Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Lobster and Mussels by Paul's Kitchen - the best lobster rolls outside of New York

I'm forever being surprised by the sights and sounds of Hong Kong, around every corner is something new or different, even areas you think you know well.  It's amazing how many times we'd walked down Aberdeen Street to visit Sheung Wan, never detouring down the many side streets to see what other exciting adventures we might enjoy.  Little did we realise that perhaps one of the coolest streets in Hong Kong was right at our finger tips, all we had to do was veer left.

Gough Street is right at the end of Aberdeen Street and walking past in a hurry, you'd never guess that the street was home to a veritable hive of little shops full of knickknacks and funky dining spots.  It was only leading up to Christmas and some promised Christmas markets that ensured we did veer left, a direction that opened up a world of funky shops and would ultimately lead us to Lobster and Mussels by Paul's Kitchen.  

Formerly just plain old Paul's Kitchen, the tiny 'hole in the wall' dining spot would be easy to miss if you were not paying attention.  Paul's Kitchen had been around for eight years before a move necessitated opening up a few doors down from it's original location.  The move also led to a change of concept and name, hence Lobster and Mussels by Paul's Kitchen was born.

Chef-owner of Lobster and Mussels, Paul Lee took his inspiration for the new incarnation from a visit to Burger and Lobster in London.  Impressed with a lobster roll for a seriously reasonable price, Lee was convinced that a similar approach in Hong Kong would do very well. It's no surprise that lobster features on many fine dining restaurants in Hong Kong, but Lee saw the opportunity to make the luxurious ingredient much more accessible.

It was with lobster in mind that we visited the new version of Paul's Kitchen and while there was quite a few seafood items available on the menu, we'd decided to keep it nice and simple.

I kicked off our meal with the lobster bisque, the deep orange bisque presented with plenty of lobster chunks floating and clearly visible.  There is a trick to preparing a lobster bisque, ensuring a good balance between tangy and creamy, too much cream and you destroy the flavour of the bisque, not enough and there is a harsh twang that can be quite unpalatable.  Chef Lee had straddled that balance wonderfully, the creamy lobster bisque still had that sharp flavour while maintaining a nice velvety feel on the palate.  It was helped along by a generous helping of sweet lobster flesh, which I managed to devour quite quickly.  I was thankful for the serve of crusty bread that came with the bisque so I could mop up the remnants of the soup.

The bisque was nice, but we were there because of the house specialty of lobster rolls.  I'd developed an addiction to the luxury treats while spending a month in New York during lobster season.  It was a summer I'll never forget, not just because it was NYC, but because I was able to snack on lobster rolls pretty much everywhere we went.

Our lobster rolls were presented on a breadboard with a black and white chequered placemat and served with arguably the best chips in HK as well as a very light lettuce salad.  Interestingly, the lobster rolls were presented in a thick slice of lightly toasted Danish loaf as opposed to a traditional brioche roll.  At first glance, the lobster rolls look impressive, with a generous helping of lobster flesh topped off with a bright red claw.  It's only the beginning though, with the first glance actually understating how much lobster was included in the roll.  

While Chef Lee is generous with the lobster, he has also been quite 'cheffy' with the ingredients, which include a mango salsa that at first glance doesn't make too much sense, but once you taste the sweet lobster flesh along with the mango salsa, makes all the sense in the world.  I actually cannot imagine a lobster roll without the sweet addition of mango salsa any more.

In fact, I loved the lobster roll so much that I've kind of made Paul's Kitchen my new 'go to' place when I want a quick and inexpensive bite to eat.  There is something about the little dining room that's reminiscent of a traditional white-stone establishment that you might find in Long Island in New York that appeals.  

It's very intimate, with the main dining room seating about sixteen people and (recently discovered) an upstairs dining room that overlooks funky Gough Street.  I've found the guys that run Lobster and Mussels by Paul's Kitchen to be warm and friendly, perfectly suited for such an intimate environment.  

I'm sure that there are some other great items on the menu, the Hokkaido Scallops look nice, as does the foie grass two ways and mussels pot.  I might even get to try some of the other items one day, but to be honest, their lobster rolls are just so damn good, it might be a while before I do.

The lightly toasted bread with house churned salted butter and olive oil
Handy for mopping up every last drop of the delicious lobster bisque
There is a seriously generous helping of lobster on offer here.  It helps that the chips are golden and crispy too.
Small and intimate, get along and check this place out


  1. I have try this food on Paul's Kitchen , It's so tasty and delicious . someday i will be back to Paul's Kitchen with my Husband :D

    1. It's very awesome, my new favourite casual dining spot! Let me know what you think!


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