Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Rhoda by Nathan Green (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

Getting through the dog days of summer has always been a tough task every year when there's often just a handful of new restaurant openings in the city. This July has been no different too, until Yenn Wong and her team who's behind 22 Ships, Ham & Sherry and Fish School launched two of the most exciting new restaurants of the summer - Kaum by Potato Head and Rhoda. This is the perfect news for my buddy V and myself as we haven't seen each other since early May and both of us were scratching our heads to find a place to meet for dinner this week.

The kitchen of Rhoda is helmed by Nathan Green, former head chef of 22 Ships. Named after Chef Green's grandmother Rhoda, this is going to be a neighborhood restaurant serving seasonal dishes that's meant to be shared among friends and family.

Rhoda's food menu changes almost everyday and promises some of the freshest ingredients available in the market, including some nose-to-tail cooking.

We got here at around 6:30pm and the place, which included a bar and separate dining room, was already buzzing. They reserved 2 seats at the counter table for us and that was really great coz we gotta see Chef Green in action up close and personal.

The menu was divided into several categories including snacks, cold, grill, something a little bigger, sides and desserts. Of course, we had to be careful in making sure that we picked a little something out of each category.

Starting things off for us were raw Hokkaido scallops served up with pink grapefruit and basil ($198). For those who have been to 22 Ships, these probably looked all too familiar. Chef Green is very good with mixing Asian influence into his dishes and this is a classic example here. The scallop sashimi was fresh and they're nicely matched with some acidity from the grapefruit.

Next up, we had something from the snack section of the menu - chicken wings glazed with Xérès vinegar ($118). I thought this was OK. The wings were meaty and flavored nicely with Xérès vinegar giving them a sweet and sour type of flavor. Not bad though it didn't blow me away.

Instead of going all out for something from the "something a little bigger" section, we opted for some lighter portions in the "grill" section. The salted king prawns with smoked eggplant and crispy shallots ($168) was the obvious choice since both of us love seafood.

This has a bit of "typhoon shelter prawns" in it with all the exotic spices. I like the smoked eggplant too, meshing wonderfully with the salted prawns but was it just me or are those "king prawns" a bit small to be considered king prawns?

Anyways, there was no doubt in my mind who the star of the night was....and that honor belonged to the last savory dish of the evening - middle white pork loin marinated in soy and garlic ($298).

I like the fact that they didn't over-do this with the soy sauce. It's just right on the money. And the pork loin was perfectly done with a little pink in the middle. Very lovely texture and it's wonderfully tender and juicy. Delish!

We wanted to try at least one dessert before we go and eventually decided to share one order of the vanilla cheesecake with rhubarb and raspberry ($108) among the two of us. I have never been a fan of thick and dense cheesecakes so this vanilla cheesecake was just perfect. It was light like a soft custard with a good balance of vanilla and cheese flavor while the rhubarb sticks and raspberries provided just enough acidity to offset the richness of the cheesecake. I probably won't mind having this again on my next visit.

I was a little disappointed not to see dishes like the "re-invented" clam chowder on the menu tonight but I guess that's part of the fun about dining here. You don't exactly know what's available on the night until you arrive! 

Food Rating: 6/10
Price: $$$
Address: 345 Des Voeux Road West, Sai Wan, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: HKU
Tel: +852 2177-5050

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