Thursday, August 18, 2016

Exploring Sai Ying Pun - "Sexy" Tapas at La Paloma and Drinks and Dinner at Potato Head

To contrast with some of my lower end, budget, local affairs in the 'hood, I now turn to two fancy places that I recently frequented.

I capped off my fantastic mood last Friday with a fun, energizing and somewhat rowdy dinner with a big group of friends and couples at La Paloma, a Spanish tapas joint in Sai Ying Pun.  This restaurant is part of the same group as Fofo by el Willy and I think it is really perfect for a big group of people.  The restaurant is not easy to find (the entrance is on a side street and is essentially through an art gallery).

After that, we went on a hunt for a hip place to hang out, eventually ending up at the newly opened Potato Head after wheedling and pleading and finally persuading them to keep it open for us ("just one drink!").

Funnily enough, I found myself back at Potato Head the next day, for dinner.  In the early evening light, I was able to catch a few more pictures.  I like the space - I think they did a good job capturing some of the beach and surf vibe of the original Potato Head, in Bali.
 Glass with etched white lines, stone, marble, white walls and an open, airy interior channel the sister restaurant, even though there is nary a beach in sight at this location.
 For dinner, I sampled their mocktail, the Coco Loco (which, as far as I could discern, was a fresh young coconut for which they were charging nearly $10 US dollars).  If there truly were flavors of nectarine and other assorted citrus essence, they completely forgot to put it in my drink.
 We chose the gado gado for our appetizer - a very refreshing salad with string beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage and tofu, topped with half a hard boiled egg, crunchy bits, and fried pork crackers, I was pleasantly surprised at the mix of textures, and the piquant peanut sauce brought a whole new sparkling dimension to the vegetables.
 Then for our main course we shared the beef rendang with crispy taro chips, and a side of rice.  My friend raved about this dish, and I had actually read great reviews about it too, but I found our iteration very tough, very tough - like jerky.  It was also served at a very unsatisfying lukewarm temperature - leading me to believe that they had recycled this entree, or at the very least reheated it.  The sauce was lovely - full of depth and flavor and a nice slow heat.
Would I come back?  Yes, because I am willing to consider that the beef dish was a fluke, though being served shoe leather at barely room temperature is rather unpleasant.  And I can't really begrudge a place like this for gouging on drinks (shoulda' known).  At least the flavors were consistent and complex and the portions were generous.

La Paloma
189 Queens Road West
Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
+852 2291 6161

Potato Head
100 Third Street
Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
+852 2858 6066

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