Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ole - Still a Solid Spanish Institution

 Ole was one of the first and foremost authentic Spanish Restaurants to set foot in Hong Kong and given the current Contemporary and Molecular Spanish food movements,  luckily Ole retained it’s original Spanish spirit in concept.   Back in the days,  the Real Madrid football players designated Ole restaurant as their default dining hall whenever they travelled past Hong Kong.    After many meals here including my recent 2 visits,  I did occasionally see Ups and Downs in certain dishes but it definitely performs better than the norm and was the earliest Spanish Restaurant to set such a high benchmark in Hong Kong.   Catalunya nowadays is hard to beat,  whilst Fofo by El Willy is on an improving course.  Fadango was ok for a while until their Head Chef left.  The common denominator is that all 4 abovementioned restaurants simultaneously received Michelin Guide recommendations for various reasons – but if you ask me,  I will always recommend Ole if you want proper Down-to-Earth Spanish food   (Another Previous Review:  Ole ).



Olives,  Potato Salad,  Bread,  Spanish Olive Oil -
It has been like this for a while. 
The potato salad is always dependable.


36 Months Spanish Jamon Ham -
This is usually pretty good,  but this night’s one was a little lacking taste and marbling despite being well aged.  Might be the part of the leg that was sliced?…  ~  6/10




Spanish Enate Wine,  Crianza -
This was suggested by the restaurant and it was really lovely,  well structured and nearly ready to drink.   Made of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon.




Fried Spanish Sardines -
Interesting as they came without any herbs,  so they must be super confident about the freshness of these babies.   They were plump and fresh.   ~  8/10




Gambas al Ajillo -
Prawns with Fried Garlic and Olive Oil,  which was eaten on a 2nd night.   The version here has always been the best in Hong Kong,  with bubbly oil which gives off that fragrant note,  the prawns are plump and crunchy.   Time for more bread to soak in the sauce,  if your date doesn’t mind the garlicky taste afterwards!   ~  9/10



Jamon & Chicken Croquetas -
This had some thickly diced ham but couldn’t taste much chicken.   For Hong Kong standards,  this is one of the best ones in town still apart from Catalunya.   The ones I ate in Spain all have a even more gooey bechamel texture in comparison.   ~  7/10




Cod Fish Stuffed Piquillo Peppers -
This was super duper delicious, with a bit of bechamel again.  Some people like them to be more rawer and stuffed with goat cheese,  but this version had it’s own appeal and its served piping hot with gratinated cheese on top.  And guess whose hand that is?   Someone I used to loved a lot,  and I held her hand everyday if I could because I believed in us and wanted to marry.  And I even bought her that watch,  and now it’s over.  It’s all part of life isn’t it?!     ~  9/10



Grilled Spanish Carabineros Prawns -
The shells have been peeled,  a pet peeve of mine,  as the legs and the shells are where a lot of the red prawns flavours lie.   Some restaurant do the same, but they make it into a prawn stock instead.   The version here didn’t and despite the prawns being so huge,  I think it could do with more red prawn flavours especially with the missing shells and legs.  Grilled to the right cooking level however   ~  6.5/10




Baby Squid stuffed with Prawns and Almonds -
A perennial favourite here,  today’s version had less almond taste than before.  The squid ink flavour was ok decent,  the squid were fresh.   I have had better versions of this before as I always order this every time,  but it’s not too shabby.   ~  7.5/10




Eggplant Stuffed with Mushroom & Vegetable Mousseline -
It is like a Greek Moussaka but with mushrooms instead of meat.  Quite liked this and its under-rated,  and also a unique recipe to find in Hong Kong context.   ~  8/10




Hake Fish with Clams ‘Basque’ Way -
Topped with a prawn.  This was just alright.  I didn’t think the individual flavours sang out enough for me.   ~  6/10



Seafood Paella – $460
This was 1 of 2 paellas we tried.   For some unknown reason,  it tasted a lot better and stronger in flavours on a 2nd night below..   ~  7/10




Seafood Paella No. 2 -
I daresay this is one of the finest paellas I tried in Hong Kong or even Spain,  it was full of Seafood essence and Saffron flavours.   The rice was cooked perfectly too and with a bottom ‘Socarrat’ layer which was almost crispy,  which defers from the modern versions which are finished off on the salamander and has a top socarrat somehow,  at certain other places and confusing…   If only the prawns were better   ~  9/10





More Wines -
Interesting that the 3rd last time I ate here,  I ate with the same people for dinner.



Roasted Suckling Pig ‘Segovian’ Style -
Ole has always made one of the best Suckling Pigs,   even counting in Spain and Madrid.   Tonight’s version was a little off it’s peak as it used to carry a lot of Pig Fat basting taste.  At least the skin was crispy enough as always – and also at sister shop Case Lisboa which does a decent one too.  I have to say honestly that out of the last few times I ate this at Ole,  it is slightly lacking some aroma compared to the past somehow and it’s kind of obvious.   ~  7.5/10



Roasted Spanish Pyrenees Baby Lamb Shoulder – $295
It was Spring time,  and this is probably the best lamb you can get during this season in the world.  The young lamb’s flavour was stronger than I imagined in a manageable way.  Served with Green Mojo sauce.   ~  7.5/10

Crema Catalana -
A crème brulee with starch and on fire!  The version here has always been decent and served with a little orange zest flavour,  and plenty of actions.  I don’t recall not ordering this during most of my visits.   ~  8/10



Leche Milk Fritter -
AFAIK,  the only place in HK serving this.
  It’s milk custard coagulated then deep fried.   It’s niche but it’s unique,  so why not?    ~  7/10




Torrijas -
A caramelized French Toast equivalent,  with figs and ice cream.   This dessert didn’t used to appear on menus much locally but all of a sudden most Spanish restaurants are providing it.  This version was decent as at least it had a dry crispy edge.  The best version I have had so far is at Zurriola,  TST.   This one comes second.  ~  7.5/10




Churros with Chocolate -
The churros weren’t greasy but as usual in HK,  are a little denser than in Spain.  The Chocolate dip as I always say is served in a Cup in Spain like a drink,  here at least it was concentrated and almost fudge like unlike other places serving it watered down.  ~  6.5/10

Chocolate Fondant -
This was eaten on another night again.   The coulant’s taste was good,  it was medium runny as expected by European standards.      ~  7/10




Price:  HKD $400 - $500 Per Person
Ease of Access:  3/5 
Food:  ♕♕♕ 1/2 – ♕♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours -
Open until 2am to 3am usually.
Address: 中環雪廠街24-30號順豪商業大廈1樓
1/F, Shun Ho Tower, 24-30 Ice House Street,, Central
Ph: 2523 8624


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