The Optimist is a down-to-earth Spanish eatery operated by Pirata Group, which also operates restaurants Pici, Pirata, MEATS and TokyoLima. I stumbled upon this spot while looking for value-for-money lunch places in Wanchai. The restaurant delivers rustic flavours from northern Spain, offering treats such as Iberian meats and grilled octopus.
We were greeted with intricate paintings and metallic furnishings once we stepped inside the door. The restaurant has a friendly vibe, with upbeat music playing in the background.
We had our eyes on the three-course lunch menu: a semi-buffet with market salads and Spanish charcuterie, a main course and dessert ($178–268). Starting off from the left of the buffet was a cheese platter with Tetilla and Manchego, and right beside it was a platter showcasing chorizo de Pamplona and salami Milano. They also serve Spanish omelette and potato salad mini toast, which in my opinion was the best out of the salad bar. We were delighted to have found kale, quinoa, pumpkin and chickpea and mixed green salads that went wonderfully with the pieces of bread hidden underneath the tea towel. When most of us are paying almost $100 for a decent box of salad for lunch, why not pay a little more and enjoy heaps better?
Remember to save room for the main course! At last we settled on broken eggs “huevos rotos” with Boletus mushroom, black truffle, potato and egg and the black truffle rice “cremoso”.
The yolks in the broken eggs were runny and properly seasoned, and the black truffle was so fragrant that even the table beside us could smell it. I was a bit disappointed with the potatoes because they were sliced and deep-fried like potato chips; it’s just my personal preference that I don’t like fried foods, so I can’t blame the restaurant.
The risotto-like black truffle rice dish filled us to the brim with its large serving portion. The fried cheese on top was crumbly and sharp.
The berry cheesecake for dessert was the star of the show. I seldom order cheesecake at restaurants because of how dense and sticky it often feels in my stomach hours after eating it, but this light version came as a pleasant surprise. Not only was the cheesecake bottled in a cute glass jar, but the cream cheese had a mascarpone-like texture that was fluffy and smooth. I would describe this as similar to tiramisu without the coffee and flavoured liqueur.
The Optimist’s lunch menu offers some of the best value-for-money options on Hong Kong Island. I am not saying that binge-eating is a good thing to do, but sometimes eating to our heart’s content is just really satisfying.
239 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, 2433 3324
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