UPDATE: Brat is now closed.
It’s only been a few months since I moved from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. Among the restaurants I was preparing myself to miss in LA was a fantastic German sausage spot called Wurstküche. Lo and behold, Hong Kong welcomed me with its very own, spankin’ new version, Brat, or should I say, BRAT as the sign boldly announces along with its tagline, ‘Purveyor of Awesome Sausages’ nattily done up in a few different fonts.
Located on Lower Elgin Street, you make your way into the narrow slip of a space. Go up to the counter and take a peek at the sausages arranged just-so in the butchershop-esque display case. While you’re up there, take a peek at the Belgian beers on tap. Chimay Blue, Hoeegarden, Karmeliet, Quintine Blonde, Duvel, Kwak, the wonderfully named Delirium Tremens, a few fruit beers, and Kwak make an appearance as does the more ordinarily available Stella. Then, have a seat at one of the tables, and be prepared to take in the décor for more time than you anticipated because service is still getting up to speed given how new this restaurant still is after opening in October 2010. Lucky for you, the décor is interesting in a simple, but funky black-and-white fashion, in keeping with the name of the restaurant, the cool vibe, and the menu.
Getting to the menu, there is a fair selection of sausages, mainly made of chicken, with a few veggie and pork options. Take your pick between options like the original brat, Italian, chorizo, gruyère, habañero, or Portobello mushroom, all approximately $98 each, with a side of fries (sweet potato!) or mixed greens. Or, if it’s your first time here, opt for the sausage sampler to share with a friend. At $228, it’s a good introduction to all things Brat as you can pick 4 types of sausages. Think of it this way – if the gruyere doesn’t catch your fancy—which is perfectly possible because you can’t quite taste the gruyere in it, just have your friend eat it. You have a choice of breads (dark rye or ‘signature’ white) and mustard (whole grain or Dijon) and toppings (onions, salsa, jalapeno, sauerkraut, pickles, relish, mature cheddar). All of this is served on chopping boards with the Brat logo carved into one corner.
My favourite sausage so far is the Italian, nicely infused with fennel, on dark rye with onions and cheddar. However, the friendly proprietor, Isabella, tells me that the habañero is their best seller. Not surprising, because it packs a punch with the titular chilli making an appearance in every bite along with its zingy jalapeño cousin, and cilantro.
Brat is still quite new, so finding a table won’t be difficult especially for dinner but the lunch crowd is probably picking up as I write.
All in all, it’s a welcome addition to the restaurant scene in Soho. I wouldn’t call the sausages awesome quite yet, but it’s not the wurst brat you’ll eat. Given the attitude the restaurant emanates, if the quality, variety, and service keep up and improve, I’d say it’s here to stay.
Open noon-midnight Mon-Thurs and Sun; noon-2 a.m. Fri-Sat.
Brat, G/F, 7 Lower Elgin Street, Soho. 2549-3088
By Sai Pradhan
Sai Pradhan runs a communications focused headhunting firm, Trufflepig Search (link to www.trufflepigsearch.com), placing PR, marketing, advertising, and social media/digital candidates. Born and raised in Mumbai, Sai went to universities in Washington DC, London, and Edinburgh. She worked in New York City at PR agencies for some years, and then moved to Los Angeles where she wrote restaurant reviews and travel articles for an online newspaper, The Examiner, besides working as a PR and headhunting consultant. She moved to Hong Kong in August 2010 from Los Angeles, soon after which she discovered Sassy Hong Kong. Food is one of her main gateways into feeling at home anywhere, so she is looking forward to continuing to explore Hong Kong one restaurant at a time! Email her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @SaiSays