The first overseas location of the the renowned Stockholm restaurant, The Flying Elk has just opened on Wyndham Street and is bringing elevated Nordic comfort food to the heart of Hong Kong.
District: Central, Hong Kong
Cuisine: Modern Nordic
How much: Snacks range between $40 and $55; mains between $145 and $240; desserts between $45 and $75
Must Order: 24-Hour Pork Cheek Open Sandwich, with roasted cabbage, truffle béchamel, wild mushroom and black pepper; and Swedish Coffee and Tahiti Vanilla Crème Brûlée with toasted Danish hazelnuts
The Best For: A small special occasion dinner – as dishes are made to be shared, we would recommend groups of four to optimise your ordering capacity. Though you may have to order slightly fewer dishes, it would also be a top date night pick of ours.
Sassy Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask the wait staff for help with what to order! The super friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to give any recommendations on their favourite dishes.
A Nordic inspired restaurant, decked out in hues of green, complete with wood panelled walls and plaid shirt clad staff may be amongst the last things you’d expect to find in a city like Hong Kong, but that’s exactly what The Flying Elk is. The first overseas location of the renowned The Flying Elk in Stockholm, the restaurant is the concept of three-Michelin star Swedish chef Björn Frantzén. Both the feel and cuisine at The Flying Elk is self-descried as “epitomising refined comfort”, a bold claim that we were eager to test out for ourselves.
Stepping into the Wyndham Street restaurant (where Maximal Concepts resto, Fish & Meat previously found its home), you instantly find yourself far away from the Central streets below. Following the staircase up to The Flying Elk is a little like falling down the rabbit hole in Alice and Wonderland (though in the best possible sense); as we emerged into the spacious, yet cosy restaurant, it was a breath of fresh air for Hong Kong. Distinctly Scandi in style, the restaurant is stylish and modern, yet reminiscent of Nordic log cabins. As we were shown through to our table, countless members of wait staff greeted us warmly, setting the bar high for the exceptional service that we were soon to experience.
Much like the cuisine found at The Flying Elk, the drinks on offer take guests on a journey of Scandinavian upbringing. I began the evening with the Above the Clouds ($140), The Flying Elk’s take on an Old Fashioned, featuring Cloudberry & Oolong Tea Infused Cognac for an Asian inspired-edge. Though this was delicious, and not too sweet as some Old Fashioned’s can be, my favourite drink of the night was the Meatball Frenzy ($130). Made with Op Anderson Akvavit, Lemon, Lingonberry & Cucumber Shrub and Soda Water, it is the drink to try if you love sour flavours and are a fan of anything pickled. I found it to be the perfect choice to go alongside many of the dishes, too, as the tart taste cut through the rich dishes, as well as cleansing the palette of any lingering flavours. Along with its range of Nordic style cocktails, The Flying Elk also serves up a range of wines, beers and gin and tonics. When we were stuck for choice when ordering our drinks, almost every waiter recommended the Stockholm G&T ($140). Made with Stockholms Bränneri gin and Ekobryggeriet elderflower tonic, it had a much more citrusy taste, compared with other strong botanical gins which we enjoyed, though if you’re a fan of elderflower, we also found the Elderflower Spritz ($120) to be the perfect tipple to start the night.
The food at The Flying Elk is all recommend to be shared amongst the table, with the menu split into three sections; snacks, mains and desserts. Scanning the leather bound menus, our eyes lit up as we took it all in, and after much debate we settled on tasting four out of the five snacks on offer to kick off our meal. The Gougères ($40), were heavenly – mini choux pastry puffs, filled with Allerum cheddar cheese and topped with fennel seeds and chestnut honey. The floral notes of the honey worked well with the strong Swedish cheese for a small bite that brought big flavours. We also tasted the Deep Fried Pig’s ears, served with sauce Gribiche, lime and chervil ($40). Although some may be put off ordering the somewhat less popular cut of meat, I couldn’t recommend the dish enough. Deep-fried to make them ultra-crispy, these porky bites had aspects of both pork rinds and calamari, and made for a tasty snack that would be best accompanied with a cold Nordic beer. The consensus on the table was that our favourite snack of the night had to be the Short Rib Croquettes with thyme and a smoked chili emulsion ($55). The rich and beefy flavour was incredible, but the dish was made with the addition of the smokey, spicy dipping sauce.
