quality of the food and service.

The Caesar salad (HK$88) arrived soon after we made our order. The romaine lettuce was cut lengthwise into quarters. It was enjoyable, with (thankfully) minimal dressing, minuscule croutons and lots of fried garlic chips on top.

Next came a signature dish, garlic snowing pizza (HK$108), with sweet garlic, shrimp, and bits of pineapple, cheese and garlic chips on the crisp thin-crust pizza. Even with all those toppings, as well as Parmesan that was grated over the pizza at the table, it was surprisingly bland.

We asked for the garlic steak (HK$188) to be cooked medium rare, but the thin piece of rib eye was on the bloody side. It was served on a bed of sliced onions on a sizzling platter; if it had been placed directly on the platter, it probably would have reached medium rare.It was topped with garlic chips (by now we’d figured out this was a common refrain) and a few mushrooms that hadn’t had a chance to cook.

On the menu, the garlicpeno pasta (HK$88) had two chilli peppers next to it so we were prepared for a spicy dish. However, when the dish arrived (garnished incongruously with a sprig of rosemary), it was so incendiary we couldn’t taste anything, including the garlic chips that had (once again) been sprinkled generously on top.

Thankfully we had our drinks, Lemon Ade (HK$36) and white wine berry cooler (HK$42) to soothe our taste buds.

For dessert the garlic berry and ice cream (HK$62) turned out to be a scoop of vanilla ice cream with sweetened and soft garlic cloves and raspberry and blueberry compote. The garlic flavour was subtle enough that we couldn’t taste it, but it gave an interesting note to the dish.

The service needs to be drastically improved. The dishes came out in rapid succession before our drinks arrived, and two of our orders were wrong.

When the manager brought our dessert and we told him it wasn’t the right one, he hollered the waitress’ name across the dining room, wanting to tell her she made a mistake.

Tables were not cleared after diners left, and one customer had to get his own menu when he couldn’t flag anyone down.

Dracula might avoid this place for the garlic, but diners might stay away, too, if the service and food quality continues like this.

Mad for Garlic, Shop 1104, 11/F, Food Forum, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 3752 2880. Open: 11.30 am to 10pm