The only thing I loved about Alan Yau’s Bettys Kitschen in IFC (reviewed here) was the décor. Fortunately the revamped space, now known as St Betty, has kept the look, but changed everything else, including the chef, making way for two-Michelin-starred chef Shane Osborn from London’s Pied à Terre.
Actually, I lie; remember the colourful fresh fruit baskets that used to line the entrance? These are now baskets of wine and sparkling wine – who needs fruit when you can have bubbly?! Other than that, the high ceilings with fans and low hanging lights remain, as do the tall windows overlooking the gorgeous construction site (hopefully not for too much longer), and the rows of fresh basil plants at the back of the room.
One of the main changes is the restaurant’s ethos. Chef Osborn has brought with him his love of all things local and, apart from a couple of necessary imports, insists on using locally-sourced ingredients for all of his dishes. Back in London, he told us, he used to grow herbs on his rooftop; unable to have that same luxury in Hong Kong, the restaurant instead has a half-acre of farmland in the New Territories that is currently being converted into a greenhouse.
I was invited to try St Betty’s brand new Sunday roast menu. Aside from the Sunday carvery at Harrington’s and perhaps a couple of other mediocre attempts around town, it’s hard to find a good roast in Hong Kong. I can confidently tell you, however, that St Betty has swooped in and rectified this.
At the moment the only meat on offer is roast beef, served only medium-rare (who would have it any other way?!), and St Betty is currently the only restaurant in Hong Kong to have a Josper oven. What’s a Josper oven, you ask? Answer: a godsend. Described by the FT as “the latest must-have chef’s toy”, a Josper oven is basically an indoor charcoal-fired barbecue that ensures the food maintains all of its natural moisture and flavour, whilst also giving it that wonderful smoky taste.
For Chef Osborn’s Sunday roast, the Australian Angus sirloin is slow cooked in the Josper oven, leaving it pink and succulent all the way through, without any messy juices. It had the most incredible flavour that I think even those who like their meat well done would appreciate. Served alongside it was a dollop of whipped horseradish cream that worked perfectly with the beef without overpowering the flavour.
The gigantic Yorkshire pudding was delicious, especially used as a vessel for the rich gravy. I loved the root vegetable mash, made with first-roasted-and-then-puréed carrots, swede and parsnips, and the Chinese cabbage with Japanese bacon was also incredibly tasty. The only slight let down for me were the potatoes, which were not quite crispy enough for my liking… although once smothered in gravy, they were hard to resist.
If the roast beef alone isn’t enough to please homesick Brits then the rhubarb and apple crumble that’s served for dessert will definitely do the trick. A layer of creamy custard lines the cast iron dish, which is topped with a wonderfully tart mix of rhubarb and apple, another layer of custard and finally a generous heap of vanilla-infused crumble. It is quite honestly one of the best crumbles I have ever eaten. At first glance we grumbled about the fact that it was served with cream instead of custard, yet with custard surprises hidden underneath the crumble, there was no need for any more.
Although the regular a la carte menu isn’t exactly cheap, this Sunday feast comes at the very affordable price of only $298 per person (for a minimum of two people). Don’t let the high prices of the regular menu put you off, however, as if what I ate on the weekend is anything to go by, then the rest of the menu will be 100 percent worth it, with carefully thought out, delicious tasting, fresh ingredients and excellent service. Forget everything you disliked about Bettys Kitschen and give St Betty a chance to wow you, because I can guarantee that it most definitely will.
Shop 2075, Podium Level Two
Tel: +852 2979 2100