The ‘No Menu’ Experience
District: Central, Hong Kong
Cuisine: Modern take on Tapas
How much: Starters from $65, mains from $140
The Best For: Anyone who loves food!
One of my favourite things about Hong Kong is that you can step off familiar, over crowded streets into hidden havens and suddenly you’re miles away from the city. Zafran is one such place, transporting its guests a world away from Wydham Street, where it’s conveniently situated.
Candlelit stairs give way to a dimly lit space occupied by a tasteful yet minimal décor. For the optimal dining experience head straight on through to the kitchen side counter that runs across the back of the main dining room. Because here is where the magic happens. We were presented with a taste card – rather than a menu – showcasing the rich flavours on offer. Diners are encouraged to choose these flavours rather than dishes – tell Chef Miguel what you love and what you fancy, then sit back, relax and watch the master at work.
And each dish truly was a masterpiece, lovingly constructed with care and precision. I felt like I was in a live version of Masterchef as the food came together in front of my eyes. It was all I could do to stop myself high-jumping the counter and joining the fun in the kitchen. But as the food arrived I was happy to stay where I was and indulge. Each dish was simply divine.
I started with Grilled Lettuce (I know – who even knew that was a thing). Paired with Strawberries, Almonds and Rich Parmesan. Now I have to admit, I usually shy away from fruit and salad combos – in fact if I’d have seen that on a menu I’d probably never have tried it. Clear evidence as to why the best bet is to leave the dish preparation to the experts, because this has possibly changed the way I view food. Strawberries and lettuce are clearly a winning combination, as the flavours perfectly complemented one another. I’m definitely a convert to the ‘no menu’ plan.
Then it was on to Duck with Chimi Churi Sauce and Asparagus and Pork with a Smoked Eggplant Dip. Both dishes were cooked to perfection with fresh, succulent ingredients ensuring the flavours were on point. Again, these were dishes I may not have normally ordered and so it definitely made for a better evening to try new things and break away from the norm.
My absolute favourite from the evening was the Beef and Mashed Potato (spoken like a true Brit). A perfectly sized portion, dripping with gravy and melting off my fork….please, sir, can I have some more??
Meanwhile my dining companion had basically died and gone to seafood heaven. The Cod Fritters and the Scallops with Jamon de Iberico and Sweetcorn were highly praised.
Priced at $498 for five tapas dishes, this is a unique dining experience that makes eating out even more fun. If you always gravitate towards the same dishes (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), this is a great way to let loose and go for it. Trust me when I say this: Chef won’t get it wrong – you’ll be delighted with whatever you try.
Zafran, Basement, 43-45 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, zafran.com.hk
Author: Carrie Johnson