One of the things I miss most about living in the U.K. is going on long walks through the countryside and stopping off at a quaint little gastro-pub for some comforting yet delicious dishes and a pint. That’s why I jumped at the chance to try The SAINT – Soho’s latest dining option, which serves up British gastro-pub fare in the heart of Hong Kong.
My favourite tipple (apart from champagne!) has got to be gin… there’s nothing quite like a G&T with a refreshing slice of cucumber on a balmy evening. That’s why I was more than pleased to see that this is the liquor of choice at The SAINT. They have a reasonably impressive selection of different types of gins and a list of ‘libations‘ – gin based cocktails – that will have you licking you lips.
The Raspberry Thyme Smash gin libation was honestly my ideal drink. The unusual use of thyme with my favourite sweet berry went surprising well, and I really enjoyed trying this herb in a cocktail. It was refreshingly light and not too sweet, perfect for a really sunny afternoon.
The non-alcoholic Citrus Fizz was just as scrummy as the Raspberry Thyme Smash, with cooling lemon and orange. It looked really pretty too, with the two colours blending together and the slice of gleaming lemon!
Tucked away on the quieter end of Elgin Street, The SAINT has more of a friendly bistro vibe than its surrounding Soho neighbours, offering a laid-back dining experience in a polished environment. I instantly liked the al-fresco style dining downstairs which looks out onto the street, and the decor is welcoming and un-pretentious whilst still being quite sophisticated.
With simple furnishings and a couple of trendy artworks, as well as an awesome spiral staircase, The SAINT creates the perfect atmosphere for smart/casual dining. I loved the little glass bottles with flowers on each table, which added a sweet and almost homey touch.
The menu at The SAINT is refreshingly simple, with a concise selection of classic British favourites. Think yummy, sharing nibbles for starters and solid, comfort dishes for mains. We’re talking scotch eggs, fish and chips, lincolnshire sausage with onion gravy and mash and a filling IPA beef pie! We began with a couple of the starters to whet our appetite and I wasn’t disappointed.
One of the starters I never fail to order when I’m back in the U.K is whitebait. This cheap and cheerful dish is a great snack, especially with a drizzle of fresh lemon over the top. The Deep-Fried White Bait with Tartar Sauce ($118) at The SAINT lived up to the standard. The pieces of the small fish weren’t too dry and scooped up the tart, tartar sauce wonderfully.
The second starter we sampled was the Fried Risotto Balls with Shropshire Blue Cheese ($88). These indulgent bites were positively oozing with cheese inside! The creaminess of the risotto perfectly contrasted with the crispy outer coating, and I couldn’t resist having two of these little morsels.
The Crab Cake with Orange and Fennel Salad ($138) was packed with deliciously sweet crab (not like a lot of other crab cakes which tend to have more potato than crab) and the slices of orange and fennel cut through the rich, creamy texture with a zesty flavour.
On to the mains! The Seared Buttermilk Spring Chicken with Sherry Chicken Livers and Lentil Ragout ($178) was a generous size, and I really enjoyed the intense flavour of the chicken which was only heightened by the rich livers. The lentils were al dente with a nice bite, which added an interesting texture to the dish as a whole.
Whilst I enjoyed the chicken, the stand out main had to be the Oven-Roasted Fillet of Halibut with Creamed Savoy Cabbage, Olives and Caper Berry Relish ($188). The fish was so juicy and almost meaty, cooked to perfection. The sauce was delicious, being creamy yet light. I couldn’t stop eating the savoy cabbage which still maintained a hint of crunch and tasted even better with the strong caper berry relish to accompany it.
I was satisfyingly full by the time we finished all this food (and it was only lunch time!). The service was quick and easy, and I felt very comfortable lounging at one of the quaint little tables overlooking the Soho streets. The food wasn’t groundbreaking and innovative, but that’s not what it was trying to be. This is the place to come for reliable, hearty dishes that will sate any comfort food cravings you have. It’s very close to mimicking the ‘gastro-pubs’ back in the U.K and is the perfect spot for a laid-back dinner and drinks. I will certainly be frequenting this spot for the delicious gin ‘libations’, two of which are only $40 from 5-8pm during their fantastic ‘Tipple Time’ happy hour! See you there…
SPECIAL SASSY GIVEAWAY
Fancy trying out The Saint? We’re giving two lucky Sassy readers and three of their friends the chance to win a yummy British brunch at this brand new spot! The brunch includes two main courses each and free flow sparkling!
This giveaway is now closed.
The SAINT, 55 Elgin Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong, 2522 2646, www.facebook.com/thesainthk