I never had the chance to dine at Sai Ying Pun’s Potato Head, the once great Indonesian outpost marrying culinary, audiophile, and mixology elements in a vast, cavernous venue that oozes pure style.
When I received an invite to enjoy a night of wining and dining at Melody: House of Food & Music, the venerable successor to the former Balinese restaurant, I jumped at the opportunity, and off I went to feel very cool in an uber-cool spot.
The night began as I was ushered into the Bar Lounge of Melody, passing through the cute outdoor Garden Room. I was served a refreshing yellow pepper margarita (HKD100), which pairs an agave tequila blend with yellow pepper purée and lime for a tingly and peppery drink. The flamboyant and slick Kaan Gilmour mans Melody’s drink operations as bar manager, and he instantly made us feel welcome.
Envisioning Melody’s identity, we moved (and you will too) from the Bar Lounge to the Dining Room, near the Kitchen, to check out the four other rooms on offer. The interior of Melody is similar to Potato Head, but upgraded with mid-century flair.
As expected, a great restaurant is not complete without a gregarious Italian serving and explaining the wine list. Melody’s is Giammarco Sai, and he took us on a whirlwind tour of every wine imported into the kitchen to pair with the great meaty and carby bites created by chef Jamie Draper.
The menu at Melody is strong, divided into shared table starters, seafood, meat and poultry, prime cuts, veggies, and “accessories” (delicious add-ons to the mains). Everything has been touched or kissed by the kitchen’s Josper grill, injecting a smoky aroma and flavour into each bite.
Our joyous dinner began with the honey roast pumpkin and rocket salad (HKD148), bringing together Josper-kissed charred peppers and goat’s cheese for a mix of caramelised notes from the oven and notable creamy acidity from the cheese.
The starters are designed for sharing, and we dug into every plate without feeling overwhelmed. The truffle mushroom lasagne (HKD168) impressed every diner that night. Each layer holds an earthy and umami-rich melange of truffle paste, nutty pasta sheets, and cauliflower cream, which introduces a bit of salt to the plate.
Friends told me to try the Koffman fries (HKD88), a good pairing with the meatier dishes. The house chips are cooked in beef tallow and tossed with sea salt, with the great combination of necessary outside crunch and inside tenderness that makes a French fry elite.
Moving on to the meaty plates, the lamb shank (HKD428) comes adorned with the chef’s signature seriously buttery mash and Vichy-style carrots. Jamie is British, and this dish shines on the menu as strong classic pub grub – gamey, buttery, potatoey, and creamy – all lovely adjectives to describe a nice plate!
And finally, digging into Melody’s Chateaubriand (HKD718 for 500g) prime cut, I might have found the answer to a Higher Being: the soft touch of the beautiful Josper machine. Dressed decadently with flaky sea salt, the steak had a caramel-hued exterior, with the iron-rich meat holding fruity notes.
After dinner, we sauntered back to the Bar Lounge for more cocktails and more laughs. Local DJ Johnny Hiller was spinning ambient and hip-hop tunes at the restaurant, a rarity at a weeknight dinner. He’s a cool music maker, Jamie is a cool, tatted-up chef who excels in his European culinary craft, Giammarco is a cool sommelier and front-of-house powerhouse, and Kaan is a cool mixologist.
Our verdict of Melody
Come to Melody because you want your night to begin with cocktails, bobbing heads, and gallivanting with friends over sizzled meat and seafood, before ending with plenty of dancing and jiving. The food and wine programme is unique and worth a visit next time you’re down in Sai Ying Pun.
|Order this: herb-crusted veal chop, Chateaubriand, truffle mushroom lasagne, Koffman fries, maple-glazed butternut squash
Menu: Melody’s à-la-carte menu
Price for two: HKD600–800
|Atmosphere: expect pristine and affable service, with the decor and furniture straight out of a Wes Anderson film
Perfect for: nights that begin with cocktails, continue with great meat, and end with groovy tunes
This review is intended to offer an individual perspective on the dining experience and should not be considered as a definitive judgement of the restaurant’s overall quality or reputation. The views expressed in this review are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions of Foodie.