Saturday, 8 August 2015

Sky Bar - seafood-oyster-dessert, two out of three ain't bad?

So far in Hong Kong, I've not had the best of runs when it comes to seafood.  More often than not, I've ended up a little sick after chomping down on a seafood meal.  I wanted to put an end to that trend, so we decided to check out the Sky Bar, a little spot in Causeway Bay that is known for it's seafood.  Part of the Mr Steak Concept group that runs a heap of steak restaurants around Hong Kong (and one that I would later visit), The Sky Bar takes a bit of a different track and is a bar restaurant that dabbles in a little bit of every style but is mostly about the seafood. 

Getting to The Sky Bar meant traversing the city to get to Causeway Bay, which is probably one of the busiest and most densely populated parts of Hong Kong.  It's always a bit of a challenge, especially since the usual pace of people walking about is slow and very slow!  Not only is Causeway Bay one of the more densely populated spots on the planet, it's also the most expensive commercial real estate on the planet and I wondered if the Sky Bar location would factor into the pricing of the meal.

After surviving the crush, we arrived at the Sky Bar at was apparently staff change over time.  We were shown to our seats and given menus, then promptly ignored for about 15 minutes while the staff settled in for a team meeting and pep up session.  It was kind of amusing to see but also a little frustrating as we wanted to eat!

The team finally broke from their team meeting and then rapidly spread out to their stations and normal service resumed.  We'd had ample time to decide on what we were going to eat so were more than ready to give our waitress our order when she rocked up at the table.

We kicked off with a dozen oysters, and boy were they spectacular.  I had an inkling that they were going to be good as I watched them being delivered to the table, the iced up glass plate was huge and the oyster shells really dominated, making the plate look small.  We'd ordered the delux oyster platter which consisted of three different oyster types, Pacific Rock from Japan, Loch Fyne from Scotland and Smokey Bay from California.  Each of the oysters were fat and plump, with medium level salinity and an incredible creamy texture.  It was hard to pick a winer, but the Loch Fyne were my pick, mainly due to their size and creamy texture.

Up next was another impressive platter of seafood!  The Sky Bar hot shellfish platter was quite the sight when it made its way to our table.  Most notable were the claws from a Boston Lobster, followed by the spiky legs of a snow crab.  Also on the plate was some Scottish salmon, king prawns, squid, mussels and a really weird looking thing that turned out to be seal whelk.  There were a couple of highlights on the plate, the salmon was beautifully cooked and very creamy and the snow crab was sweet and delicious (although very difficult to eat).  

There were couple of misses though, the mussels still had their beard on them and the Boston Lobster was completely over cooked.  I found the sea whelk interesting, but once I'd looked it up on the net (have a look here), I was glad I'd already eaten it, otherwise I would have chickened out!

After all the years of eating out, you'd have thought I'd have learned my lesson by now, but no, I had to go ahead and order the seared scallop and black truffle risotto.  Seriously, I've had so many terrible risottos from places like the Sky Lounge, I should have learned my lesson.  Yep, it was a terrible risotto, dry and gluggy and even the scallop was overcooked, rubbery and surprisingly completely lacking in taste.  I tried to eat a bit of it, but at the end, I just squished it up on on side of the plate so it looked like I'd eaten more than I had.

SC fared a little better with her organic spaghetti carbonara with crispy pancetta and parmigiano cheese, but there are so few ingredients in a good carbonara, it would be hard to go wrong.  The pasta was well cooked and al dente, the sauce lovely and creamy and the pancetta crispy. Simple and well received and I looked on a little enviously, wishing I'd ordered something other than my risotto.

Sometimes a restaurant can recover from a bad course and I'd really hoped that dessert would turn the meal around.  I'd taken a risky gamble in ordering the hot soufflé with vanilla ice cream, which could have gone either way.  I was so happy to see my soufflé coming to the table, even from a distance I could see that it had risen perfectly.  I'd wondered why I could see the dessert so clearly from the kitchen and I could see why when it was placed in front of me.  It was the largest soufflé I'd ever seen, it was massive!  What was more important though was that it was supremely cooked, light and fluffy and presented with some creme anglaise which was simply delicious.  I really, really liked that soufflé and devoured it in record time (had a little help from the girl too!)

In a city that's got some of the best restaurants on the planet, along with a huge range of Michelin Starred restaurants, not every meal you eat is going to rock your world.  I think sometimes I get pretty spoilt by the number of times I eat out and the frequency at which I visit 'amazing' restaurants.  There was nothing inherently wrong with the Sky Bar, the food was serviceable with some real highlights but there were some elements that were just plain wrong, like the risotto.

The Sky Bar was not the type of place I'd normally hang out, there was a pool table in one corner and electronic dart boards in another, along with huge TV screens with the football playing. Those activities really gave the Sky Bar it's bar feel, which I guess after a few beers would be kind of fun to have a crack, but feeling a little too-cool-for-school, I really didn't get into it.  

If you're looking for a reasonably priced place (considering it's Causeway Bay location), a kick arse oyster bar and some pub games, then the Sky Bar could be your spot.  

The oysters were a real highlight - the vinaigrette really enhanced the creamy texture and beautiful flavour
It was cocktail  time for the girl
Pool table and SC looks on lovingly - remembering when we had our own table!
I thought the dartboards were a little tacky!
There were even board games available, it had a real sports bar feel to the joint
We were just about the first to arrive and it was empty to begin with 
It filled up quickly and we were the only Westerners in the place!

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