Trial Runs at The Drawing Room

Edit: Thank you everyone who corrected me on the price. The set dinner of HK$ 350 + 10% is only for the trial runs. This price will be revised.

Disclaimer: Tony Cheng, owner and chef of The Drawing Room, is a friend of the author of this blog. Siu Yeh would like to emphasize our promise to keep our opinion impartial … heck, if there’s anything we don’t like about his restaurant or food, we wouldn’t hesitate a second to tell that to his face 🙂

Here’s a bit about The Drawing Room and the concept behind it.

Not only is it a “Contemporary Italian Restaurant”, but it is also an art gallery. There are 17 art pieces from local contemporary artists Man Fung Yi, Sarah Kohjonen, Cornelia Erdmann through MobArt (the gallery is the brainchild of Anne Cheung and Steph Chung), which complements the space and design inside The Drawing Room. The name of the restaurant is also aptly named to reflect a “modern interpretation of the classical drawing room—a place to receive and entertain guests in one’s house”*. Guests are welcome to purchase the art work at the restaurant through the gallery. This concept reminds me of Art Salon on Nanchang Road in Shanghai, by the 2 brothers. Credit should also go to Joyce Wang from MICA Design Studio who was able to skillfully blend the interior design with the art pieces so flawlessly.

*(I stole this line from MobArt’s website)

Anyway, without further ado … here’s what will greet you first as you walk up the stairs to the 1/F.

Weaving Intimacy by Man Fung-yi

Weaving Intimacy by Man Fung-yi

Here are the stairs leading up to the restaurant. Very classy, no?

The Stairs Leading up to the The Drawing Room

The Stairs Leading up to the The Drawing Room

Interior by Joyce Wang of MICE Design Studio

Interior by Joyce Wang of MICA Design Studio

The interior took on a very “earthy” tone; warm and cozy colors such as beige, light & dark brown and green (on the chair with suede fabric) are used but there’s also a twist of gold and purple in some parts of the room … which (and I’m not trying to be all artistic and abstract here) is a good reflection of the food: rustic Southern Italian cuisine … with a twist.

More Pieces by Man Fung-yi Through MobArt Gallery

More Pieces by Man Fung-yi Through MobArt Gallery

Here are some more art pieces separating the dining area and the kitchen. Immediately behind the purple glass is the area where all the pastries are made! And if you look closely, you’ll see the area where all the chef’s busy at work.

Fresh Baked Rustic Italian Rye and Garlic Thyme Bread

Fresh Baked Rustic Italian Rye and Garlic Thyme Bread

Enough about the decor … the food matters more!

They’re quite generous with the bread. What you’re seeing in the photo above is for 4 people … we had two of these on our table. The Garlic Thyme Bread was slightly on the harder / crunchier side (maybe that was intentional?) but I do prefer slightly softer versions of this. It was lightly salted with quite a good balanced between the garlic, thyme and even the baked tomato on top of each Garlic Thyme Bread.

The big loaf you see in the middle is the an Italian Rye bread (I think) … and it was just the way it should be. Hard on the outside and extremely soft on the inside … and it was almost perfect for dipping and absorbing the “Manzella E Iannello’s Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva 2007” and vinegar. I think I could’ve taken a shot of this olive oil because it was so fresh.

Set Menu at The Drawing Room

Set Menu at The Drawing Room

For the trial runs, TDR is only offering set menus so that the folks in the kitchen can get their groove going. This is not because of an inexperienced kitchen (I mean, have you seen their line-up?!), but this being a new environment, setting and some new staff … they gotta get their chemistry right before they’re happy to go the next step. But come official launch, I was told that they will have an a la carte menu.

And at HK$ 350 + 10% per head in Hong Kong? Done. I don’t remember how much Da Domenico would charge for something like this.

We Began with Cauliflower :)

We Began with Cauliflower 🙂

This was a complimentary dish and I was so busy talking, I didn’t listen to what the server said. Was this quiche? I believe it was … anyway, it felt like really really soft Cauliflower quiche topped with pepper and parsley and a dab of olive oil.

It wasn’t filling at all and that’s the way it should be. The toppings was actually quite the appetizer (in its literal meaning … i.e. stimulating my appetite), although the cauliflower mixture sort of lines your stomach a bit. It was a good teaser.

Hokkaido Scallop, Pumpkin and Foie Gras with Fresh Greens

Hokkaido Scallop, Pumpkin and Foie Gras with Fresh Greens

Next up: Hokkaido Scallop, Pumpkin and Foie Gras with Fresh Greens.

You see that cup on the top right corner? That’s pumpkin sauce and you’re supposed to spoon it onto the scallop and foie gras before consumption. Was it necessary? Nope. I think they could’ve poured the sauce on the parameter around the scallop and foie gras. But was it a nice touch? Yes.

The scallop was incredibly fresh – flown in on the same day from Japan … and the foie gras was one of the tastiest I’ve had. But also the smallest piece of full foie gras I’ve seen. There didn’t appear any sign of cut anywhere too … it was a FULL piece of foie gras … that duck might’ve been really small. But it was so good on its own … I almost didn’t want to mix it with the scallop and pumpkin … but I did so anyway just to see how the 3 would go together. And the verdict was: I think I can do with either. I can pile the scallop, foie gras and pumpkin together or eat them separately and it’d be as good. I know, I’m so descriptive.

