Calling Wild Grass for a reservation is hands down the most amusing telephone reservation experience I have ever had. Stephane, the manager is so wonderfully French! Imagine a super French accent, then add a slow, sexed up tone to it – you just have to hear it. “Hellooooooo, zis is Stephaaaane. Ooooooh yessss, when would you like to booook ze table?” Don’t take me the wrong way, I am not making fun, I am simply trying to relay to you how enjoyable it was to make that reservation. I was giggling inside while I did it. And I really looked forward to meeting him in person – he is the face of the front-of-house, and the guy to ask if you have any questions about the menu or the restaurant.
Wild grass do a very good job of promoting their mission statement and restaurant concept, and I liked how they make it a point to make sure you know exactly what is so special about this restaurant, right there on the front of their menu – sustainable ingredients, OBE beef, bread made in-house, and they can host your parties too! I’m a little skeptical about just how much of their menu uses sustainable ingredients … it’s a term that is easily kicked around, a trendy term. Also, for a nose-to-tail restaurant, there is not much nose or tail. But one thing I can say for sure – for a well-priced, casual Hong Kong restaurant, it has a truly interesting and enticing menu.
There’s not just smoked salmon, it’s smoked salmon topped with radishes and wild salmon eggs! Baked fennel with creamed onions and gratinated with goat cheese (they like goat cheese on this menu). Roasted bone marrow with anchovy and herb salad. Seafood stewed with saffron and fennel. Roasted wild Iceland halibut. Banana and marmalade trifle! Lemon curd syllabub – what they heck is that, anyway??!!
I was inspired to order at least 80% of it, which made choosing very difficult.
Although we were there in the evening, I could imagine sunlight streaming through those glass paneled window, shining down on the farm chic rustic home-style decor, and attractively mismatched chairs. At night, the restaurant looks like it could be a great place for a long meal followed (or preceded) by drinks at the bar – but when we went on a Thursday, we were one of 4-5 tables, and in such a big space, we felt a bit lonely.
And now to the food! While we waited, we were served some of that house-made bread (soft and fluffy like a pillow!) with a goats cheese butter spread (dangerously moreish). I really loved how we were given a few radishes (which went great with the goats cheese) and pickled onions to snack on – they made the bread platter look beautiful too.
The carpaccio of amberjack was a very generous portion, but it was surprisingly lacking in any flavour other than the strong flavour of the passion fruit.
Goats cheese oozing over crispy puff pastry and that beetroot jelly went down a treat!
My starter of poached egg, asparagus, clams and crispy toasted brioche was a marvelously constructed dish – bravo to the chef!
The steak was order medium-rare but was served rare. I am always a bit scared to send under-cooked steak back to the kitchen, as it usually comes back over-cooked, but the kitchen did a good job of rectifying it. While it was a very tasty piece of beef, it was a too thinly cut to be enjoyed as a juicy steak.
The pork chop was simply amazing – perfectly cooked, juicy, really flavourful and well seasoned. I really loved that chive pesto too – this is a dish I would order again and again.
The set dinner in itself was already quite filling, so I think we went a bit over the top with the side dishes, we could have just done with two instead of four. The baked cauliflower was my favourite.
Initially we were a bit confused and thought we had been served two cauliflower dishes, but the ratatouille is garnished identically, covered in a creamy mash and served piping hot.
In terms of pricing, I thought HK$438 (the price has gone up slightly since it opened) for 3 courses was good value considering the quality of food that was served. Bottled water at $60 a pop is a bit over the top I think, and with the 4 starters and a HK$ 690 bottle of Chateauneuf Du Pape brought the bill to HK$740 per person.
There has been a lot of chatter among my friends about Wild Grass, and I’ll be going there again for lunch next week – another friend has suggested it for dinner next week too, but I think that might be an overdose of Wild Grass! Having said that, I could eat that pork chop again right now, and after a enjoyable dinner there, I’m really looking forward to seeing what they offer for lunch!
Address: 1/F, 4-8 Arbuthnot Road, Central
Tel: +852 2810 1189
Our bill for 5 people
Sneak peak at the menu …