Beef

Where:
The Optimist
G/F, 239 Hennessy Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Phone number:
+852 2433 3324 (welcome to the future yo, online bookings)

Price:
HKD800ish per person before tip (no service charge included).  This included cocktails, wine and a mega-expensive steak.  You could definitely get out for less if you didn’t order the ball breakingly expensive rib-eye steak.  Maybe HKD500ish per person?

The deal:
239 Hennessy Road in Wan Chai is the new place for restaurants, now housing Zahrabel, Pirata and El Mercado.  I feel like I’m there every fortnight at the moment and to add to the mix, The Optimist has only officially opened this week after some sort of soft opening period.  Before I decided to try it, I loaded up their website and amongst the thoughtful graphics and cool typography came across one of my FUCK NO bullshit pet peeves – menus with no goddamn prices.  WTF restaurants who do this, is it because you like to trick people into your restaurant before fucking them in the ass with a dollar sign?? Yo HK restaurants, here’s a FYN fun fact – if people see a menu with no prices, people are just gonna assume that you’re really fucking sneaky and expensive as fuck:

FYN-optimist-no-prices

Regardless of the no price scenario, I was expecting good things from The Optimist given that it is run by the same crew as Pirata with Christian Talpo and Manuel Palacio setting up a three floor venue flogging Northern Spanish food.  The ground floor is The Optimist’s bar and the impressive Rocio Martinez Amoedo design is all green foliage, wooden tables and benches, geometric tiles and warm lighting.  That’s all dandy to conjure up the feeling that you’re drinking inside a greenhouse but what is more impressive are the cocktails.  I always maintain that the hallmark of a fuck yeah cocktail is when you can tell it’s strong but it doesn’t taste like it’s strong, meaning you want to launch yourself into six beautifully balanced delicious as fuck drinks and throw consequence to the goddamn wind.  I had the Gin and Ginger (HKD100) which is pretty much the cocktail of my wet dreams – gin, mint, lime, ginger beer and a large hunk of ice and I was definitely having my Sound of Music “these are a few of my favourite things, dog bites, bee stings blah blah” moment.   I also scammed some of my homie’s Old Fashioned which is one of my all time faves and oh my yasssss, it was fucking spectacular. It was truly with a fucking heavy heart that I grudgingly decided to stop drinking cocktails to actually have proper food.

The main dining room is on the first floor and it’s cute as hell with its peacock blue walls, framed drawings of birds and light oak furniture.  Passing through the artfully filled staircase, we get seated.  While we check the menu, we are presented with a board of bread, served with a tomato based sauce and some aioli.  The Optimist’s bread game is tight but it’s dwarfed monumentally by the fuck yeah aioli which is served with it.  I was seriously having a major fuck yeah moment and our helpful waiter filled our bread and aioli up once he saw we were empty.  After we smashed it again, he promptly came back and asked if we wanted some more.  I pondered how to stop the rampant thoughts in my head that were plotting how I could find a way to smear the aioli all over my body so I could luxuriate fully in its fuck yeah awesomeness.  Our waiter came back again, offering a third refill and this is what snapped me out of this eggy lust filled reverie because even though I was all “My body’s saying let’s gooooo”, but in anticipation of actually eating proper food I knew the right answer was all:

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Our attentive waiter came back to take our order and this is when I ask him what his favourite items are on the menu or what does he recommend.  In fuck no news, our waiter homie confesses that as he’s just started, he hasn’t actually tried the food yet and he’ll have to get his manager to give us some guidance.  It just bums me out when I hear my waiter homies haven’t had the opportunity to eat the food at where they’re working.  Like they’re expected to watch people having good times and eating fuck yeah noms, while they keep smiling and asking if everything’s ok but never getting to snack down themselves.  Sharing is caring (especially when it comes to food) and I thought of this sad fuck no insight throughout my whole meal, almost wanting to push aside a little bit of each dish for him so my undeservedly hungry waiter homie could get involved as well.

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At this point a waitress shows up with some croquettes which we didn’t order.  We politely tell her that they’re not ours and she walks away quite confused.  This is where The Optimist’s slick restaurant manager glides in to smooth things over, explaining that these were on the house as he wanted us to try their Iberian ham croquettes.  Fuck yeahhhhh, free food.  But regardless of it being my favourite price, my cheese and ham croquette drug dealing homie has absolutely gamed me with my first free taste because I’ll be handing over cash for these deep fried fuck yeah croquettes next time for sure.  Especially as I smeared whatever precious aioli I had left all over these golden fuck yeah treaties.