Linguine with Mazzara Red Prawns and Zucchini

Linguine with Mazzara Red Prawns and Zucchini

I didn’t have this, but I was told this linguine dish was really well done.

Mascarpone Ravioli with Duck Ragout and Red Wine Reduction

Mascarpone Ravioli with Duck Ragout and Red Wine Reduction

Really good ravioli, although I can’t quite taste the red wine reduction. Here, I tasted more the duck (which, I thought was beef) … but in any case, this was a pretty good dish. The portion could be a little bigger though!

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe with Pear and White Asparagus

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe with Pear and White Asparagus

This was my favorite dish of the night … and probably the simplest. Simple is good. But simple is also harder to make good. Al dente was expected and it was. What is harder to see from the photo was that there was basically cheese lined on every strand of spaghetti. What’s more was that there wasn’t too heavy pear and asparagus flavour … it was a mild sort of flavour, which matched the cheese because that wasn’t too overpowering either. This dish did it for me.

Sea Bass on Braised Baby Leek, Olive Oil, Citrus Sauce and Sancho Peppers

Sea Bass on Braised Baby Leek, Olive Oil, Citrus Sauce and Sancho Peppers

This sea bass, like the scallops also flew in from Japan (I think) on the same day. I don’t think it can get any fresher that that … it was cooked just right. You can see a bit of the caramelized edges on the side topped with a good amount of salt and pepper. The red stuff on the side isn’t tomato, but they’re grapefruit bits which adds a hint of sourness to the dish. I’m not food chemist, but I’m guessing that sort of balances out the caramelized bits of the sea bass, which in itself is quite fatty, so as not to make it too filling?

Colorado Lamb Rack with Artichoke Puree, Baby Tomato, Thyme and Black Olive

Colorado Lamb Rack with Artichoke Puree, Baby Tomato, Thyme and Black Olive

I didn’t try this so I can’t tell you what its like. But in retrospect (and if you’re talking about presentation and portion), I wouldn’t gone for this lamb rack!

Wagyu Short Ribs, Wagyu Short Tenderloin and Ox Tongue with Whipped Potato and Red Wine Sauce

Wagyu Short Ribs, Wagyu Short Tenderloin and Ox Tongue with Whipped Potato and Red Wine Sauce

The only thing I tried from this dish was the tenderloin which very soft and juicy (you can taste a bit of the marbling too) … but from what I gathered, the Ox Tongue was extremely well done. I think I’m going to go for that next time!

Pan Fried Brioche with Goat Cheese Ice Cream

Pan Fried Brioche with Goat Cheese Ice Cream

The Goat Cheese Ice Cream was new to me. It was sort of like vanilla ice cream, but it was 酥酥地, you know that gamy smell? Yes that’s right. It was like gamy vanilla and cheese ice cream which I thought was totally bizarre but its soooo good.

Pear Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream

Pear Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream

This was very similar to an apple pie, but why I like this dish so much is because its not as sweet as an apple pie. The pastry was thin and wasn’t too sweet either, but it was buttery. Mixed with vanilla ice cream and your senses will send you all of the signals at the same time: hot, cold, mildly sweet, vanilla, caramel, pear, butter …

2007 Pio Cesare Moscato D'Asti 2007

2007 Pio Cesare Moscato D'Asti 2007

and then you take a sip of Moscato D’Asti and you’ve got honey as well. As Nick put it ever so eloquently, this dessert wine tastes like “Dong Ling Mut” (凍檸蜜 or Lemon Water with Honey)

Château Pichon Comtesse de Lalande, Grand Cru Classé Pauillac 1994

Château Pichon Comtesse de Lalande, Grand Cru Classé Pauillac 1994

Finally, thanks to Nick for this ’94 Chateau Pichon Comtesse de Lalande. I always enjoy a good wine … and to Anne and Steph for bring their wine as well.

So do I have anything bad to say about the restaurant? Well … I would’ve preferred if the portions were a little bit bigger (maybe like 10-20% bigger). If you’re just talking about the appetizer and main course, I was about 50-60% full? But the dessert and the copious amount of wine / dessert wine we had definitely put me closer to 70-80% full.

Otherwise, I think service, quality, plating, decor and taste score full marks. If The Drawing Room keeps up with such an impressive start (and there’s no reason to believe why not), I’m positive they’ll become one of a few Italian restaurants worth going to … and at reasonable prices too!

Siu Yeh Rating: 10/10!

Note: Photos taken with a Ricoh GR Digital … that’s falling apart.

The Drawing Room
1/F., JIA Hotel, 1-5 Irving Street
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2915 6628
Fax: +852 2915 6618
Website: www dot thedrawingroom dot com.hk

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2 Responses

  1. looks delicioussss.. can’t wait to try it!

  2. I also heard some very good comments and look forward to trying this new restaurant. Love the decor as well !

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