Fuck No

Where:
Holy Crab
3/F, Cosmos Building
8-11 Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2110 0100

Price:
HKD1,100 A PERSON.  FOR A NO BOOZE MEAL IN A CASUAL RESTAURANT IN LKF.

The deal:
Ms Two Serves and I decided to check out the newly opened Cajun-Creole restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong, which specialises in crab boils.  A boil involves stuffing a plastic bag full of seafood, spices, corn, sausage and potato before boiling it at a low temperature.  Holy Crab is jiving with this cute nautical theme and they even offer merchandise emblazoned with their cheery cartoon crab logo so you could buy a t-shirt or a beach towel to constantly remind yourself of your love for a random restaurant in LKF.  However, despite the fun vibe they’re going for, on the night we went the dining room was 75% empty, as a palpable air of despair hung in the air.  NOT A GOOD SIGN, but I know Holy Crab has only been open for less than a month so I pushed these paranoid thoughts aside.

Holy Crab’s big selling point is that they fly their live seafood in from the US and you get to personally pick it from their artificial rockpools, before you send your chosen aqueous homies to their death in the kitchen.   HOWEVER what Holy Crab neglects to mention is that they appear to be flying their crustaceans via first fucking class cause fuck me, this live seafood malarky is NOT cheap.  A Dungeness crab goes for HKD1,230 a kilo.  Clams are HKD570 a kilo.  Tiger prawns are HKD520 a kilo. King Crab legs are HKD820 a kilo.  THIS IS BEFORE A 10% SERVICE CHARGE.  We selected a feisty looking Dungeness crab, six large black tiger prawns and a handful of clams before choosing which sauce and level of spiciness we wanted.  Our singular Dungeness crab clocks in at an eye watering HKD1,200. Ms Two Serves and I take a moment to fear for the impending live freighted seafood related bankruptcy that we see looming in our future.

To start, we have the Southern Fried Okra and Tomato Salad (HKD80).  The okra is battered with cornmeal and while shit’s crunchy, it’s completely unremarkable due to a complete lack of seasoning.  Fuck Holy Crab, use some salt, some herbs, just fucking do something.  The salad leaves are browning and wilted, with this fuck no flaccid affair drenched in some sort of ranch dressing which tastes like it’s come straight from a bottle. Holy Crab brought a selection of six sauces to the table and I make a futile attempt to see if the flavourless fried okra can be remedied by one of these six basic-ass ready made sauces. The only part executed well were the bacon bits in the salad but LBR, it takes a fucking special effort to fuck up bacon.

Our side of corn fritters (HKD58) arrive and these greasy lumps of batter arrive in a small metal bucket.  Immediately the warning signs go off, as they look like they’ve spent too long in the fryer, a shade too brown.  There’s barely any fucking corn in the stodgy batter and these cloying fuckers are served with this honey butter which sounds ok but had some sort of weird taste that lingered.  The last thing these greasy ballbags alleging to be corn fritters needed was a butter based dip that added MORE fucking grease.  It’s my normal modus operandi to shove as many fried carbs as possible into my pie hole in preparation for that one day in 2019 when I finally decide to go for that overdue carb-loaded run, but I didn’t even make it through two of these barely corn filled unctuous greaseballs. Fuck noooooo.

FYN note:  While ‘unctuous’ may be on my ‘forbidden’ vocabulary list, I really do mean unctuous in its true literal meaning of having a greasy feel.  Unlike all those other food blogging assholes who think every egg yolk they ever came across should be described as unctuous.

Combine the above two FUCK NO dishes with an almost empty dining room, my gut feeling before our $eafood boil arriving at this point in time was something like this:

starwarsbadfeeling

Our boil arrives and Ms Two Serves and I were fucking excited to spot our crab, despite the incoming bank breaking times.  I also have a moderate amount of understanding that a crab boil is never going to be as cheap as the US cause Holy Crab did have to fly your shit in live and kicking.  But what I can’t forgive is that despite all the LIVE SEAFOOD palaver, the finished dish wasn’t actually any fucking good.  Everything arrives in metal buckets and the crab shows up in one fucking piece.  Cut a patron a break Holy Crab and at least smash up the carapace for me.  The crab meat was good and the clams were ok but fuckkkk the tiger prawns which looked impressive were tough as fuck.  LBR, I DO NOT GIVE A FUCK where the fuck you fly your prawns in from if you overcook the shit out of them.