For a starter we order a serve of the Tudela artichokes with baby squid (HKD150).  I was all heart in mouth, expecting the usual HK Spanish style of tiny-ass starters, anticipating that we were probably going to receive a singular artichoke leaf containing the tiniest curl of a baby squid tentacle for too many HK bucks.  But whoa, surprise on the upside, this starter could be shared between a few people just to have a taste and the artichokes, just charred baby squid, Iberico ham and confit onions was definitely a fuck yeah combination.

The Optimist has its own hashtag / tagline of #wegrillthings and I understand that their premise is that you’re meant to go and check out the market-like display of fish and meat before seeing what appeals and sending your protein of choice off to the charcoal grill.  I never actually saw this display but based on the menu we decided to go all in and order the Txuleta rib eye steak which range from 900g to 1.2kg in size.  As there were only three of us and as it’s HKD____ per 100g (lolzzzzz, I ain’t gonna treat you like idiots, it’s HKD110 per 100g), we were hoping to get one closer to the 900g.  Predictably, The Optimist only had large fuckers at the 1.2kg end of things which meant that we were all in for a ball tearing HKD1,320.  HELP ME, I’M NOW POOR.  The Txuleta is an on the bone Galician 45 days dry aged rib eye which is served with a side of roasted peppers and baked potatoes.  When it is presented, it’s as large and in charge as its price tag and you are immediately hit in the face by the smell of iron filled, dry aged beef.  We order ours rare and it’s most definitely hitting this bloody mark and just one juicy as fuck bite in, it’s all blue cheese and nutty dry steak fuck yeah feelings.  I’m less excited by the sides, partly because peppers / capsicum are one of the few food items that I can’t get behind ever and in sadder news, the potatoes just weren’t that exciting in texture or flavour.  Maybe I’m just a predictable fuck who only wants any sort of roasted or baked potato in my life to be a crunchy starchy motherfucker.

Upon reflection, while the Txuleta rib-eye was fucking incredible there’s a niggling feeling of “OH MY FUCKING FUCK, DID WE JUST SPEND HKD 1,320 ON A STEAK?! LIKE USD170 REAL BUCKS??”.  And while I very much enjoyed the fuck out of it, I’ve also enjoyed the fuck out of other much more reasonably priced beef based treats at other HK restaurants, including the magnificent 1kg T-Bone Bistecca Alla Fiorentina upstairs at The Optimist’s sister restaurant, Pirata, which is almost half the price at HKD750.  I fucking get it, I’m paying for the 45 days of dry aging but I’m not convinced I enjoyed those funky old beefy bastard dry aged references so much that I’d pile in again for that $$$ price tag.

We also ordered a serve of paella, billed as “Charcoal grilled rice with Iberian meats – Secreto iberico, jamon, boletus, vegetables” (HKD290).  Paella in HK often ends in so much sadness (refer:  La Paloma) but The Optimist smashed my HK battle-weary paella expectations hard.  There’s an awesome depth of flavour to its rice, the complexity built from the rich as fuck stock it was cooked in, shit tonnes of butter (yassssss), all the fuck yeah Iberian cured meats and a slightly smoky undertone from the charcoal grill.  The small pieces of boletus mushroom also provide a good textural contrast to the al dente rice.  The fact that the rice has a good al dente bite to it might seem like a small point but I’ve had any number of pathetically undercooked or mushy-ass paellas in HK Spanish restaurants.  The only thing that could have made me happier was to get a bit more socarrat crusty rice at the bottom to give me some fuck yeah crunchy feelings but this was most definitely a fucking awesome paella.

My fellow dining homie also ordered a side of roasted peppers (HKD90) as she desperately hoped it to be similar to some green pepper dish she had in Spain.  Yes, there’s always some #wandercunt chasing that authentic traveldouche moment they had in one of their global adventures.  As I’m not into peppers, I’m gonna sit out on the judgment here but really, just how excited can you get about roasted vegetables though?

The dessert menu looked pretty tidy but I was more interested in going back to the bar downstairs to launch myself into at least two to three post-dinner cocktails.  Unfortunately for me, my dining partners had mistakenly put on their Soft Cock Pants versus the requested Hard Cunt Pants so they were all pitiful complaints of “I’m sorry, I’m just too full…I gotta go home” and while my lust for well balanced fuck yeah cocktails is strong I decided it wasn’t gonna be quite the same making my face numb on my own.  Note to self, I gotta make sure I’m clearer on the dress code next time I ask people out to dinner.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah!  While the service was at times a bit all over the shop, it was well intentioned and definitely not catastrophic considering how long The Optimist has been open.  I probably wouldn’t repeat the bank breaking Txuleta $teak but it’s a cool as fuck space with decent sized fuck yeah Spanish eats and an affordable wine list which should guarantee some fun times.  If anything, I’m absolutely getting my lush self back to crush their cocktail list.

