|VOLUME XII No. 145||W E D N E S D A Y||August 4, 2010|
RESTAURANTS OF HONGKONG ...
AND THE WORST !
|Name of Restaurant||W52|
|Address of Restaurant||No. 52, Wyndham Street, Central, Hongkong|
|Date of Visit||Monday, August 2, 2010|
|First Impression - Questionable||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Attentiveness to Customers’ Needs||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Product Expertise of Serving Staff||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Speed of Service||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Cleanliness of Uniform and Serving Staff||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Storage of Wine||Good||Poor||Unknown|
|Expertise of Sommelier||Excellent||Acceptable||None|
|Total Cost of Meal|
|Moderately Expensive||Very Reasonably Priced|
|Name of Restaurant Manager||Mr Robert J Ho|
|Name of Executive Chef||Mr Franscesci Berardinelli|
The restaurant, W52, could aptly be described as a rose among the thorns.
This is because it is a restaurant just on the outskirts of one of the filthiest and grottiest places in Central Hongkong – Lan Kwai Fong (蘭桂坊).
As TARGET (泰達財經) has stated, umpteen times in the past, Lan Kwai Fong is resplendent, just about every evening, with European drunks, Chinese and European prostitutes, both male and female, all sitting around, seemingly waiting for something to happen, or, if they are too far gone, having imbibed too much alcohol, they sit around on stools or outside the public toilet, in a complete stupor.
Having said all of the above, the property in this slum is among the most-expensive in the Hongkong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Which just goes to prove that sex sells and alcohol dulls the senses.
But there are a few restaurants, in and around this horrible area, well worth a visit if one is willing to brave the above-mentioned.
W52 was the object, last Monday night, of TARGET’s peripatetic duo of food reviewers.
The restaurant is located at Number 52, Wyndham Street, exactly opposite the front entrance of LKF Hotel.
On entering the ground floor of W52, one realised that the place has the appearance of little more than one of the many horrible bars of Lan Kwai Fong although it is much cleaner than most, by all outward appearances, but, after being asked by a Filipina hostess whether or not TARGET was coming to eat dinner or just have a drink, it was into one of the slowest lifts, ever produced in the history of the world, to the second floor.
There, the entire outward aspect of W52 changed, markedly, and, on alighting from the lift’s 2-minute, slow-motion journey up just one floor, one found oneself in a very neat little restaurant which, in a pinch, could accommodate about 50 diners, at most.
There is little to no soft furnishings in this restaurant so that noise bounces off the walls and it is difficult to have a conversation of any note.
After studying the menu*, this was that which TARGET ordered for the evening:
Risotto alla Milanese/Midollo e Salsa al Vine Milanese Style
Gnocchi di Pasta al Nero/Ragout di Fruiti di Mare
Tagliata di Angus Grigliata/Funghi Trifolali
Merluzzo Gigante/Aceto Balsamico/Pomodorini
Mille Foglie al Marsala ed Amaretti
Torta Fresca di Mascarpone e Mango
(*All spelling mistakes of the menu are to be credited to the Italian owner of W52)
With the above, the following 2 glasses of wine were ordered:
Nero di Casanova 1GT, La Spirietta, Tuscany 2007
Perrier Jouët Grand Brut
This medium, also, studied the wine list and was pleasantly surprised to find, all in all, that the prices were reasonable.
TARGET’s waiter for the evening was asked, on ordering the glasses of wine, how long the wine bottles had been opened.
The answer came back that the bottles had been opened in the early afternoon, but, having said that, he said: ‘If the wine is not good, I shall, of course, open a new bottle for you.’
The wine, by the way, was fine.
Not one of the dishes was unacceptable.
Not one of the dishes was not presented without the flare of an accomplished chef.
When enquired as to the chef for the evening, it was discovered that he was a Chinese gentleman who had studied under the Italian owner of the restaurant.
The owner of W52 is said to be Mr Franscesco Berardinelli who is on holiday in Europe, this month (as is common during the lazy summer months of this part of the world).
The chef of last Monday was Mr Kapy Yu.
The first 2 courses, the starters, were excellent although, during TARGET’s journey through Tuscany, the gnocchi of this type had never been encountered.
The good thing about the risotto was that it had not been overcooked and the stock, used in its preparation, was really mouth-watering.
As for the main courses, the Angus beef and the black cod, it was difficult to believe that an improvement would have been possible.
While the Champagne went down well with the starters, the Sangiovese (Il Nero di Casanova 1GT, La Spirietta, Tuscany 2007) was an excellent choice for the beef although, perhaps, a little overpowering for the cod.
A word about presentation is in order, at this point of this review, because it was, really, outstanding.
As everybody knows, good food should look good on the table, smell good on the table, and taste good in one’s mouth.
The dishes, chosen by TARGET at W52, last Monday, had all of the necessary attributes of a fine meal.
In fact, this medium would go as far as to state that the dishes could compare with any and all, so-called, fine-dining establishment in 5-star hotels of the HKSAR – if not better.
As for the desserts, don’t have them – because they are terribly unhealthy.
They are sweet and one smell is equivalent to about 1,000 calories.
But this reviewer found it difficult not to eat.
And, in about 2 minutes, they were devoured in their entirety.
Surprisingly for this section of Central Hongkong, the service was, really, par excellence.
Some of the staff members, TARGET discovered, had worked at other restaurants that make claims of being among the best in the territory, but these former staff members of those restaurants determined otherwise and decided to change venues.
That which endeared W52 to this reviewer was the fact that, as soon as one’s water glass was half empty, along came somebody to top it up.
The restaurant is spotless as are the facilities.
The kitchen, surprisingly, is on the third floor of the building that houses W52, and a smallish, special food lift has been installed so that the food, piping hot, comes directly from the kitchen to the dining room.
No messing about here.
On a negative note, perhaps, is that, if one has noisy neighbours, it can be a little disconcerting.
TARGET makes every attempt to ensure accuracy of all data published,
TARGET cannot be held responsible for any errors and/or omissions.