Time Out says
If Doris Day and Carrie Bradshaw shared an apartment, it would probably look like Heirloom Eatery. The brainchild of chefs Vivian Herijanto (founder of Corner Kitchen) and Ashton Winkler (owner of Blackberries and Cream catering company), this two-floor space is adorned with a tasteful mishmash of vintage-like furniture and ornaments, from tin flower pots to a full-sized bicycle wheeled into what is possibly the cutest restroom in the city. God is definitely in the details here.
The lower floor – where most of the cooking is done – channels a bustling, boisterous vibe with its open frontage that spills out on to the sidewalk. At the other end of the staircase, the top level reigns in cosier vibrations with comfy sofas and rugs scattered around the room.
The wonderfully eclectic personality bleeds into the menu – a concise list that pays lip service to both Herijanto and Winkler’s multicultural backgrounds. The guacamole ($65), for example, is a recipe from Winkler, who hails from Mexico. It’s a mash-up of ripened avocado and pearls of pomegranate seeds. The result: a thick and pulpy dip that holds up well over tortilla chips. Served on beautiful, floral Maxwell & Williams plates, the raw tartare and chipotle ($120) feels like kueh pie tee (a Southeast Asian appetiser of fried and filled pastry cups) with a South American twist. Spiced and diced fish sit in thin wafer shells dressed with deep-fried shallots and cilantro. It’s a fantastic pick-me-up and by far one of our favourite dishes here.
Heirloom also does tacos ($34 for one; $120 for four) – a rarity in Hong Kong. These are made with palm-sized, fresh corn tortillas piled high with ingredients. The carnitas (braised pulled pork) is deep-flavoured and smoky but the pink pickled onions fail to add to the meat which, in turn, could use a little more time in the slow cooker. Comparatively, the Balinese fish tacos win out in the taco tug-o-war, built from firm chunks of white fish and scented with a brilliant coriander and kaffir lime dressing. Wrapped in a tortilla and taken in a huge bite, the bright and robust flavours unfurl themselves in multiple layers. Our only complaint is that the dressing is too wet and leaves behind a wanton pool of liquid on the plate.
Moving on to the mains, the sumac and spice-crusted salmon ($150) is cooked perfectly with a slightly translucent centre. The fillet rests on a bed of quickly blanched baby bok choy that still retains a nice crunch. On the night of our visit, the fish and daily greens arrive with a side of steamed white rice (although the menu specifies brown carbs). It’s a nice homely touch if the rice doesn’t arrive lukewarm as our’s did. Meanwhile, meat eaters can try the short ribs ($195), which come under tangles of caramelised onions. The tender pork carries subtle chilli tones and has a thin layer of fat clinging to each piece. It’s decent fare but the real star here is the polenta. The boiled cornmeal’s silken texture is reminiscent of smooth, steamed egg custard, especially when eaten with cilantro.
While apps and mains are pretty smooth-sail here, the sweets are a surprising let-down. The DIY s’mores ($60) are a cute idea but we can’t help but worry about the portable open flame burners used to cook the marshmallows, especially when they’re placed before those who’ve already had a few drinks with their meal. Also, the graham crackers are too thin and petite to bookend a proper, messy and melted marshmallow sandwich. Heirloom also celebrates a classic childhood combo with a homemade chocolate chip cookies plate served with a cold glass bottle of Kowloon Dairy milk. The chocolate-studded cookies toe the line between crispy and chewy, but while we love the handmade irregularity to each piece, $70 feels a spot too much for something that can be easily recreated at home by any amateur baker.
Heirloom Eatery is a great space that’s brimming with fun and fantastic ideas. There are still a few rough technical edges to smooth out but hopefully, with a bit of time, this space will bloom to its full potential. Dorothy So
226 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan, 2547 8008; www.heirloomhk.com. Tue-Sat 10am-11pm & Sun 11am-5pm. Closed Mon.
Ashton’s guacamole $65
Raw tuna and chipotle $120
Balinese fish tacos $120
Onion-crusted USA short ribs $195
Chocolate chip cookie plate $70
10 percent service charge $0
Total (for two) $630