FYN Update 06 January 2016:
GUISE – I’m an asshole at the best of times but I like to give credit where fuck yeahhhh credit is due. I recently revisited The Optimist Hong Kong and shit has improved since I went in November 2015. Things to note:

  1. Their website now has prices. I definitely gave them a pizzling for that on FYN. Yo Optimist homies, thanks for listening to the feedback
  2. Service is on point now and the waiter we had definitely knew the menu and had tasted the food. Fuck yeahhhhh feeding your staff.
  3. Cause ordering ball breakingly expensive Txuleta steaks at HKD110/100g wasn’t enough for me, I went even higher and ordered the Chateaubriand at HKD150/100g (HOLY FUCK). Chateaubriand was an expensive though delicious FUCK YEAHHHH though.
  4. Aioli still remains fucking amazing and I continue to want to rub it ALL OVER MY BODY.
  5. I ordered the Arroz caldoso seafood rice which is good but the seafood charcoal crispy rice is superior. Spend the extra HKD20.

Where:
The Butchers Club Steak Frites
UG/F, 52-56 Staunton Street (entrance is on Aberdeen Street, just up from PMQ)
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2858 9800 but snaps yo, their email reservation address was speedy.

Price:
HKD550 for the set dinner menu (salad + steak). Estimate HKD1000 each if you were doing cocktails / wine with dinner.  If you’re smashing steak, surely you want to be smashing red wine at the same time.  Service charge not included, tip is optional.

The deal:
Steak Frites / Entrecote is one of the latest dining trends (some would argue has-been) that is being trotted out across HK.  Sure HK, why don’t we open 1,234,742,101 new gourmet burger places while we’re at it?  La Vache! started it off with their bargain priced HKD258 (+10% service charge) steak and frites and then followed by L’Entrecote de Paris on Wyndham Street and Le Relais de l’Entrecote in Wan Chai. I haven’t tried any of the L’Entrecote ones as I’ve heard mixed reviews from my homies, with the strongest opinion from the reliably hungry Ms Two Serves who claimed that there wasn’t enough steak at L’Entrecote de Paris and that it was only average.  Just cannot with going to restaurants and being hungry and broke at the end.  One of our homies wanted to try The Butchers Club Steak Frites and I’m a fuck yeah fan of their steaks so with the new, shiny, healthy new year intentions thrown to one side we made a booking here (yeah SMD “no reservations” La Vache).

The Butchers Club Steak Frites menu is straight forward – HKD550 for a wedge salad to start and a 12 oz 40 Day dry aged rib eye and duck fat fries.  There’s some bullshit QR code secret menu and I don’t know why The Butchers Club persists with this secret menu bullshit for all of their restaurants when a) it’s available publicly on their goddamn website b) their normal menu has one item.  Hey BC homies, viral happens organically, stop trying so fucking hard cause I dunno if forcing your customers use their phone to scan QR codes to learn that you SECRETLY offer surf & turf or a cheese plate is entirely fucking necessary. Like seriously “Yeah, I went to this awesome restaurant last night, they have a secret menu that you have to fuck around with your QR scanner on your phone to access which was really integral to my feeling of belonging to something underground and unique” said NO-ONE FUCKING EVER.

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I started with a barrel aged Negroni cause Negronis are one of my favourite fuck yeah aperitifs and the Butchers Club Steak Frites one was all good times.  Even better, fuck yeahhhh, this Campari gin filled bastardwas only HKD90 instead of the ball breaking HKD138++ which is becoming the new fuck no norm in Hong Kong for perfectly adequate cocktails.

The chef comes out to show you the 12 oz steak but lets you know that another option is to share a 66 day aged thick ass T-bone or a prime rib (bone in) between two, while pointing out how the dry aging process is changing the steak.  Thanks for the steak education homeslice and cause I’m all about thick ass steaks so I piled in with Mr Noms to share.  Unfortunately I had to settle for an order of medium-rare.  During the early days of dating Mr Noms, I failed to complete adequate relationship due diligence meaning that my husband homie prefers his steak medium-rare to my preference for the run-the-cow-past-a-fire-and-I’ll-take-a-bite-out-of-it model.  Sometimes I can’t believe the fucking bullshit we do for love and marital harmony.  Yo FYN homies, hot tip – make sure you’re busting out this steak temperature question during the halcyon days of young love so you don’t have to make the same compromises.

