With the opening of its fourth steakhouse, in Wan Chai, Wooloomooloo has added yet another option for meat lovers already blessed with an array of new steak venues around town. Serving Australian and USDA cuts, the Wan Chai branch is marketing itself as a prime place to get top-quality steak.
It has a chic, rustic interior: classy, clean-cut dark tables and chairs, decorative logs piled high, cattle hides framed on the walls and a great sense of space thanks to ultra-high ceilings. The restaurant boasts impressive views of Hong Kong from the 31st floor but the real winner is the bar. Situated on the rooftop of The Hennessy, it has a giant terrace with mind-blowing vistas over Victoria Harbour and the Happy Valley race track. High enough to escape traffic noise while still serving as an observation point for the city below, it is an ideal hangout for a drink.
So far, so good. As a starter we tried the sushi-grade tuna tartare (pictured; $135), which was a visual delight – fresh and moist, with shallots making a subtle alternative to the usual onions. The other starter of scallops ($190) was excellent, perfectly seared with Cajun-style seasoning (its accompanying guacamole was disappointing though; it was acidic, lacked consistency and added little to the shellfish).
We ordered two 8 oz beef tenderloins: one steak Diane; the other with black peppercorn sauce ($290 each), both medium-rare. One of the steaks was overcooked on the outside and almost raw inside. The peppercorn sauce was too liquid and buttery, lacking the body of a great sauce. The other steak was cooked as required and very tender and tasty. The mashed potatoes were good, as was the small ratatouille serving, which had a subtle sweet flavour.
The apple crumble ($65) was a no-frills finish: the caramelised apples were fine but the actual crumble was too scattered, and a thin, spongy biscuit underneath the apple impaired the overall crunchiness of the dessert.
One highlight of the meal was the garlic bread, brought to us fresh from the oven. This simple side order often has an overpowering garlic taste and is so excessively crisp that it is messy to eat. But this was a whole loaf, crispy on the outside and soft, nearly melting inside and with a gentle garlic flavour.
The choice of wine is vast and worldly. Diners can bring their own wine (corkage is $250 a bottle), which may be an economical alternative to the $80 dollar average price for a glass.
Wooloomooloo is dominated by expats during the evening while lunchtime attracts a local crowd. This is a great place to take in the city lights at night and we will certainly return to the rooftop bar.
Meal for two: around $1,200.
31/F and Rooftop, The Hennessy
256 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai
|Opening hours:||Daily 11.45am till late|