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Dec 9, 2011 05:14 PM

TBLS [Hong Kong]

Rather than losing this in a general thread I thought it worth starting a thread on its own.

It is a tricky reservation because it is so small and popular, you need to ring on the day three months before you want to go and then you still may not be in luck. Some people call it a private kitchen but I can't see why: it is a pretty normal restaurant with good fixtures and fittings and a large open plan kitchen with chefs beavering away, and a team of uniformed FOH staff delivering food.

The menu is $748 (including 10% service) a head for a six course, no choice menu. It has a pretty strong wine list, albeit quite expensive, we BYO'd at $200 corkage a bottle. We had the "Best of 2011" menu and I understand that the menu changes frequently and is often inventively themed. The cooking is great, and the food is good fun with some interesting twists. One of our best meals over the last year in HK. I would head back frequently if it was easier to book and a bit cheaper.

We enjoyed:

1. Amuse bouche

2. Soup & Sandwich: Sweet corn soup, with paprika popcorn, chipotle pork belly sandwich with Oaxaca cheese, avocado and pickled onions.

3. Happy Memories: Sobrassada, poached egg, garlic mashed potato, crispy serrano ham.

4. Ceviche: Yellowtail ceviche, smoked pineapple, fresh guacamole, tomato water jelly.

5. Pastrami Brined Turkey: Turkey breast, foie gras, sweet potato puree, honey mustard cabbage, sour cherry and pear chutney.

6. Jasmine Tea Party: Jasmine tea pannacotta, strawberry water, chocolate mocha ravioli

7. PB&J: Peanut butter ice-cream, homemade strawberry jam, macaroon sandwich.

8. Mint fairy floss

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  1. Thanks for the heads-up, PhilD. 3 months' advance booking?!

    BTW, there was a discussion on the SF Bay Area thread quite a while back about the need to have separate threads for each restaurant, in order to facilitate CH readers searching for a specific restaurant - I'd always followed this approach since.

    1 Reply
    1. re: klyeoh

      the menu changes every month and is published on their website.

      This is one of my favorite restaurants in HK and I usually go once a month. The best way to get a table is to put your name on the wait list for Mon / Tues / Wed. HK denizens are notorious for booking 5 restaurants for a single night only to cancel on the day of. I've eaten at TBLS multiple times in this manner. In the winter you can also suggest you're willing to sit outside (for those of you who have lived in places where it actually's not really cold during the HK winters....)

    2. Another superb meal here last night. The food here is very innovative and good, everything on the plate works. It helps that the team have a wonderfully infectious enthusiasm for what they are doing. Its fun, its real and it is an essential stop on the HK dining scene - if you can get a booking as it is justifiably popular.

      Last night we had six courses with an amuse and pre dessert, this months theme is a summer picnic:

      1. Amuse bouche

      2. Soup & Sandwich – Cauliflower and Parmesan Vichyssoise with Truffle Oil, Crab Cake Sandwich with Basil Oil and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes. Every element was great, I could have eaten this three or four times over, the crab sandwich was really well flavoured.

      3. Goat Cheese Panna Cotta – Roasted Beet Root, Fried Fennel, Balsamic Gastric, Mizuna, Pancetta and Lychee. The goats cheese works very well in a panna-cotta, set off with the other ingredients especially the beetroot.

      4. Hamachi Tartare – Cucumber Jelly, Smoked Pineapple, Tatsoi, Salmon Roe, Avocado, Yuzu-tamari Soy Vinaigrette. The cucumber jelly was a little lost with all the other flavours but the pineapple really adds an interesting dimension.

      5. Spice Rubbed Chicken & Fried Chicken – Deviled Egg, Baby Spinich, Sesame and Maple Vinaigrette. This was fine, although slightly weaker that the preceding courses, but that is more a statement about the earlier dishes.

      6. Yangmei Berry Sorbet. A local berry that has a very short season, interesting flavours that work well in a sorbet. Apparently it can be quite sour.

      7. Jasmin Tea Milk Chocolate Bar – Rice Crispy Treat, Chocolate Pearls, Shaved Chocolate, Strawberry Anglaise. Some nice malty flavours in the chocolate layers, a decent dessert.

      8. Creamsicle Macaroon Sandwich – Vanilla Ice Cream, Calamansi Marmalade, Macaroons. I good finish to the whole meal, the marmalade layer in the macaroon adding a nice contrast.

      We keep saying this will be a regular male, but never get our act together to book it. On this showing we will try harder. The meal is HK680 plus service and the wine list is really great (albeit expensive), we had a great US Pinot. Corkage is now HK$250 a bottle but is still may be worth bringing a good bottle along.

      2 Replies
      1. re: PhilD

        my favourite was the soup and sandwich course too (had it in june; same menu).

        there was a bit of commotion in the kitchen that day (apparently it was the first day that they switched menus, and the kitchen was not running as smoothly as it should have been). the perils of having an open kitchen...

        1. re: PhilD

          Fantastic update, PhilD. Those dishes sure looked good!