Magnolia does it, everyone loves it, so it’s about time someone else did it too. I’m talking about delicious, soul-hugging Creole cuisine, and Wyndham Street newbie Restoration is doing it in style.
This New Orleans inspired eatery sits where Skylark once was, bringing with it a gorgeous interior consisting of a host of rustic furnishings and distressed wood salvaged from Hurricane Katrina. Chef and owner Jack Carson, formerly associated with Dining Concepts’ Bistecca, Blue Smoke and BLT Steak, hails from the Deep South and wanted to bring a slice of his hometown to Hong Kong.
We began our feast by sharing a couple of starters, family style. The crabmeat cheesecake was light and fluffy, though perhaps more of a quiche than a cheesecake. At first bite I couldn’t detect any hint of crabmeat, yet the Creole meunière sauce later brought this out.
One bite of the braised pork belly, however, and the cheesecake was long forgotten. These ever so crisp chunks of pork were bursting with flavour and dangerously moreish. The sweet and rich BBQ sauce was the cherry on top and we made sure we kept the two pots of this to smear on the rest of our food.
Although I was surprised there were no ribs on the main menu, there were other typical dishes from the Deep South, including blackened catfish (which I didn’t try but was apparently was rather tasty) and a very generous portion of fried chicken. There is not a thing I could fault about this dish: the chicken was succulent, without a trace of dryness, and the batter was wonderfully crispy without being too oily.
The pepper duck, marinated in five-spice and served with a pepper jelly, was divine. The meat from both the breast and the leg was cooked to medium-rare perfection and full of that delicious, gamey flavour.
My choice was the braised NZ lamb, a beautifully cooked lamb shank that fell apart at the slightest prod. Tender root vegetables and a rich lamb demi-glace make this the ideal dish for these miserable drizzly days we’ve been suffering of late.
As we had only had two starters between four of us, we went a little overboard on the sides: a never-ending bucket of seriously addictive rosemary matchstick fries, a pot of mouth-numbing spicy fire-roasted peppers, a pot of hush puppies (balls of deep-fried corn bread) and an incredible Creole jambalaya. Needless to say it was impossible to reach the bottom of any of these dishes.
As our first choice of wine wasn’t available, we were given free dessert – now that’s good service! We simply couldn’t resist trying the ‘ridiculousness’, a chunky chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich, drizzled in chocolate sauce. The name and description suggested it would be ridiculously good, but actually we were a little underwhelmed, as the cookie was a little too hard; with an almost half-cooked gooey chocolate chip cookie this truly would be ridiculously amazing.
The pumpkin pie was a special and isn’t normally on the menu, so, again, we obviously had to try it. The base was perfectly crunchy and the sweet pumpkin custard deliciously creamy. Maybe Restoration should consider putting this on the regular menu.
Service was excellent throughout the meal (obviously made the more so by the free desserts!). What’s even better is that service charge isn’t added to the bill, meaning we were actually more willing to tip. When it comes to prices, no, Restoration is not cheap, as without dessert we paid around $500 each, including a bottle of wine and a tip. However, we must remember its prime location, and I can guarantee that even if your bill gives you a bit of a shock, you will be filled to the brim with delicious, real, soul-warming food.
1/F, 63 Wyndham Street
Tel: +852 2536 0183