Being a Brit, I do get the occasional hankering for some authentic comfort food from old Blighty. Shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, beef Wellington and a full English are all on the list of the best of British dishes. Having heard of a Gastropub in the up and coming restaurant area of Kennedy Town and with the remaining days of Restaurant week looming, this Foodbaby had to make a trip!
The restaurant is fairly spacious for Hong Kong standards with high ceilings and wall length windows. The space is decorated with rustic wooden furniture and metal fixtures for it’s London Gastropub look. The restaurant’s motto is to adopt quintessentially British ingredients to create a modern flavour suited to Asian tastes…this already makes me a bit hesitant as to the authenticity of the meal, but I try not to judge before eating.
Going with the pub theme, Shoreditch offers a good selection of both British and local beers, as they believe in supporting local businesses. My friend thoroughly enjoyed his Samuel Smith (not the singer) pale ale, unfortunate that this was the only bottle left. My other friend had to order the local Gweilo, still not a bad choice.
The restaurant week menu consisted of dishes that were decidedly not British for whatever reason, shame as there were some items I would have liked to try on their a la carte menu such as the treacle tart and the battered Fish and Chips. This would have been a good opportunity for Shoreditch to showcase these dishes during a popular week for Hong Kong diners.
Regardless, our starters were the duck broth, seared tuna & heritage beets and the Grilled Aubergine. There was at least a 30 minute wait for these dishes, with the restaurant not even being half full and with a limited menu for dining week, you would assume the kitchen could turn these over quicker.
The duck broth was the best of the starters, seasoned well with a comforting taste and just the right portion size. A winner!
I had ordered the aubergine but I saw they brought the tuna out instead, I didn’t argue about it as I had been waiting so long, but wasn’t impressed with the error. Luckily, the tuna and beets really complemented each other well, the tuna was generously spiced with pepper which contrasted with the sweetness of the chopped beetroot base. Very satisfying!
The aubergine starter was hidden under a blanket of radish shavings, frisée and mizuna leaves. When you finally found the aubergine, it was very underwhelming as it lacked seasoning. I was already telling the vegetarian at the table to head to Vanimal next time.
Our starters and mains were ordered at the same time and we certainly didn’t wolf down our food, yet we were waiting even longer for our entrées. Thankfully no mix ups when they did arrive.
I was genuinely excited to try the seabass, unfortunately I was disappointed with this one as the fish tasted frozen and was under seasoned. The sauce was overpoweringly oily, luckily we had some pepper and salt grinders on the table to season!
The same could be said of the quail. The meat itself was juicy and tender, such a shame it lacked seasoning! The only redeeming feature of this dish were the scotch eggs which in Shoreditch are made with Venison and beef.
The vegetarian dish of spinach and cheddar fritters with spinach rice pasta was at least seasoned however still underwhelming and unimaginative for a vegetarian dish.
We were praying and wishing the desserts would be the saving grace. We ordered the intriguing Mars bar cheesecake, coconut custard with chocolate and hazelnut popcorn and the homemade gingerbread with ice cream. Again a long interval that we by now expected, even for desserts that simply need plating.
In order of our favourites, we had the cheesecake, the base was made of crushed up Mars Bars and there was a lovely line of caramel on the plate. I still fail to see how this is a British dessert even with the Mars bar addition but it was tasty.
The second dessert impressed because of the coconut custard at the bottom that was beautifully creamy. Unfortunate that it had cardboard like chocolate popcorn on the top for the ‘IG worthy’ photo. Instead add some berries and you would have a lovely dessert.
The gingerbread is supposedly homemade, if this is true it must have been made at least a few days prior to us eating it, as it was rock hard. We couldn’t break it with our cutlery. They really missed the mark on this one. Give me sticky toffee pudding or apple pie any day!
Verdict: If it wasn’t for the great company, I think the experience at Shoreditch would have ruined my night. Service was very muddled as they were training one of the waiters and the orders taken were confused, all of which I can overlook if the food quality is good. Sadly I cannot say anything blew me away or reminded me of home, especially not at 400 HKD each. I sincerely hope Hongkies do not think this is British food!
18 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town
Ph: 852 2242 3777