An affordable affair at the Optimist

The Optimist has been on my radar for a while, such a shame I no longer work in Wan chai otherwise I would have made a visit earlier. Better late than never as last week, I managed to go twice! Once for their bargain happy hour (48 HKD beer, wine and cocktails Monday to Sunday 3pm to 7:30pm) and once more for Sunday brunch.

Deceptively spread over three floors, the Optimist certainly has oodles of space to cater to both their diners and those who are just looking for an after work tipple on the ground floor. The décor screams 1920’s nostalgia and opulence with a mirrored bar, emerald tiled walls and black and white photographic memorabilia- absolutely gorgeous!

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To my delight, I found out when making the reservation that the Optimist is under the same group as Pirata which is right next door. This was the venue for my birthday last year and everyone LOVED it. The Optimist provides the same brunch set but with Spanish instead of Italian cuisine. The set very generously provides you with a tapas buffet with salads, seafood, freshly made bread, cold cuts and cheeses, a choice of main and shared dessert.

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You also get 3 dishes for the table to share. First we received a cold cuts platter with bread which can also be found at the buffet table. I really liked their pinchos which reminded me of my time in Barcelona, sitting at a Pinchos bar, picking these bite sized snacks and slurping on Sangria.

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Our other sharing dishes were very staggered, so a few us made a second trip to the buffet table. Hot queso y jamon croquettas, baby spinach and octopus salad and juevos with potato slices arrived slowly to our table. All really hit the spot but we still had our mains to go!

The veggie skewers were unfortunately a bit underwhelming. Spanish food does usually contain meat, so I can see why this dish lacked imagination, however it would have been good to have something more substantial.

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The steak portions were quite generous on the other hand and my friends finished everything off their plates- says enough! The chicken was also very appetizing and was the perfect size given the enormity of the brunch.

Lastly, my arroz with seafood was cooked al dente but I felt lacked flavour, maybe some more paprika but I couldn’t fault the seafood which was very tasty.

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Our shared desserts were a traditional Spanish flan with cream and caramel and our favourite the white chocolate cheesecake pot. This was just sweet enough and had a lovely crumble at the bottom.

Verdict: At 380 HKD + 180 HKD for free flow, the Optimist certainly provides bang for your buck. All 3 floors were packed for Sunday brunch, which I can see is what slowed the service down. The maître d’ was not particularly helpful and did come across as rude when we asked whether the dishes were coming (we were there from 12:30pm to almost 5pm!) but all other staff we came into contact with were courteous and polite. They also packed my friend’s chicken up for her and gave her dessert early as she had to leave. The Optimist is absolutely going on my list of favourite brunch spots along with their sister restaurant Pirata. The Pirata group are definitely doing something right…looking forward to their Peruvian/Japanese restaurant opening in LKF- stay tuned for a foodbaby review!

Nisha

G/F, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Ph: 852 2433 3324

http://theoptimist.hk

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