Although it continues to be used very frequently, people in the restaurant industry hate the word ‘fusion.’ That’s why the newly opened Crafty Cow on Sheung Wan’s Upper Station Street is attempting to get rid of it by introducing the term ‘third culture dining.’
What this means is that the cuisine does not belong to one particular culture, but to multiple cultures. It is the coming together and melding of ideas and identities from all over the world, represented by the numerous heritages and cultures of the restaurant staff. Yes, I admit that when I initially read the press release, I stopped reading and thought it all a load of mumbo jumbo, but now, having eaten at Crafty Cow, I think I totally get it. I too hate the word ‘fusion,’ so, although I’m not sure I’ll adopt the term ‘third culture’ myself, at least someone’s trying to rename it.
In case the name doesn’t give it away, Crafty Cow specialises in craft beer and beef. Classing itself as a ‘gastro-pub’ seems a little bizarre, given that I associate a gastro-pub, generally, with serving British grub, but it does definitely have that relaxed, comfortable pub-like feel to it.
The drinks list is pretty extensive, featuring some interesting beers from around the world (with equally interesting names – try the Yoho Wednesday Pussycat for example). If you’re not a beer drinker, there are also some pretty unique sakes by the bottle, as well as some weird yet wonderful ciders – the Brothers toffee apple cider was a big hit amongst the girls.
The next time someone asks me what the strangest thing I’ve ever eaten is, I have the perfect answer: bull testicles. Yup, you read that right, at Crafty Cow, I ate testicles… and I thoroughly enjoyed them! If you’re a sucker for oysters, you may be drawn in by the Rocky Mountain Oysters on the menu. As it turns out, however, these are not oysters at all. These deep-fried balls are exactly that: deep-fried balls, of the bovine variety. Had I known what they were before they arrived, admittedly there’s not a chance in hell I would have ordered them. Yet, dipped in the delicious chimichurri, these were pretty sensational and I in fact went in for another – because if you’re going to eat one ball, you may as well eat two, right?!
The oxtail chilli was warm and comforting, though rather mild on the chilli itself, despite supposedly containing jalapeños. I enjoyed the little scallion biscuits with which it was served too, which served as the perfect dipping vessel.
The numbing bone marrow, topped with Sichuan pepper infused butter, chilli and garlic, was as rich and decadent as bone marrow should be, but, again, I would have expected a little more spice in order to achieve the promised numbing effect.
If you love a simple cheese toasty and are partial to a bit of truffle, as I am, then the fittingly named big ass truffle grilled cheese is absolutely heavenly. Unlike some truffle cheese toasties I’ve seen around town, this huge version comprises of inch-thick slices of buttered toast, simply oozing with generous quantities of aged cheddar and rich black truffle.
From the teppan section of the menu, we tried two cuts of Australian beef – flat iron and Wagyu hanger steak – both of which were beautifully tender and delicious. Alongside your steak you can choose from a wide variety of homemade dips (the Korean BBQ, wasabi sabayan and yuzu ginger were my favourites) and speciality salts, including fleur de merlot, smoked sea salt and charcoal black salt. The steaks themselves carried a gorgeous flavour on their own, but we definitely enjoyed the combination of flavours offered by the dips and salts.
There are currently no desserts offered at Crafty Cow, so we finished our meal with a tasty bao from the BYOB (build your own bao) section of the menu. I went for the beef short ribs with house kimchi and Korean BBQ sauce, all encased in a beautifully fluffy spring onion bao, which added a nice little twist to a classic favourite.
Prices at Crafty Cow are seriously refreshing, with most dishes under $140 and very reasonably priced drinks. It has a fun, yet laidback vibe that would be perfectly conducive to a great night out with a group of friends. And I know you’re all curious to know what bull’s testicles taste like…
G/F, 3-3A Upper Station Street
Tel: +852 2915 8988
Closed on Mondays