What do you expect when you visit a sports bar (slash restaurant)? Any time we visit a spot that has a hook like beer pong, an alarm goes off. We weren’t expecting great food, but Ministry of Mussels surprised us.
Brand new from Infinity Entertainment Group, Ministry of Mussels has moved to the third floor of California Tower in Lan Kwai Fong. The 4,000-square-foot space can serve up to 125 people, and there are 11 large 4K television screens showing a number of different sport channels.
We started with the Thai spicy squid salad ($128), which contains fresh local squid mixed with typical Thai ingredients like coriander, garlic, chilli and kaffir lime leaves. This dish was our first, and it will be the first again on our next visit. It’s deliciously fresh and light, with a subtle “ma” from the Sichuan peppercorns.
The grilled halloumi beetroot quinoa salad ($148) would be a perfect accompaniment to balance any heavy mains, should the table need a salad option.
From the snacks menu, we were able to sample the coconut prawns ($128). Tiger prawns are coated with desiccated coconut and breadcrumbs and then deep-fried, served with a spicy mango salsa that has a lovely kick. The texture was great, and the prawns were well cooked and not at all oily, but a little low on flavour.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the Spread Your Wings and Fly ($138), Korean spicy chicken wings with a moreish sweet chilli sauce. Messy, but worth it.
The stars of the show have to be the mussels. As its name suggests, Ministry of Mussels offers a formidable mussels menu, all of which feature a broth served with the venue’s signature blue mussels from Australia. All mussels come with the option of toasted baguette, French fries or deep-fried mantou (steamed buns).
If you’re a fan of blue cheese, you must order the Italian formaggi mussels ($318) with thinly sliced sourdough toast. This version is made with four different types of cheese, so the blue cheese flavour is subtle in the gorgeous, fondue-like broth. This was our favourite dish alongside the spicy squid salad.
The Singapore chilli crab mussels ($318) are made with belacan shrimp paste, chilli sauce, Thai chillies and, of course, ketchup. This is best ordered with the deep-fried buns, which closely resemble the sweet white buns served with authentic Singapore chilli crab, perfect for soaking up the thick sauce.
The mussels were larger than average and fresh. We didn’t find any closed shells in either dish. Next visit, being big fans of Sichuan cuisine, we have our eyes on the kung pao mussels ($318), but we could possibly be persuaded to try the tom yum or Singapore laksa broths too. Find the entire menu here.
In case mussels aren’t your thing, the restaurant has a good selection of other options. The baby-back ribs ($298 for ½ rack or $588 for full rack) are fall-apart tender and come with plenty of fries.
Something we’d never before tried is the classic American fried steak ($248), which comes topped with béchamel sauce and red wine jus. New Zealand Angus steak is flattened and breaded, akin to schnitzel, but it’s slightly more juicy and tender – sports bar food done well.
And then it was time to meet the The Quaker ($388) – a mammoth dessert with nine scoops of various ice creams, along with meringue, crispy chocolate, marshmallows, strawberries, whipped cream, nuts, butterscotch and chocolate fudge. This is your Instagram dish!
For the thirsty, the drink menu is huge, with pages of options. Recommended to us were the alcoholic shakes ($110/$120), coming in four enticing flavours. We might try one on our next visit, if we can spare the calories.
Lots of choices here – except for beer. There are five commercial beers on tap, and they’re quite expensive. We enjoyed a pint of cold Brooklyn Defender IPA ($110/$85 HH), but we have become spoilt by some of the really fresh local IPAs available (for half the price) and would probably not choose beer here next time. For our game of pong, we opted to go with a Bombay Sapphire G&T ($90).
This pong table is high-tech! Sensors in each cup light up if you manage to get the ball in. The table comes with someone to help you to get started and make sure you drink your chosen beverage when you’re supposed to. Chaotic (and sometime uncoordinated) fun!
Overall, we were very pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the dishes here and will visit again for the food and fun atmosphere – especially at the weekend, when we can catch the UFC and the kids can play pong. On Saturdays and Sundays, kids under 10 eat for free, with some terms and conditions.
Whilst the food exceeded our expectations, the beer did not. It’s early days, and we have hopes that the beer choices will include some fresh HK beer alongside all the imports, offered at reasonable prices. Beer is a vital part of a sports bar (and it is on their logo, after all).
A good time to visit Ministry of Mussels is during happy hour (between 3–8pm every day), and also consider trying the weekday set lunch menu ($168 for 2 courses or $188 for 3 courses).
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.
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