The biggest FUCK NO though was the seasoning used in the boil.  While some HK Lifestyle blogs are claiming that Holy Crab are using “the most flavoursome herbs and spices” they have clearly never fucking eaten here (or maybe they don’t actually possess any fucking tastebuds) because the herbs and spices used were a fucked up, nondescript wishy washy mess.  We ordered the garlic herb for the prawns, the rajun cajun for the clams and the bag o’ tricks sauce for the crab and all I can remember is the oregano overpowering everything.  The sauce was too watery which meant I gave zero fucks that they served everything in tall metal buckets with a long spoon which made it ergonomically impossible to scoop the sauce out.  Despite the fact we were dropping some serious coin, I couldn’t have given less of a fuck that there wasn’t a slice of complementary bread kicking around cause that watery oregano mess didn’t require any clean up.  Nostalgic wistful memories flood back to the last crab boil I had (Shrimp Daddy in Taipei, yeah I know I should have written it up) where the boil sauce was such a fuck yeah of epic proportions that we demanded extra bread so we could soak up all that delicious as fuck seafood and herb juice, and Shrimp Daddy lifted it to the Greatest of All Time by giving us some next level fried mantou bread.

We also ordered our sauce ‘medium’ spiciness and it was barely spicy at all.  Fair game, I get it – most people in HK are a bag of pussies when it comes to spice so you don’t want to kill most people.  I ordered some extra spicy sauce on the side and while it had a little more heat, it just didn’t taste very good, the chilli in it feeling raw and underdone.

Service was enthusiastic and well-intentioned, however I felt constantly harangued by the waiters who kept asking “Are you finished?”, as they hovered by our table ready to snatch our dishes away so they could presumably wrap shit up and go home.  Ms Two Serves and I flag down the bill and she has this reaction when she checks it:

jerrybill

OH SHIT SON, HKD2,200 TO EAT SOME AVERAGE-ASS FOOD OUT OF METAL BUCKETS AND THREE HOMEMADE BOOZELESS LEMONADES (holy shit, HKD60 each). THAT’S FUCKING RIGHT HOMIES, H K D 1 , 1 0 0 A PERSON. HOLY FUCKING SHIT, IS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE?! DID THIS RESTAURANT CONTRIBUTE TO HK’S TOP 10 RANKING IN THE WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE CITIES TO LIVE IN?!

I know that I’m just a greedy asshole who likes to eat and can use a keyboard,  so I have zero fucking actual knowledge on what it’s like to open a restaurant.  But I can only assume that you’d ask some of your honest as fuck friends what they think about your concept and your price point.  I imagine that before Holy Crab opened they must have had conversations like the below to see if they were in the ballpark of normalcy:

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 9.55.50 am

Verdict:
FUCK NO, FUCK NO, FUCK NO, FUUUUUUUUUUCK NO!!!  JUST CANNOT WITH SPENDING HKD1,100 PER PERSON FOR CASUAL, PEDESTRIAN AS FUCK DINNERS WITHOUT ANY BOOZE.

FYN cannot be any fucking clearer about my views on this restaurant – should ANY of your friends suggest this place to you, FYN recommends the following reaction:

nononosign

FYN can say with all certainty that if any of you have any interest in buying a crab boil place in LKF replete with branded beach towels, hold onto your scavenging hats cause there’s gonna be one going out of business in the next year that you can snap up for a couple of coffees and some peanut shells.

Where:
ON Dining Kitchen & Lounge
29th Floor, 18 On Lan Street
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2174 8100

Price:
Lunch set for two courses is HKD288 and three courses is HKD328.  For the a la carte menu, entrees range from HKD148 to HKD328 and mains from HKD298 to HKD588. Ordering a la carte, we were out at a hefty HKD1000 a person.

