Something makes me think that Fusion Gourmet, a foodstore-cum-cantina in Sheung Wan, will hit Chua's spot. Okay, I'm going to say it outright - not everything works. Service could be smoother (that could be said about HK in general); some items on the menu hold on too much to the overdone fussiness of sister restaurant Fusion Fifth Floor (which is directly upstairs - guess which floor...); the cooking, simple as it is, is still far from 'perfect'. But with its chunky timber communal tables and produce/products that have obviously been carefully procured, it ain't doing so bad.
Lots of Tomatoes
Nice little salad to start - juicy, ripe cherry tomatoes with a little rocket and onions, as well as finely diced pineapple that pretty much made the dish.
Call me pedantic but it kind of annoyed me that the "basket" wasn't a "basket". Oh, and that extra virgin was spelled "extravergine" elsewhere on the menu. Anyway, I digress. The tomato bread up front really isn't my thing, I felt like I was having Campbells in bread form. The baguette at the back showed they had a nice hack at it but didn't quite succeed. It was crusty, but probably a bit too thick, the inside was soft but quite dry. The whole thing tasted like a cardboard imitation of a baguette. Okay maybe not as bad, but it was pretty bland. They bake their own bread here and seem pretty proud of it, so I hope they get better at it, but as my mom said, they charge more than the Mandarin Oriental Cake Shop, but it's not as good. Word.
Personally I prefer a poached egg rather than a hard boiled one, and again, the tomato bread isn't really my thing. Otherwise the leaves were fresh, good anchovies... but nothing spesh.
Wagyu skirt steak on a garden salad. The beef had awesome flavour and I love how the meat pulled apart into tender but elastic strings. According to the menu this beef is the same brand as their short rib (and a few other steaks but I forget...). If/when I head back I'm certainly going to try their steak.
Tagliatelle with prawns and tomato chilli
This was Lor's main, and I didn't taste it, so I can only report the following:
1. I'm pretty sure the menu said "tagliatelle" - from the photo it's pretty obvious it's not...
2. Lor said the pasta was a bit limp and overcooked, but otherwise, no complaints.
Grilled Kurobuta pork chop
I'd had a smaller version of this when I came the first time for lunch and it's what made me think they've got some good stuff going on. Great thickness and cooked perfectly - still juicy and pink inside, charred outside; and the honey vinaigrette is a winner. They must have put coriander or the like in it as there's a distinctive "Thai" flavour to it - I want to buy bottles of this stuff and put it on everything.
It was lamb fillet, so it was really tender, though for something like this I would have liked a cut that was less fine. They could well have used leg, shoulder etc. instead of a pricey but like this. The broth was also a little too salty. Interesting use of spring onions and baby corn - made it kinda Asian (they really won't let you forget the "Fusion" thing, will they?) In this case I can't say it worked. (It rarely does imho...)
Whole wheat bread
I would have preferred more bounce and less density. The crust could have been crisper too.
The only dessert made (or in this case, assembled) a la minute. All the other desserts were cakes in the display cabinet. This was fine, had a bit of mango coulis (probably bottled, or at least it tasted like it) drizzled on the side. I also had a montblanc, which was a bit too sugary and not chestnutty enough.
Auntie suggested a "suggestive" placement of the two montblancs... we added the milk for extra, um, depth? Naughtiness is encouraged around our dinner table
We BYO-ed a very nice bottle of Chateau Lagrange 2000 for a small corkage (I think it was HK$100) but they sell wine too (some more reasonably priced than others).
I'd certainly come back - I mean, I'd skip the spring lamb, bread and desserts, but for the Kurobuta pork, that sauce and to try their wagyu short rib, certainly. And like Chua Lam, I have a weakness for easy-wipe tables (though not so much busty women, ahem).
1/F The Pemberton
22-26 Bonham Strand
+852 2545 0068
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