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We miss our jaunts to Thailand, especially our visits to trendy, Instagrammable cafés to sip aromatic Thai tea concoctions and eat delectable desserts.
This is why we were so excited to visit recently opened Lady Nara at Harbour City, a fresh transplant from Bangkok that arrived in Hong Kong at the tail end of 2020. Serving up Western comfort foods with a Thai spin, the concept was created by Nara founder Narawadee Srikarnchana, who is also an avid traveller and chef. Through her travels, she’s collected flavours that she’s incorporated into the menu at Lady Nara, accented by classic Thai ingredients.
Stepping into the venue reminded us of entering hip cafés in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Dressed in muted greens and pinks, with pink terrazzo and rattan furnishings, Lady Nara definitely screams Insta-worthy. There’s even a swing under a canopy of floral decorations for the ultimate snap. Connected to traditional Thai restaurant Nara, which is owned by the same group, Lady Nara is the younger, trendier sibling eatery (it’s also part of the portfolio that also includes Apinara at Pacific Place).
We started with glasses of butterfly pea and lemongrass soda ($48) and Lady Nara smoothie ($68), which is served in an adorable bronze pineapple. Butterfly pea is very popular in Thailand thanks to its beautiful purple hue, although we found this drink a tad too sweet for our liking. The Lady Nara smoothie, a refreshing blend of tropical fruits, is perfect for the onslaught of summer heat. It’s also pleasantly on the lighter side in terms of the sugar level.
The signature lobster tom yum bisque ($138) is served with garlic toast, and it’s a umami-infused blend of the sweet shellfish with kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, fresh tomato and sweet chilli paste. We thought the tom yum spice blend uplifted this otherwise often heavy Thai soup.
The Thai prawn carpaccio with burrata cheese ($118) was almost too pretty to eat. We liked this dish, although we still aren’t sure how well burrata and raw prawns complement each other. Perhaps we’re just too used to the traditional way of serving this Italian cheese.
The soft-shell crab and Wagyu burger ($168) was so juicy we were thankful we had the good foresight of eating it over a plate in order to catch all the juices. The homemade Wagyu patty was packed with flavour, and the soft-shell crab was very meaty. The spicy tom yum mayonnaise adds zing to the smorgasbord of flavours.
The hero of our meal was the lemongrass roast chicken ($198 for ½ or $328 for whole). Roast chicken has recently been popping up on menus like mushrooms after the rainy season. Lady Nara’s rendition uses local three-yellow chicken, marinated overnight in a mixture of palm sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, lemongrass and 18 different spices. The chicken is roasted upon ordering (make sure you have 30 minutes to spare), ensuring a perfectly juicy, crispy-skinned bird. The chicken that arrived at our table had gorgeous, golden caramelisation and an intoxicating fragrance. It was then escorted back to the kitchen to be expertly disassembled by the chef.
The meat was so tender, juicy and flavourful, we dare say this beats out other three-yellow chicken dishes we’ve tried at acclaimed fine-dining restaurants around town.
We’re total suckers for Thai milk tea, so we had to try the Thai tea tiramisu ($88) for dessert. Instead of espresso, aromatic Thai milk tea is used, layered with condensed milk, pastry cream and lady’s fingers. A sinfully creamy jug of mascarpone and milk accompanies this treat, and the idea is to pour it over the tiramisu to create Insta-worthy dessert porn. We loved this tiramisu, and we think it’s a clever idea to trade in espresso for Thai milk tea.
We will definitely be back for more! At first glance, we were hesitant that Lady Nara might be leaning towards social media hype and lacking in substance. The food here speaks for itself. The ambience might be more café and quick service in style, but the food is surely memorable. Do yourself a favour – cancel that reservation at that fancy restaurant for their pricey three-yellow chicken dish and instead order the lemongrass roast chicken at Lady Nara. Both your wallet and your stomach will thank you for it.
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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