Having enjoyed success with 22 Ships and Ham & Sherry, celebrity chef Jason Atherton and entrepreneur Yenn Wong have opened their biggest and most ambitious project, Aberdeen Street Social, at the newly minted Police Married Quarters (PMQ) in Central.
Attempting to create a ‘social house’ concept where customers can linger and mingle, the duplex restaurant consists of a downstairs bar, a coffee and bakery space, with terrace seating called Sweet Social and a cozy, bistro style dining room upstairs. Designed by Shanghai-based architects Neri & Hu, the space oozes rustic, industrial chic with an artsy touch, and features a dominant installation based on barbershop spinning poles by Sovereign Asian Art Prize winner Adrian Wong.
The fare is modern British and Atherton’s take is simple, refined and pleasing on the eye. A bespoke tasting eight-course menu is set at $958 but, with some dishes available a la carte, we start with the roasted quail breast and leg, sauteed foie gras, peach and Chinese almonds ($245/ shown above). Done to a perfect pink, the quail meat is tender and succulent, and the foie gras has a rich, buttery texture and a mild taste. Also on the starters list is a refreshing beetroot-cured salmon with salt baked beetroot and creme fraiche ($200). The thick slices of salmon are red from the vegetable’s colour and the accompanying beetroot hints at Chinese sweet haw flakes, which add a tinge of sweetness to the dish. They also serve complimentary amuse bouche – crab pockets and fried pork skins.
For mains, we stick with the more classically rendered snapper, clams, caulliflower, confit lemon and sauce meuniere ($268) – a nice medley of flakey fish filet and meaty clams. Despite its fancy presentation, there is nothing fussy about this dish. The small cauliflower pieces add adequate crunch while the sauce is light without losing a nice hint of tartness. We also keep refilling on bread – a hot farm-style grain loaf with light crust.
Desserts are helmed by Andres Lara, a long-time collaborator of Atherton, and his creations place strong flavours against each other, such as the JAAL 75 percent, consisting of home-made chocolate, banana, calamansi and Madras curry – perhaps a little too innovative for our liking. If you prefer the familiar, we would recommend the homemade hot chocolate from the soon to open Sweet Social, the takeaway casual extension, instead. Leslie Chan
Aberdeen Street Social PMQ, G/F, JPC, 35 Aberdeen St, Central, 2866 0300; aberdeenstreetsocial.hk. Dinner for two: $1,100.