Shore Hospitality is on a roll at the moment. Not long after contracting tapas fever with the opening of Pico, the group has now brought us Eastside Tavern, a New York style gastropub and sports bar where patrons can ‘eat, drink [and] play’.
Eastside Tavern is in fact located in the same building as Pico, with an open front overlooking busy Mody Road. It is a huge space, seating up to 120 diners looking for a casual meal or happy hour drinks (the bar prides itself on stocking 18 craft-style beers from around the world). The décor resembles a lofty warehouse, with bare wooden tables, high ceilings and raw, unfinished touches. At the back of the space is a games’ room complete with electronic dart boards, a pool table and a soon-to-come foosball table; perfect for boys who will always be boys.
The menu is…shall we say….not exactly light. It ranges from pizzas to burgers to homemade pies, to perhaps the odd salad here and there. It is man food. It is American food. It is true comfort food.
We began with the spiced cracklin’ pork belly – incredibly tender cubes of satisfyingly crispy pig, generously smeared in Chef Sammy Flores’ homemade hickory-smoked barbecue sauce, giving the perfect balance between sweet and salty.
Next up, the crab cakes served with homemade roast garlic aioli were also delicious, packing a bountiful amount of fresh crabmeat, without all the unnecessary additions that are usually included to bulk them up.
The Serrano, fig and Persian feta salad, apparently one of Sammy’s favourites, was light and refreshing, ideal for these hot summer days. The sweet figs were incredibly ripe, perfectly contrasting against the super salty yet wonderfully soft Serrano ham and chunks of feta.
Obviously any good American bar can and should be judged on its burger, and I think EST’s burger would definitely pass the test of a good American bar. The patty was cooked to juicy perfection, topped with gherkins, melted cheese and tomatoes, encased in a soft, fluffy (perhaps a tad gigantic) bun, which altogether carried a smoky flavour guaranteed to satiate any intense burger craving. To make it even better, a tower of hand-cut wedges perched temptingly beside it. For some reason I always feel that chips that still carry their skin are more healthy than those that don’t; yes this is obviously complete nonsense, but please just humour me a little!
Following manager Jose’s recommendation, we saved space for a slice of black forest pizza (and took the rest home in a doggy bag, of course!). The base was neither too thin nor too thick and was loaded with wild mushrooms, spinach, pine nuts and shaved Parmesan, resulting in an almost healthy, wonderfully earthy-flavoured pizza.
In true New York style fashion, Eastside Tavern prides itself on its desserts. There isn’t currently a dessert menu per se, as it varies daily from one classic to another, but it seems to be a case of ‘ask and you shall receive’ – within reason. We tried the daily dessert of baked NY cheesecake, served with vanilla bean ice cream and red berry compote. It was light and fluffy, yet a little too sweet for me. The banoffee pie had perfect biscuity base and the right balance of banana, cream and toffee, yet, contrary to the cheesecake, it actually could have been a little sweeter!
Prices at Eastside Tavern hover around the $100 mark for starters, and $150-200 mark for mains. It is a fun space, with good service and a great atmosphere, where one can while away a few hours eating and drinking oneself into a comfortable food coma.
Shore Hospitality’s mission to make its mark in TST does not stop at Pico and Eastside Tavern… HK fave The Salted Pig will soon be sharing its piggy love with Kowlooners as it is set to open a second location in Knutsford Terrace this summer. What else can this group do?
Shop 29, G/F, Empire Centre
68 Mody Road
Tsim Sha Tsui East
Tel: +852 2367 8770