I don’t think there is a worse way to spend a Wednesday evening in Hong Kong than traipsing round IKEA trying to find anything that resembles the item you went in for.
So, in an effort to numb the pain of the miniature laid out rooms, my friend and I decided to have a quick drink at Stone Nullah Tavern in Wan Chai and then go on to brave everyone’s favourite Swedish export. However, it didn’t go to plan.
After a number of glasses of wine with a few others who came down to join us we relocated to Sherry & Ham on Ship street.
Although the restaurant front is on the street you have to go down a side alley and through what looks like a service door to get to the bar – aptly named Back Bar.
The lighting is dark but not overly so and the music doesn’t get in the way of conversation, a common faux pas of bars in Hong Kong.
As soon as you sit down you’re given a generous serving of salty and slightly spicy popcorn. I’m usually a complete wimp when it comes to chilli but in this instance it wasn’t too much.
The wine and cocktail list is extensive and, unsurprisingly, filled with Sherry. We stuck with wine choosing a Loire Valley, Clos de l’Elu 2012. I’ll have to go back to sample the restaurant’s namesake. In addition to its extensive drinks menu Back Bar offers decent selection of small plates. Opting to diversify we ordered pan con tomato, scallop ceviche with lemon and olive oil and mini pork and foie gras burgers with avocado.
All were ridiculously delicious. I don’t know how the chef made tomato on toast so amazing, but it really was. The scallop was cooked to perfection and despite being a long time opponent of foie gras the burger was undeniably one of the best I have ever had. The avocado went perfectly with the burger filling which would otherwise have been too heavy.
At this point we decided to go all in and moved to the restaurant next door – taking the wine with us. The layout is spacious for Hong Kong and the white and blue tiles gives it a welcome modern Mediterranean feel in the back streets of grey and currently dank Hong Kong Island.
For mains we chose the braised lamb with bravas sauce and courgettes, another serving of the mini burgers ( probably should have branched out) and a salad of peas, broad beans, goats cheese and serrano ham on the side – I managed to get one half of the name into the meal. The dishes couldn’t have been better with the lamb and the sauce complimenting each other well and all the elements of the salad coming together. My only word of advice is to ask for it all to come at once.
The restaurant isn’t cheap but it’s good value for what you get, especially in Hong Kong where you often end up paying a lot for very little amounts of unspectacular food. As a bonus it’s away from the busy streets of Central or other areas of Wan Chai. Overall the meal was a far better use of a Wednesday evening than IKEA. Plus the impromptu nature of dinner gives me an excuse to go back – I didn’t try the sherry.