Tucked away up on quiet Arbuthnot Road is Salon Number 10, one of Hong Kong’s most unique bars. Up until recently, the venue only served drinks, but now former Brickhouse chef Austin Fry has joined the Salon Number 10 team to create an innovative food menu too!
The menu is short and sweet, with headings rather than specific dishes, such as “The Veg”, “Something Fried” and “From the Sea”; I love this concept because it allows for dishes to be swapped out based on what’s fresh and in season, and for Austin to flex his culinary creativity on a regular basis… or at least I hope that’s what will happen anyway!
I can’t speak for future menus, but the current Salon Number 10 menu is pretty New American with okra cracklings, fried green tomatoes and the almighty kale. The portions are in-between tapas and mains in size – you can happily share a few plates with your friends tapas-style, but each dish is pretty substantial so you won’t need to order that many to feel full.
We started with “Something Fried” – and that something was green tomato. I’ve always heard about how good fried green tomatoes are in southern USA, but have never had a chance to try them. I’m not sure how Salon Number 10’s compares to the classic version, but Rach and I loved them. The tomatoes were crispy and almost meaty, but still clean tasting without the nasty oily feel of typical fried foods. The accompanying crab salad, spicy greens and “Green Goddess” anchovy dressing were solid too.
Meanwhile, our “From The Garden” was an organic kale salad. I clearly still do not have a grasp on what is considered seasonal in Hong Kong where most of our food is imported, as I was not expecting a hearty winter green to be seasonal on a hot, humid night! Though it was not the best kale salad I’ve ever had, Salon Number 10’s version scores major brownie points for originality. The salad had grape confit, carrots and a delicious chickpea dressing, but the best part was the cumin quinoa croutons – which taste a lot better than they sound. In fact, Rach and I agreed the kale salad was worth ordering for the croutons alone… They were like an ethnic cuisine version of hush puppies! SO good.
“Four Legs” was slices of beef tenderloin with smoky mustard, cooked to a perfect medium rare. The mustard was subtle which is good for most people (like Rach), but personally I prefer clear-your-sinuses mustard! The beef paired nicely with a delicious, lick-your-plate-clean truffle mash potato, which also came with braised leeks to give it a nice crunch.
Rach and I have a serious sweet tooth so when we saw there was only one dessert, we thought, “This better be good” – and it did not disappoint! This season’s “Something Sweet” was a rum chocolate pudding with citrus whipped cream; it was so rich that we were totally satisfied sharing one small pot.
Not in the mood for an actual meal but want something to nibble on? Salon Number 10 offers both a charcuterie and a cheese platter; we went for the charcuterie and loved it. For $265, you get a huge board of assorted cured meats, pork terrine, pickles, sundried tomatoes and my favourite, chicken liver pâté with honey, served alongside warm bread. It’s just the thing to share with friends while having a few cocktails or glasses of wine.
Aside from the excellent food and drinks, I fell in love with Salon Number 10 for its atmosphere. I’ve had a hard time finding bars I like it Hong Kong, but this one does it for me. It feels luxurious without being pretentious; with lots of wood, portholes, random knick-knacks and an amazing E.T. mural, the decor is hipster living room meets vintage submarine!
This beautiful but relaxed and quirky bar lends itself to be great for many situations – be it a romantic date night, a quiet catching up session with girlfriends, or rowdy late night drinks with a big group. Salon Number 10 also hosts cool events, live music, DJs and even dance and magician performances, whilst the main sharing dishes cost between $60 to $145, which I think is pretty reasonable for such quality food.
The funny thing about Salon Number 10 is that for those two hours I almost forgot that I was in Hong Kong. I’m not sure if it was the music, the people, the New American cuisine or I had just had one too many, but Salon Number 10 is a yummy, boozy, fun escape from daily life.
Salon Number 10 10 Arbuthnot Road, Central, Hong Kong
2801 6768 www.facebook.com/…
Iris blogs about clean living and her cooking adventures figuring out a HK-sized kitchen at Eating Clean In The Dirty City