Creative dishes influenced by travel around the world
To be quite honest, I didn’t know what to expect from new restaurant in Soho, One Star House Party. I was a little confused as to whether it was a restaurant or just a pop-up, but I knew that the food was going to be good, considering the talented team in the kitchen. Collectively, the team has worked in some of the best restaurants in the world, with Chef James Sharman having worked in NOMA and restaurant manager Trisha McCrae in Soho House and Gaucho. Safe to say, this tight-knit team knows a thing or two about food and the restaurant industry.
As it turns out, One Star House Party is an culmination of James’ experience not just in the NOMA kitchen, but also travelling the world. Together with his strong team, they’ve created a unique concept that allows them to explore all types of ingredients and cuisines. Recently they’ve been on an epic trip to America, where they travelled from New York all the way to California on a tour bus, popping up in different cities to experiment and serve up delicious food to the people along the way. Now the team are in Taipei, and will create a new menu inspired by what they’ve found there. Think of it as a sort of nomadic kitchen, popping up in different cities every month and bringing back that inspiration to one restaurant.
One Star House Party may travel the world, but their base is right here in Hong Kong at the Soho Printing Press. This cool new space is located in the chilled out Tai Ping Shan area and once you walk down the stairs and enter the warm, homey space you’ll feel like you’re in a totally different world. It almost has a New York/London loft vibe – very cool but not pretentious in anyway. James himself actually lives above the space, so the environment is super comfortable and relaxed, and each and every one of the staff are more than welcoming. Impressed by the space and the whole feel of the place, I was excited to sit down and try the food!
I was lucky enough to try the American inspired menu, which began with a small dish to whet our appetites, ‘Onion, Whey & Lovage‘. Almost sweet, the intense flavour that had been sucked out of the simple onions was a great way to clear the palate before moving on to the next course, ‘Tomato Charcuterie, Homemade Ricotta & Olive Juice‘. On top of a rustic board was an almost ‘deconstructed pizza’, inspired by their time in New York. It included a mouthwatering, unique bread that was almost half foccacia and half sour dough, an amazing homemade, creamy ricotta type cheese, an olive dip and tomatoes. I literally could not stop eating the bread, and it was the perfect way to start the evening and really dig in and get involved with the food.
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Following up was one of the more theatrical dishes, the ‘Squid & Sand with Barley & Kelp‘, inspired by their time in California at Big Sur. The dish first comes with a piece of raw squid, which is cut precisely to the right thickness. It’s then ‘cooked’ to perfection by placing a hot bag of sand from Big Sur on top of it and timed using an hourglass. A squirt of squid ink and drizzle of barley sauce finishes the dish… I was slightly skeptical of the theatrics of the dish, but I was surprised by the unusual, smooth texture of squid after being ‘cooked’. A truly special dish that really did remind me of the beach!
Up next was a fish dish using Hong Kong Coral Trout and peas. The simplicity of the dish allowed the fresh, clean flavours of the peas to shine through, and I really enjoyed the crispy skin on the coral trout – I’ll definitely be buying this from the market soon!
After the fish was the ‘Miso Smoked Pumpkin, Pickled Pine Nuts & Beef Short Rib’, which ended up being my favourite of the evening. The presentation in a hollowed out pumpkin was a cute touch and I couldn’t believe how delicious the beef was when I took my first bite. Buttery, rich and luxurious, the beef melted in the mouth and blended with the creamy pumpkin.
With the mains done, we were presented with the ‘Burnt Lemon‘ dessert. The lemon leaves gave off a smokey, citrus scent, playing on all the senses. The burnt lemon peel which acted as a mini bowl for the tart filling inside was such a creative way to use all parts of the star ingredient, and I enjoyed the light, refreshing cream.
To accompany the dessert, we were also treated to a glass of ‘Wildflower Mead’. The unusual flavour was sweet and floral, perfect for complementing the honey dessert to come…
Last but not least was ‘The Plight of the Bees Using Local Hives‘. I loved how this dessert aimed to raise awareness about how valuable bees are, showing off the amazing structures they can make by serving the dish on an actual honey comb. The honey was divine and the honeycomb addictive, but the carrots and the cream didn’t really do it for me and there could have been a bit more sweetness.
One Star Party isn’t just a restaurant – it’s an experience. The team make sure to tell the story behind each dish to every diner, so you feel like you’re a part of their travels and journey. The dishes are clever and creative, and you can tell that the menu is the result of collaboration, play and experimentation. The concept of the pop-up in different cities around the world is exciting and you know that there will always be something new and innovative on the menu when it makes its way back to Hong Kong. If you’re looking for a truly unique dining experience with heart and soul, then don’t miss out next time they’re back in town – it’ll be for one week only!
One Star House Party, Soho Printing Press, 6-7 Tank Lane, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, www.onestarhouseparty.com