With so many fancy, high falutin’ restaurants in town, sometimes you just want one that delivers simple, honest, good food. Fish & Meat, the latest venture from Maximal Concepts (the folks behind Blue Butcher and Brickhouse), offers just that.
Taking over the massive space formerly occupied by Sal Curioso on Glenealy (just up the road from The Fringe Club), the décor is soft, warm and inviting, with bleached wood panels and cute Mason jar lights. Meanwhile, the menu from Head Chef Russell Doctrove is just as rustic but enticing. There’s lots of fish. And lots of meat. ‘Nuff said.
We kicked things off with platters of sea urchin bruschetta and bone marrow crostini. Both of these are definitely love them or hate them foods – and whilst I hate sea urchin, I love bone marrow, so you can probably guess my thoughts on these!
Crispy fried whitebait is definitely more of a surefire crowd-pleaser – and Fish & Meat’s were near enough perfect. Insanely moreish and with an addictive dipping aioli, it’s impossible to stop at just one bite of these bad boys!
Similarly, the tender pan-fried baby Spanish octopus was all too munch-able, especially with its amazing white bean puree, garlic, chilli and Sicilian lemon sauce. I always think that making wonderful sauces is a matter of pure cooking alchemy – and Chef Russell has definitely struck gold with this one!
However, the absolute star of the “small” bites was the duck egg raviolo… small in inverted commas because, seriously, just look at the size of the thing! Paper-thin but pillowy-soft silky pasta encasing a beautiful, bursting, giant duck egg, then topped with ricotta cream, pecorino and a burnt sage butter. This is truly the stuff of foodie fantasies. I had to resist the urge to write this entire paragraph in capital letters – it’s that good!
If you were impressed by the generous size of the appetisers, wait until you see the mains! My absolute pick of the bunch was the Australian Kobe 32oz prime beef rib, which Fish & Meat’s menu states is supposed to be shared between two people. Errr… try five! A total carnivore dream, I literally cannot remember the last time I had beef this good – beautifully tender, cooked to a perfectly pink medium-rare, with a wonderfully smoky charred outside, and full to the fatty brim with juicy, mouth-watering, irrepressibly meaty flavour. Make sure you order some baby roast potatoes on the side to help mop up those luscious beef juices, and lashings of the three irresistible sauces your steak comes served with (bearnaise, zesty salsa verde and the best, rich beef gravy). The only downside is that this dish costs $1280 and is so big that, even as a group, you’d be hard pressed to fit in much more from the rest of the excellent menu for your meal. But oh my, is it worth it!
Elsewhere, I loved the honest presentation of the whole roasted Italian sea bass, which had a lovely fresh flavour and a fantastic romesco sauce, which really tied the dish together (although as ever, watch out for the bones). Those of you who are too lazy to deal with bones (like me!) might prefer the turbot, served with delicious, crunchy, crispy brown shrimps for a contrast in texture, an array of veggies and a comforting buttery sauce.
If you even have space to move after your Fish & Meat feast, there is a small selection of simple, if a tad unimaginative, desserts. These, for me, were the most disappointing aspect of our meal – trust me, there’s nothing I love more than a classic dessert if it’s executed right but for the most part, these just weren’t quite there. The Mount Gay rum baba was overpoweringly alcoholic, whilst the chocolate fondant had a slightly un-cooked eggy edge to it (although the salted caramel sauce was as amazing as expected, though there wasn’t nearly enough of it for my liking!).
The best of the bunch was the Sicilian lemon tart, which got the balance between tart and sweet absolutely spot on. Unsurprisingly, this was the dessert that disappeared from our table the fastest!
Fish & Meat, much like every Maximal Concepts venue, is clearly destined to become the next it-resto in Hong Kong – even on a weekday night, it was already fully booked, so be prepared to turn your table pronto! With a menu designed to be shared, prices range from anything between “reasonable enough” to “rather costly” depending on quite how many people you’re sharing it with (“small” dishes are $90-195, whilst “large” ones are $290-1290)! The food is simple, honest but most importantly, absolutely delicious. I’m getting cravings for that duck raviolo already.
Fish and Meat 2/F, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong