Would you expect to find excellent Tapas in a part of China that was ruled by the Brits for more than 150 years? I think not! But the worldwide Tapas craze has certainly washed over Hong Kong shores. The unsurprisingly named “Tapeo” in Hollywood Road exemplifies all that is great about the Spanish version of shared snacks at the bar – in this case, cheerful little spot in Hong Kong’s trendiest food and bar district – Soho.
On a recent visit with my 18- and 20-year old daughters fresh from New York and headed for Shanghai and Brisbane respectively, we managed to bag the only corner of this 20-bar stool favourite. As usual, the girls were late but my impatience was eased by a glass of excellent savoury Spanish Rose (2011 Baron de Ley Rioja Tempranillo) as I pondered the familiar but comprehensive list of usual suspects augmented by about 20 inventive whiteboard specials displayed above the snug, well laid-out kitchen across the bar.
I ordered plump and briny white anchovy fillets simply dressed in first class (Spanish) olive oil and a shiny juicy lemon quarter. As Escoffier once famously declared – Yum! The wafer thin manchego cheese on even thinner bread crisps drizzled with fragrant honey greatly pleased the lassies as did the springy, spankingly fresh tuna tartare crowned with a setting-sun orange quail egg – Bravo! There followed (more Rose and perfectly adequate house red – 2009 Altozano-Tempranillo) mouth-size veal meatballs in real tomato sauce, top quality chorizo grilled with tomato (again) and herbs and tender little octopuses, octopi or octopodes (google it!) stewed in a richer version of the same tommy sauce. Only the French bread disappointed.
In and out in 40 minutes – with the three of us genuinely sated, ‘Dad-Bank’ felt smug indeed at only having to fork out under HK$700 in total all up – about A$80.00 at current exchange rates (though currently a very high AUD). I should point out that this was the early bird special – order before 7p.m. Expect about double the price after 7p.m. and 30% less at lunch – amazing!
Considered, “a la minute” treatment of quality ingredients in a convivial atmosphere at fair prices seems as rare as the proverbial rocking-horse do-do. Why is that I wonder?
Tapeo Central 15-19 Hollywood Road Central, Hong Kong T: 3171 1989 W: conceptcreations.hk