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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Catalunya Hong Kong - Hell Yeah, I'd Tapas That...

Yeah, I'm not sure about the pun in the title either. It made me snigger when I first came up with it though, so I'm sticking with it....

But, one thing I am sure about is the subject of the pun - new(ish) Hong Kong restaurant, Catalunya. So certain in fact, that as I left after my first visit, I attempted (without success) to book straight back in again for a week later... This was love at first bite (my word play is definitely veering dangerously into bad-Dad-joke territory today, I apologise).

Opening in a blaze of mega-hype backed up by brilliant reviews back in May, I've heard countless great things about the food at this modern tapas hot spot and have tried and failed to book a few times. When you consider that Catalunya is spread over a colossal 8,000 square feet space and is still perenially packed you have to figure that they're doing something right...


So a few Saturdays ago, having made sure that I'd reserved a table a few weeks in advance, I headed out to deepest, darkest Morrison Hill with two of my best girls to see what all the fuss was about...



We started off with a round of cocktails. I opted for the Stairway to Heaven - bacardi, vanilla syrup, pineapple puree, celery, a slug of lime juice and a dash of egg white all topped off with coriander leaves. Unlike any cocktail I've ever sipped before, this was sweet and savoury with a very delicate flavour - absolutely delicious!  You've also got to love a cocktail that comes with its very own dry ice supply...


Which also helped to make everyone else's cocktails look pretty darn awesome...


While we gossiped over our cocktails our first nibble of the night arrived - the spherical olives. Catalunya's executive chef, Alain Devahive Tolosa, spent a decade honing his molecular wizardry in the kitchens of El Bulli, but this is the only molecular dish on Catalunya's menu. What may look like any old regular olive, turns out to be a little bubble of olive juice which bursts on your tongue - fun, innovative and not to be missed.


We followed our faux olives up with a delicious spread of dishes to share. The tomato tartar...


...the avocado and lobster roll...



...the Tortilla de Trampo - to quote from the menu: 'also called the "Sin Tortilla", this is the perfect example of lust in gastronomy'... all at once creamy, spicy and familiar yet decadent...


...the calamares with lemon mayonnaise...


... the gambas al ajillo...


...and last but not least - the ham, cheese and truffle bikini. 

Nope, we're not talking an itsie bitsie swimsuit, this is the grilled cheese sandwich to end all grilled cheese sandwiches. It may not look like anything particularly mindblowing but seriously, this is the sort of dish that changes your life. After one bite this went straight onto my last supper menu.


In fact it was so good that as we fought over the crumbs we decided that there was nothing for it but to order a second round of truffly, cheesy deliciousness... Total piglet behaviour but we were three VERY happy little piglets!

A jug of sangria later and before we knew it, the lights had gone up and the waiters were sweeping around us. Nothing for it but to bid a sleepy adios and head off back to Lang Kwai Fong for a nightcap.

For delicious cocktails, fingerlicking great tapas or actually, even just for one mouthful of ham, cheese and truffle bikini, Catalunya is a total smash!




Catalunya
G/F Guardian House Morrison Hill,
Oi Kwan Road,
Wan Chai,
Hong Kong.
+852 2866 7900




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