The deal:
ON Dining Kitchen & Lounge is another new restaurant on On Lan Street which only opened in December last year.  The kitchen is headed up by Chef Philippe Orrico, from Upper Modern Bistro.  Aside from the Chef, it’s meant to be a heavy hitting famous four of sorts with Jeremy Evrard (General Manager, former director of restaurants at the Four Seasons), Nicolas Deneux (Operations Manager & Sommelier, former head sommelier at Grand Hyatt HK and Alain Ducasse) and Giancarlo Mancino (Head Barman, ex Bar Consultant of Otto e Mezzo and Il Milione). Fuuuuuuuuuuck, after listing dem credentials out I’ve pretty much run out of space for the rest of this review.

ON Dining is set across two floors – the top 29th floor is for the Lounge and the 28th floor is the main dining room, with fuck yeah views across Central and an outdoor terrace.  I didn’t inspect the terrace for on-trend magical pots of carbon footprint neutralising herbs so sorry homies, I can’t comment on whether On Dining is getting in on that hot as fuck sustainable local herb trade like every other new HK restaurant.  It’s bright and airy, going for a trendy, informal vibe with geometric printed carpets, red velvet curtains, white marble walls and no tablecloths.  I know, I’m all fucking hung up on linen with every single review I write at the moment.  Don’t worry, I got this homies, I’m registering fuckyeahlinen.com right after I finish this FYN shit up.

While the lunch set looked ok, I’m a sucker for slow cooked onsen style eggs so I opted to go a la carte.  I’ve never eaten at Upper Modern Bistro but I understand that this 63 degree Celsius egg shebang is one of Chef Orrico’s signature dishes.  At HKD188 that’s a pretty exxy egg and overall there’s a lot of shit going on with this dish.  This multi-component dish consists of a just cooked egg with a foamy lobster bisque and a touch of yuzu, under all of this is some sauteed mushrooms and lobster chunks, with the whole deal topped with croutons, chopped chives and hey, why the fuck not, finely chopped black truffles.  While I could quite happily live a full and satisfied life where I never ate another fucking foamy sauce ever again, this shit was pretty right even if it was bordering on being too fucking OTT.  I get what they were going for here though – a dish of contrasts motherfucker, crunchy crouton vs gooey egg yolk, acidic citrus yuzu vs creamy lobster bisque and soft lobster vs bitey mushrooms. So clever, amirite?  Should just add some caviar and gold leaf to really make this dish fucking pop.

For my main, shit was right up my alley cause I fucking love to eat tiny birds.  I vacillated on whether to get the Quail and Lobster Pie or the Roast Pigeon.  I’ll be real with you, I might have been so fucking keen on ordering the Quail and Lobster Pie (aka Luxury Pie) because I imagined Chef Orrico devising it in a scene something similar to this (drizzle it, drizzle it):

However, the Luxury Pie sounded like it was going to be rich as fuck, given that it was also stuffed with bisque sauce and piquillos.  I’d also just gotten mah bisque on with the egg so I went with the roasted pigeon with artichokes, baby spinach and lemon chutney.  I predictably went for the whole bird option and HOLY SHITBALLS, a whole sky rat is gonna set you back a very large and in charge HKD398 (+10% service charge).  Sometimes I wonder if the HKD and the prices ending in eights mask just how much shit costs because prices always seem more obscenely eye-watering when I convert that shit to USD and it’s a horrifying realisation that this dish rounds up to SIXTY real dollars (fuck yeah, MURICA).

While the waiter had asked how I wanted it and I followed the Chef’s recommendation to have it ‘medium rare’, the pigeon ended up at medium well, with the faintest blush of pink. The artichoke cubes were an unappetizing fuck no shade of grey – I don’t know if it was because the artichokes had oxidised prior to cooking or maybe the wrong metal utensils were used (FYN fun fact – iron or aluminium will cause an artichoke to go blue, black or grey), but some miniature viola flowers on the side wasn’t enough to distract me from those depressingly grey ‘chokes.  The pigeon was coated in a lemon chutney based sauce and I get it was going for that sweet sour thing (yo Chef, again with the contrasts) but I found the whole thing a touch too cloyingly sweet and by the end, one dimensional.  I imagine that HKD398 + 10% service charge + being bored probably wasn’t the kitchen’s desired outcome.

