There’s only one token meat dish at Percy’s (US Prime rib-eye), a new eatery in SoHo focusing on responsibly sourced seafood – fitting for a seafood-loving city like Hong Kong.
The two-storey space (the upstairs level is currently closed, but when it does open, we think it’ll make a great spot for private parties) is bigger (deeper) than it looks from the exterior. It has a all the makings of a cool-cat SoHo spot – a tall, backlit bar, dark colour palette, pendant lighting. The talking point of the dimly lit, nautically designed space is a funky ocean-themed mural by Japanese street artist TAXA.
American chef Braden Reardon, formerly the executive chef at Buenos Aires Polo Club and Carbone here in Hong Kong, has a passion for seafood, and he once even joined a fishing fleet in Alaska as a deckhand to expand his knowledge of sustainable fisheries.
At Percy’s, Chef Reardon has devised a seasonal seafood-focused menu that’s divided into sections featuring raw bar items, hot and cold small plates and large plates – all designed for sharing.
The culinary centrepiece of the restaurant is the custom-made dry-ageing cabinet, where, on the evening of our visit, we saw some glorious tuna, cobia and swordfish being aged and cured. Just as with meat, many believe that dry-ageing seafood improves its flavour and texture.
We wet our whistle with one of the cocktails recommended by our very friendly and knowledgeable server – the easy-drinking PBS ($98), a refreshing, herbal-tasting concoction of TERAI gin, honey and lime basil. Amazingly, the foam atop the drink remained until the very last sip.
One of Percy’s punchy drinks would go well with the complimentary spicy fish skin – so addictive!
From the raw bar section of the menu, we went with our server’s pick of star snapper, macadamia, passion fruit and brown butter vinaigrette ($198), eschewing the fan faves of yellowfin tuna tartare and hamachi ceviche. Quite a firm, dry fish when raw, we enjoyed the fruity, nutty notes in the crumble-like topping, but the thick brown butter sauce was far too rich for liking, masking the taste of the snapper.
Next up, the Glory Bay salmon crudo ($198). We much preferred this flavourful raw salmon number, accented with fiery Thai chilli, red onion and pique de piña, a spicy pineapple vinegar.
A must-order at Percy’s, the lobster bao ($118) is a hot plate in more ways than one. The soy and brown butter sauce blanketing the chunks of juicy Maine lobster in this sloppy bao is insanely rich, but it’s cut with preserved lemon and chives, lending freshness.
Perhaps our favourite savoury dish, the baked oysters ($208) have a distinct Southeast Asian feel owing to the copious amount of coriander used, along with a deliciously tart Meyer lemon ponzu. Despite the presentation, we couldn’t detect any Sichuan peppecorn, but there is candied ginger and koshu butter added to the moreish mix.
This scallop egg waffle ($118) reminded us more of Japanese okonomiyaki rather than the HK dish of which it’s inspired, gai dan zai. We were impressed that the scallops within the waffle retained their succulence. This hearty dish is completed with Japanese-inspired elements of an earthy maitake aioli, thick slices of kombu and plenty of crispy shallots.
The cobia ($378) is from the large bites section of the menu, and it has a decidedly Middle Eastern flavour profile. We like the mild yet buttery flavour of this lean local white fish, so we tend to order it whenever we see it on the menu. The cobia in this dish was a bit overcooked, dryer than we had anticipated, perhaps because it was fried rather than grilled. The different textures in this dish are what make it successful, from the super-crispy phyllo base to the creamy smoked yoghurt topping.
Percy’s only has two desserts on the menu, but they’re both recommended. For those who love the heady fragrance of pandan, we present you with this pandan cake ($98), a lovely sponge cake frosted with layers of decadent buttercream. The zingy candied ginger atop the cake adds dynamic flavour contrast.
The passion fruit semifreddo ($198) is divine. Bursting with the fresh, tropical flavours of passion fruit, mango and papaya, we loved the creamy, cold texture of the semifreddo – the perfect light finish to a meal.
Percy’s was buzzing on the evening we visited, filled with folk who enjoy dining on sustainably sourced seafood just as much as Chef Reardon enjoys preparing it. The globally inspired menu is creative and satisfying, and many of the seafood-focused dishes are surprisingly hearty, featuring rich, buttery sauces that go well with drinks. Right now, Percy’s is only open for dinner from Tuesday–Sunday, but we foresee it being a prime brunch spot too.
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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