Solera – a gem in Discovery Bay

IMG_4279I’m in a taxi and the driver is careening onto Connaught Road like a mad man. My IPhone clock strikes 8pm – and my heart sinks. I’ve missed it, I know I’ve missed it. Still, the driver continues, clear in his purpose and adamant to fulfill it. We hit a light, we hit another light – my eyes dart between the clock and the road. “Time to do those sprints!!!”, my friend SN texts me, “I’ll hold it as long as I can!”.

We screech to a halt in front of Pier 3, I throw a $50 note at this amazing man who has managed to get me here on time, and tell him to keep the change. My brown 4-inch heeled boots strike the pavement HARD – people must have heard me coming from a mile away. CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP, I doot my Octopus Card, fly past the barrier, SN is at the ready throw the ferry steward in the water in case I don’t make it. But I’ve made it! I stop with a panting finish onboard the ferry – we are on out way to Discovery Bay!

IMG_4278Our destination: a girls dinner at Solera, a new Spanish Tapas restaurant located in DB Plaza. At first sight, it is obvious that they have tried everything to make this place as Spanish as possible, to the point where they go overboard just a tad. However, the result is that after a while, you could actually start feeling like you’ve been transported to a restaurant in Spain, and the feeling grew on us.

Once we started eating the food, the illusion became complete.

Iberico Cold Cut Selection (served with tomato bread)

Ibérico Cold Cut Selection (served with tomato bread) HK$250

We started off with an Iberico cold cut selection, served with a very flavorful tomato bread. Whilst it was a lovely platter, it doesn’t really serve to show the “edge” that this restaurant has with the rest of its food.

Pan y Tomate

Pan y Tomate (also offered separately on the menu at HK$20)

Solera tries to offer a slightly different interpretation of traditional tapas dishes, and they hit the spot with this one – their version of Heuvos Estrellados, a simple dish of fried potatoes, fried egg and Iberico Ham. The saltiness of the cube-cut-then-fried Iberico ham  is juxtaposed by the sweet onion confit, and using fried potato crisps instead of larger pieces adds a wonderful crunch. The egg coats the whole dish with rich creaminess, and it is so deliciously moreish.

Organic Egg Slow Cooked at 63° served with Ibérico Ham on Onion Confit anf Fried Potato

Organic Egg Slow Cooked at 63° served with Ibérico Ham on Onion Confit and Fried Potato HK$120

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Curious about Sal Curioso? (This restaurant has closed)

Gals and Gents, I present to you the newest addition to LKF’s restaurant scene: Sal Curioso! As you enter the restaurant and climb up the stairs from Glenealy Street, the delicious smell wafting from the kitchen is irresistible. Think of it as a bright orange carrot, and you are most definitely the horse – watch those steps, you might very well trip as you’re rushing up them!

Sal Curioso is the second restaurant by Woolly Pig Concepts, which also opened Madame Sixty Ate. The concept is based on a fictitious gourmet personality, Sal, who travels (curiously) around the globe, his main motivation: food! He must have settled in Latin America, as the restaurant offers up dishes predominately (but not exclusively) inspired by Latin American cuisine, with a twist!  There have been no comments on Open Rice, no blog posts to research beforehand – as far as I know, this is the first! And so, we went to this restaurant with zero knowledge, our excitement levels high and our taste buds excited.

As you enter the restaurant, you are immediately greeted by the cocktail bar to your right, and the large open kitchen to your left. Similarly to Madame Sixty Ate, you have a completely open view of the inner workings of the kitchen, and it feels like an intimate experience. The interior space feels open, well laid out, the tables are well-spaced (I hate eating elbow to elbow with the someone at the neighboring table). The scene is set, the diner is comfortable and ready for the opening act.

The menu was designed by Chef Director Chris Woodyard, also CD at Madame Sixty Ate, and ex-culinary director of the W Hotel Hong Kong. When I booked the table, I was informed that the menu is meant for sharing, but seeing as it was a date night,  more people was not an option – we would take our chances. The menu is partitioned into starters, the ‘cor menu’ (heart of the menu), Parrilla items (from the grill), sides, cheeses and desserts. For many of the dishes you are given the option of ordering a small or large serving. We wanted a little bit of everything, and you will find that even if you go as a couple, this menu works just as well for sharing between two as it does for four or more.

STARTERS 

Small Plate Nachos – house corn crisps with avocado mousse, goat’s cheese, tomato relish and cilantro salsa $45

The first item on the menu: it sounded so appetizing that it had to be done, and what we were served was deconstructed, unconventional and surprising, and yet so satisfying and moreish! I would have to say that these are the most original nachos out there – throw out the nacho-corn chips, the salsa, the guacamole and the sour cream, add house made pork/corn puffs that look like bar snacks and taste like crackling, a smooth mousse of avocado and cheese, and (I must say) wonderful tomato and red pepper salsa – and this is Sal Curioso’s version of nachos. We were ready for more!

Albondigas – saltbush lamb meatballs on walnut braised chickpeas with shaved fois gras $55

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