Head to laid-back PONTY CAFé for a down-home taste of the South
An extension of award-winning bar The Pontiac, PONTY CAFé, opened last September by powerhouse duo Beckaly Franks and Ezra Star, is back with a bang. Offering an expanded all-day menu, the American bistro focuses on comfort-food classics, taking diners’ palates on a journey of discovery of the cuisine of the Southern USA. While The Pontiac is loud and proud, this sister café is chill and low-key.
With The Pontiac as its sibling, PONTY CAFé’s American-inspired cocktails are just as notable as its grub. We opted for two refreshing tipples – Tepache & Tonic (HK$88) and Tarragon Spritz mocktail (HK$68) – to enjoy over the course of the evening.
The fruity mocktail is made with Lyre’s Italian Spritz (a non-alcoholic spirit) with vibrant notes of orange, tarragon and white grape, topped with soda for some fizz. The Tepache focuses on pineapple, with a bit of creamy nuttiness from the sherry. Tepache is a fermented drink made from the peel and rind of pineapple, which is then seasoned and served chilled. It takes the PONTY team around three days to create their tepache before it’s mixed with an XECO sherry blend, a new-generation sherry produced in Spain, and tonic.
On the food side, we started with the Southwest Caesar salad (HK$108). It features crispy romaine, house-made buttermilk croutons, thin slices of anchovy and a spicy Southwest-style dressing. There’s a lot of flavour packed into this Southern-style Caesar salad. The creamy dressing is pretty spicy, giving a kick to the romaine, while the anchovy (which isn’t at all fishy) adds a smooth texture and some saltiness, heightening the flavour of the dressing.
Take us to Nashville! This dish of biscuits and gravy (HK$108) is PONTY’s take on that classic Southern staple. The thick, savoury gravy is made with pork and sage, and it drenches the extra-large, fluffy buttermilk biscuit. The biscuit is topped with fried shallot for some crunch, and there’s also honey butter for a touch of sweetness. This is delicious but heavy – definitely a dish best shared.
At this point we were getting full, so it’s probably best that the burger (HK$130) doesn’t come with fries (HK$38). The thick beef patty is wedged between a soft, toasted sesame bun, complete with American cheese, dill pickle for some welcome acidity and a creamy “euphoria” sauce (it’s a secret!). This is another classic American number that goes down well with a few drinks.
Just like The Pontiac, PONTY CAFé has its own charming quirks. If you’re looking for a chilled Southern vibe, this is where it’s at.
Where: 15 Old Bailey Street, SoHo, Central
To contact: phone/WhatsApp 9666 2573
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.