*UPDATE: Isono has now closed*
Isono – on paper, it looks like the results of a particularly unproductive Countdown round (especially when combined with its location, PMQ). In reality, it’s the latest restaurant from Tony Cheng’s Drawing Room Concepts, the brains behind places as varied as AMMO (Italian), Hainan Shaoye (Singaporean) and Made In HK (do I really have to tell you?). This time round, the cuisine is casual Mediterranean with a slight tapas slant, the chef the esteemed Paolo Casagrande of two Michelin-starred Restaurante Lasarte in Barcelona, and the interiors courtesy of the acclaimed Joyce Wang.
Casagrande has saved most of the culinary fireworks for Isono’s sister restaurant upstairs, Vasco, which is more of a fancy fine-dining kind of joint. Instead, Isono’s menu is full of familiar European classics – charcuterie platters, paella, pasta – the kind that make us start happily reminiscing about that great cod stew in the Basque/those delicious rillettes in South France/the best carbonara ever in Rome that we once enjoyed.
That being said, it’s unlikely that any of those happy foodie memories played out in an environment quite as majestic as Isono’s. Wang’s interiors always bring a sense of cinematic grandeur to proceedings (literally – there’s a black and white film screened on loop on the wall here); with its copper surfaces, intricate metal structures and exposed bulb lighting, it has an almost steampunk vibe. Classy steampunk mind, not any of that Sucker Punch nonsense.
Posted in Food, Hong Kong
Tagged best restaurants in Central, best restaurants in HK, best restaurants PMQ, best tapas Hong Kong, Drawing Room Concepts, fine dining Hong Kong, Isono, Isono Eatery & Bar, Isono HK, Isono Hong Kong, Joyce Wang, Mediterranean cuisine Hong Kong, Mediterranean restaurants Hong Kong, Paolo Casagrande, PMQ, review, Spanish cuisine Hong Kong, Spanish restaurants Central, Spanish restaurants Hong Kong, tapas, tapas restaurants Central, tapas restaurants Hong Kong, Tony Cheng, Vasco, where to eat in Central, where to eat in PMQ, where to eat in Soho
UPDATE: Tapeo is *SOB* now closed.
If I had to name my favourite restaurants in HK, Tapeo would come fairly high in the list. So imagine my excitement on learning that another branch of the tapas joint (run by Concept Creations, who also own Belgian eaterie, Frites) had opened nearer my neck of the woods in Sai Wan Ho, even if I was a little nonplussed at the idea. The Chai Wan side of the Island seems to have an air of unloved cousin about it compared to the high-end, gweilo-filled Central side and Tapeo’s other location is right at the beating heart of the desirable Soho area in Central.
However, once I got there, it made perfect sense. Located next to stunning harbour-side views with some clever tables that are actually windows too, it feels totally fitting for Spanish cuisine – what could be more Mediterranean than a fun casual dinner followed by a stroll along the harbour to walk off those calories after?
The view is better than this picture
In fact, I prefer the Sai Wan Ho Tapeo to the one in Central, where it’s all bar seating (all of about 20 seats – and I’m being generous) and the mood often feels set more to ‘hip bar’ than ‘fine dining’, which is a shame as the food definitely justifies the latter tag. The Sai Wan Ho branch actually has tables (gasp!) and lighting that (heavens above!) actually allows you to see what you’re eating (as well as appreciate the skill that goes into it at the open kitchen). And thanks to those open windows and more generous seating arrangements, it’s an altogether less cramped and more comfortable dining experience than in Central – so take that, Soho!
Posted in Food, Hong Kong
Tagged best restaurants in HK, best restaurants in Hong Kong, best restaurants in Sai Wan Ho, best Spanish restaurants Hong Kong, best tapas in Hong Kong, Concept Creations, Food, HK, Hong Kong, Lei King Wan, manchego cheese and honey, restaurant, review, Sai Wan Ho, Sai Wan Ho Promenade, Soho East, Spanish cuisine Hong Kong, Spanish food Hong Kong, Spanish restaurants Hong Kong, squid a la plancha, tapas, tapas Hong Kong, Tapeo, Tapeo Hong Kong, where to eat in Lei King Wan, where to eat in Sai Wan Ho, where to eat in Soho East