Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fly me to the (Mira) Moon

Last Tuesday night I was at Supergiant, the casual tapas bar at the new boutique hotel Mira Moon in Wanchai. Well I vaguely remembered there's some mentioning of the opening of this design hotel late last year, but I didn't realize there's also a full-service restaurant on-premise as well until the hotel PR team mentioned this one day and asked whether I would be interested in trying some of the dishes there.

The restaurant (and the hotel) is located somewhere in between Wanchai and Causeway Bay at a street corner on the unremarkable Jaffe Road. I was somewhat confused by the name which I didn't quite relate to being a tapas bar, but I was told that it's named after an astronomical term of a super bright star, hence consistent with the overall design theme of the hotel, which was inspired by the moon and the Chinese folklore surrounding it. Now that made a little bit more sense to me.

While I wouldn't call this a culinary destination per se, food-wise I think it's decent. Apparently there's some revamp of menu lately, and now they focused solely on small dishes (which they called Divertimentos and Tapas). That's a smart decision to cater to the bar hopping crowd who look for more snack-sized food for sharing. There's a good combination of traditional tapas dishes (like a ham croquette) and some creative ones by the Spanish Chef Guillermo Delavault.


This evening I managed to try quite a few from the menu and here's the highlight. The Duck Habana Cilindro seems to be the most talk-about dish here and after a bite of it, I understood why. Filo pastry was rolled into cigar shape, filled with pulled duck meat and deep-fried - similar to how we made Chinese spring rolls - and on one end it's dipped with poppy seeds and paprika to make it look like a lighted cigar. It's a playful and delicious dish, with the rich and juicy duck meat inside. 

The pissaladiere dish was another one I very much enjoyed - a Mediterranean-style puff pastry tart with caramelized onions, anchovies and olives as toppings. It's a good example of a simple but well-cooked dish. The other dishes I particularly liked included the Mini-Burger with Manchego Cheese, the Suckling Pig, and also the "Yin-Yang" Squid, with the succulent squid served in ink sauce.

I appreciate the creativity of the chef trying to re-interpret local street food into his dishes, like the egg waffles with sereno ham. Well it wasn't a match made in heaven, but I think it works alright, except I found the dish a bit dry overall. It's good but I saw room for making it even better. Just thinking out loud - would it be better if there's some melted Manchego cheese inside the waffle? And I will be very interested to see more of these creations in the future.

The chili and oil shrimp didn't look exactly like what I had in mind - I was expecting something like a gambas pil pil on a sizzling plate, but turned out it's more like a mini oil fondue with shrimp. The idea is still fine - reminded me of a Cantonese oil-poached shrimp - but unfortunately, the chili-infused oil served on a little ceramic pot with a candle underneath was far too timid to cook the shrimp through, even after I dipped that in for a good 5 minutes. The idea is good, but it's a bit short on execution I am afraid.

The drink menu offered a good combination of classic and creative cocktails. I started with a refreshing yet strong "Pepino" - a gin-based drink with mint, pineapple and cucumber, followed by a modified Manhattan that wasn't on the menu - with Scottish whisky, bitters and rosso vermouth served on a martini glass, and spiced up with a slightly-burnt cinnamon stick.

"Chang E" is a drink named after the main character (嫦娥) in the traditional Chinese Moon Festival legend (who was said to be a pretty girl living on the moon) - and it's essentially a vodka martini with cassis liquor and mixed berries. It looked feminine with the pinkish color but I like the taste.

For a tapas bar at a random street corner, this is a pleasant surprise. Reckon this is a perfect venue for a quick drink with some bite-sized snacks before dinner or for nightcap after bar-hopping in the neighborhood. 

The meal was complimentary, courtesy of the Mira Moon Hotel, but needless to say, the opinions are my own.

When? July 2 2014
Where? Supergiant Tapas and Cocktail Bar, 3/F Mira Moon, 338 Jaffe Road, Wanchai
Menu Highlights?  Duck Habana Cilindro, Pissaladiere with caramelized onions, anchovies and olives
Web: www.miradining.com/super-giant/

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