Diners now have something else to exclaim about other than the decor when it comes to AMMO. Designed by Joyce Wang in metallic tones to reflect the military history of the building, the restaurant nestles cosily into a lush green corner of Asia Society Hong Kong. With the arrival of new head chef Jaime Nuñez, the menu turns towards more casual Spanish influences. Chef Nuñez is no stranger to Drawing Room Concepts, the restaurant group behind AMMO; he was most recently the head chef at Isono and Vasco, two establishments under the same ownership. He brings over 15 years' of experience in Spanish cuisine, spanning several Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain, from elBulli, Can Fabes, ABaC and Restaurante Lasarte in Barcelona to Casino de Madrid in the capital.
AMMO's fresh new menu is all about casual dining, albeit still in elegant surroundings. Plates are tapa-sized and are meant to be shared. There's also plenty of tempting vegetarian options to cater to all taste buds.
To complement Hong Kong's steamy summer, we started our tasting with a refreshing beetroot salad dotted with orange and walnut ($98) and briny oysters infused in a lime coconut soup ($138). Plenty of thought went into the beetroot – the vegetable was prepared via roasting, boiling and dehydrating to achieve contrasting textures and flavours. The delicately chopped beetroot resembled beef tartare in appearance and had plenty of tangy, sweet resonance. The creaminess of the oysters was further highlighted by the rich coconut soup, but any richness was uplifted with the lime and watercress jelly.
Continuing on the seafood route, the raw red prawns with fresh urchin ($188) arrived on a bed of celeriac, fennel and kombu, alongside powder made from prawn head and shell. The seafood was delicately sweet, and the powder further accented the umami notes. On the healthful side, there was the green and white asparagus salad ($98), quinoa salad with cauliflower ($88) and roasted Padrón peppers ($88), which proved to be our favourite thanks to their sweet grilled flavour.
We sampled three types of paella, ranging from pork ($158), to lobster and chicken ($198), to seafood with mussels and sea urchin ($178). Our favourite was the pork paella, which came infused with plenty of deliciousness thanks to the Ibérico pork, saffron and brandy.
The rockfish and prawns ($218) main was delicate and subtle while the braised Wagyu beef cheek ($188), served with truffle mash potato, packed plenty of punch. We were slightly disappointed with the buttermilk fried chicken ($118) as the morsels could have been juicier, but we found the tender short rib sliders with caramelised onion ($118) dangerously moreish.
On the dessert front, we sampled pistachio sponge drizzled with a tangy lime sauce and paired with coconut ice cream ($68), as well as Catalan crème foam with sautéed pineapple ($68) and apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream ($68). The classic apple tarte tatin outshone the others with its warm, gooey wholesomeness and unbeatable pairing with creamy vanilla ice cream.
Following the closure of Isono and Vasco, we are glad to see Chef Nuñez's culinary inspirations resurface at AMMO. The dishes are presented in contemporary style yet stay true to traditional flavours. This would be a beautiful spot for lunch in order to fully enjoy the lush foliage surrounding the glass-walled restaurant.
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation.