Bursting with Latin flavour, on and off the menu
District: Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong
Cuisine: Pan Latin (fusion)
How Much: Dishes range from $78 – $378
Best for: A fun and lively dinner with friends
Must order: Bandeja Paisa and Beef Rib Arepas
It’s always exciting when a new restaurant opens in Hong Kong, but it’s even better when it features a brand new cuisine! Overlooking Lan Kwai Fong’s buzzing streets, Picada is Hong Kong’s first pan-Latin restaurant and bar and I am ‘all aboard’ for this culinary journey through Latin America!
When I picture a Latino gathering, I imagine bright colours, a lively mood and a supersized selection of homely meals (I may have watched one too many movies!) – and that’s exactly what I discovered upon entering Picada. Alongside the tastefully festive lighting and gold trimmings, it’s clear that the interior has been carefully designed with the different regions of Latin America in mind. The “made to share” mentality of this lively restaurant encompasses its fun and vibrant atmosphere (complete with live music!), not just it’s food. With a menu that’s chock full of rich hearty dishes and a bar stocked with a diverse selection of themed cocktails and specialist spirits – including an exclusive unfiltered sugar cane gin – it’s definitely the place for a fiesta!
I was intrigued to discover what iconic Latin flavours Picada had to offer and how chef Abel Ortiz would infuse them with an Asian flair. I decided to start with something light and the Peruvian Ceviche ($148), with its mild sweet pea puree and creamy ‘leche de tiger’ was the perfect choice. Continuing with the seafood theme, I also had a taste of the Hot Scallop ($98 for two), with a delicate edamame puree and purple sweet potato shavings, which added a wonderfully crunchy element to the overall texture.
The time had come to sink my teeth into something meatier and I couldn’t resist the tender beef sirloin skewers of Carne Anticuchos ($128), dipped in a spicy Chimichurri and Aji Amarillo sauce. I followed this with a trio of crisp handmade Columbian Empanadas ($108 for three), in chicken, beef and mushroom and also devoured a Slow Cooked Beef Rib Arepas ($78), which I am told can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner – I’d happily eat one for all three (and they’re gluten free!).
From the mains, I chose not one, but two dishes to taste (in my defence they all sounded amazing!), starting with the Bandeja Paisa ($248), or ‘people’s plate,’ a dish native to northwest Columbia which looked (and tasted!) like a deconstructed taco surrounding a succulent pork belly – great for gym bunnies in need of a protein fix! I finished with the Peruvian specialty, Three Duck “Arroz con Pato” ($238), which literally does consist of three duck elements, leg, breast and egg, all served on a bed of delicious green cilantro rice with a light onion chalaquita.
No pan-Latin meal would be complete without Churros for dessert, these sugary treats drizzled in chocolate sauce are the perfect way to end the evening, unless of course your night is just beginning (we are in LKF after all!), in which case perhaps opt for a tequila!
South American culture is known to always make time for the important things in life; family, food and dancing – and you can get your fill of all three at Picada! Whether you’re booked in for dinner or just stopping by for a quick drink, this vibrant dining spot is sure to give you a warm family-style welcome.
Watch out for the resident Mariachi on Taco Tuesdays – his Tabasco shot challenge is as hot and spicy as the Latin dance classes available on the restaurant’s private terrace!
Picada, 2/F, LKF29, 29 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.picada-hk.com