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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Get your Goat: The New Brickhouse Menu...

Just over a year ago, the general foodie moan in Hong Kong was the dearth of South American restaurants. Fast forward to spring 2013, and the city's awash with Latin dining spots, from Chicha to Taco Chaca with Socialito and Mr Taco Truck in between...
 
If we had to dole out a prize for the best Margarita in town though? Well there's really no question about it, it has to be Lang Kwai Fong's South American offering, Brickhouse...

If the thought of heading to Lang Kwai Fong for Mexican food conjures images of giant sombreros, slush puppy-style, fluoro green margaritas and dodgy burritos, panic not, that really couldn't be further from the truth. On the fringes of neon-lit tourist land, just past the kebab shops, purveyors of vodka-laced jelly and hawkers selling flashing glasses, lurks a dank, dirty back street which just happens to lead to the best Mexican cocktails in town. This may look like the sort of spot that only cockroaches and thugs would lurk, but persevere and you’ll emerge, Alice in Wonderland-like, in the middle of Mexico-City.

 
Perennially packed and with a strict no-bookings policy, if you spot a spare perch make sure that you nab it immediately. If every seat's taken, put your name on the waiting list and grab a drink - people watching from the bar with a Margarita in hand can never be too awful... The favela-style décor is the perfect mix of gritty cool – graffitied concrete walls, flickering candles, mish-mash furniture and sunny, bright murals. Each month the restaurant showcases the work of a different artist and the staff have all contributed to a mural or tag somewhere on Brickhouse's walls.  The atmosphere is buzzy but laid-back, the service is sunny and super efficient, this is the perfect place for a catch-up over cocktails, a mid-week dinner or a pre-night out warm-up.
 


Since Brickhouse threw open its doors last year, we've been fast fans. This is part of a new breed of much less chainy, genuinely cool eateries in the city and the food's pretty delicious to boot. What more could you want?
 
So when we heard that Brickhouse was relaunching its menu with a couple of new cocktails and a whole host of brand new dishes with a special focus on goat  we were thoroughly overexcited and more than a little intrigued... 

We started off with one of those legendary Brickhouse Margaritas a delicious but deadly concoction which is a pineapply twist on everyone's favourite Mexican cocktail. In our experience nothing goes better with a Brickhouse Margarita than a serving of the organic stone ground tortilla chips and a great big pot of guacamole. But on the new menu is a switch-up to the original Margarita partner - those same salty, moreish tortilla chips are served with not one, not two but three types of guacamole - original, fruit and chipotle. The original is it's usual creamy, deliciousness in a pot, the chipotle is smoky with a nice little fiery kick and the fruit with its chunks of pineapple may seem an odd mixture but is unquestionably the stand out star of the three.


Next up, something to ease our conscience after all the chips and dip gorging, a salad. But the Casa Salad isn't your average salad, we're not talking a couple of leaves of wilted lettuce with a few cherry tomatoes, this is the Mack Daddy of salads - braised baby carrots, mixed field greens, mozzarella, roasted beetroot, habanero-carrot purée, beetroot vinaigrette & crispy garlic. Each forkful was gleefully gobbled with cries of 'it's so healthy we should order another cocktail'... 

Eager to try one of the new options from the drinks' menu we asked the barman to recommend something for us, moments later a round of Pisco Sours arrived - glasses brimming with a foamy, fruity, nutmeg-laced drink which tasted dangerously non-alcoholic...

Next out of the kitchen was my most anticipated dish of the evening - the DIY Bone Marrow Tacos. Bone marrow has recently replaced foie gras as my ultimate naughty, savoury indulgence. Although some people seem a little squeamish about it, if you can overcome the idea of it, this rich, buttery treat is absolutely sublime. Brickhouse serve its bone marrow encased in a light batter to be rolled into tacos with a generous helping of oxtail salsa, a dollop of chimichurri and a scattering of slow roasted tomatoes. These taco parcels were every bit as delicious as I'd hoped but quite possibly the most messy thing on the menu. Date food this is not, if you're out with someone who you wouldn't want to see you with grease running down your chin and oxtail salsa all over your hands we suggest giving them the slip and settling in for a very happy half an hour full of bone marrow taco amazingness...


Next up, a hit of ceviche, the perfect refreshing follow up to the rich tacos. The Agua Chili is slithers of shrimp dressed with cucumber water, pickled red onion, cilantro and chili oil - light, zingy and very summery.


In fact, the ideal accompaniment to an ice-cold bottle of beer... and how could you resist a bottle of Great White?! Beer with a bite...


Beginning to feel our waistbands biting, we were close to surrender when we heard that the star of the new menu was on it's way... the goat...

We like to think that we're fairly adventurous eaters. We've eaten Ostrich and Kangaroo, frogs legs and snails, chicken's feet and jellyfish but somehow goat hasn't yet made it onto our dinner plates. But with 50% less fat than beef and sworn promises that goat is leaps and bounds more delicious than chicken's feet, we tucked into our Barbacoa Tacos with relish. The slow-braised goat is melt in your mouth tender and quite similar to beef in flavour.  Goat's apparently the most widely consumed meat in the world - well it seems the rest of the world's tasty, low fat secret is out...! Piled onto a soft tortilla with a heap of crumbly feta-like cheese, plenty of radish and avocado salsa, and lots of pickled shallots, coriander and lime these are finger-licking amazing.

Approaching perilous levels of fullness, we took a short cocktail break to sample a second new cocktail, the Elmo's Lemonade. This surprisingly savoury drink is part spiked lemonade, part bloody Mary with a dash of Gazpacho tang - perhaps an acquired taste but the ideal antidote to an enormous tummy-ful of Mexican feast. 

However, moments later, when our final dish, the Rojas con Crema, showed up all thoughts of having had enough to eat were pushed to one side. Who doesn't love melted cheese and onions topped off with a dash of fire poblano chili?! Wickedness in a bowl but so incredibly awesome that you can't help but devour the lot.


Fit to burst we almost skipped dessert but felt that it would be wrong to leave without at least a spoonful of the second goat related dish on the menu - coconut rice tamale and vanilla ice-cream drizzled with goat's milk caramel. Yet another triumph, a spoonful seriously isn't enough, next time I'll be at least making a show of taking it easy on the bone marrow tacos in a bid to keep enough room for at least a couple more mouthfuls of this creamy, coconutty slice of heaven.


We've been raving about Brickhouse since it opened and it's definitely got a firm place in our little black book of places in town for a relaxed dinner and several cocktails. With the amped up menu we're going to be down here even more than usual. But when you catch us sitting in a corner with a pile of tacos before us just remember, goat's low fat...

Brickhouse
 G/F, 20A D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong

Open Monday-Wednesday 6pm-2am, Thursday-Saturday 6pm-4am
Closed on Sundays
No Reservation – No Phone


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