Mediterranean Vibes at Bayta and Harlan Goldstein Returns to Hong Kong
This week's new and noted restaurants.
Meaning “house” in ancient Hebrew and Arabic, Bayta (252 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan, 5597-9939) is a new restaurant in Sheung Wan that offers cuisine inspired by different regions up and down the Mediterranean coast. The second outlet by the owners of La Cabane down the road, Bayta is a cool whiff of the Mediterranean, with simple and stunningly plated dishes by executive chef Pauline Steiner. We ate with our eyes first, especially when it came to the asparagus cannelloni with thinly shaved asparagus stalks neatly rolled around fresh asparagus and diced veggies ($160), complemented by a strawberry sauce carrying the floral perfume of geranium water. The menu changes often, but currently you’ll find duck with caramelized dry fruits and vegetables tagine ($290), beef tenderloin with cod-stuffed piquillos ($310), sea bass a la plancha ($350) and vegetable couscous ($250). The latter, though the least savory-sounding of the bunch, was the bite we’d go back for—an inspired vegetarian dish using boiled micro-chopped celery to mimic couscous, with a meaty beetroot “merguez” in a concentrated vegetable broth. The rustic dips and spreads are also worth trying, from the peas hummus to Sicilian olive tapanede and brocciu cheese with mixed herbs—the more tangy French cousin of ricotta.
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Just officially opened by the team behind SoHo hotspots The Pontiac and Rummin’ Tings, 60-seater artisan pizza bar Amalfitana brings authentic pizzas from the front of Italy’s boot to Repulse Bay’s The Pulse. The kitchen is headed by chef Michel Degli Agosti, who has created a menu of fresh salads (try the barley salad with pesto ($90)), cheeses and charcuterie, and of course, specialty pizzas allowing the fresh Italian ingredients to shine. The pizza bases are made with a long rising dough that is lighter and easier to digest, so beach-goers may want to take note. They’re done medium-thin—not as thin as Roman pizzas, but with a great balance between chewy bite and crispiness. Our favorites so far? The Amalfitana ($250): buffalo mozzarella, tomato, porcini mushroom, rocket and parma ham; the quattro formaggio ($170), which uses blue cheese; and the salsiccia e porcini ($190): sausage, porcini mushroom and mozzarella. Each diner gets a shot of house-infused limoncello to round off the meal, but you’ll want to stay long after dinner to sip from the bar’s list of aperol spritzes and negronis and Italian-centric wines. And if we know anything about the team behind the resto, by sip we mean down. We reckon this spot will become a beachside party magnet in the months to come.
Harlan Goldstein is Back
With an on-again, off-again culinary affair with the city for as long as we can remember, Harlan Goldstein has plans to put his stamp firmly back on the 852, opening four new venues this fall at No. 8 Lyndhurst Terrace in Central. Eat Me Drink Me on the ground and first floors will be a casual restaurant and lounge taking inspiration from his world travels, while My Tai Tai on the 2/F brings an exotic flair, with a concept built around a mysterious Thai woman (in true Hong Kong fashion). Head up one more level to Ee Da Le, a southern Italy-inspired eatery with your typical handcrafted pastas, cold cuts and Italian seafood dishes. Finally, 5/F and 6/F will bring Harlan’s version of authentic Mexican to Hong Kong at Mamasita’s Cantina, with a Cuban bar replicating Havana in the 60s, and Mexican street food—think tamales, tacos, sopas—executed by head chef Edgar Navarro.