I miss Asia terribly! I used to visit 6-8 times per year in my previous job and now I don’t go so often. Luckily I had several meetings in HK after a few days in China and of course immediately contacted my friend Sabrina to set aside an evening in her busy calendar for dinner with me. We used to work at Wynn together and we became good friends in Vegas. She then moved away (smart call!) and I stayed put (dumb) but I managed to still see her several times a year in Asia. She is extremely plugged into the HK dining scene and has impeccable taste in food, and she suggested the newly opened Rhoda. Just as an example, it was Sabrina who brought me to Yardbird right after it opened, way before it became cool. Rhoda on the other hand had buzz from the start as the chef came from 22 Ships.
It was Sabrina’s third time there in 6 weeks so she had already explored the majority of the menu. We were both ravenous, and as we were placed in the lucky counter seats, we got even hungrier watching the chefs preparing food and smelling everything that was being cooked.
What we ate:
Beer bread with seaweed butter: dishes like this make me sad for people who don’t eat gluten. How can you go through life without yummy bread? Crusty on the outside and warm and soft inside, served with a seaweed butter that had the perfect texture, not too cold and not yet melted.
Beef tartare: a very traditional preparation but it showcased the high quality beef used – beautiful and flawless but with the right amount of fat intertwined in the well-sized bites. Tossed with capers, egg and hidden underneath a mountain of shaved summer truffles. Yum!
Scallops: raw and beautiful slices of perfectly white and Hokkaido scallops with pink grapefruit, basil and pickled ginger. Delicate, summery and perfect.
Octopus: slow cooked and served with fennel, oregano and preserved lemon. The octopus was tender but a tad bit dry and even though it had a lovely char from the grill, it didn’t blow us away and was our least favourite starter.
Corn and clams: this dish sounded delicious but ended up being an underdog to the incredible mushroom risotto. The clams almost disappeared in the mountain of grilled corn and even though the description alluded to a slow cooked egg, we couldn’t spot it, though it was probably what contributed to making the overall dish very creamy.
Mushroom risotto: Sabrina had not tried this dish before and I insisted that we try it as I am addicted to mushrooms and couldn’t resist a shimeji risotto with Tasmanian truffles. The risotto ended up being even better than it sounded as it was a combination of five grains, and no rice. It had quinoa, amaranth and other healthy sounding grains, but our hostess laughed when we said that it was so delicious, and probably not even that bad for us. Her comment: good you didn’t watch the amount of butter that goes in it…I guess that explains why it was so tasty! Worth all the calories for sure.
Chocolate, mint and marshmallow: Sabrina had this dish on each of her prior visits and said it was a must have! Rhoda’s interpretation of a classic combination was the best I’ve ever tasted as the not overly sweet chocolate textures (mousse, crumble, etc) was accompanied by dollops of the freshest mint, making the dish light and interesting and absolutely addictive. We cleaned the plate! It also made us wish our friend Dani Price was there as chocolate mint is her favourite ice cream flavour.
In sum: When we asked the chef how he defines his cuisine he said “modern comfort” and that’s exactly what we got. Tasty yummy food you crave to eat again. I could eat that risotto weekly, if not daily! Rhoda’s vibe is also buzzy and fun and the restaurant is located in Sai Wan which is West Hong and a very up and coming area.