Sunday, July 22, 2018

Hitting the Milestone

In local restaurant scene, 12 long months mark a significant milestone – you have no idea how many new places didn’t even make halfway through this. So I did commend the team at Gough’s on Gough for marking its first anniversary this month, standing tall in the competitive Soho area with Chef’s Arron Rhode’s unique take on contemporary British cuisine at this cozy, intimate venue. I recently made a return visit to the restaurant as they introduced a new set of dishes in their a la carte menu.

While their tasting menu was on the creative side, with dishes such as “Dashi, Custard, Sea Urchin, Teriyaki” (which I enjoyed in my previous visit), their current a la carte menu was more straight-forward, using British imports whenever possible with classic preparation, and a few in the portion suitable for sharing family-style. This time we kicked off with a few summer appetizer dishes, all with punchy, rich flavor well suited for the hot summer nights. My favorite was the Cornish Blue Lobster, with chunks of poached lobster paired with yogurt, coconut and mango curry and salad served slightly chilled. It’s creamy and refreshing. The English Risotto was another dish that I like, again served slightly chilled, with an interesting mix of the crunchy spelt grains cooked in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce and peas and asparagus.

A few main courses and side dishes came next. Each dish was said to be enough for 2 but I reckon one can be shared by 3 or 4 and still made a good, satisfying meal (especially one already had appetizers to start). They were on the classic side – roast Cornish hen with potatoes and seasonal vegetables, Beef Wellington with chips and gravy… etc. I personally loved the Beef Wellington the most, wrapped in puff pastry and baked to the perfect golden color on the crust and just pink in the center, and remained tender and juicy. That’s a good comfort food I didn’t mind having more often.

They got an interesting mix of various desserts – some more classical (strawberry bavarois with cream and sorbet, or chocolate mousse and brownies) and some slightly more creative like the lychee bubbles with passion fruit sorbet) I wouldn’t come especially for the desserts to be honest but they did have decent choices and were delicious. With the equally interesting cocktail menu plus the wine selection, I took this as one of those places I would love to drop by some time, just for a few drinks then a few dishes to share for a laid-back meal.

(Dinner was by invitation)

When? June 12 2018
Where? Gough's on Gough, 15 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Beef Wellington with Beef Gravy, Chips and Seasonal Vegetables
2016 Villa Antinori Bianco, Toscana IGT
2015 Comtesse de Malet Roquefort, Bordeaux Superieur


Anonymous said...

You seem to be blogging on many restaurants that are 'by invitation'. I appreciate your being candid about it. But I wonder if would you voice any negative comments to your host who has been generous enough to invite you.
I appreciated your reviews before as they were genuine and authentic, now I hesitate to read them when I know it is a PR affair.
I enjoy very much your pieces on the experimental kitchen and your foray into being a chef.

gary s said...

Thanks for your feedback Sophia. That's a tricky subject really - me personally I tried to keep a good balance between meals paid for by PR/restaurant versus those I went on our own (no more than 50-50 is the ratio I am trying to strike) As I have stated in my "editorial policy", I never promise coverage or positive comments on any meals that are sponsored in any way or form, and I tried to be as objective as I could, either in my personal comments to the restaurant/chef or in my reviews. That said, I think it's never possible to be 100% objective - obviously I will have a different opinion on a certain meal if I paid $1000 vs one I paid $100 (or nothing as in those case that are paid by PR/restaurant), or if I know the chef personally and have a better idea of his/her creative process. And naturally I tend to look for positives rather than negatives just like everyone else - we all dined out looking for a good time and for good memories, isn't it? So rather than being 100% objective which I know I could never be, I tried to be 100% honest and 100% transparent - that's the standard I am holding myself against for all that I shared.
And specifically, yes, I would (and I did) voice negative comments on meals that are hosted/sponsored by someone else too.