It seems, these days, that serving traditional food, from no matter which cuisine, is no longer the cool thing to do. We have, for example, Chinese food with a Western twist; we have Italian food with an American twist; we even have Mexican food with a Japanese twist. And now, thanks to MOYO on Aberdeen Street, we have Korean food with an Italian twist. Who’d have thought it?!
Apparently the reason for this interesting combination of cultures and flavours is that one of the owners is Korean, but grew up in Italy, and therefore decided to bring this unexpected mix to the experimental palates of Hong Kong diners.
MOYO is an unassuming little spot just opposite PMQ that is very simply decorated with a black and white theme that leaves the emphasis on the food. The restaurant is currently still in soft opening and is yet to secure a liquor licence, so you can either BYO, or attempt, for once, to enjoy a dry meal.
The first thing you’ll see on the menu is the bruschetta, with a choice of tuna or kimchi as toppings. Since we knew we would have kimchi later in the meal, we opted for the tuna, tomato and rocket bruschetta. Although there was apparently also bean paste amongst the ingredients, it was hard to spot any hint of Korean in this dish. That’s not to say that it wasn’t seriously tasty (even in spite of the tinned tuna used), but it just seemed to move a little too far from what the concept was trying to be.
The kimchi pork pancake definitely veered more towards the traditional and was up there amongst some of the best kimchi pancakes I’ve tasted. There was a nice level of spice running through the pancakes, whilst the addition of pork gave them a slightly saltier flavour to balance the sweet and sourness of the kimchi.
Bulgogi is a must order at any Korean (or even Korean-Italian) restaurant, and MOYO’s version was a nice generous one. The beef itself was lovely and tender, although we found that the accompanying sautéed mushrooms and onions were actually more flavoursome than the beef itself.
The portion of Korean fried chicken balls was also a pretty substantial one. It came as a pile of bite-sized pieces of tender, juicy chicken with batter that seemed almost to be healthy, since it was barely oily in the slightest. The chicken alone, having been marinated in gochujang spicy sauce, had a beautiful flavour on its own, but also came paired with a selection of four dips – salt and pepper, honey mustard, homemade BBQ and spicy sauce – that each added their own personality.
Last and perhaps also least, we tried MOYO’s house bibimbap, which wasn’t as good as I had anticipated. The stone bowl, though hot to the touch, wasn’t quite hot enough, meaning the rice didn’t continue to cook and didn’t end up with that deliciously crispy base. The flavour was also a little on the bland side until I asked for more hot sauce to bring the whole thing to life. Perhaps it would have been fun to add an Italian touch here and make it a cross between a bibimbap and a risotto…?
Being tiramisu purists, we weren’t particularly excited by the idea of grean tea and red bean tiramisu, so we called it a night, sufficiently full, without dessert. The total bill, with just tap water to drink, came to a little over $300 per person, which wasn’t too offensive.
MOYO is definitely bringing something interesting to the Hong Kong dining scene. It’s a cool hang out with a fun vibe, good music and friendly service but, to me, the concept still needs just a little bit of work before it will really succeed. Let’s hope it does.
36 Aberdeen Street
Tel: +852 2858 2777
Closed on Mondays