Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Great chilli crab pasta and a choice of light, medium and heavy dishes at Elementary in Tai Hang

Friendly neighbourhood restaurant Elementary has a few nods to its school theme, pleasant staff and a decent choice of well made dishes, which are divided into small, medium and heavy

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2018, 1:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 August, 2018, 7:28pm

Elementary has been on my food radar for a couple of months now, but it wasn’t until different friends on two successive days asked me if I’d eaten there that I decided I should make the trip to Tai Hang. My guest and I were caught in a torrential downpour as we walked there. The staff slid open the door, handed us paper napkins to dry ourselves, led us to a table and immediately brought us glasses of warm water.

The restaurant is a friendly neighbourhood spot on School Street. The interior has playful nods to the school theme with the bill being presented in a colourful pencil box, while the chairs resembled larger versions of what we might have perched on in school. Thankfully, the theme is not overdone.

The menu is divided into sections of light, medium and heavy. I was very tempted by two of the dishes in the heavy section – the fancy poutine – fries, oxtail gravy, blue cheese and runny egg (HK$158) and the braised beef short rib with honey kimchi relish (HK$338) but my guest wasn’t keen on either. In the end, we chose all our dishes from the medium section.

Duck heart kebabs with parsley vinaigrette (HK$88) were nicely grilled, giving the hearts a dense, chewy texture.

Grilled quail with date glaze (HK$138) was moist and meaty with a delicious sweet and sticky coating. It came with a crunchy, refreshing salad of fresh red cabbage and micro sprouts.

King prawns with charred tomato and cinnamon butter (HK$148) came without any accompaniments, and was garnished with half a grilled lime. The medium-sized shell-on prawns had sweet flesh.

My favourite dish of the evening was the chilli crab pasta (HK$148). The angel hair pasta was slightly overcooked and could have used more crab, but it was well flavoured with a tongue-tingling amount of chilli and garlic.

We had two versions of the ice cream sandwiches (HK$58) with house-made ice cream between two cookies. While we liked the ice cream – especially the strawberry/fennel, as a sandwich it was unwieldy to eat because the cookies were too large and thick.

The menu changes often, and not all the dishes we tried are on the current menu.

Elementary, 15-16 School Street, Tai Hang, tel: 2362 2812. About HK$350 per person, without drinks or the service charge.

While you’re in the area

Restaurant review: Kakuuchi, Tai Hang – good-value casual Japanese fare

Restaurant review: Izakaya Satoi in Tai Hang – Japanese skewers

Bar review: Zhang Men in Tsim Sha Tsui – top craft beer house