UPDATE: TBLS is now closed
My taste buds were tingling as soon as I entered private kitchen, TBLS, where the scent of Chef Que’s menu filled the air. Three months waiting for an available table and the chance had finally arrived. I was about to sink my teeth in six courses of pure heaven. The atmosphere is quite simple, four tables located on the inside and a few on the patio outside. The long white granite countertop separates the kitchen from the tables, where watching Chef Que create his magic is encouraged.
The “July Backyard BBQ” dinner started with a chilled tomato soup topped with some drops of very spicy wasabi oil, accompanied with a smoked brisket sandwich. Both were melt-in-your-mouth delicious! The brisket sandwich just fell apart with tenderness as you bit into the soft chewy bun. The soup had a unique mixture of flavors, the wasabi oil making the tomato base pop.
Next up was the much anticipated crawfish and chorizo macaroni and cheese…being your typical American who grew up on the “blue box” Kraft version of mac ‘n’ cheese, this was the very grown up sophisticated version. I savored every bite as chunks of chorizo and crawfish wrestled with the cheesy pasta. Each dish was served in a ceramic dish giving you a nice fill of the comfort food, but not too filling that you couldn’t enjoy the next dish.
The crab cakes came at the perfect time. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better a refreshing ocean treat was brought before us, served with fresh watermelon, jicama and an old California favorite, Avocado.
At this point I was starting to feeling full. The dishes were small but so rich and delicious that I was starting to the feel the heaviness set in. But when those tender melt-off-the-bone baby back ribs were served, a magical pocket formed in my stomach making room the last main dish of the evening. As my fork barely touched the ribs ribbons of meat just fell from the bone and each bite so tender and scrumptious left me wanting more. I couldn’t stop shoveling the ribs into my mouth as the flavors combined with the coleslaw and sweet potato puree were like trying a new dish with each bite.
Lucky for me there was a bit of a gap between the main courses and dessert. It gave me a little time to gauge my “full factor” and to be honest, not much was left. There were two desserts to be served this evening, a sour cherry pie with chocolate ice cream and the Red, White and Blue macaroon.
First up was the Cherry Pie, not one of my favorites to be honest. The taste of sour cherries and chocolate ice cream doesn’t sit well with my palate. My husband however licked his plate clean and everyone else seemed to have really enjoyed it.
Chef Que designed each plate with a chocolate drawing, donning flowers and butterflies next to each colorful macaroon. A spread of sweet blueberry puree sat beneath the Kalamansi ice cream as each were sandwiched between a perfect strawberry macaroon. The flavors came together perfectly as I took each bite, heaven…
By the end of the tasting my pants were bursting as if I had just eaten my second helping at Thanksgiving dinner. It was more than just another night out at another restaurant in Hong Kong. The intimacy provided just that, as if you were having a family dinner back home and mom was busy in the kitchen whipping up all of your favorites. Except this time mom doesn’t have to tell you to clean your plate, it’s already been done.
The fresh ingredients, the amazing chef, the attentive staff and the homey ambience make TBLS an extraordinary dining experience not to be missed. Get yourself on the list, it’s worth the wait!
TBLS Kitchen Studio 7/F, 31 Hollywood Road, Central
2544 3433 www.tbls-kitchenstudio.com/
Read more from Jessica and her passions for food and travel on her blog, American Girl in Hong Kong!