Monday, September 9, 2019

Not the Usual British Bar Fare

The other night I was at Gough’s on Gough to check out the new bar menu that they are introducing, in addition to their regular a la carte menu. The entrance area on the street level was remodeled slightly to fit in a small bar counter with trays of seafood on display, which formed part of this new menu featuring a few seasonal dishes and some simple British bar bites.

And of course, it’s not the Fish and Chips or Shepherd’s Pie that one might associate with when we talked about bar food.  This evening we started with a few fresh oysters from Normandy and served on an ice bath and with a sherry vinaigrette on the side, while we were sipping champagne served in the old-fashioned coupe glass. Leaving the argument of whether this particular glassware is best suited for champagne, it did bring that retro feel to the whole thing. The shrimp cocktails were served in traditional British style with the tangier, creamier sauce than the usual American version.

The carabinero were easily my favorite course of the evening – I think most of us felt the same way – with the giant king prawn done in the simplest way, grilled a la plancha and served whole. The meat was just done and full of umami flavor, and I didn’t hesitate to suck on its head to get the best bit out of it. The blue mussels were also outstanding, plump and sweet and done with the light Noilly Prat creamy sauce – so good that I must have eaten half of the plate by myself when it’s meant to be sharing among the few of us.

More traditional dishes came our way while we got on with a few cocktails, including a few sandwiches. The Hong Kong rarebit was the most interesting one, said to be a twist of the traditional Welsh version, with the rich cheesy sauce mixed with more than generous portion of Worcestershire sauce spread on a toast and served like a open sandwich. I like the fish finger sandwich too – think of it as a more sophisticated version of the Filet O Fish.

I always enjoyed the cocktails at this restaurant, some following the traditional formulas to the dot while some were done with a slight twist, all to good effects. This evening I particularly enjoyed one called "Darkest Hour", similar to a Negroni but made of rum and clove-infused calvados served in an old-fashioned glass, with that nice balance of bitter and sweet taste. We ended our evening with the sticky toffee pudding, which quickly became the signature (and many’s favorite dish) here since Chef Cary Docherty came on board last year. In the world filled with a lot of bitterness these days, it’s just the right balance of sweetness that we all need living in this city at this time.

(The meal was by invitation)

When? September 2 2019
Where? Gough's on Gough, 15 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Grilled Carabinero King Prawn

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