Some bread comes out to start and instead of butter, it’s served with whipped dry aged rendered beef fat.  Fuck yeahhhhh that shit was real and the bread is made by Bread Elements so shit’s legit. We placed our order with our cordial waitress who was definitely on Struggle Street when it came to understanding that we wanted to do the steak sharing option, said that if two people did the shared steak and we wanted a sauce each we’d have to pay HKD10 extra for sauce (ummmmm surely if you have two people paying HKD1100 for two steak sets you each get to choose your own fucking sauce without stumping up an additional HKD10 charge for a tiny pot of sauce.  Logic eventually prevailed) and didn’t seem to understand which steak cut we wanted either.  Such was the level of confidence that we actually double checked directly with the kitchen to make sure they had our shit right.  Yo sweetpea, the items on the menu can be counted on one hand and there’s only three steaks on offer, get yo shit in order girl!

There’s an option to change the wedge salad to foie gras on brioche toast (BRIOCHE, MAH NEMESIS) for an additional HKD100, but ages ago I watched an awful video on a Canadian foie gras farm and since then I’m not so down with foie gras.  Yeah, I know that was an extreme set of circumstances and other foie gras farms have different standards but like a Kylie Minogue song, I can’t get that shit out of my head.  No judgment to my other foie gras eating homies cause that shit is fucking delicious, but I’m just all funny about dat delicious foie gras now.  Mr Noms said it was a fuck yeah and the brioche wasn’t shitty either – so get involved if that’s your thing.  The wedge salad is a hearty heart stopping affair but you new year do gooders beware cause the lettuce isn’t really serving its nutritious vegetable role, acting more as a vehicle for funnelling blue cheese sauce and thick cut maple glazed bacon into your body with some sweet ass cherry tomatoes on the side. It’s solid enough but not that revolutionary.  Hopefully they change that shit up regularly because if you were to come here all the time, I don’t know how excited I’d be to have this salad time after time.

The chef let us know our steak was resting and then shit went a little something like this:

No, 5ive didn’t show up to do a performance but The Butchers Club Steak Frites lost all power for a solid amount of time. As our steaks were resting we were in the clear to enjoy our steaks under the glow of the emergency lighting sign.  I guess all my bitching about loud venues has been heard by the Restaurant Gods cause the power black out took the music as well, which meant shit was entirely audible.  Our steaks arrived pre-cut and served between two and fuck yeahhhhhhhhhhh, dat 66 days of dry aging means that you get that intense beef flavour with the mature nutty / blue cheese flavours through it.  I fucking love this shizz and I’m happy to pay for it because that dry aging shebang is labour and time intensive.  The steak is served with your choice of sauce (HKD10 if you want another one) and the bearnaise and peppercorn sauces were tight.  The best fuck yeah sauce of the night was the chimichurri which they threw in. Shit felt medium rare but our waiter homies didn’t provide candlelight until we’d finished our steaks (Y U no provide light source earlier?) and I felt like too much of a dick move to use my phone to illuminate my meal so I could check it out.  The duck fat fries were superior to the ones I had at their burger joint but it’s only one relatively small bowl between two greedy fuckers.  The couple we were having dinner with had fries left over and were almost reluctantly eating theirs. Was it enough?  I guess I’d eaten enough fries for me to feel like I wasn’t being ripped off but fuck if there were more I would have totally smashed them.

In order to compensate for the lack of power, the kitchen comped us a cheese plate.  Fuck yeahhh free cheese times.  The power was restored and the manager asked if we wanted a digestif.  After smashing the steak, wedge salad and a cheese plate, I couldn’t face a Bailey’s (but have you ever drunk it from a shoe?) and he said what about an espresso martini.  Which is one of my favourite FUCK YEAH post dinner cocktails. Good suggestion managerial homie! Managerial homie claimed that they serve an espresso martini with a twist. Yeah son, I can play this game so I asked “What’s the twist?” and they said I’d have to wait and see.

Espresso martinis arrived in champagne flutes on a tray as a waiter homie carried them towards us and in a serious FUCK NO moment, our waiter homie clipped the tray as he was attempting to put shit down and managed to drop two glasses of espresso martinis all over me.  Sticky ass liquor and broken glass rained down around us as our waiter homie’s eyes grew wide with fear and unadulterated terror. A barely whispered sorry escaped from his mouth with his embarrassment palpable as the manager and other staff came over to try and turn shit around.

FYN’s reaction to the way my espresso martini was delivered to me:

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Clean up was ultimately well intentioned but not super slick.  They replaced one martini automatically but left a half glass there (like homies, you spill half my martini, the least you can fucking do is get me another one without me having to ask you).  I found the base of a champagne flute well after the initial clean up under my seat. When I left I had to ask for a paper bag to stash my fucked up shirt which I’d just abandoned on a chair to avoid having to publicly carry around my soiled garments for everyone to see.  Sure the manager made sure I had his details so I could claim dry cleaning if the stain wouldn’t come out of my shirt and emailed the next day to follow up as well (fuck yeah, nice touch).  They comped us our espresso martinis (not explicitly said, they just weren’t on the bill) to make up for Espressogeddon but what is the appropriate go to move is here?  Is a heartfelt apology, an offer to pay for dry cleaning if you can’t get the stain out yourself and a free martini enough to cover the emotional turmoil of going out to dinner with your homies and having to kick on to your after-dinner drinks looking like a DAB (drunk ass bitch) cause you’re soaked in cocktails, everything is sticky as fuck and then having to deal with your stained laundry on a Saturday night when you get home cause you don’t want that shit to set and stain? Fuck, I don’t know – perhaps my dignity truly is only worth HKD90??

I then thought about the fate of Mr Shaky and what are the consequences for a waiter who has an unintentional fuck up of monumental proportions.  Does he get sent to practice carrying martinis on a tray out the back for an hour at a time, with his head waiter shouting at him to be bold and to keep his eyes on the horizon, with his every failure resulting in a cruel task master shouting “YOU ARE FUCKING WORTHLESS” while broken glass shards rain down upon his nugatory existence?

So fuck, it’s clear that between the power blackout and the Espressogeddon, it was one of those fucking nights when yo shit don’t work out – some for reasons that are not entirely within control (except, I guess, don’t serve espresso martinis in tall ass champagne flutes on a tray if you are a shaky waiter).  Between a cold water wash and a soak in some bleach, my shirt survived Espressogeddon unscatched but if we look at the wash up, I still paid HKD1000 (before tip, I’ll be real though – I left a minimal tip cause my generosity wasn’t too red hot after Espressogeddon) to drink some primo cocktails, drink more than half a bottle of  fuck yeah malbec, eat a fuck yeah dry-aged steak but I also did without the modern convenience of power and I endured having champagne flutes and espresso smashed all over me at the meal’s conclusion.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah on pay day or fuck yeah if someone else is paying re: steak (cause that dry age malarky is not cheap) but so much fucking drama happened outside of the steak times that I can’t rule definitively on this one.  In the second time in FYN’s history (The Salted Pig was the first one, moved to a fuck no later) – JURY’S OUT.

Where:
The Butchers Club Deli
16/F, Shui Ki Industrial Building
18 Wong Chuk Hang Road
Aberdeen, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2884 0768 (lolz, they also list a fax number like their burger joint – HAY BUTCHERS CLUB, it’s no longer the 1980s, LET THE FUCK GO)

Price:
T-Bone Tuesday costs HKD750 per person, at the moment they also throw in a bottle of red per couple.  Just noise, white noise disclosure though – the Butchers Club Deli homies invited me so I got my complimentary nom on.

The deal:
Ms This is Bullshit and I got our rarefied Central asses into a taxi to go down to Wong Chuk Hang in the middle of a goddamn torrential downpour.  The taxi driver asked us “What type of building is it?”  “Industrial….aren’t they all Industrial in Wong Chuk Hang?!”.  Shit was getting real in the Hang, a maze of orange and white barricades, construction and blinking lights as Ms This is Bullshit gazed reflectively into the relentless rain, musing this was potentially her last moment of freedom before she was sold into white slavery.

We eventually found a street number and we found ourselves in an industrial goods lift and out of nowhere, was seemingly besieged by a group of very thin, rich looking HK peeps who did not look like they were in Wong Chuk Hang with the express purpose of smashing their body weight in T-bone steaks.  Fucking stereotypes I know, but that’s the vibe I was getting from big perms, skinny antennae like arms and so much gold and gemstones that I could barely mash the lift buttons accurately to the sixteenth floor.  It turns out they were there for the Butchers Club as well, except they were there for some HK celebrity’s event.

The Butchers Club Deli is in the Ed1tus (won’t lie, I fucking hate the 1 – Y not use i??) showroom – a 7,000 square foot space dedicated to men’s luxury clothes/lifestyle and Casa Capriz, a vintage homeware and furniture shop.  So if you ever wanted to eat your dinner in a polished concrete space, nestled between a rack of sparsely spaced out jackets, a multitude of pastel suede loafers and a stark antique, bare bulbed lamp, you’re in fucking luck – because on dining nights, they’ve got tables through the whole place.

