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Good food and friendly service in a brasserie-like setting
The king of producing inoffensive, middle-of-the-road restaurants – like its flagship chain, Jaspas – Castelo Concepts is looking to take things up a notch with Mr Wolf, its new opening in Central.
The man charged with this task is chef Jamie Draper, who arrives with some pedigree having spent the last five years training under legendary father and son duo Albert and Michel Roux Junior, who together hold five Michelin stars.
The space itself is airy and inviting, making us feel as if we’ve strolled into a brasserie in a trendy London suburb. It’s a theme that continues on the menu, which is focused on British gastropub fare with sops to continental European and Asian cuisines.
We start with the soft shell crab with mayonnaise, gochujang – Korean red chilli paste – and papaya salad ($180). A solid dish, the mayo has a satisfying pepperiness similar to kimchi and the crab has been lightly battered without drying out the meat. The papaya salad lacks oomph but there’s a satisfyingly fresh crunch.
Our other starter, rustic pork belly and chicken liver terrine with sticky figs and sourdough ($178) arrives and we begin to notice a theme – prices are fairly high but the portion sizes don't skimp. The terrine is smooth with just enough bite provided by the pork belly. The sticky figs, though more soggy than sticky, cut nicely through the richness of the chicken liver.
For mains, the pappardelle with duck ragu ($175) is a hearty offering replete with generous chunks of duck. Not too dry – a common problem with duck – the light sauce is just right with a hint of sweetness that’s balanced by the outstandingly fresh tarragon. There’s also a welcome crunch from the unusual inclusion of sourdough breadcrumbs, which adds significant texture to the dish.
Next comes the roasted seabass with onion soubise, samphire and ratte potatoes ($295). The fish is fresh and cooked to perfection, elevated further by the divine creamy soubise and earthy potatoes. The samphire adds a pop of bitterness that ties it all together.
Though we’re bursting at the seams, we’re well aware of the science of a second stomach when it comes to dessert and order the tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream ($110). A merely competent end, the tarte is a tad too sweet and lacking in pastry, but it does the job.
The service at Mr Wolf is extremely friendly, down-to-Earth and attentive. With a robust menu that runs from breakfast through to dinner, we’ll definitely return to try the other hearty comfort food at Castelo’s new leader of the pack.
5/F, Crawford House
70 Queen’s Road Central
|Price:||Meal for two around $1,000|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sun 7am-1am|
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