What would you do with US$120? We’d probably spend it on a delicious meal and a couple of drinks, but Brickhouse Hong Kong’s chef Austin Fry used that same amount to buy himself a one-way plane ticket here instead. After a brief stint at Blue Smoke Bar-B-Que, Fry partnered up with Malcolm Wood of Maximal Concepts to open Brickhouse, the restaurant that we all know and love. Hidden in a side-alley behind Milan Station in Lan Kwai Fong, you’ll feel like you’re no longer in Hong Kong once you emerge from the darkness at the other end.
Atmosphere: The rough-edged brick facades, quirky graffiti designs and funky lighting structures at Brickhouse Hong Kong make for an unusually welcoming dining space. There is no room here for fine dining etiquette; instead, it’s down-to-earth and chilled out. The waiters and bartenders are all helpful and friendly, and much like the staff at Yardbird, serve us happily with a sense of warmth that’s rare in Asia.
Food and drink: Brickhouse Hong Kong has a killer selection of cocktails, beers, wines and tequilas. Chef Fry recommends the popular Diabla (HK$115), featuring vodka, raspberries, pomegranate, lemon and just enough jalapeno to give it a subtle chilli kick. The signature Brickhouse margharita (HK$105), with blanco damiana, pineapple juice, agave nectar and lime, plus a Himalayan salt rim was also delish.
For mains, we enjoyed the tender beef shortrib (HK$225) on a bed of potato mash and a side of baby corn. The homemade beetroot fries (HK$65), shaped like wedges, were deep fried without too much oil and served with sweet chilli mayo. The Peruvian ceviche (HK$125) packed a perfect burst of citrus tang with finely-diced fresh yellow tail marinated in yuzu-lime dressing and mixed with daikon radish, apple and orange. We also tried one of the two tostadas (HK$95) available at Brickhouse Hong Kong, which were small toasted tortillas heaped with a mixture of diced tuna, crispy shallots, cucumbers and seasoned with chipotle mayo and habanero mustard. For the same price, you can also try the braised octopus tostada instead.
Must-try: Don’t miss the Mexican-styled street corn (HK$55), a juicy grilled cob spiked with lime juice and generously slathered with chili mayonnaise, grated cheese and coriander. And, what Mexican meal would be complete without tacos? Brickhouse Hong Kong’s taco platter (HK$240) was divine, featuring a choice selection of corn tortillas made fresh in-house everyday (setting it apart from any other Mexican joint in Hong Kong). The off-menu board, a hip design at the far end of the restaurant done up by Matt Bailey of Nomattsland, tempted us with quite a range so we tried one of each: pulled pork, chicken, rib-eye, venison and market fish. Our fave? The rib-eye with crispy yet buttery manchego cheese.
Verdict: Brickhouse Hong Kong has made itself known as one of the city’s go-to places for Mexican food in the few short months it’s been open, and it’s easy to see why. Like many other hip restaurants nowadays, there’s a no reservations policy, so try to get there early (or simply start at the bar).
Brickhouse Hong Kong, 20 D’Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2810 0560, www.brickhouse.com.hk
This post was originally published on Lifestyle Asia, Review: Brickhouse Hong Kong on 26th July, 2012