Opened by IHM, the same boys who brought you Posto Publicco and Linguini Fini, Stone Nullah Tavern is the hot new resident of Wan Chai. Located at the lip of Stone Nullah Lane, just opposite the Blue House, this casual eatery/bar may well make this historic area the new ‘place to be’. And it’s a welcoming spot, with an open area at the front which sports pushed back French windows, adding a cosy touch.
Stone Nullah Tavern’s focus is on new American fare – taking classic US comfort dishes, using top quality produce and wrapping it in a beautifully presented package. They’ve dispensed with starters and mains, instead focusing on small portions which are meant to be shared, tapas style. We order the Tater Tots with Lardo Aioli and Siracha Ketchup ($80), Choi Sum Lilies and Lemon ($70), and ‘Chicken-fried’ Tenderloin with Sausage Gravy ($170).
The tots arrive beautifully plated with a dollop of aioli and ketchup on the side. They’re extremely crispy on the outside and flavourful, with an almost creamy consistency inside. The ketchup is zingy and works well with the potatoes. And the tenderloin shines even more. Fried golden brown in crunchy batter, our knives slip effortlessly into the pink beef. And the sausage gravy also works. It’s more like a punchy sauce – almost a tartar, with pieces of sausage instead of pickle – which effectively cuts into the grease of the batter. The tenderloin aside, however, the food overall doesn’t quite possess the same game-changing attributes of IHM’s previous, beloved spots.
The menu at Stone Nullah is seasonal and chef Vinny Lauria will change and tweak it according to the best produce available. But it’s the Stone Nullah Lane area which may morph even more: it’s on the verge of exploding, and SNT is perfectly placed to lead the charge. Lisa Cam
Stone Nullah Tavern, G/F, 69 Stone Nullah Ln, Wan Chai; 3182 0128, Dinner for two: around $600.