Newly opened in Lee Garden Two and helmed by Brit chef James Sharman, The Leah serves up classic comfort food favourites.
District: Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
How much: Dishes range between $108 and $238 (Beef Wellington and Dover Sole, $788)
Must order: Scotch Egg & Soldiers; Beef Wellington
The best for: Casual group dining
Found in the heart of Causeway Bay, though tucked away discreetly in Lee Gardens Two, The Leah serves a menu made up of traditional items such as Scallops & Black Pudding, Scotch Egg & Soldiers and classic Beef Wellington. Boldly claiming to offer “British food done right”, The Leah’s focus is primarily on serving up hearty fare that’s meant to be enjoyed, with flavour and ingredients at the forefront, using locally-sourced vegetables, quality meats, and sustainable seafood.
Although found in a somewhat unusual location – the space is used as a family members club, Maggie & Rose by day, but transforms into The Leah at night – the restaurant is relaxed and welcoming, complete with a spacious terrace featuring plenty of greenery and an outdoor bar. Find the private lift in Lee Gardens Two which opens up to the outdoor area, perfect for a pre-dinner drink.
Before tucking into our food, we enjoyed a drink from the expansive cocktails list. In true British garden party-style, drinks here are largely made up of iced teas (and spiked electrici-teas!), zesty mules, aromatic martinis, summertime spritzes and bittersweet negronis – with plenty of gin and whisky thrown in for good measure. Always fans of a Mule, we sampled the refreshing Orchard Mule ($88), made with gin, apple and ginger, which was zesty, bright and a little too easy to drink.
Onto the food, and first up we tried the scallops with leeks and a black pudding crumb ($228). The price may seem a little steep for three scallops, but they were cooked beautifully, with a soft interior and a slight char on the outside, producing a subtle, caramelised flavour. The classic combo of the shellfish with black pudding didn’t disappoint either, but the leeks were a little overwhelming in taste and texture and could have done with a little more cooking. And although we did enjoy the scallops, the dish couldn’t compare to the runny duck egg scotch egg, served with sourdough soldiers ($98). A British pub classic, many try and fail when it comes to this humble creation, but The Leah’s take on the dish impressed. Aside from the perfectly runny and flavourful duck egg, which was surrounded by a thick layer of well-seasoned pork sausage meat, the exterior was crisp, only complimented further by the accompanying sourdough soldiers, which had also been cooked in a good amount of duck fat for maximum texture and flavour.
Continuing with the hearty fare, we also tucked into the chicken, leek and bacon pie ($158). The buttery and flaky pastry was filled with a plentiful amount of shredded chicken thigh and ham – making for an elevated take on the classic dish, that was just stodgy enough to maintain its comfort food status. Another dish that will make you dream of winter days is the beef short rib and bone marrow gnocchi ($328). The meat here had been braised to produce the fall-off-the-bone and melt-in-your-mouth texture of good short rib, but although we wanted to love the bone marrow gnocchi, we found them a little too dense and heavy.
Another pastry item that’s always going to be a winner is the Beef Wellington ($788). Made using fillet steak, and served with red wine sauce and some of the creamiest mash we’ve tasted, the indulgent and well-executed offering is a great value main dish to feed a crowd. We found the beef to be wonderfully pink and juicy, and although the bottom of the pastry was slightly soggy, as with the chicken pie, chef Sharman’s pastry skills were on show here once again. A sure crowd pleaser, make sure to pre-order to avoid disappointment. Although the dish comes served with a side of mash, any Brits wanting a taste of classic comfort food shouldn’t miss out on ordering a portion of roasted cauliflower cheese ($78). For those that are less into red meat, The Leah also offers a freshly caught Dover Sole ($788) served whole with caper butter, which also requires pre-ordering. Another veggie-pleasing dish to try is the wood ear mushroom risotto ($148), cooked with wild mushrooms and chervil, creating an earthy, yet fresh flavour profile that vegetarians and meat-eaters will love.
Deserts are kept short and sweet, with the offerings including a granny smith apple pie; blueberry and oat crumble; and strawberry and sherry trifle (all $88). Although the classic take on trifle went down a treat, we found the pie to be the standout pud here. Again super flaky pastry is the star of the show (created using iced butter!), so make sure to save room for this traditional dessert, best enjoyed with a generous pour of nutmeg-laced custard.
Our verdict: The Leah is a great option if you’re on the hunt for some comfort food, and are looking to get away from Central and escape the Causeway Bay crowds. The expansive, grass-lined private terrace is also sure to be a winner when the weather permits. Although the restaurant currently opens at 7pm, we hear that an outdoor happy hour will be coming soon – the perfect excuse to leave work early and enjoy an Eldertini al fresco.
The Leah, 3/F, Lee Garden Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/TheLeahHK
All images courtesy of The Leah.