T-Bone Tuesday involves four courses – an iceberg lettuce wedge salad, oysters rockefeller, the main event – Angus T-Bone steak and a slice of lemon meringue pie.  As it’s just started, they’re throwing in a bottle of red wine per couple.  That’s a pretty fucking punchy combination for a school night and I feel that the wedge salad is an attempt at being healthful before you eat yourself into oblivion.  Never mind that there are negligible health benefits of slathering lettuce with tasty as fuck Gorgonzola dressing and grilled thick cut maple-glazed bacon.  I was a bit fearful of the oysters rockefeller because I’m generally an oyster purist – I want those salty suckers fresh, raw with a squeeze of lemon juice only.  No red vinegar shallot or Thai influenced anything dressing please – why fucking mess with nature’s perfection and bake that shit? My fears were overblown though because that baked shit was all right – fuck yeah, dem motherfuckin’ garlicky breadcrumbs: breadcrumbs

So while lettuce and oysters are pretty fucking tasty we all know why we bothered making the trek to Aberdeen for and it’s for the main event – the chargrilled dry-aged Angus T-bone steak.  They roll out their handsome Aussie Chef in clearly what is HK’s Answer to Curtis Stone to show you the T-bone pre-grilling, before he gives you a Lifetime biography of the T-bone, letting us know that our cow had lived just outside of Brisbane, spent the first year of his life eating grass before he fell off the Paleo bandwagon, stopped the kipping pull ups at his local Crossfit box and then proceeded to gorge himself for 300 days on grains, building up fatty stores before his slaughter.  Ms This is Bullshit and I go for medium-rare (not my first choice cause I want my shit still mooing) and the T-bone is hand carved at your table and shared between two.

By this stage, Ms This is Bullshit and I were delirious with goddamn excitement, our iron levels soaring in anticipation. It’s served with a big fuck off cheesy baked potato and a side of mascarpone creamed spinach (lolz, as if you want vegetables that aren’t covered in some sort of cream).  The Butchers Club Deli have dry aged their Angus T-Bone for 60 days and in combination with the quality of the meat, this explains why shit isn’t cheap.  After 60 days of aging, the beef flavour is dialled the fuck up as it’s lost water and there’s some enzymatic/bacterial action going on.  I’d describe it as having a pretty fucking distinctive blue cheese and popcorn/nutty hint to it.  I don’t think this shit would work for people who complain that their meat is too “lamby”, “porky” or “gamey” but Ms This is Bullshit and I fucking loved this magnificent, aged, flavourful beefy bastard.

We both eyed off the giant t-bone with so much fucking meat left on it still and I went hands on.  I was trying to gnaw the shit out of it without smearing charcoal grilled grease down my cheek, given the unfortunate ergonomics of a T-bone.  Ms This is Bullshit was egging me on, pointing out that how much good meat was left on that bad boy as I attempted to avoid getting busted from getting my savage caveman on by the too fucking handsome HK’s Answer to Curtis Stone who seemed to always be on the dining room floor, rather than in the  kitchen where he belonged.  BAD NEWS – I totally got fucking busted. It’s a big fucking piece of meat and even though the two of us are solid nommers, we still had leftovers (pro tip – don’t be fucking shy, take that shit away with you so you can relive the glory for breakfast two days later).  Props to Ms This is Bullshit who was sensible and judicious in her decision not to smash up the baked potato in its entirety, giving her more capacity for dat glorious fuck yeah beef.  I regret my inability to Just Say No to Carbs – WILL I EVER FUCKING LEARN?

Our waiter asked whether we wanted to also take away our lemon meringue pie but we steeled ourselves, cause per FYN’s tagline you just have to put on your hard cunt pants and power through pudding.  We then watched two fucking huge slabs of lemon pie, bigger than my head, get served to the guys next to us.  “HOLY FUCK”  we exclaimed through shallow breaths.  However, when our “pie” came out, it looked remarkably different – an average sized circle of lemon filling with the meringue piped around the edge, with three forlorn, uneven pieces of pastry base smashed into the top.  A mint leaf was added for good measure.  I’ve watched enough Top Chef/Masterchef to know what a goddamn kitchen disaster looks like and we ruminated on what the potential kitchen issue had been (our top guesses being that perhaps whoever plated shouldn’t have served up a quarter of a pie to the previous guests or that the chef had dropped the pie, resulting in them having to smash together something quickly for judging).  As we put the spoon through the lemon curd, it went direct to the plate with a telling clink.  We bailed up the guys next to us “Did you have base under ALL of your pie??” which they confirmed that they’d had base for days.  We then watched a massive wedge of normal looking pie go uneaten from another table, go back to the kitchen.

