Having been open for over a year now, The Optimist has gained a reputation for offering some of the best northern Spanish food in the city. The three-storey Wanchai spot is well known for its asador-style grills and weekend brunch buffet but has just recently launched an all-day menu in the bar area, available daily from 11:30am.
The bar, on the ground floor, is a stunning space that lets in lots of natural light. With Spanish tiles, numerous plants and beautiful teal accents, the vibe is soothing and botanical – a perfect place to escape for a quick weekday lunch or a more leisurely weekend brunch.
We were seated at one of the two booths right by the window facing Hennessy Road. These booths are large and luxurious, and it's definitely worth reserving them in advance.
My day doesn’t start without caffeine, so I ordered a latte ($38), which was light and creamy. We also tried the Deep Sea mocktail ($60), made with cucumber, mint, honey and ginger ale. Originally, we thought it might be too sweet to have first thing, but our server assured us the bartender could adjust it to our taste. The result was a refreshing, mojito-like concoction.
Having deep-fried foods during the first meal of the day is sinful, but we couldn’t resist trying the ham croquettes ($90) and aubergine fries ($80). The ham croquettes were some of the best I’ve ever had. They were packed full of creamy filling and somehow managed to retain their crispy shell even when cold. The aubergine fries were unique and especially delicious when paired with the garlic-kimchi sauce.
The mushroom huevos rotos, or broken eggs ($120), were a sight to behold. Served in a skillet, marinated boletus mushrooms were layered with crisp potato slices, covered by runny fried eggs and topped with truffles. The idea is to mix all the ingredients together before serving. There's just one word for this dish: yummy.
Hearty and comforting, the Optimist burger ($120) came with all the essentials. The beef patty was fresh, topped with bacon, Cheddar cheese and a runny egg. Alongside the burger was a serving of thick-cut fries (the best kind) with homemade barbecue sauce. I’d return for this the next time I'm craving a burger.
We ended our Sunday brunch with the pancake tower ($190), opting for both blueberries and banana. It was as wonderful as it sounds, served with maple syrup, chocolate sauce and berry coulis, but it was also extremely filling (no surprise) and probably best shared amongst a few friends.
The Optimist continues to prove it’s a true gem. The all-day menu offers great value with generous portion sizes and reasonable prices. If you don't have time for a full meal, it’s also an affordable spot for a quick coffee and pastry. The layout of the bar means that it feels spacious even during busy periods.
G/F–2/F, 239 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, 2433 3324, firstname.lastname@example.org