Sawali Club private kitchen offers authentic Thai dishes with no frills
2/F, Wing Cheong Building, 18-20 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, 2811 2360
Sawali Club is a place you may fleetingly notice when you pass through that last stretch of Hennessy Road before you reach Pacific Place, but it doesn't really register in the mind as a dining option. When we were finally introduced to it by a friend in the know, our first question was why we hadn't gone sooner.
The place is definitely no frills - it is like dining at a friend's home. It's touted as a "members' club" instead of a private kitchen, but you can easily join the club for free.
We started with the spicy prawn sashimi, which was very fresh - the chilli sauce provided a mind-numbing kick. The pomelo salad was wonderful, with the flesh hand-separated into perfect little bulbs and the crunchy shrimp toppings making each bite quite explosive.
The tom yum goong was the best we've ever had in Hong Kong. It was pure spicy soup - but not prohibitively so - from the ingredients, without the diluted coconut milk. The fish cakes were also excellent - soft and springy inside, yet with a slightly crunchy texture on the outside.
The highlight of the meal was the blanched cockles, a simple dish that's rarely found in Hong Kong these days. The cockles were flown in fresh from Thailand - in fact, we had to wait for them to be delivered from the airport.
The crab curry gravy was rich and pungent, but it was a little too sweet for us. Overall, the least impressive dish was the roast chicken. But the authenticity of the other dishes makes Sawali Club our new favourite Thai restaurant.