PieGate 2014 continued until we were asked how everything was and I couldn’t keep it in anymore, bailing up the chefs to ask WTF was going on with our pie and ‘Where was our base??” which resulted in all of them going “GET NICK!!! LET’S GET HIM TO HEAR THE FEEDBACK!!!” and a very harried looking Pastry Chef arrived, sheepishly claiming it was more of a deconstructed lemon pie because it just hadn’t set.  Poor Nick, he was definitely having a fuck no night.  This is even better in retrospect because when you check out their website, he’s proudly holding aloft a very fuck yeah, normal looking well set lemon pie.

Lucky for him we came for the Butchers Club and not the Lemon Pie Club, cause otherwise the FYN verdict below would be different. Fuck me though, I’ve been fucking dreaming about fuck yeah, intense dry aged beef flavour all week.

Verdict:
Despite fuck no deconstructed disaster lemon tart times, fuck yeah on pay day T-bone times.  At HKD750 a person, shit isn’t cheap but the cost of procuring top quality beef and then aging it for sixty fucking days isn’t cheap either.

Sometimes shit isn’t cheap for a reason and yo Butchers Club, Imma comin’ back for your Rib Eye Steak + Frites times.

Where:
The Chop House
Level 3 Soundwill Plaza II – Midtown
1 Tang Lung Street
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2771 3177 (holy shit though, I think they support online booking)

Price:
HKD300 for a steak with some sides.  Additional sides are around HKD55.  Coffee is HKD45.  Prices listed exclude 10% service charge.

The deal:
The Chop House is going for that casual but trendy dining experience.  The menu is full of whimsical as fuck typography which humorously implores me to “Let’s get started” for starters, indulge in “The best thing since sliced bread” for…wait for it…goddamn sandwiches and to exclaim, not just with one exclamation mark but to fucking fall headfirst into “BURGER TIME!!!“. Yeah, you beautiful unique snowflake – every place in HK is gearing up for GODDAMN BURGER TIME, so take a fucking number, sweetcheeks.  You can always spot the most deplorable abuse of whimsical names by the dessert menu and The Chop House doesn’t disappoint when it leads with “Tiramisu just the way we like it” but disappointingly, closes with the very mundane “Ice-cream Selection”.  Surely that was waiting for some really fucking cornball nomenclature like “One Team, One Ice-Cream”, “Treat ’em mean, get ice-cream” or “Ice-creampie barely legal delight”.  Wait, too fucking far??

Anticipating a substantial main, I did not get things started and went with the Australian grass-fed beef 200g tenderloin which was accompanied by a sweet corn-potato cake, sautéed spinach, armagnac and black peppercorn sauce.  The steak was good, cooked rare, just as I fucking like it and the listed sides were decent and not just a half-assed serve of limp as fuck vegetables.  The extra fries we ordered were crunchy fuckers, so no complaints there.

But perhaps it’s HK dining fatigue, because despite a decent enough steak, there was just something that didn’t quite work for The Chop House and while I know it was going for a casual, good, honest dining deal, it felt partially like it sat uncomfortably between a cafeteria and a bar, with sparse, easily wipeable tables which were splashed with type boldly declaring “BEER”, “PORK LOIN” and “SANDWICHES” just in case you forgot why the fuck you were there.  I mean, I fucking get it, The Wooloomooloo Group doesn’t want The Chop House to steal the lunch out from its fancier, high class sister – Wooloomooloo Prime in the same building.  But casual can still feel intimate and fun, rather than sitting in a restaurant which feels uncomfortably like it’s trying too hard to be relaxed as it blares a mix tape which would be better placed at night in Lan Kwai Fong.  Call me a goddamn snob, but I don’t fucking want to eat a lunchtime steak with David Guetta and Avicii soullessly blaring over the top of me.

The verdict:
It wasn’t terrible but I’m not excited enough to go back.  Fuck no.

Where:
Ho Lee Fook (R U fucking serious??  A TUMBLR is your official website??) See also their FB Page.
1 Elgin Street (the lower bit, more towards Hollywood Road)
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2810 0860 (it’s one of those bullshit no bookings unless >6 people)

Price:
We got out at HKD460 each – between two people we had two mains + one salad and two cocktails.  In retrospect, we might not have needed two meatageddon mains.  I always go on high alert when I’m in trendy, of the moment joints which always seem to subscribe to “food for ants” sizes but no fear here, servings are fucking generous.

