Every month in Hong Kong, a stream of new restaurants is seemingly falling from the sky into our laps to soak up the attention and buzz, before the rush is on to the next concept to gawk and obsess over. 

Beyond the usual trappings of Tsim Sha Tsui, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, and Soho, Lamma Island is now in the spotlight of this crazed restaurant buzz with the autumn opening of Terracotta Lamma, a daring Mediterranean eatery perched on the hippy-haven island.

If Terracotta Lamma’s vibe and banterous service feel similar, that’s because you’ve clearly fallen in love with sister venues Shady Acres, Mendel’s Delicatessen, and Honky Tonks Tavern. The island offshoot of the Hong Kong Island-based haunt is boldly laid-back and exudes a noble bravado – the food programme shines as brightly as the warm sun that graces the restaurant every day.

Terracotta Lamma review
Hummus (HKD65) and smoked labneh (HKD55) with pita

Former BEDU chef Richard Solnik takes reign of the kitchen pass at Terracotta Lamma, and his mastery of Mediterranean flavours shows in every single plate. Our starting course began with a bowl of hummus (HKD65) and smoked labneh (HKD55), served with shiny grilled za’atar pita.

The hummus is a delectable purée, holding strong allicin and acidic smacks from the heavy addition of crushed garlic and squeezed lemon. The pita serves as a great base to add a herby aftertaste with the za’atar, a spice mix of sumac, sesame seed, cumin, and coriander. The labneh is less firm than some variants in Hong Kong but brings a sweet yoghurt note to play. The sumac and Greek olive oil help to create balance.

Terracotta Lamma review
Yellowtail crudo (HKD145)

On to the smalls section, the yellowtail crudo (HKD145) is an Asian addition to the menu and complements the Greek, Italian, and Levantine flavours in store. Each bite brings sea salt to the palate, alongside an earthy bitterness from the pine nuts, saffron, and coriander. However, I don’t think the serving of four slices of the crudo justifies the price of the dish.

The roasted eggplant (HKD150) introduces the Josper grill to the menu, a favourite tool of mine for preparing vegetables, tingling the body and skin with a raw charcoal flavour and subtle sweetness. The whipped tahini and pistachio crunch froth up in the mouth and leave you with a wonderfully nutty aftertaste that is dreamy.

Terracotta Lamma review
Hummus (HKD65) and smoked labneh (HKD55)

Terracotta’s general manager, Jean, prepared me prior to ordering for the mammoth size of the halved roast chicken (HKD180), and I was served exactly what I expected: a juicy, skin-roasted bird drenched in aromatic olive oil, pickled garden chillies, and salsa verde.

Each bite of the roasted chicken releases flavourful juices that crawl down your throat and warm your heart. Wipe your fork in the olive-oil-labneh juice below to balance the umami with a sensational tangy note.

Terracotta Lamma review
Olive oil cake (HKD80)

As I basked in the radiant Lamma sun for a minute, digesting the chicken within me, Jean came rushing back to prepare me for one of my new-favourite desserts – olive oil cake (HKD80) prepared with marinated berries, spiced cream, and that now-familiar dusting of sumac. The olive-oil-infused cake is bouncy and holds a faint honeyed sweetness that works well with the fluffy cream and tangy raspberries and strawberries to paint the cakey canvas.

Our verdict of Terracotta Lamma

Like Schwarzenegger, I will most certainly be back. In the sun, Terracotta Lamma achieves what many Hong Kong restaurants can’t: effortlessly whisking diners away to faraway nations, perfecting flavours of gastronomically powerful regions. Chef Richard is a rising star to look out for in the Hong Kong food scene, and the Shady-Honky-Mendel’s team have struck gold with the location on Lamma Island.

Terracotta Lamma, 47 Yung Shue Wan Main Street, Lamma Island, 9176 7500, book here 

Order this: hummus, yellowtail crudo, burrata, roasted chicken, spiced fries, olive oil cake
Menu: Terracotta Lamma’s à-la-carte menu
Price for two: HKD550–700
Atmosphere: stuck in Hong Kong, but feeling the serenity and beauty of seaside dining in Greece or Italy
Perfect for: warm excursions to Lamma Island at the end of summery hikes or lazy Sundays feasting on fine flavours

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.

Rubin Verebes is the Managing Editor of Foodie, a culinary connoisseur, and guiding force behind the magazine's delectable stories. With a knack for cooking up mouthwatering profiles, crafting immersive restaurant reviews, and dishing out tasty features, Rubin tells the great stories of Hong Kong's dining scene.

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