Friday, December 9, 2016

El Cerdo (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

It's been a long while since I last met up with my friend Zamboni Driver for lunch. We tried to catch each other on a number of occasions but just couldn't come up with a schedule that suited the both of us. Finally, we got it right this afternoon.

We met at Tsuen Wan west where he will be having a business engagement in the afternoon and I decided to bring him to El Cerdo, a place I discovered a year ago when they first opened.

Despite its billing as a Spanish restaurant, El Cerdo wasn't really serving Spanish food at the time I visited exactly a year ago. As a matter of fact, the menu was full of international flavors including fish and chips, pasta and so on. That really left me scratching my head. This time around, it's a totally different story as the menu no longer consisted of other things except Spanish tapas. That was just perfect, considering that I haven't had Spanish tapas for a while.

A bit of background information regarding Le Cerdo's kitchen first. Their head chef Simon Lynch moved to Hong Kong to become the head chef of Tapeo a few years ago, drawing pretty good reviews. He went on to join Frites in Wanchai and of course El Cerdo now. I never thought Tsuen Wan would ever have an authentic Spanish tapas bar in my life so it's good news for those living in the area.

The lunch menu is an interesting one. One gets to choose 2 tapas from the set menu and depending on what you choose, the price would vary ($68, $78, $88 and $118). The set also comes with a daily soup as well as coffee or tea.

Z Driver and I hit the ground running with a cauliflower soup first. Not bad.

I love Spanish Tortillas (potato omelettes) so that's how I started my meal with. It's very crispy on the outside and moist inside with all kinds of ingredients like onion, mushrooms and tomatoes waiting to jump out. That's very nice. A definite must to start off one's meal here.

Z Driver wanted something a little meaty so he kicked things off with a pair of mini burgers. This looked pretty good and fortunately (for me), he is a good sport that he always is and let me have one of these. I thought it was seriously good. The brioche was surprisingly spongy working well with the patty, quail egg, tomato and lettuce.

For a meat lover like me, their roasted pork belly with honey aioli was a no-brainer. This was good although a little dry on the outside. I like the honey aioli a lot giving the savory pork something sweet to work with.

And sautéed assorted mushrooms is always a welcome addition in any meal. This one has some chopped watercress in it.

Z Driver loved the food here so much that he didn't want to leave. So we ended up asking for the dessert menu to see what they've got in store.

I'm a sucker for croquettes and this is a sweet version of it with rice pudding. Oh my....

The rich cinnamon flavors coming out of the syrup was so good!

I'm still not sure whether the French took creme catalana from the Spanish or the Spanish stole the Frenchman's creme brulee but this has to be one of the most popular desserts in the world.

Not as satisfying as the rice pudding croquettes though.

With the low expectation coming in, both of us left with pretty happy stomach. I think I will be back sooner than I thought.

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: $$
Address: G/F 77 Tai Pa Street, Tsuen Wan, NT, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Tsuen Wan West
Tel: +852 2882-3811

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