Hong Kong’s sweltering summer weather has me craving fresh, colourful food. So I was excited to check out Picada’s new location (and new menu) on Wyndham Street. Ceviche, salsa and guac were calling my name!
The new spot is 3,000 square feet in size and is divided into a main dining room and a smaller semi-private room that has five or so small tables. Given the location, I was surprised by how casual the main dining room is with its simple tables and plastic chairs. It felt a little divey, so while not ideal for a date, it would be a good place for a casual bite while watching the game or if you’re dining with small children. The semi-private room is a cosier spot for a catch-up with friends or a relaxed date.
We started with the Peruvian leche de tigre ceviche ($178), which was really interesting. In addition to being quite tangy, the sweet potato purée added a mild creaminess. I also loved the natural earthy flavour of the dehydrated Peruvian corn kernels.
The made-at-the-table guacamole concept isn’t new, but Picada’s design your guacamole ($150) lets you choose from 10 different ingredients including bacon bits and chipotle sauce. Our table went all in, which made the overall taste a little salty, but it was addictive nonetheless. The menu says this guac feeds four, but I’d guess this very generous dish would satisfy most parties of six.
Being a big fan of strong cheeses, I was excited to try the three-cheese empanadas ($198 for 3). These pockets – with blue, Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses – were beautifully presented and the filling was quite stringy on first bite. But while the flavour was on point, the crust was a bit too soft and thick.
I think tacos are best eaten with the hands, but it was impossible to do so with these, given how generous the kitchen had been with the toppings. We tried the crab ($68 each), chicken al pastor ($50 each), avocado ($50 each) and slow- cooked beef rib ($58 each). A highlight of the tacos were the fruit salsas. They were all incredibly refreshing and added a unique element to the meaty tacos. However, because of the heavy toppings, the corn-tortilla bases got quite soggy and tasted a bit stodgy.
Of all the things we ate, the three-duck rice ($248) was the clear winner. I think I’d put it on my list of the top 5 things I’ve eaten in Hong Kong this year. First, it’s great comfort food for summer because it’s not only a flavour-packed rice dish, but it’s also filled with veggies (spinach and coriander sauce, corn, peas, carrots, cress and the like). Second, the duck-leg confit and duck breast were incredibly tender and not at all gamy and the duck fat had melted into the rice, creating an addictive umami flavour. Since this portion could easily feed two hungry souls, the price is incredibly good value. Also, I took home the leftovers and can confirm that it heats up well the next day.
We ended our meal with churros ($88) and chocolate mousse ($98). Both were good, though priced quite high, and the kitchen had been a bit too heavy-handed with the dulce de leche sauce.
Picada’s a solid casual spot for Latin American food. The prices are good and the guacamole and duck rice are especially wonderful. As for the tacos, perhaps the “build your own tacos” option ($298 for 7) is best so that guests can play around with their preferred filling-to-tortilla ratio and avoid the dreaded soggy base.
2/F, LKF 29, 29 Wyndham Street, LKF, Central, 3425 4037
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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