FoFo By El Willy has been on my list of restaurants to visit probably since it opened in 2010. I’ve often wondered who this ‘El Willy’ character is, who gives himself a definite article and owns a restaurant that means ‘fat’ or ‘flabby’ in Spanish. Is that how he intends people to leave his restaurant, just that little bit flabbier? I’ll tell you what: with food as good as it is at FoFo, I wouldn’t mind the extra centimetre of flab!
FoFo is the second restaurant by Willy Trullas Moreno (aka ‘El Willy’), an award-winning chef from Barcelona, which opened after the success of his eponymous restaurant, El Willy, in Shanghai. At the head of the kitchen here in Hong Kong is Alex Fargas, also from Barcelona, a lovely, ever-smiling chef who takes pride in producing Chef Willy’s contemporary Spanish tapas.
The restaurant was apparently looking a little tired of late, and so has just undergone a bit of a revamp, now revealing a fresh new look and new menu. Obviously I never saw the old look, nor tried the old menu, but I was seriously impressed with the new. Talking about impressive, I’d recommend starting the night with a cocktail on the rooftop, taking in the gorgeous view and pleasant calmness right above Central’s hustle and bustle. Then head down to the invitingly clean and white restaurant, dotted with fat little pigs and penguins, for a true Spanish feast.
After a round of deliciously fresh Coffin Bay oysters, drizzled with lime and chilli granita, we tucked into a plate of 30-month-aged Iberico ham served with Barcelona-style crystal bread. This ham, which is apparently the restaurant’s pride and joy, was excellent and dangerously moreish, particularly when eaten with the crusty tomato-topped bread.
We were advised to eat the ‘explosive smoked salmon air bag’ in one go to enjoy the full experience. There was silence around the table as this little pastry, stuffed with sour cream and topped with a chunk of smoked salmon burst in the mouth, allowing the truffle-infused sour cream to hit the palate and make magic. Incredible.
We also loved the “Bikini” – basically a high-end cheese toastie containing Iberico ham, black truffle, mozzarella and rocket. Yet it was the lobster “mollete” that wowed us all. Think of a lobster slider and then elevate this to another level. A soft, buttery steamed brioche bun gave way to fleshy lobster bathed in a spicy chipotle sauce and topped with caviar. To say it was amazing would be an understatement.
Not all the dishes on the menu are new; we tried some of the old favourites including scallop ceviche with avocado and crispy shallots (melt-in-the-mouth goodness, with a satisfying crunch on top), mixed asparagus with truffle vinaigrette, pine nuts and rocket (light yet bold flavours, intensified by the richness of the truffle) and my personal favourite king crab salad with green apple, pine nuts and homemade basil sorbet. I had expected the crab, which looked like it was bathed in too much mayonnaise, to be really heavy, yet with the fresh basil sorbet and the chunks of fresh grapefruit, it was anything but.
Another impressive dish was the Catalan-style monkfish stew. Here chunky pieces of meaty monkfish were beautifully presented with mushrooms, Iberico pork, pancetta and crispy little prawns, the textures and flavours of each creating, again, something magical.
The roast baby chicken stuffed with Manchego cheese, minced Iberico pork, pine nuts and porcini mushrooms was also divine, served on a bed of crispy potato chips and padrón peppers. With its flavoursome stuffing, the chicken remained lovely and juicy, and it was again a medley of textures that worked well.
I was in awe of the rack of veal, served with Parmesan and rocket. The meat was incredibly tender and flavoursome, particularly when paired with the side of mixed mushrooms.
FoFo’s churros are some of the best I’ve had in Hong Kong, partly due to the rich chocolate sauce they are served with, which is merely molten dark chocolate. Although it’s not something I would normally order, the “Corte Helado” – a traditional Spanish ice cream sandwich – took me by surprise. The homemade ice cream came in two flavours – strawberry and mint – both of which were utterly delicious and fresh, almost as if a pile of strawberries or mint leaves had literally just been crushed and frozen.
Prices at FoFo are certainly not cheap; each plate of tapas may only cost around $100, but once you’ve had a few, plus added on a few larger plates (priced upwards of $500), your bill will add up. On Monday to Thursday nights, however, there is a set menu that costs only $498 per person, and Wednesday to Friday nights you can enjoy complimentary snacks with your drinks up on the rooftop. Whatever your bill costs at FoFo, it’s definitely worth it. It’s certainly one of the best Spanish restaurants I’ve been to in Hong Kong, and we all know there are a lot of them!
FoFo By El Willy
2-8 Wellington Street
Tel: +852 2900 2009