Once elusive and much spoken about, now the subject of many fond memories, it’s been quite awhile since we’ve heard from Sheung Wan locksmith slash restaurant and speakeasy Mrs Pound. Well, it’s certainly back with a bang now, with menu refresh just in time for spring and a slew of unique dishes that fully embody the spirit of East meets West.
If you haven’t recently been to Mrs Pound (it’s been a few years for us as well), you’ll be happy to know that the vibe is unchanged – it’s all punchy neon lights, glistening chrome accents, classic Hong Kong tile work and retro bar stools and booth seats. The food, however, is stepping up. The menu is seeing new additions in the form of an adventurous wok-fried frog’s legs ($88) in black bean butter sauce, Sichuan-inspired slow-cooked ma-la beef tongue ($78) with fingerling potatoes and bak-kut-teh pork ribs ($118), amongst others.
For dinner, we tried a mix of old reliables and a few of the exciting new dishes, and we kicked things off with a duo of signature drinks: In the Mood ($120) – a lightly sweet-and-sour zinger made with English breakfast-tea-infused gin, lime juice, homemade pandan syrup and elderflower tonic water – and mint lemonade ($65), a simple fizzy number of lemon juice, sugar syrup, mint and soda water.
Regulars to Mrs Pound will be familiar with the extensive list of cocktails that include quirky creations like the auspicious Fortune & Prosperity ($130), made with ginseng-infused vodka, lime juice, honey syrup and goji berries, and the elaborately named Mr Lee’s Invigorating Elixir ($120), which brings up medicinal memories of Cantonese childhood with hawthorn-infused gin and tea syrup, apple and lemon juice, Chartreuse Gentiane aperitif and hawthorn candy.
Green tip: Mrs Pound serves its beverages with water-soluble potato-starch straws.
Our starter of unagi skewers ($48 for 2), brushed with sambal and soy sauce and dusted with crumbs of Irvin’s salted egg yolk fish skin and shreds of nori, tasted as indulgent as it sounds and began our meal on a high with an explosion of savoury flavours that reached every single taste bud.
This is what we came for: the brand-new yuba bolognese ($88), an eccentric vegetarian-friendly creation that utilises Impossible meat, a first for Mrs Pound. Taking it a step further, they’ve replaced traditional spaghetti with yuba (bean curd) strands to make the dish gluten free, a daring gamble that paid off – yuba imparts a chewy, almost al-dente texture that makes it a worthy substitute for pasta. Served with a sweet and well-balanced tomato sauce topped with basil leaves, this was easily one of the highlights of our meal.
Another addition is the laksa prawn dumplings ($138). Taking influences from Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia’s beloved Peranakan cuisine, chopped river prawns sourced daily from local Hong Kong markets are combined with Chinese mushrooms, coriander and garlic to create toothsome dumplings in a subtly spiced laksa sauce. The inclusion of deep-tried tofu was a winning touch; the porous squares were the perfect vessels to soak up the laksa broth and made for juicy, explosive bites. We couldn’t mop up the soup fast enough with the side of toasted garlic bread and only wish we were served more than two slices so that the laksa didn’t go to waste.
One of Mrs Pound’s classics had to make an appearance at our dinner: the peerless fusion success of the bone marrow and steak cheung fun ($288). Replete with two cuts of beef – short rib and rib-eye – as well as a splendid hunk of bone marrow, sautéed with cheung fun and tossed in a garlic XO sauce with shellfish and Chinese lap cheong, there’s not much about this dish that appeals to the eyes, but it did quite a number on our taste buds with its richness. Between the heavy meat, the briny clams, the chewy rice rolls that soaked up the steak juices, the fatty marrow and the salty touch of Chinese sausage, one could see how these robust flavours could almost be too assaulting on the senses – we’d recommend ordering it as a dish to share.
The “XoXo” bibimbap ($168) had us hooked on paper, but it didn’t wow us with its flavours. Served in a stone pot with crisped rice and a medley of chicken, Spam, portobello mushrooms, chickpeas, spinach, sprouts, laksa leaf (also known as Vietnamese coriander) and spicy gochujang, it had all the promise of an intriguing dish, but the abundance of elements and ingredients caused a flatness in flavour, with nothing in particular standing out to make a statement.
Impressive! There are a number of restaurants in Hong Kong that are making a name for themselves by working the East-meets-West fusion twist, but we think Mrs Pound has done it particularly well with its new menu of unique offerings. The novelty of the yuba bolognese makes it a must-try dish for both omnivores and vegetarians, and the unagi skewers are delicious umami bombs you won’t want to miss. Now’s also your last chance to try your favourite tipples at Mrs Pound – the drink menu will undergo a complete revamp at the end of the month to make way for assistant bar manager Michael’s new creations.
6 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan, 3426 3949
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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