For dinner on Wednesday night, we wanted to explore an area we had not ventured to before, somewhere easy to get to, relaxed and very casual. Davis in Kennedy Town ticked all these boxes.
Run by a lovely couple called Vivien and David, Davis classes itself as a wine and tapas bar. I personally would not categorise the food as tapas at all, as a lot of it is not really designed for sharing, but they certainly do offer some truly delicious down to earth food.
The first thing I was told about Davis was that their homemade cheesecake of the day was a Mars Bar cheesecake. Conveniently I was just on my way to Fiji Fitness when I heard this, so even though I was already stiff from the day before, I knew I had to push myself that little bit harder to make extra cheesecake-space.
The décor is very rustic and cosy: bare-brick walls, stone floor, stone-topped high tables and high wooden stools under a fairly dim light. The blackboard menu in the doorway is enough to draw you in for a very laid back dose of the kind of food that my aching muscles were craving: comfort food.
Between four of us, we decided to share three starters: Deep fried shrimp balls stuffed with blue cheese, Fresh Boston mussels in white wine cream sauce and Baked Portobello mushroom topped with spicy sausages and blue cheese.
The shrimp balls were definitely not something I would have thought to pair with blue cheese, yet I was pleasantly surprised. Obviously the blue cheese made them fairly salty, but this was balanced by the sweet chilli sauce and fresh watercress, making this really quite an interesting dish and leaving us craving more than just the one ball each.
This craving soon passed and was replaced by the incredible mussels. They were so fresh and full of flavour, soaked in the delicious creamy white wine sauce, which was the perfect dip for the accompanying garlic bread. I had to resist scooping up the sauce and eating it like a soup.
The stuffed mushroom was just as delicious, served alongside a goat’s cheese and cherry tomato salad. Again, salty blue cheese, but it was evened out by the sweetness of the salad. My one complaint was that the table was too small for all these dishes, meaning we had to eat the mussels a little too quickly to be able to fully enjoy them before the mushroom stole all the available table space.
For mains, choices ranged from fish and chips, to lamb meatballs to crab, chicken or beef burgers, to a broad selection of pasta and accompanying sauces. Two people chose the penne pasta with chicken and red curry sauce. An interesting combination as the obvious choice for curry is rice, not pasta, but nevertheless a successful pairing and the sauce had a comforting kick to it.
The homemade wild mushroom ravioli in a Pernod cream sauce was very fresh and light although a tad too salty for my liking. Fortunately the extra salt was a blessing for my friend who was suffering from a slight cold so her taste buds weren’t as responsive!
My choice was the Linguini sautéed with prawns in a spicy tomato sauce. If you like a lot of garlic then look no further than this dish as there were a lot of whole lumps of garlic, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It could have done with being a little spicier for my liking but certainly had a little kick. The prawns were fresh but still had their tails on which delayed the eating process ever so slightly.
Portion sizes are very generous at Davis so definitely don’t bother coming if you’re not particularly hungry. Unless of course you are just after the cheesecake, as I would most definitely go again just for the cheesecake!
There were in fact three cheesecake options: butterscotch, amaretto or Mars bar. We were going to have two between the four of us but then realised that it might be rude not to try the third one, so we asked for a small slice of each (they ignored the ‘small’ request and brought us three regular slices!). In increasing order from least favourite to most favourite: the first mouthful of the amaretto one was pleasing but soon became overwhelmingly rich; the butterscotch one was incredible; but the Best Cheesecake Award definitely goes to…. (drum roll please) the Mars Bar one. It had an amazing caramel surprise at the bottom, which oozed out at the touch of a fork. At times like these it’s best not to even consider the caloric intake and just close your eyes and enjoy it. Until tomorrow when I would definitely suggest some hardcore exercise!
Service was exceptional. Vivien came and spoke to us directly several times as she remembered my sister from another restaurant that they used to own on Gough Street. The familiarity and the fact that she even remembered my sister’s name about three years after having last seen her added a personal touch to a delicious and very relaxed meal.
The bill (including no wine but two beers) came to $300 a head, which isn’t cheap as chips but, seriously, those cheesecakes make it 100% worthwhile.
Shop 7, G/F
Grand Fortune Mansion
1 Davis Street
Tel: +852 281 2727
Date visited: Wednesday 17th August 2011