We also ordered a side of the potatoes with melted Munster cheese and cumin (HKD128) which came topped with some sort of shaved meat. I didn’t think it was possible to make potatoes and melted cheese into anything less than a spectacular fuck yeah but somehow, On Dining found a way.

For dessert, there was a communication mix up and while I’d ordered the fresh mandarin sorbet and tuile biscuit (HKD138!!) the madeleines showed up instead (normally HKD128).  The waiter was smooth as fuck though and even when I said the madelines was fine (as it’d been my second choice), he absolutely insisted on bringing me a second dessert of the mandarin sorbet as I had ordered.  The madelines were warm, slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  Shit was nice but this is really a bit of sponge, some chopped up apples and cream (even if you fancy that shit up and call it ‘Chantilly’) and fuck no, I can’t jive with its HKD128 (+10% service charge) price tag even if in this instance they comped this, given the order mix up.  The mandarin sorbet dessert was more successful  – the sorbet was refreshing and all that good jazz, accompanied by some fresh mandarin supremes, concentrated tart citrus gels with a touch of real vanilla bean (black specks yo) and a crisp as fuck, wafer thin tuille.  IT ALSO CAME WITH MORE MINIATURE VIOLA FLOWERS.  ON Dining, Y U gotta get floral garnishing all up on my shit? Two out of three dishes is too high in the floral percentiles for me. I just don’t fucking give a shit about garnishing that has NO FUCKING FLAVOUR.

Props has got to go to the fuck yeah heartfelt service level at ON Dining though – all of the hostesses and waiters were totally on their A Game. Waiter homies were gently checking on our shit all the time without being obtrusive and unlike some HK restaurants where you practically have to break out into the goddamn Macarena to get someone to take your order or bring you the bill, you had to so much as raise half an eyebrow and someone was immediately there making shit right. The way they handled the dessert misorder was fucking exemplary and I just wish that I’d found the actual execution of the food to be on par with the fuck yeah quality of the front of house. Too fucking sad.

Verdict:
Fuck no, cause fuck me, if you’re dropping HKD1000 for a boozeless lunch, shit should be off-the-chain righteous and not just enjoyably ok and disappointing in parts. FYN recommends taking it down 25 floors and going to Arcane instead.

youretackyandihate

Hey Maximal Concept assholes, using boobs and chicks in lingerie to sell your fucking tail-end-of-the-trend Double D Burger and double entendre of “in your mouth soon” is really fucking cutting edge and sexy as fuck. WHOA, WE GOT A BADASS OVER HERE.

FUCK NO.

Where:
Neighborhood
61-63 Hollywood Road
Central, Hong Kong

The entrance is actually behind Hollywood Road, so enter off Peel Street and look for Pak Tsz Lane Park

Phone:
+852 2617 0891

Price:
For two people, you need to order around 6 dishes which range from HKD130-HKD160 each. Excludes service charge. We got out at HKD650 each for food + sharing a bottle of prosecco (including 10% tip).

About:
David Lai, the chef behind On Lot 10 has opened Neighborhood (sic if you’re from British School of English, fuck yeahhh Murica if you’re not). I can’t claim to be a long term patron of On Lot 10 but I’ve had dinner there and shit was good. I would have given it an official fuck yeah on FYN if I hadn’t been such a lazy cunt and actually written it up. Neighborhood opened two months ago and I’d seen some photos of tripe gratin that Ms Siuwaaan and I wanted in our lives. Chef Lai has said that he’s going for that ‘homely’ feel but I’m not sure what’s homely about a sparse dark grey space with mirrors to make shit feel bigger (ho ho, you certainly fooled me you clever interior designer). Sure, the tableware and short tumblers are custom designed and personally selected by Chef Lai from goddamn fancy pants PARIS but it doesn’t matter if you’re still eating shit off a table clothless, laminated fake wood table rimmed with steel. I dunno if a custom designed knife from PARIS can distract me from dat cheap table.  Especially when they don’t change your cutlery between dishes and you have to put your used dirty cutlery back on that laminated table clothless table which kinda skeeved me out.

