Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Lazy Beachside Lunch

This probably sounded like a humble brag, but recently one of my favorite pastimes has been hanging out at Repulse Bay on a weekday. In the past I always thought the beaches on the south side of the island were too crowded and too far away, plus I am not exactly a beach person so there isn't much to do there, but turned out on a weekday when there's little traffic, it's only a quick 20 minute drive from home, and even with scores of tourists making whistle stop at the sightseeing spots occasionally, the place is relatively quiet and orderly, and there are ample parking available even on the street meters. And most important of all, inside the new shopping complex The Pulse right by the beach, there are numerous new restaurants and cafes providing decent choices as far as food and drink are concerned.

Anyway, last week I was there once again - like for the third time in less than a month - and this time, at the invitation of the PR team at Maximal Concepts to check out their restaurant Limewood. They were one of the earliest occupants of this new shopping complex and in my opinion, have the best location - one closest to the beach entrance with the front having a good view of the beach. Of the few times I walked by it seemed to be busy all the time so I was eager to check it out.

They served a pretty big a la carte menu filled with typical dishes you would normally find at a beachside restaurant, but often with a creative twist using exotic seasonings or cooking methods from across the world. Reminded me of those good times when we could sneak away from work for a long lunch by the beach in SoCal.

The place wasn't particularly crowded when we arrived at noon but soon most tables were filled. We ordered a few dishes to share, beginning with a series of appetizers. My clear favorite was a dish called "Jerked Coconut Corn". It was grilled, coated with generous smears of sriracha mayo and coated with toasted coconut bits, and served on the cob. It's creamy, sweet with the right spicy kick and great with the slightly charred and juicy kernels of corn. The salmon tartare was more like a Hawaiian poke except it's served on a plate, not bowl, with chunks of cured salmon served with tangy and sweet marinate topped with salad greens - it's refreshing and surprisingly filling.

The Fish Taco was a "photogenic" dish with a big piece of deep-fried fish fillet sandwiched between a small piece of crispy tortilla and piles of slaw in hot pink color. It may get a bit messy eating with your hands but that's the way it should be. I thought the Spicy Tiger Prawn Roll could do with a little bit more spices to counter the sweetness from the mango sauce, and something crunchy in the filling to provide some textures (like julienned cucumber or something) but it's still a lovely dish as is - I especially like the soft, freshly-made rice paper wrapper.

With so many appetizers we only managed to have one main dish. It's a simple 48-hour Charred Beef Ribs served with a homemade BBQ sauce infused with mango. The beef was tender and flavorful - the meat inside has an awesome texture from the slow-cooking and outside, the slightly sweet, and charred glaze was irresistible. When I saw plantains being offered as one of the side options, I couldn't help and suggest we order that as well. I rarely saw this on the menu in this part of the world and I happened to love it. The ripe plantains - similar to banana but less sweet - were sliced, coated with fritter batter mixed with ground cinnamon, then deep-fried in oil and when done, rolled with brown sugar on the outside. It's almost like a dessert rather than a side dish but I love this savory-sweet combination.

Of course there were always rooms for dessert at the end. The kitchen made us a special version of the churros in smaller size, and they were definitely the best (and cutest) I have had in Hong Kong. It's fresh off the deep-fryer and served with salted caramel sauce and a generous scoop of vanilla icecream. The banana pudding was delicious too with the warm, buttery crumbly nutty crust and a generous dollop of whipped cream served on top of the sweet mashed banana.

Around 10 or so special cocktails were available with a few margarita selections in the drinks menu. I loved my pomegranate margarita spiked with the hot jalapeno. That's when I regret that I need to drive home afterwards so I could only manage one alcoholic drink in the beginning. But the non-alcoholic frozen sweet mango was decent too - simple but refreshing.

Perhaps I should return more often and to catch more sunshine before the end of the hot season, as the place was a perfect chill-out spot for some me-time. Thanks Maximal Concepts for the treat of this lazy beachside lunch.

When? September 8 2015
Where? Limewood, The Pulse, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Jerked Coconut Corn, 48-hour Charred Beef Ribs
Web: www.limewood.hk

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