A month after it’s grand opening, I was invited to try Maximal Concepts’ latest venture Fish & Meat which has taken over the space previously occupied by Sal Curioso on Wydham Street in Central. As with the group’s other restaurants, Brickhouse and Blue Butcher, I had heard great things about the dining experience and was excited to check it out. The rustic Scandanavian establishment covers 3,500 square feet of space with a private dining area, which can accommodate up to 20 diners or be split into two parties, as well as a balcony area, which can be reserved for both dining and drinks overlooking the top of Lan Kwai Fong.
This was the earliest media dinner I’ve been invited to starting at 6pm, with good reason, as large crowds came an hour later to populate their pre-reserved tables. The balcony overflowed with hopeful diners who weren’t quite so prepared but enjoyed a drink while others enjoyed the quaint entertainment area, which features a foosball table and a chess set.
Our meal started with a round of drinks as the two beautifully aromatic starting dishes of Hokkaido sea urchin bruschetta with lardo di colonnata ($120) and roasted bone marrow crostini (HKD$115) arrived. Upon the bartender’s recommendation, I ordered the Negroni, a glass bottle with equal parts of Gordon gin, campari and Antica Formula vermouth ($160) which had a classy branded leather-bound bottle opener, while those looking for a sweeter alternative turned to the farm house jam cocktail, a concoction of Ice Fox vodka and homemade blueberry thyme jam ($120). Personally, upon a return visit, my favourite drink was the Pepperonici ($120) which includes a cucumber base with jalapenos. Befriending the bar manager, Lok, I asked for mine to be extra spicy which was nicely refreshing before a night out!
Portion sizes seem to gradually increase as the tagliatelle ($120) arrived, which is made fresh onsite with a wonderfully rich chicken & truffle emulsion, was topped with a delicate piece of crispy chicken skin. Simple but delicious, we were told that there are limited quantities of this daily so order early! The pan-fried baby Spanish octopus on the other hand, will invade your tastebuds with a flurry of spicy and sour flavours nestled on a pool of white bean puree ($120).
Graduating to the sharing platters, we first tucked into the ‘Diavola’ style French free-range yellow chicken ($450), accompanied by a side of caramelized onions, which was surprisingly moist even at the chicken breast. The arrival of the Australian Kobe 32oz prime beef rib ($1,280) with salsa verde was enough to prompt mouths to salivate around the table. It was seared to a beautiful medium pink, which we all felt could have had a bit more salt (easily rectified by the array of sauces available on the side), but still thoroughly enjoyed the tender and slighted charred flesh of the steak.
From the seafood department, we tried the Italian sea bass ($690) and the French turbot ($290) . The turbot had a wonderfully firm and moist flesh, cooked until it was a little crispy on the outside and rested on a bed of carrot puree and was decoratively presented with brown shrimp and smoked prawn. The sea bass, roasted whole, was equally as impressive with a deliciously crispy skin and juicy flesh complemented by a side of fennel and romesco sauce.
We wrapped up the evening with two desserts – a whipped mascarpone “cheesecake”, raspberry, shortbread crumble ($80) and a dark chocolate fondant ($90). I’ve never had any variety of cheesecake quite like this before and felt it pushed creative boundaries a little too much – it was just too light and fluffy for my liking. The latter option on the other hand, completed our meal perfectly and I daresay, was one of the best chocolate fondants I’ve tasted in Hong Kong – the salted caramel and homemade Tahitian vanilla ice cream was a perfect combination of flavours and worked nicely with the warm chocolate oozing out. It was definitely a great visual image too!
Since our visit that evening, I’ve already been back to Fish & Meat three times – dropping by for a quick drink or for dessert before a night out. I’ve always been impressed by Maximal’s attention to detail across all their restaurants’ designs and decors as well as the food and drink selections they put together. My expectations were definitely exceeded with their third restaurant and with their recent opening of Stockton last week, the bar (no pun intended) has definitely been set very high!