In a city with a zillion dining options (and a million more opening every month), it’s often tough to decide which restaurants to try. How does a new restaurant differentiate itself in a crowded industry? Recently opened two-concepts-in-one space Hunter & The Chase tries to do just that by offering dining that’s both casual-chic (at The Chase on the third floor) and refined (at Hunter on the fourth floor) in a centrally located, contemporary space.
That’s all well and good, but here are four things I think really stand out about this place when you’re considering where to eat/drink in the Central/Sheung Wan area:
1) The cheese bar
Making America(n Cheese) Great Again
The US might not immediately come to mind when you think of artisanal cheese, but The Chase specialises in just that, and they even have a dedicated cheese bar – Hong Kong’s first. Are these American cheeses any good? Spoiler alert: yes, very – probably because the selection here has been specially hand-picked by Executive Chef Felipe Lopez, a San Diego native who’s worked at leading kitchens in Vegas and Hong Kong. I’m borderline obsessed with the Smoky Blue ($98/50g), where the rich, caramel-like nuttiness of the blue cheese is smoothed over by a hint of woody smoke. Not sure what to choose? Just consult the lovely and knowledgeable Chef Ching (there’s literally a “Chef Ching Pick” option on the menu), who can additionally recommend drink pairings. You’ll also enjoy the accompanying condiments – think homemade compotes and even Froot Loops – that encourage you to explore how the different flavours come together and have fun while you’re at it.
2) The cocktails
The bar is front and centre once you enter The Chase, and for good reason. Here, you’ll find well-crafted seasonal cocktails and bar staff who can accurately suggest and serve up drinks despite not-terribly-helpful requests (I’m quite guilty of specifics like “uhmm, sweet... but not too sweet”). I tried The Day Dreamer ($108), a refreshingly light and delicious concoction made with Fernet Hunter, homemade limoncello, citrus and ginger syrup that was – how shall I put this? – just the right amount of “sweet but not too sweet”. I also liked The Chase ($128), which features Tanqueray gin, cucumber, basil, egg white, homemade lemongrass syrup and lemon juice – it was well-balanced with a delightful froth, perfect for a post-work, pre-dinner pick-me-up.
3) The outdoor terrace
Now that you’ve got your cocktail, you’ll want someplace nice to enjoy it. The interiors, by award-winning Australian designer Samantha Eades, are perfectly lovely, of course, but with the weather finally starting to cool down, I recommend sipping your tipple on The Chase’s outdoor terrace. While you certainly won’t get panoramic bird’s-eye views from the third floor, the spacious terrace nevertheless offers a breath of fresh (or as fresh as it gets in this city) air, comfortable seats and a cosy immersion in all the bright lights and tall buildings that our concrete jungle has to offer.
4) The alternative meats
Upstairs, Hunter – a more formal counterpart to The Chase – offers a modern take on the traditional steakhouse, particularly through its unique selection of alternative meats. Besides the usual strip loin and rib-eye, you’ll also find items like geoduck (basically a large clam), rabbit, bison, quail, octopus and bone marrow on the menu. The rabbit, octopus and bone marrow dishes, although tasty, are probably not my favourite renditions of these delicacies. But the bison tenderloin with bordelaise sauce ($378) was deliciously lean yet tender, and I’ll definitely order it again on my next visit. If, like me, you’re partial to carbs, the smashed potatoes with rosemary salt ($88) – crisp and well seasoned on the outside, soft and well cooked on the inside – will make for an addictive accompaniment.
While it’s technically not an alternative meat, my dessert stomach would like to make special mention of the Cheddar-crust apple pie ($98), which features the kind of comfortingly rich, flaky crust that my imaginary American grandmother would serve up in her kitchen on special occasions. There’s also a s’mores Alaska ($98), which has to be one of the most ‘grammable s’mores I’ve ever seen (I won’t spoil it by including a picture here). This might be reason enough for some to justify ordering it, but don’t worry, it also tastes as good as it looks.
Smartly furnished with some unique offerings, I can definitely understand why Hunter & The Chase was considerably busy when I visited on a weeknight shortly after its official opening. As with many newly opened venues, the service was still slightly patchy the evening I dined and some dishes could have been further perfected, but the highlights helped to make up for the little flaws. It’s an enjoyable spot for lunchtime or after-work drinks and bites, especially if your office is in the area – or even if it’s not, and even if it’s the weekend.
3/F and 4/F, the L. place, 139 Queen’s Road Central, Central, 2915 1638, book online
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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