If Eastside Tavern were a man, he’d be a real man’s man. He’d tower over everyone else, a shadow of non-designer stubble across his chiselled jaw, non-gym-honed muscles rippling under an effortlessly cool t-shirt and jeans. When he wasn’t chopping wood, bareknuckle boxing or rescuing small children from fires, he’d be propped against a bar, casually opening beer bottles with his teeth, eyes glued to whichever sports match was showing on TV.
In fact, if Eastside Tavern were a man, there’s nowhere he’d look more at home than sipping his way through Eastside Tavern’s twenty craft beers, breaking a rack at their pool table or catching a rugby game on one of their nine big screens with a group of equally manly mates!
Luckily Eastside Tavern, the latest venture from the Shore Group (The Salted Pig, Shore, Pico), is no boys club – girls are more than welcome to partake in the beer-swilling, burger munching fun. Just be sure to brush up on your darts and pool, learn the offside rule and arrive armed with a man-sized appetite…
Forewarned about the hearty portions of all-American comfort food, I made sure I’d done a super tough workout and eaten a birdlike lunch that day so by the time the evening rolled around, I was at horse-eating levels of ravenous. Just as well really, given that Eastside Tavern seemed intent on feeding us to bursting point!
We kicked off the evening with a couple of Canadian craft beers, which came highly recommended for less manly palettes – The Whistler Brewing Company’s Bear Paw Honey Lager. Icy cold with a smooth honeyed taste, this rocketed straight into my favourite-drinks-of-all-time list and I’m generally not really a beer girl.
Just as my stomach let out an almighty bear-like growl, the food began to arrive thick and fast. The first of our starters, the Serrano ham, fig and feta salad, was devoured in seconds. Slivers of salty ham perfectly complemented the sweet figs and the creamy, crumbly cheese – a definite man salad. Next up was the pan-fried scallops, wrapped in pancetta and served on mounds of creamy mash and drizzled with lemon beurre blanc – each a mouthful of moreish heaven.
Our final starter was the grilled haloumi cheese stacks were a table favourite and we fought over the last mouthful of these pesto-laced slabs of cheese, skewered with chargrilled vegetables.
After a short pause to sip our drinks and watch a bit of football, the onslaught of deliciousness continued. The first of our main courses was a burger bigger than my head, served alongside a stack of thick-cut potato wedges. The burger, a definite two-hand affair, was juicy, smoky and stuffed with pickles, cheese and caramelized onions. We decided the best way to tackle it was to slice it into quarters, douse it with ketchup and mustard, and gobble greedily.
Just as we were mopping up the last stray pools of ketchupy mustard with our chips, a wooden board bearing an enormous pizza topped with squid, prawns and scallops was placed before us. By this point we were groaningly full but somehow managed to fit in a couple of slices of chilli-spiked seafood amazingness.
Despite waving the white flags and declaring ourselves well and truly defeated, we were told that we couldn’t leave without sampling a couple of the Eastside Tavern’s legendary desserts… and we miraculously found some space when two dishes of ambrosial sweet stuff filled the table. How could we resist strawberry cheesecake and banoffee pie?! We decided that the banoffee just inched the cheesecake in the awesome stakes, as we scraped both plates clean and sat back in our chairs with tummies fit to burst.
Eastside Tavern is the perfect spot to head for hearty pub grub with a gastro-edge. With most dishes around the $100-150 mark, this is food guaranteed to give you just the sustenance necessary to thrash the boys at pool before taking in some sport on the big screen with a couple of beers. As autumn looms, we may just have found our perfect cool weather companion – and he’s a keeper!
Eastside Tavern Shop 29, G/F, Empire Centre, 68 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East
2367 8770 www.eastsidetavern.com.hk
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