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22 Ships, Chicha, and Yardbird in Hong Kong: Feedback Welcome!

Hi everyone, I'll be back in Hong Kong early next month and was wondering if anyone can certify 'goodness' behind the hype at 22 Ships, Chicha (the Peruvian restaurant), and of course, the infamous Yardbird.

Seeing as two of these places (22 Ships and Yardbird) don't take bookings, I really want to get feedback as to whether or not they're worth the visit. Or should I check out other places for Tapas and Yakitori?
Being Peruvian myself, I'm keen to try Chicha, I know not to expect it to be traditional, but is the food tasty, the service prompt, and the vibe funky?

Thanks for your help.

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  1. I recommend Chicha, it has everything you are looking for - tasty food, prompt service (owner watches very carefully and drops by tables to check) and funky vibe. Re the vibe, we sat at the bar and really enjoyed it - there is likely a calmer feeling in the main room. If you don't mind more noise & activity, you will find the bar a great spot. Food is prepared in front of you, so you can draw your own conclusions on how traditional it is! Chef was working in one of the top Lima restaurants (cannot recall which) before being enticed to Chicha.

    1 Reply
    1. Eaten at Chica a few times, first couple were good, last meal a few weeks ago was pretty mediocre. It's fallen from my list to a "may go back, but not in a hurry". We ate at 22 Ships soon after it opened and have not been tempted back, we do need to try it again to see if the lacklustre service and the FOH staffs ability to keep the place moving has changed - is on the "go back one day list".

      Yardbird is good, whilst it is no bookings the staff do keep the pace going and it's good for a drink whilst waiting. Lots and lots of new openings all the time, but few stick on my must go back list, the exception is Brick House which has got the balance right with IMO great Tacos.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PhilD

        Thank you PhilD. I keep reading wonders about Brick House. Is it as hard to find as some people mention? Regarding Spanish Tapas, what place would you return to?

      2. If you're Peruvian, I think you'll find Chicha disappointing. I thought it was OK, but the food was not that inspired and relatively bland. A couple of standouts, but the bread and butter of Peruvian cuisine was only decent, not worth a repeat. And the place is loud and bustling, way too sceney to be focused on the food.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Uncle Yabai

          I live a short walk directly up the hill from 22 Ships and I've not even eaten there. When I first checked it out the babe on the street with the clipboard turned me off, and so did the we're-here-to-wow-you menu. Seemed to be trying a bit too hard and I didn't feel confident it'd be worth it (although I trust PhilD, who liked the food).

          I gotta say, I know we're all tired of hearing about Yardbird or hearing it used as a benchmark. Truth is, the menu has a clear, consistent and somewhat timeless story. Although it's a hip joint, there's something very real about the food and, to me, doesn't feel as contrived as some other new places in town. Service is excellent, no attitude, food is excellent, rowdy crowd and a fun place to go. No it's not the latest - seems so long ago that it opened - but it's still fresh in my eyes.

          1. re: p0lst3r

            Excellent, thanks for sharing. I'm certainly not looking for someone to reinvent the wheel, and in the case of Yardbird, if it is still talk of the town, it proves quality and good management (the ability to keep pumping out good food and service). I'm excited. Might not bother with 22 Ships this time around. Is Boqueria better for a more traditional Spanish restaurant? I truly appreciate the feedback. Cheers!

        2. I heartily recommend stopping in at Po's Atelier if you are going to be revisiting HK... well worth a visit to see the development of the local food scene. Right by Yardbird (which is excellent).

          That said I would say that all of those restaurants are great for locals but if I was revisiting I would be prioritising other places!

          3 Replies
          1. re: TomEatsHK

            Thanks Tom! I had a look at Po's Atelier, and it looks rather inviting. Do they serve dinner? I can only seem to find information for bakery and day menus. I'll keep it in my list. Any places off the top of your head? Good sushi? Have you by any chance been to the Lobster Bar & Grill at the Island Shangri-La? More than having a hit list, I like to have an array of options, I might be feeling like a particular cuisine at the moment, but come the day, time, exhaustion, and all other situational factors that come with travel + conference, it's good to have diversity in mind. I really appreciate the recommendation. I'm also looking through your blog. Gracias!

            1. re: janixes

              Sushi - Sushi Sase or Sushi Yoshitake

              Shangri-La - I haven't, I never really got into hotel restaurants as I love the local atmosphere. Why not try some local crab joints - Under Bridge Spicy, Mah Wah (for the expensive version) or Hue Hing?

              I understand on the variety of food but I always think HK is so unique in having so much good HK and Cantonese food it is a shame to miss a chance to eat it :)

              1. re: TomEatsHK

                Excellent, thanks Tom! I've had Under Bridge Spicy Crab and The Chairman in mind for a while now. I appreciate the feedback on the other places/cuisines. I tend to ask about this to cater for my travel companions haha.
                I can't seem to find Hue Hing.
                Always excited to try out new places, and you're absolutely right, one must take advantage of the array of HK cuisine and Catonese goodness!