Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hong Kong - Ta Pantry

Eastern Kowloon across the Easter Corridor
In space-constrained Hong Kong, many of us do not have the luxury of hosting house parties with the same comfort and full dining settings that dining in a good-class restaurant can land you.  Such is the reality of shoe-box Hong Kong, where real estate prices have been in the crazy realm for a long time, much to the chagrin of average Joe.

Enter Ta Pantry's new location in North Point.  In a really old (almost dilapidated looking) industrial building in North Point, where the vicinity has seen more garage workshops than eateries, Ta Pantry has decided to convert the space into spacious dining rooms, complete with long tables, a cozy demi-luxe finish, a cocktail balcony overlooking the skyline of eastern Kowloon, flanked by a hip cellar, literally.

Breads and condiments
While taking in the views and the length of the room which sits up to 14, our small party of 4 made ourselves comfortable with bread and wine, to wind down after a long week.  The day's rush meant no one remembered the wine and fortunately they had a limited but decent list to choose from.  A good variety of breads meant I broke low carb rule yet again but hey, it was the weekend!  Marinated olives and almonds were good with the chilled Burgundy we had.

Amuse Bouche
With bated breath, we sat down to dinner with the amuse bouche.  Wasn't really amused by this cream corn on a baked fritter.  The 48 month old Bellota was a little lost so as host, I got a little worried..

Tuna, Tuna, Tuna
No prizes for guessing what was in this first course.  3 different takes on raw tuna, this turned heads after the amuse bouche.  Phew.  We were advised to eat left to right or if you look at this photo from back to front.  The first being a layered mille feuille of fresh tuna and cucumber with a light miso.  Appetising start.  The second which was diced with a sweet soy was a nice contrast to the first and really tasty.  I didn't mind the sweetness of the soy at all.  Culminating with minced tuna and black truffle on sushi rice, this was my favorite of the 3 with the combination of flavors working well together.

Foie Gras Tamago Custard
A nice take on the classic chawanmushi, this was given dimension by the foie gras foam and sauteed mushrooms over the top and given slight crunch by traditional Chinese rice crispies.  I wished there were nominal pieces of foie gras with the mushrooms, and should have asked about the extra order of $100 foie gras as I incorrectly assumed there were already some.  Eaten all together this was a delightful combination of flavors but I ran out of condiments and the remaining custard was a tad bland afterwards and a little too firm compared with traditional steamed egg custards, making it a little bulky for the tummy.

Yuzu Miso Cod
This was well executed although I couldn't really discern the yuzu or miso on the very good piece of cod, which was buttery and soft.  The Daikon carpaccio and tomato coulis were a nice touch to neutralize the richness of this oily fish.

Melting Onion Duck
This was an extra order and pretty generous in portion that I couldn't finish.  The minimum order was 4 portions so there wasn't a real sharing option since there were only 4 of us, but we lived a little.  Nice Canto style roast duck breast that was tender sitting atop a bed of onion puree.  To distract from the salty richness of the dish, there were eggplant fritters and minced duck on toast.

Uni Spaghetti
What I liked about this dish was the fact that they blow torched the Uni, giving it a smoky finish you don't find with this increasingly popular dish in other places.  My only diss about this was an uncanny sliminess from the Uni which was more apparent than ordinary, reminiscent of yam puree in traditional Japanese cooking which I'm not a real fan of.  But loved this and given its richness, the 4 mouthful portion was just right.

Crepe in Tata's Favorite Way
Dessert was simple and almost had a child-like innocence to it, with a simple crepe enfolding a spread of nutella, corn flakes and a scoop of green tea ice cream.  Uncomplicated and a comfort finish.  We were told the flower is edible but I didn't like it after a nibble.  Tasted as synthetic as it looked.

Petit fours
Petit fours were 4 macarons but this was the least exciting of the entire night.  Nothing like what we have been spoiled with after the advent of all these macaron patisseries opening up for business in the city.  

Notwithstanding, it was a lovely night in a lovely setting.  While the food isn't the best you can get for the price in this city, what you pay for is a nice experience to enjoy decent enough food with folks you either care to spend time with, impress or just want a little privacy with.  I would go back just for that and of course, to try the 5 other menus.  And did I mention the service would beat most other places hands down?

Check out also fellow foodie blogger @g4gary 's recent visit where his party had the Indochine menu .

5th floor, Block C, Sea View Estate
No. 8 Watson Road
North Point
Hong Kong
+852 2521 8121


  1. I have been wanting to try Ta Pantry!! Thanks for this post :)

  2. I heard they moved the Wan Chai now

    This is their new website