In an already saturated dining market like Hong Kong that continues to see new restaurant openings every week, it is unfortunate that most of these brave endeavors are the typical trendy overhyped fusion “insert few more related adjectives” truffle mayo using uni ruining no reservation taking kind of place. (oops, #sorrynotsorry.) Being drowned by all these hipster clones, my experience at Nocte has certainly been a refreshing change of scenery.
I was surprised to see Jeff and his familiar pompadour in the kitchen, whom some of you may recognize as one of the cooks at Little Bao. Turns out he is a full time nutritionist moonlighting as a CULINARY REBEL, and now he is one of the partners at Nocte. While Jeff is definitely bringing the healthy into the staples of Nocte, this is no health food joint. (thanks god.)
The restaurant’s signature dishes are hearty crowd favorites; taking inspiration from classic Spanish and Italian cuisine, they made no compromises when it comes to flavor. I did appreciate the variations of vegetable sides that came with each main because of my secret adoration for zucchini.
We started with “Happy as a Clam” ($88). It certainly lives up to its name, and you will be all smiles as you savor each bite coupled with a delicate miso broth and “lemon air” to really get your appetite going. : )
Next came the razor clams linguine ($168). Wasn’t really in the mood for pasta, but the use of razor clams definitely caught my eye. It has been a “controversial” ingredient of late but that’s all good. The dish itself was very light, allowing you to really taste the natural savoriness of the clams.
The mains were amazing showcases of culinary prowess and passion. We had the stuffed chicken ($228), slow cooked duck breast ($228), and pork chop ($248) . We are talking about very very tender pieces of meat yo! I am the biggest carnivore ever but what impressed me the most was surprisingly the silky sweet potato mash. (a bite of both will do the magic!)
If you are still hungry after all that like I was (just being a typical fatass), get an order of the meatballs ($98) to add a finishing touch to your meal.
What happened to DESSERTS? All I can say it they were so good that I had to take them out of the equation of the meal and talk about them separately.
The berry cheesecake upside down ($98) was great, but it’s really just to make the wait for their famous apple tart ($118) a bit more bearable. That shit is on a whole different level, and I simply do not have the vocabulary or the language skills to describe it in a way that does it justice. All I can say is, if you ended up hating every single dish of the restaurant, you would still go back for this alone.
All in all, it was a lovely night out. Tai Hang gives you a bit more space to breathe compare to Central or SoHo, and to be honest this little neighborhood itself is a treasure chest dying to be explored and pillaged. My recommendation? Head to Guay and ask the bartender for a special to wash down dinner.
…work hard, eat harder!
NOCTE: 9 Jones Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, +852 2355 7899
GUAY: 9A Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, +852 26188782