It’s been a while since a genuinely good bar opened in Lan Kwai Fong. I’m more of a Wyndham Street girl myself and tend to steer clear of LKF proper – at least until jelly shot o’ clock. When I heard that Eclipse Group (Café Siam, Taku, McSorley’s etc) was opening a 1950s-themed bar called Rockabilly, right in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong, I was curious to see if this would make me change my mind about the place.
As you approach this narrow two-storey bar, you’ll notice a sign hanging above that reads “naked bartenders flirt with you,” until you get a little closer and read between the lines. It’s a funny little place that looks fairly dated, with its brown leather chairs, exposed-brick walls and vintage furnishings. Designed by Charlie&Rose (the designers behind Brickhouse, Linguini Fini, Stone Nullah Tavern and Fish & Meat), Rockabilly is supposedly inspired by abandoned car repair shops and tattoo parlours. I can’t say I see this, but I can see 1950s America splashed all over it.
The concept is very simple: craft beers and sliders; if you can do these two things very well, there’s no need for anything else. Beer and I have never been friends, so I was pleased to see a small selection of craft ciders also on the menu – in my mind, the perfect accompaniment to a decent burger. If you want to stay true to the theme, there are also a few ‘slushies’ to choose from. These aren’t the innocent slushies (or Slush Puppies for fellow Brits) I used to drink whenever I went ice-skating at Guildford’s Spectrum as a child, however; these are adult versions, spiked with alcohol. Go on a Wednesday night, ladies, and the slushies are free.
Aside from the sliders, which I will get to very soon, Rockabilly also offers its secret recipe wings, claiming that Rockabilly “is home of the original chicken wing.” They are in fact so proud of their wings that they offer a money-back guarantee. I very much doubt anyone would ever dare to ask for their money back, as these are seriously good wings. And I say that as a very picky chicken wing eater.
The menu offers 11 choices of slider – eight beef, a pork, a chicken and a fish. Each order includes three sliders, but you are warned “don’t even think about mixing and matching!!” My advice: go with two other people and choose one kind of slider each – that way you’ll get to try three varieties. In our case, this meant we had the Tony Montana, the Smokey Monroe and the Moo Moo.
The Tony Montana contained melted mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce and pepperoni, almost like a pizza in burger form. It was good, but wasn’t a patch on the other two.
The Smokey Monroe, with smoked bacon, smoked cheese and BBQ sauce, was quite literally the perfect burger: juicy, flavoursome beef patty; soft, sweet, fluffy brioche; and toppings that complemented the meat as opposed to overriding its delicious flavours.
The slider that completely took me by surprise, however, was the Moo Moo, with grilled pineapple, pickled ginger and a Teriyaki glaze. I know what you’re thinking – grilled pineapple? Usually I’ll agree that this is a sin. Not in this case, trust me. The slightly tangy fruit, spicy ginger and sweet Teriyaki sauce worked wonderfully with the soft, juicy patty, leaving me completely amazed by this beautiful mini burger.
Other than the awesome sliders, Rockabilly also offers seven varieties of fries, from the simple sea salt and black pepper, to slightly more adventurous pepperoni pizza, to the completely wacky chicken curry. We settled somewhere in the middle and tried the BBQ cheese fries, which were tasty and crispy enough, though nothing spectacular.
Sliders are priced between $122 and $138 for three, meaning, once you’ve had a few sliders and wings, it’s not hard to spend $400 a head with a few drinks. The best thing about these sliders (other than the $10 deal on Tuesdays) is the fact that they are a decent size, not just a mouthful, so a few of these can very easily be dinner. Remember what I said recently about the never-ending quest to find Hong Kong’s best burger? I think I might have found it.
12 Lan Kwai Fong
Tel: +852 2869 0099