Neighborhood is a small space, it only sits 20ish people. So it was a bit fucking surprising that I had to wait 5 minutes for them to set up my table when I arrived. Like homies, you’ve only got about 10 tables and you’re not rammed, why aren’t you on top of this shit already? However, this was fairly indicative of the rest of the night as Neighborhood’s service was well-intentioned but ultimately brusque and clunky as fuck.  There is a total lack of anything soft in there too, so shit gets noisy which might explain why our waiters needed us to repeat everything we said at least three times.

I’m really fucking judgmental and the font choice and the egregious use of ” (like your water is either Antipodes water or it’s not, Y U say “Antipodes”?) of the Neighborhood menu really fucking upset me – so much so that I sent it to a friend who immediately responded with “Why are they using the X-files font? Woo woo woo woo WOO woo” and produced this:

xfiles

After establishing that there was no tripe available that night (wahhhhhhhhhhhh), we ordered a number of dishes – the ceviche, the wagyu tartare with truffle, rabbit ballotine, potato gnocchi with wild boar ragu and the daily fish in “bouillabaisse”.  The food gets a fuck yeah on presentation and it’s highly Instagrammable.  If that’s your jam, you can totally post that wagyu tartare with shaved truffles on Instagram and be guaranteed replies of “YUMMMMMMM” and “Where is that??”.  Dishes aren’t huge and you can comfortably share one dish between two people to get an adequate taste.  Shit was ok, I enjoyed it enough at the time but I didn’t find any dish hit me over the head and would be something I’d want to order again or tell someone that they HAD to have it.  The wild boar ragu and the ambiguously quotationed marked “bouillabaisse” was the closest to a solid fuck yeahhhh.  But neither dish was a slam dunk – cause while that wild boar sauce was fuck yeah times, the gnocchi wasn’t firm enough, so it just felt like eating little mashed potato balls in a gnocchi shape. For the “bouillabaisse”, use of quotation marks aside, a slice of fish is served on a piece of bread with the broth poured over it.  The broth was rich and while I prefer my bouillabaisse to hit me in the mouth with the taste of the goddamn ocean, my bigger issue was that it felt a bit empty on other ingredients – maybe I just wanted some shellfish to come chill with my decent portion of threadfin fish.

To finish we ordered the chocolate palette which has been getting mad props on the internet.  Even though I’m not the biggest chocolate fiend, this dessert was pretty fucking rad.  It’s a soft chocolate ganache that isn’t too fucking stodgy and there’s a slightly salty chocolate crust at the bottom to do that reliable though generally successful  salty / sweet contrast thing.   Fuck yeah on execution on this one – I imagine if you were super into chocolate you’d fucking lose your shit over this one.

At the end of the meal, Neighborhood send out some complimentary canelés, or as I call them CAT ANUS CAKES.  Look, I know I always say no fucking food photos on Fuck Yeah Noms, but imma gonna make an exception when shit looks like a fucking cat’s anus:

catanuscakes

FYN fun facts: A canelé originates from Bordeaux in France it should have a caramelised crunchy sugar crust with a vanilla and rum flavoured custard inside and they’re hard as fuck to make.  If you want to be a total unbearable food asshole, when you are served canelés you should ask your waiter “Excuse me, does your chef use the traditional copper moulds or the silicone ones?  Do you use beeswax to help with the release of the canelé?” and after you smile smugly at your dining companions, bathed in your ocean of superior food knowledge you can then firmly punch yourself in the groin for being such a fucking douchebag.  Per my internet research, I understand that Neighborhood use silicone moulds so save yourself a groin punching this time.

I have no issue with canelés but Neighborhood’s had this fucking feral aftertaste that was so fucking terrible that Ms Siuwaaan and I had to take multiple bites to try and identify what the fuck was going and and confirm that shit was as bad we thought it was (no, it didn’t get better and no, I couldn’t figure out what that weird ass aftertaste was).  This required double tasting was reminiscent of when I ate that coconut water macaron at Mejekawi in Bali, which still maintains the title of  The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Eaten in a Restaurant.  I get really upset by shit like this so as soon as I got home, I fired up Whatsapp and was bitching to numerous people including Ms Waterfalls and Caribous:

waterfallscatbum

SIDE NOTE – HOLY FUCK WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME – IT WAS A FREE AND TINY CAKE AND NOW I’VE SPENT SEVERAL PARAGRAPHS, MULTIPLE WHATSAPP CHATS AND HOURS OF MY LIFE RUMINATING ABOUT THEM.