Continuing with the sharing-style plates, we were recommended to try three-to-four dishes from the main menu. Though, as a group of hungry (and indecisive) ladies, we went for five. First up was the King crab and Halibut Tartar, lime hollandaise, sour carrot, cayenne and coriander cress ($215), and the Poached Turbot, sherry and beurre noisette emulsion, bacon, broccoli and hazelnut ($185). The fish in both dishes was beautiful, with the chunks of Halibut working well with the king crab in the tartar, only to be complemented further by the rich, yet zingy lime hollandaise. As for the poached turbot, on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to flavour profiles, was savoury, intense and decandent, but not overly heavy, with added textures and tastes coming from the bacon, broccoli and hazelnuts scattered on top.
From the selection of main dishes, we also sampled the 24-Hours Pork Cheek Open Sandwich, with roasted cabbage, truffle béchamel, wild mushroom and black pepper ($185), along with the show stopping Baby Chicken and Lobster “Pot-au-Feu”. Priced at a rather steep $795, the dish is intended to be shared between two to four people, with the baby chicken served whole, accompanied by lobster tails and claws, carrots and turnips. Though this in itself was delicious, what made the dish for us was the whimsically presented accompanying lobster consummé. Served up at the table from a teapot, and poured into floral tea cups, the soup was silky, rich, and full of lobster flavour, complemented by just a subtle sweetness coming from the tarragon. Though the pot-au-feu was delicious, and a sure fire spectacle to treat yourself to for special occasions, my standout dish from the night was the pork cheek open sandwich. It was the dish that immediately caught my eye when first reading the menu, and it did not disappoint. To get the perfect mouthful, make sure to scoop up some crispy buttery toast, slow cooked white cabbage, lightly pickled red cabbage and the soft and tender pork onto your fork. The dish was also topped with a “mountain of truffle” – as not a truffle lover myself, I avoided a lot of this, but for all the fans out there, it’s sure to take the dish to the next level.
From the dessert selection, we went for the “Marängsviss” with blueberries and lemon thyme ($75), and the “After Eight” mint, chocolate ($65), along with the irresistible Swedish Coffee and Tahiti Vanilla Crème Brûlée with toasted Danish hazelnuts ($60). Often an after-thought when it comes to menus, as a dessert lover, I was over-the-moon with this trio of puds. Three of the best I’ve sampled in a long time, and still in keeping with the theme of traditional Nordic dishes reimagined with just a hint of nostalgia, these (almost) stole the show away from the rest of the meal. The “Marängsviss” is best described as Sweden’s answer to a Eton Mess, with the sharp blueberry compote and sorbet keeping it from being too sickly sweet, and the light dusting of lemon thyme adding an unexpected savoury element. We also loved the throwback “After Eight” dessert, a rich and oozy chocolate fondant, coupled with a scoop of peppermint ice cream and toasted mint leaves. My favourite of the three, though, was the coffee and vanilla crème brûlée – a dish I had been dreaming of all day since I sneaked an early look at the menu. Luscious and creamy, with a subtle sweet coffee flavour, and the perfect wafer-thin caramelised topping and a scattering of hazelnuts. It was the perfect end to a stand out meal.
We also paired our desserts with a spot of Swedish punch. Once more, The Flying Elk delivered here, serving the classic drink at the table in the traditional wooden barrel. Enjoyed over ice, the drink had a potent alcoholic aroma, but a syrupy sweet taste that made it dangerously easy to drink.
For its sharing style plates, warm and relaxed atmosphere, expertly made drinks and unforgettable modern Nordic cuisine, The Flying Elk has sky-rocketed to the list of our new favourite restaurants in Hong Kong, and is best suited to a special occasion dinner with a close group of friends.
The Flying Elk, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.theflyingelk.com/hk
Featured image property of Sassy Media Group. Image #1 and #2 courtesy of The Flying Elk. All further images property of Sassy Media Group.