Innovative Mediterranean: After five years at its location in Morrison Hill, Wan Chai, tapas bar and restaurant Catalunya has moved on to new concept La Rambla in IFC. Expect firm favorites (bikinis, anyone?) accompanied by more experimental options, amidst the elegant atmosphere the restaurant is known for.
Look & Feel: The restaurant has taken over the 5,000-sqft space formerly occupied by Isola (which has moved down a floor). There’s a combination of communal tables and more intimate seating in moody, dimly lit corners. Created by Stanley Kwok of studio Stanley KC (as well as interior design firm AB Concept), the interiors are undoubtedly luxe, but woven chairs and colorful art on the walls add warm, playful touches. There’s also a terrace with a stunning view of the harbor.
On the Menu: Half the menu has been revamped, but Spanish and Catalan tapas still feature heavily — so much so that there are four different sections for them. The rest of the menu is filled with paellas, meat and seafood dishes, and Iberico and cheese platters. There’s also a generous list of Spanish wines, including certain bottles created exclusively for the restaurant.
Jeng: The tomahawk steak, aged for 120 days, is delicious, as is the Hokkaido scallop with donostiarra sauce ($160), caught and flown in from Japan earlier that morning before finding its way onto our plate the same evening, complemented very well by the garlic chips and chili and olive oil. The “xurros” ($110) are perfectly crispy on the outside, perfectly light and fluffy on the inside — just as they were at Catalunya. And we’d happily nosh on the truffle bombas (meat and potato balls topped with brava sauce and truffle, $90) all day.
Not So Jeng: With some of the tapas, we get the feeling that La Rambla is trying to put an upscale spin on cheap and cheerful bar bites, but mixed presentation leaves us with a slightly confused impression. The tortillita de camerones (baby shrimp fritters) arrive in a bright orange plastic basket, for instance, while other dishes like the foie and eel terrine ($180) are carefully plated on sleek, contemporary tableware. We almost feel as though it would’ve been better to go 100% casual or 100% classy.
Meet the Chef: Ferran Tadeo formerly worked under the likes of Ferran Adrià and José Andrés.
Great For: Boozy evenings of shared plates with more than a touch of class.
FYI: La Rambla is the first Asian restaurant to serve up 90-day and 120-day aged Galican beef. The meat is flown in by renowned chef Carles Tejedor, who heads up top Barcelona steakhouse Lomo Alto.
Check out Hong Kong’s newest restaurants and bars here.
This writeup was based on a complimentary media tasting. The Loop HK doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.