Sunday, 29 May 2016

Missy Ho's - Funky in Kennedy Town

It's interesting where the night takes you!

My original plan for Friday night was to hang with the girl and some mates at a Japanese restaurant in Wanchai, but a bout of food poisoning put paid to those plans (fortunately, not my food poisoning this time!)

The change in plans enabled me to join in with an after work drinks for a colleague who was moving back to the UK after many years in Hong Kong.  It was a sad and joyous occasion saying goodbye and I guess it's pretty normal in a transient town like Honkers.  People come and people go.

It also left me open for dinner, which ended up being a train ride away in a burgeoning dining hub, Kennedy Town.

I'd heard nothing about Missy Ho's, apart from the fact they did two sittings and we'd only been able to book in for the 9pm session - a bit late for this little foodie's dining tastes, but I'd been assured by the group that I was in for a treat.

A short walk from the Kennedy Town MTR, we came across a plain looking building that could have been anything at all but was striking due to it's outrageous poster of that dude from the Hangover movies.  It was first sign that we were about to enter the bizarre night, I mean, you can't take a place too seriously when there is an invitation to 'Have a sick night bitches' - right?

Pushing our way through the door, I noticed a couple of things straight away.  Firstly, the little space was incredibly packed with all tables filled and people standing at the bar waiting for their sitting.  I next noticed the eclectic and funky interior that did indeed indicate that we were about to 'Have a sick night bitches!'

To be honest, the next twenty minutes had me wondering if the team at Missy Ho's were interested in helping the night along, or making it difficult.  We had to move tables while they rearranged the table settings to accommodate the huge crowd but I guess we might have been partly responsible after bringing an extra along for the ride.  We eventually sorted out the seating arrangements and had some menus to order from.

Right off the bat, I was pretty excited about the Asian 'fusion' menu that was designed for sharing, and I wasn't the only one.  Phrases like, 'let's just order one of everything' were thrown around, but sanity prevailed when Z took control of the situation and placed the order.  

And so began a journey into food insanity!

Before the first dish was served, we'd received a couple of bowls of edamame, the addictive soy beans that are the cornerstone of most Asian fusion restaurants.  With an interesting kick, there was a liberal helping of chili salt that gave a decent punch to the addictive beans.

As the edamame quickly disappeared, we were given a plate of the most insanely tasty chicken dishes I've ever had!  Called Missy Ho's chicken with sambal aioli, the tender chicken pieces had been deep fried and had a light golden coating that held the succulent and tasty chicken pieces together.  So tender were the chicken bites that I initially thought the dish was a fish dish!  While the chicken was super tasty, it was the sambal aioli that elevated the dish to the level of truly insane and eminently addictive.  So much so that we ordered the chicken dish about 5 times throughout the meal.  So good was the dish that some at the table kept burning their mouth every time the next serve was presented!

With such a smashing success as our first taste of the Missy Ho's menu, you'd think that it would have been impossible to keep up the standard. 

I actually opted out of the second plate of food delivered, mainly because it consisted of one of the few vegetables I can't really stand - eggplant!  While I didn't eat any of the grilled red miso eggplant, my dining companions went wild for the little balls of and tried to convince me that I as missing out. 

We were back to the insanity when the Jalapeno poppers arrived, deep fried peppers covered in melted cheese and then cooked tempura style.  The cooking process had taken most of the heat out of the Jalapeno and what was left was an underlying sweetness that was enhanced by the melted cheese.  I've never been a huge fan of the hot peppers, but with the heat taken out, I could finally appreciate the subtle flavour.

A couple of my favourite dishes of the night came out next, both involving tuna - the king of fish.  I have to say I am partial to a good tuna tataki and was incredibly impressed with the Missy Ho's interpretation of the Japanese delicacy.  The tuna had a sear on the outside but was still lovely and rare throughout and came with a simply delicious ponzu sauce, crispy fried shallots and a thin slice of tomato to add some acidity.  It was not surprise that the tataki was completely devoured by the table!

The other tuna dish that I enjoyed, perhaps a little more than my dining companions, was the tuna and avocado salad.  It was light and refreshing, with big chunks of tuna throughout.  It was like digging for treasure and each time I pulled out one of the delicious squares of tuna, I gobbled it up quickly with a contented smile on my face.

It's amazing how much food a table of seven people can devour in a relatively short period of time.  It seemed like plates of food were coming and going at an alarming rate and I wondered how long we were going to be able to keep up the pace!

Moving on from the fishy courses, we headed into the meat territory with some wagyu burgers and a delightful roasted duck la'orange with ponzu, which for many at the table was the clear standout of the night.  It was good, with crispy skin that had been rendered perfectly and cooked with a subtle orange sauce, and although I found the duck to be a little over cooked, the flavours were stunning.  If only the duck had been cooked medium, instead of well, it could have been the standout dish of the night.

A huge plate of wagyu burgers had been delivered, and cut in half for easy consuming.  The soft buns and tasty ground wagyu beef ensured that they wouldn't last long.  Interestingly and amazingly, we didn't eat all of the tiny burgers, which signified that we were finally starting to slow down.  I was only able to eat a half myself!

There were some other dishes that came out that I didn't really try, such was the frenetic pace at which food was coming and going from our table.  I did however sample a little bit of the desserts as they came out.

There were only two options available on the menu so we ordered a couple of each for the table to share.  Preferences were evenly divided at the table, with half loving the big 'bali' banana pancake and the rest loving the Okinawan strawberry crumble.  Personally, I found the banana pancake to be a little dry and unfortunately the peanut butter ice cream didn't really give the dish the moistness it needed to soak into the pancake.  The strawberry crumble was nice, it had a strong berry flavour coming from the stewed strawberries and the crumble remained 'crumbly'.

I'm not sure when it happened, but at one point S had found some animal 'hats' and we found ourselves having our photos taken with my bad boy camera by the table next to ours.  Of all the cool animals I could have picked out, I was the giraffe, so I'm not too sure what to make about that, but it was fun to be posing as animals for the photos.

I was also told that Missy Ho's really can get out of control when a swing is attached to the ceiling and people start swinging over the heads of the diners!  I'd definitely loved to have seen that!

Missy Ho's is one of the new breed of cool spots popping up all over Hong Kong nowadays.  Small but with an uber cool feel about it, it's one of the stable of restaurants form the Castello Concepts team and seems to be a bit of a departure from their usual style of restaurant.  Service was both good and bad at times, when it was good it was great but it just disappeared at times and we really had to make ourselves known to get some attention.

It was a really fun night and as a consequence, time just seemed to evaporate.  It seemed as if the night had just got underway before I reluctantly had to head for home!

It was good food, good company and a great night.

Get along to Missy Ho's if only for the chicken dish!
Missy Ho's - in FunkyTown Kennedy Town

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