Anyway TL:DR – So maybe it’s because I’m not a “dear and personal, long-term friend” of Chef David Lai which explains why I’m not jizzing in my pants about Neighborhood. Maybe I just can’t get over their terrible choice in typography. But yeah, shit was perfectly adequate, very Instagrammable, service was awkward and I got given a free though fucking awful cake that looked like a cat’s bum.  Overall underwhelming for the price point.

Verdict:
FUCK NO.  I just cannot with spending HKD600+ on dinner in Hong Kong to be underwhelmed.  I also can’t forgive that fucking vile cat’s anus canele thing.  I don’t give a fuck if it’s from Bordeaux and uses cane sugar, that shit was just NO FUCKING GOOD.

Where:
The Pawn
62 Johnston Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2866 3444

Price:
Mains and starters are around HKD170 – HKD250 each.  I’d estimate HKD400-500 a person for three courses, without booze.

The deal:
When The Pawn underwent renovations it made the biggest fucking deal ever in the history of all motherfucking restaurant renovations in HK (citation needed). There was the furniture sale, the final call for drinks and then began their intense marketing blitz, replete with obnoxious hashtag #IMWORTHTHEWAIT plastered across their facade which has now changed gears to #THEWAITISOVER.  I seemed unable to read anything on any of the HK lifestyle/food press that wasn’t talking about Tom Aikens.  No seriously, did you fucking hear that Tom Aikens is coming out to Hong Kong to reference Modern Britain while using goddamn local ingredients and Asian spices?  There’s going to be ‘botanicals’ (yes, definitely a superior choice to using ‘plants’) grown on The Pawn’s rooftop garden (local herbs! Salad greens! Flowers!). No I don’t think you fucking understand – TOM AIKENS who has restaurants which have MICHELIN STARS (lolz, whatevs, just come to HK, we give that shit out in the immigration line) is coming from BRITAIN to steer The Pawn into an exciting new direction by taking shit over. Tom got so fucking excited he had to tweet everything TWICE (Y U DO THIS TOM? Y U DO THIS TOM?):

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 10.08.28 am

WAHHHHHHHHHHH TOM’S MARKETING MANAGER, LURN 2 TWEET.

But fair play to their marketing team, cause I definitely did not miss the fucking memo that The Pawn was reopening and I was even watching nostalgic promotional videos (tram – CHECK. Historical HK photos – CHECK. Outside shot of the old Pawn shop sign – CHECK.  Artistic blur and street scene slowed down – CHECK.  Hong Kong guy wearing a white shirt sitting in his stylish library, flipping slowly through books on HK history – CHECK) about how The Pawn is the “voice in the neighbourhood” which redefined what the new Wan Chai is today. Whoaaaaa turn it up The Pawn, you’ve got a hardcore case of ratemyself dot com happening.

In respect of the old Pawn, it used to get mixed reviews from my homies. However, I’ve been more than a handful of times and personally gave it a fuck yeahhhh for a casual spot or when I wanted to take visitors to HK somewhere that had a specific old HK feel to it but they were just tapped out on noodles and dumplings.  The food was generally fucking solid if you were after British style eats and always reliable for balcony drinks. I’ve even had a Christmas dinner there once which hit that traditional festive Christmas thing spot on (fuck yeah, mince pies and mulled wine). This is despite the horrific fact I was forced to have boring as fuck turkey breast meat because not a single superior fuck yeah leg or thigh was available – yes, you better believe I called ahead of time just to fucking check.

