The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Latino eats: Mexican @ Café Iguana and Spanish @ El Pomposo, HK

After weeks of apartment-hunting in Hong Kong, we have finally found one! I like staying at the Four Seasons, but I am really looking forward to having a place of our own, with proper kitchen and place to put our things! I think property-searching has got to be one of my least favourite things, in the same rank as household chores. We spent a couple of Saturday afternoons viewing properties for hours near Kowloon Station, and these were nice apartments with good facilities and the convenience of the Elements shopping mall, but very pricey for a small area. (It's pretty much the same elsewhere around central HK.) If you think that Tokyo apartments were small and expensive (which they are), it's worse in Hong Kong!

Anyway, after being on our feet for hours looking at apartments (which start to look the same after awhile), we were only too glad to sit down for an evening meal on both Saturdays in the rooftop dining area of the Elements mall. (Lighting was pretty dim in both places, and I had to resort to using flash on my point-and-shoot, which I hate doing for several reasons that I won't go into here.) There were several restaurants/bars on the rooftop (dubbed Civic Square), and we ate at a cheerful Mexican place called Café Iguana on the first Saturday there. Friendly service, lively atmosphere, and food was delicious and affordably priced.

Rob got Beef Enchiladas (in chili sauce topped with Ranchero cheese, onion and radish), and the plate came with side dishes of black beans and rice. The beef was pulled (not the strips we were used to getting), and it was yummy and quite filling with all the tasty carbs.

I ordered the Alambre al Pastor (grilled skewers with pork and vegetables). It was a choice between pork, chicken and seafood, and pork was a good choice because I'd imagine the chicken and seafood would have been overcooked.

Dessert: Semolina Pudding. Delicious!

On the second Saturday, we had dinner at a Spanish tapas bar, El Pomposo. The restaurant had a special live band performance scheduled later that night, so there was a busy atmosphere happening. We decided to share several plates, and inevitably over-ordered. Most of the dishes were good, but everything was on the greasy side, The Ensalada de Melon y Jamon Serrano (a salad of melon, artichokes, Serrano ham with olive oil and moscatel vinegar) was colourful, but it wasn't as fresh as I'd have liked it (Rob thought it was fine). I'd heard about how wonderful it is to pair ham with melon, and while it was nice, I didn't think the combination was that mind-blowing.

We ordered Butter Bread to sop up the gravies and sauces, but it was pretty greasy with butter itself. The Caracoles al Ajo (sautéed snail with ham, garlic and sherry) is one of the restaurant's signature dishes, but I didn't care too much for the small chewy bits swimming in a pool of greasy sauce.

The snail dish is on the left of the plate of bread):

Rob cannot resist ordering scallops whenever he sees it on the menu, and the Pinchos de Vieras con Jamon Serrano (grilled skewers of scallops wrapped in Serrano ham) offered at El Pomposo was pretty good, although the ham slices could be thicker.

Another signature dish was Pollo Naranja (blood orange chicken with garlic and paprika). This one was a winner, and we really enjoyed the tangy citrus flavour which brightened up the whole dish.

For dessert, Rob chose Turron Parfait (chilled Spanish nougat), which was not as overly sweet as I'd expected. In fact, it was very nice, like an ice cream with bits of dried fruit and roasted almonds mixed within.

There are many more restaurants within the mall, and I'm sure we'll have plenty of opportunities to dine once we've settled in the area.

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