October 28, 2013 § 2 Comments
High-rise buildings, temples, shopping malls, and traditional markets sit side by side in hilly terrain. Once home to fishermen and farmers, the Hong Kong of today is teeming with a dynamic metropolis fused with Chinese and Western influences.
A lively range of restaurants, eateries, pubs and bars are mostly found in east Tsim Sha Tsui, Wanchai, and Lan Kwai Fong, the latter touted as the icon of the city’s vibrant nightlife that consist of tourists, expat and an overseas Chinese community. For an engaging mix of locals and outsiders, and mid-priced eats, however, the bustling Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood may be a better bet.
Wandering about in Nathan Road, we turned into Kimberly Road. The flight of steps, next to the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop, revealed a pedestrian strip of al fresco restaurants and bars, and multi-story building housing more selections of eats.
An exciting mix of restaurants, bars and clubs that span the globe, Knutsford Terraces is, in some measure, the “Lan Kwai Fong” of Kowloon. Smaller and less frenetic, fascinated by the varied selections, we thought it was worth probing into. And so we found ourselves back the following night.
Eyeballing each menu on the strip, and always on the look out for fresh oysters, we walked into Island Seafood and Oyster Bar.
With most establishments reasonably priced, this joint was way off our budget. Not to read this wrong, for Hong Kong standards, the oysters we had were probably worth the price, but coming from a country teeming with fresh seafood, it was good to try but not safe to linger… not safe for the pocket, at least.
And so we moved on. Tutto Bene’s pastas, one of the oldest restaurants on the strip, won over Widlfire’s thin crusted, wood-fire oven baked pizza. Seated at the outdoor patio, we were served bread with a lovely spread set of roasted garlic, pesto, and a tomato-based cream cheese. Both our dishes were excellent with us switching plates mid-way.
The Riso con Capisanto alla Griglia is perfectly cooked Arborio rice with shiitake, portobello and porcini mushrooms and topped with grilled scallops and shiitake fritters – a mouthful of wonderful flavors of earthy mushrooms and sweet scallops.
The eggplant and mozzarella filled ravioli, on the other hand, worked remarkably well with the pesto, roasted walnut and arugula – a play on sweet, slightly bitter and slightly peppery flavors.
We capped the evening meal with fantastic limoncello, so good we asked to see the bottle.
The following evening, we stayed indoors (partly because it was drizzling on and off) and found The Tasting Room Cocktail Kitchen at the Miramar Shopping mall.
Dark interior, small tables, a large TV screen… not exactly very inviting but what caught Anton’s fancy was the beer combo – a set of four beers arranged in drinking order (as explained by the wait staff).
The choices, Hoegaarden, Budvar, Asahi, were different enough to call for this pick. What hit my spot, truth to tell, was the Dinner Tasting Sets.
Clockwise: French Mussels, Winter Black Truffle and Pig Knuckles stuffed in tomato and glazed in beef jus, Foie Gras on toast, 36 months Iberico Ham and figs
We chose the Eight Course Winter Tasting Set (to share), which comes with a max of 6 oysters at half the price.
Suffice to say that we were happy campers that evening. If it weren’t raining, the best place to sit is out back, overlooking the terrace strip.
If staying within the neighborhood, Knutsford Terrace is a good choice to be. With the many restaurants still unexplored, a return on my next trip to Hong Kong is not far-fetched.Island Seafood & Oyster Bar 10 Knutsford Terrace, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon For Reservation: +852-2321-6663 Tutto Bene 7 Knutsford Terrace, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon For Reservations: +852-2316-2118 The Tasting Room Shop 2015 Mirarmar Shopping Center 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui Knutsford Terrace N01-10 For Reservations: +852-2473-0168