Chachawan [Hong Kong]
I love good Thai food, I am especially partial to some good Isaan food so the news that an ex-colleague of David Thompson was opening a new authentic Thai restaurant in HK had my taste buds tingling.
It's another no reservation spot, but their sister restaurant next door is OK to hang out in for a beer as you wait for a table. The 45 minute wait was nearly exactly 45 minutes on a wet and miserable Friday, but the atmosphere of the place soon takes your mind off the weather.
The first thing that delights you - and I use that work deliberately - is the serving team - they are really happy and friendly - their enthusiasm is almost contagious. Not licensed yet (but you can BYO and there is a bar next door) so on to the menu. Its reads well, but will it live up to the promise? HK is full of neutered Thai food so I imagine high octane Isaan is a risk few restauranteurs will take.
Thankfully I was totally wrong. The food is full on spicy with great fresh flavours. This was our second dinner so we didn't do justice to the menu, we tried a great Som Dtum Moo Grop - salad with roast pork, a fine Moo Yung - more pork, and a special of Isaan sausage (Sai Grog) which I hope makes it onto the regular menu.
The food is wonderfully flavoured, its fresh and bursting with energy like all good Thai food should be, its a funky space and has really lovely staff. Its going to be on the regular rotation.
Thanks for the heads-up, PhilD. So *this* is where Chef Adam Cliff is now - he wasn't in Kha Restaurant in Singapore for very long at all! Anyway, Cliff had worked for David Thompson in Sailor's Thai (Sydney), both Nahm outlets (first London, then Bangkok) and also Bo.lan in Bangkok.
At Kha Singapore, he was instrumental in introducing Isaan flavours which are explosively spicy. Great to hear that he's doing the same in HK. Isaan food is very common among Thai eateries in London, but rare in HK where Thai cuisine is usually pretty bland.
206 Hollywood Road
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2549 0020
Revisited last Friday and sat in front of the open kitchen - Adam was in full flow directing the frantic kitchen as the place is rammed. I was really impressed that he seemed to speak to all the kitchen team in Thai.
Service was again great, considering oit is such a hot spot the staff are just incredably nice. Food, well we tried a number of different dishes and not a miss anywhere. My partner is still raving about the Pla Phao Glua - salt baked sea bass stuffed with herbs which is a real winner. The Som Tum Malakor was good and fiery, the Gai Yung - chicken thigh was morish, and an extra grilled beef dish which isn't on the menu was fantastic...but maybe one dish too many as we were stuffed (and it was our one dinner of the night).
So second visit and it was better than the first, already planning a third trip.