The deal:
I know everyone’s losing their shit over Ho Lee Fuk with Chef Jowett’s modern take on old school Hong Kong cha chaan tengs and its cavernous, trendy dark Chinatown retro New York inspired decor but I just can’t get over what a fucking stupid name it is. Ho Lee Fook actually translates to “good fortune for your mouth” but all I can think about is people going “I’ll see you at Ho Lee Fuk” OMG LOOK, IT SOUNDS LIKE HOLY FUCK. JEEEZ WHAT A GODDAMN GAS.  Every blog I read calls it quirky, hilarious and cheeky though – so perhaps I’m just a dour faced bitch who prefers it when people are straight forward with their F-bombs. It just feels like when places give their dishes stupid ass names like ‘The Big Bertha Wonderburger’ or ‘The Big O Chocolate Sinner’ and I always make it a point not to say the stupid fucking name and then some asshat waiter will repeat the full dumb ass name back at you.

We rolled into Ho Lee Fook at 815pm, with no booking because you can’t fucking book a table unless you have more than six people.  Front of house let us know that we’d probably be waiting til around NINE FUCKING THIRTY for a table.  I would normally be concerned that I would eat my arms off by then but I saw Chef Jowett Yu and the Ho Lee Fook homies smashing together Wagyu Short Ribs that I desperately needed in my life. FINE YOU NO BOOKING ASSHOLES, have it your way because I am now beholden to your beef, so we took ourselves up Elgin Street to have mojitos until they called us.  At 930pm we still hadn’t been called, but we stomped back in to demand satisfaction in no uncertain terms as they apologetically told us that a table was finishing their dessert and should be fucking off fairly shortly (ok, they didn’t drop the F bomb).  I was about to have a no booking hunger induced meltdown but Ho Lee Fook offered as a free cocktail while we waited.  Fuck yeah to alcoholic free shit to soothe my harried no booking soul.  I got their Mule cocktail (ginger beer and booze based) and despite every Asian sensation in my body being heightened by it being free, I can confirm I ordered another one later (which I paid for) and it was still a fuck yeah.

Ho Lee Fook’s menu is green with black writing on it and their restaurant is not a brightly lit fucker, so if you’re colourblind or old, sorry to say – sucks to be you, you better get your more able homies to read out shit to you.  Given that we’d ordered two main serves of their beef wagyu short rib with green shallot kimchi and their pork char siu, they recommended we get our veg on with the heirloom tomato salad with duck egg, cucumber and Chinese olive leaf.  UH OH, use of heirloom – tick another one off the hipster checklist.  But it was delicious as fuck and a good light primer before MEATAGEDDON.  The beef wagyu short rib comes cut off the bone (ready for white folk and dainty eaters), glazed in soy sauce and spicy jalapeño puree on the side.  It was fucking unreal – Ho Lee Fook showed the love to that motherfuckin’ beef rib ensuring that blogs across HK are declaring “melt in your mouth!” and “absolutely cooked to perfection!”. But ain’t nobody got time for those overwrought cliches, so fuck dem xoxo and extraneous exclamation marks off and know that this was the good shit with a special fuck yeah mention for the jalapeño puree.

We also ordered the pork char siu because we’d been told there was only one left and FOMOOGP (Fear of Missing Out on Goddamn Pork) meant we had no other option but to get fucking involved.  There was no real twist on this from a flavour perspective, pretty much being a classic charsiu but it was clearly using some fancy as fuck, high class pork.  Due to the menu being unreadable due to its colour choices, I can’t tell you exactly what this pig got up to prior to its death, but I assume that it was probably some Australian porcine princess which got its grassy nom on under the open skies, with a gentle breeze caressing her delicious belly.

For dessert, we shared a Granny Smith apple granita, with Calpis sorbet, mochi and red koji jelly which they comped given the no booking / waiting palaver.  It was an amped up, modern version of an Ice/Ais Kacang (Singaporean / Malaysian ice based dessert which mixes a number of textures / ingredients).  Given my full as fuck status from annihilating the preceding meatageddon, this tart appley bitch with its contrasting sweet and chewy textural components was a motherfucking, refreshing as fuck treat.

Special shout out to their A1 grade friendly homie, Olivia, who not only gave us free cocktails and a dessert because of the wait, she also made sure we knew which items were about to sell out so we could get our orders in and kept the service efficient as fuck.  FUCK YEAH to super fucking adorable service homies who have got their goddamn shit going on.

Verdict:
NO, I am NOT going to lazily close out my review using their name to make a “holy fuck” pun.  Fuck vindicating that shit, but FUCK YEAH!!

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