From the cool kids that brought us Café Deadend and Po’s Atelier, comes this latest addition to the blooming POHO area. Located on Sai Street, this unassuming 22-seater restaurant is quite easy to overlook. Once I found it however it was a restaurant I quickly fell in love with. A simplistic white and gold bar table formed the centrepiece of the restaurant, the intimate seating design allows customers to be close to the action and encourage interaction between chef and diner. The dining room area was surrounded by dark teal blue walls ornamented with a collection of books and artwork.
The menu at A Side B Side is written in chalk on the wall. Embracing the Farm-to-Table concept, most of the produce are locally sourced from organic farms around Hong Kong. The menu is simple and constantly changing depending on what seasonal produce the chefs are able to acquire. From what the staff told me, they are still in the soft opening stage and fine tuning their menu.
Our visit to A Side B Side fell on a Saturday evening. Arriving at 6pm, we went through the doors of “A-Side” instead of having to go through some back alley entrance which was what I’ve read. We were the only table for the night which was surprising, but fun as we could have more interaction with the staff. The food for the night was prepared by the talented Chef Anderson and his team, and we opted to order almost everything on the menu, as they all sounded quite interesting.
First to arrive were the veggie starters. The salad was a mix of local greens and a welcomed break from the usual lettuce and arugula. The lemon dressing was simple and refreshing. I personally love lemon and was overjoyed as I watched the Chef zest and juice half a lemon just for my salad. The generous grating of Parmigiano Reggiano also added just enough saltiness to enhance the flavour of the dish.
The eggplant taboule salad was our second starter and one of my favourites. The eggplants were roasted perfectly and had a perfect consistency; soft but not mushy. The grains provided a nice texture contrast, while the yoghurt and spices gave a wonderful depth of flavour.
The pumpkin salad was the simplest of all. Roasted pumpkin with balsamic reduction and sour cream made for a pleasant sweet and sour dish.
For mains we went for fish, chicken and beef. The fish for the night was Amadai or Tile Fish. The fish was perfectly cooked with a crispy skin and moist flesh. The scales were left on the fish and flash fried until crispy. It was an interesting texture but I’m still not a fan of fish scales, crispy or otherwise. The fish was resting in a fish and preserved citrus peel broth and served with fresh maitake mushrooms, fennel and asparagus.
The beef was the second to arrive and my favourite dish of the night. It was one of the few dishes that used non-local ingredients (as we don’t breed Kagoshima wagyu cattle in Hong Kong) but it was still excellent. The beef was perfectly seared and melts in your mouth. The sweet pumpkin purée also helped to balance the fattiness of the beef, and the crispy kale chips offered textural contrast to the tender beef.
Our last main course was a roasted local free range chicken with Szechuan peppercorns on a bed of cauliflower purée. The skin of the chicken was nice and crispy, with the fat rendered out. The meat of the chicken was well marinated and had a subtle lemony flavour as well as heat from the Szechuan pepper.
For desserts we ordered everything on the menu (of course). The first to arrive was the panna cotta which visually resembled Chinese tofu pudding but tasted like coconut jelly. The sweet coconut with fresh orange and strawberries made for a refreshing dessert perfect for summer.
The second dessert was a citrus and rosemary ice cream with fresh fruits. The ice cream was rich and had a perfect creamy consistency. Taste-wise it resembled a sorbet, with a refreshing tartness and subtle rosemary flavour. The fruit pairing looked pretty on the plate but I would’ve preferred it to be added to the ice cream as it was difficult to mix the two.
The crème brûlée dessert was highly recommended to us by the staff and was definitely the most interesting. When it arrives on the table you first greeted by the smell of orange and caramel. When you take a bite the first to register would be the sweet chocolate flavour, which is slowly followed by the hot and numbing sensation from the Szechuan pepper. As you continue to eat the heat and numbing sensation intensifies and you slowly taste less of the chocolate and more of the spice. This is definitely a dish to leave till last as otherwise it would ruin your appreciation of other food.
Overall, I had a great dining experience at A Side B Side. Although the food is on the pricey side, they were cooked perfectly and had some interesting combination of flavours. The major downside would be that food does come out rather slowly. Our dishes came out one at a time with often long gaps in between. As we were sharing everything and not in a rush we weren’t too bothered by it, but considering that we were the only customers, I imagine they would struggle if the restaurant was full. Nonetheless I will probably come back again when they officially launch and see what other new items they have to offer.
A Side / B Side
Tel: 2857 5055
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 12:00-00:00, Mon: Closed