Sunday, November 8, 2020

Tuesday Night, Tapas Night

Was looking forward to this tapas dinner at 22 Ships after a long day at work. Not a happy camper after coming back from the long weekend so really need something to cheer me up. It's my first time coming back after they re-opened, now with a new chef Antonio on board. A new menu and many new dishes were introduced, but the same lively vibe remained, along with their no-reservation policy. Thank God for friends who came early to save us the spot at the back of the open bar/kitchen, where we got the perfect view of the cooking. 

I was starved to death by the time I walked in, so the salivating appetizer of tomato salad with cucumber jus was the perfect dish to start. Nice presentation with the sweet cherry tomatoes in various colors dressed with the cucumber jus with basil oil. It has amazing flavor. 

A couple seafood dishes were then served in typical tapas portion for sharing. The tuna was amazingly fat - a cut from near the cheek and paired well with escalivda and garum providing the right intense kick. Meanwhile, the sardine was served in a lighter style, halved with bones removed, grilled and served in a deep dish with the traditional ajo blanco and topped with grapes. The Ajo blanco was on the mild side with just a hint of almond flavor, but aromatic with the basil oil drizzled in. 

After that, we had more than a fair share of dishes served in more substantial portion - even the 4 of us were having a hard time finishing everything. The grilled octopus must have been the most tender I have tried for a while and it's served with the delicious mojo picon and potato foam on top for the perfect Mediterranean flavor. Normally not a lamb person but I love the Manchego lamb shoulder - again, super tender and well-seasoned too, including the smashed potato sides (leftovers were turned into a kick-ass sandwich the next day, by the way)

The grilled turbot was so big that it filled the whole plate - I love the delicate texture of the fish and the spice rub smothered on top before being cooked on open fire. The paella was another crowd-pleaser - topped with four gigantic carabinero prawns, butterflied and grilled with the decadent tomalley kept inside. Plus the suckling pig too with the slightly crispy skin. 

Couldn't believe we still got room for desserts - two desserts to be exact. Everyone is doing burnt Basque cheesecake these days, and I like this version super soft inside with a well-burnt crust on top, but my favorite this time was the cava lemon sorbet, served in a hollowed and halved lemon with lemon espuma on top for the refreshing conclusion. 

Of course, no tapas meal is ever complete without (plenty of) alcohol. This time, it's the Spanish Negroni, followed by the White Sangria (my fav this time!), plus red and white wines - must have missed a few in between that I lost track too. All went down well with the food and lightened my mood. 

When? October 27 2020
Where? 22 Ships, 22 Ship Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Carabinero Paella with Salmorreta
Drink? 2018 Bodega Matsu El Recio Tinta de Toro

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