Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Another Restaurant Opening

Even though Cyberport was hardly 30 minutes away by car from home but it did feel like another world. When we heard our friends Caleb and Josh’s new venture, called Interval Farmacy, has just opened in this part (outside) of town, we went to check it out with my parents and made this a field trip of sort on a sunny Sunday afternoon. 

Cyberport is not known to be a culinary heaven or a cool place to hang out, or even a high-tech hub as it was first touted to be before it was built, so the addition of this new restaurant, which also doubled as café, bar and micro-farm, is most welcomed. With the wine menu much longer than their food menu with all the selections focused on natural wines from artisanal makers/vineyards from all over the world, I left it to Wallace their somm to recommend something for us – “Not those overly funky ones” was my only requirement. I liked the one he picked for us, a Loire Valley white, which showed amazing concentration from the Chenin Blanc grapes fermented using wild yeasts, full-bodied, some ripe stonefruits and plenty of minerals. The kind I would love to have any weekend during warmer months. 

There’s nothing avant-garde in their short food menu – salads, pastas, meat, fish, pizza, and a couple of desserts, nothing you won’t find in just about any high street western restaurant in town; what’s avant-garde was their seriousness in making sure every small details were done right for what looked like a simple family-style restaurant. Two different kinds of woods and charcoals were used underneath their state-of-the-art broiler, something you would only see in high-end grill restaurants. Next to it was the Neapolitan wood-fire oven, capable of churning out perfectly cooked sourdough pizza within minutes. On the other side of the dining area inside what looked like a lab was their micro-farm which they collaborated with Farmacy. It’s still a work-in-progress with a few herbs were already planted, but ultimately their goal was to be able to grow enough to cover 100% of their restaurant’s needs. 

We started with the house salad with a mix of greens and a light drizzle of olive oil. That’s it, nothing more, and it was perfectly crisp and refreshing. The lobster pasta came in generous portion with large chunks of tail meat with the sauce slow-cooked with the shells and cherry tomatoes. The tagliolini pasta was made in-house and got a nice bouncy texture. There’s no better comfort dish than this.

Then it’s the pizza alla salsiccia that could certainly challenge any specialty pizza restaurant anywhere. The charred leopard patterns on the crust gave it a good smoky flavor, and the sourdough base was well risen and has crispy texture on the outside, chewy on the inside and plenty of air bubbles in the raised edge. On top was chunks pork sausages, mozzarella cheese and a well-balanced tomato base – a textbook example of a well-made pizza with some of the best ingredient and made by the state-of-the-art equipment.

Got a few dishes done off the Gaucho-style grill. The grilled eggplant was the one I didn’t have, but everyone else seems to have enjoyed it with salted fish crumbles on top, inspired by the Sichuan “Yue Xiang” spices. The Gei Wei shrimps were the common type found in the market, often farmed in nearby waters. They were grilled on open-fire and served with passionfruit puree and crushed hazelnuts. The piece of Ma Yau (threadfin) was first steamed in lotus leaf then grilled skin-side down, topped with pesto and served with broccolini and lemon-fennel cream on the side. I like the fish with fatty texture and a rustic flavor. 

Just a couple of desserts were available, and I know the tiramisu’s going to awesome the moment it was brought to us in a plastic tub and spoon on the plate by the wait staff. It’s soft with plenty of liquor (amaretto) and coffee (espresso brewed using the beans from Coffee Collective of Denmark) flavors. The opening teething period means the coffee and in my case, the cup of hot choco didn’t quite deliver in the level as I expected. It’s lukewarm by the time they were brought to our table, but nonetheless, it’s enjoyable. 

With not much competition around they are hands down the winner. Nonetheless, it’s definitely worth a detour on one of those evenings when we wanted something simple. 

When? March 14 2021
Where? Interval Farmacy, Shop 207, The Arcade at the CyberPort, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Neapolitan Pizza alla Salsiccia
Drink? 2017 Domaine Bobinet Les Gruches AOC Saumur
Web: (Facebook) www.facebook.com/interval0interval


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