The new Pawn has gone all modern dark grey walls, pale wood furniture, lamp shades with plants botanicals on it and stainless steel pots of fresh herbs botanicals on the table. It ain’t got that quirky old shit anymore but it felt a bit soulless to me, almost feeling like I was eating in a display for a furniture store. The menu is not large but the price points certainly are. There are a number of starters which are HKD200+ (and as evidenced by other sites, it looks like food for ants time – check the HKD230 venison starter back which looks fucking tiny) and some mains are even cheaper than starters.

It becomes pretty fucking apparent that The Pawn’s service is not on the fast track to success, resembling the speed of your average shopper in Causeway Bay on a Sunday, having a slow as fuck amble while ensuring that under any circumstances no eye contact is made with any outside surroundings or other people, keeping the gaze solely focussed on their mobile phone.  For a start, I waited for fucking aaaaaaaaages to order a glass of wine while I waited for Ms Chowdown as I made plenty of thirsty face at the passing waiters, who instead elected to diligently set up glassware for empty tables.  Given the economic considerations of the starters/mains, Ms Chowdown and I went for two mains to share – opting for the beef short rib to share and the duck bolognese.  After waiting another eternity  to place our orders, it took 15 minutes for the waitstaff to come back and inform us that the beef short rib was sold out so would we like to order something else.  Y U take 15 minutes??  We ordered the brined pork belly instead.

After more waiting for the bread to arrive, it offered sourdough and my continued nemesis, brioche toast.  Look, I have nothing against brioche when it’s done well but it seems fucking rare anywhere outside of France.  Why try and be fucking fancier than normal bread if you end up fucking shit up with dry-ass lame-o brioche bread?  The Pawn’s brioche toast was dry, flavourless and entirely unexciting and was a total FUCK NO for me.  I don’t even know if Nutella would have saved it.

The brined pork belly looked fucking awesome when it arrived – pretty as fuck without being unnecessarily fussy.  Two pieces of belly on top of a bed of fermented grains with fried onion rings.  The pork belly was coated with a ‘botanical’ miso glaze.  I have no fucking idea why The Pawn is so obsessed with the word “botanical” – maybe you can charge more for botanical sauce vs herb sauce?  Despite the choices in nomenclature, this was a solid FUCK YEAHHHH, with the crackling being super fucking crispy (I know, pork belly wank).  The duck bolognese was less exciting and Ms Chowdown and I aren’t sure whether the menu description really had us geared up what appeared.  It was essentially a duck shepherd’s pie, duck mince with potato mash on top (made with duck confit) and some cheese.  It wasn’t fucking terrible but it was a bit one note (both in taste and texture) and by the end of the dish, it just wasn’t that interesting anymore.  If I’d ordered this as a main just for myself, I’d have been disappointed as fuck.  No vegetables botanicals come with the mains, so you’re gonna have to order sides.

The restaurant manager or a more senior restaurant homie stopped in to ask how everything was going and I’m all about telling a restaurant when shit isn’t right at the time, versus saying “Oh my god, it’s all fabulous!” and then writing anonymous blogs online.  So after telling them that their service wasn’t snappy enough and asking why did it take 15 minutes to let us know something was sold out, he was really genuinely apologetic and asked whether we wanted a complimentary glass of wine (fuck yeah, I declined but I gotta note the fucking effort) and we ordered a sticky toffee pudding instead.  Pudding was a traditional style toffee pudding and was a fuck yeahhhh.  But that said, any British influenced establishment that can’t execute a toffee pudding should just close down immediately.  The Pawn actually comped it for us later, which was a nice fucking touch.

However, despite the feedback, it was’t like service took a turn for the better.  We waited for-fucking-ever for them to see us and bring us the bill.  When the bill arrived it was littered with errors (double charged us for the wine, added a bottle of water we didn’t have and had the wrong main).  Waited forever again for someone to notice us, discuss the bill, correct it and bring it back.  Finally, shit got sorted – but fuck me, I expected more from The Pawn given that it’s an established restaurant and a renovation shouldn’t affect service levels to the point where you’re laughing at the table because shit is really that laughably bad.  Even if you comp me dessert.

Verdict:

Per their hashtag, #thewaitisover for The Pawns’s renovation but you’re still going to be fucking waiting for fuck no service and largely average food (with botanicals).  FUCK NO.

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