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March 19, 2009

Back to Basics

You’ve had your fair share of Kobe Beef topped with Pan Seared Foie Gras. Your most recent detox lunch was Pan-fried Sea Bass in Celery Foam topped with Osciertra Caviar (good for the skin!) and you practically get through a forest full of Truffles every season. But when was the last time you dug into a plate of homemade Gnocchi Ragu or a savoury home-cooked Paella, served straight from the pan? Sometimes you’ve just got to go back to basics. And lucky for us, a few new restaurants in town are serving up hard-to-find, hearty, authentic dishes that help us do just that. Sink your teeth into these two succulent treats. . .

Uno Mas
Whether it’s one more glass of wine or one more story, the Spanish are renowned for making the most of every experience and savouring the moment. A similar philosophy was applied when creating Uno Mas (meaning: one more), Hong Kong’s new, fantastically authentic Tapas restaurant. The Chef hails from Valencia, the open-kitchen ambience is straight out of La Boqueria market in Barcelona, and the food and wine take you right back to your last Spanish holiday. Book in an extra gym session for the day after, cause you won’t want to miss a thing on this stellar menu. Start with a glass of Rioja or a bottle of Barcelona’s lavender flavoured Inedit Beer (for the table of course!). Then ask for the Bread with Tomato and a selection of Spanish meats like Jamon Serrano and Chorizo, accompanied by Pork Liver Pate and Manchego cheese. Next up is the chef’s melt-in-your-mouth Potato, Onion and Egg Tortilla and an order of piping hot Ham Croquetas. Follow this by the Paella Negra, cooked with squid ink and white wine, topped with fresh seafood and served hot, straight out of the pan. Still hungry? It’s time to try the Chef’s personal specialties, which include Grilled Calamari stuffed with spiced lentils and sausage and tender Lamb Shanks braised in a chocolate glaze. And just when you thought this meal couldn’t get any more decadent, it’s time for dessert. Do not, we repeat, do not, leave without trying the Churros a la Felipe, fried dough dusted with cinnamon sugar accompanied by infused chocolate cream, which we’ve been dreaming about since the very first bite. But if you must go astray, a luscious Manchego Cheesecake also gets very high marks on the dream-o-meter. With our new Spanish attitude, we made the most our experience at Uno Mas, but we’re still craving something. . . one more meal there! (1/F, 54-62 Lockhart Road, Wanchai, 2527 9111, http://www.arcanatables.com)

Mrs Jones
Mention to a friend that you’re going over to Mrs Jones’ on a Sunday evening and we’re quite sure it will conjure the image of you visiting a sweet, elderly relative for a home-cooked meal. Little do they know that the real Mrs Jones is a new, casual and inviting Italian joint that dishes up mouth-watering comfort food classics, and has quickly become a staple on your weekly dining docket. Inspired by Billy Paul’s jazz hit, “Me & Mrs Jones”, the restaurant holds true to its namesake by complementing its upbeat cuisine with live jazz music on Saturday evenings. The menu offers many of the exact dishes that your (or your friend’s) Italian grandma used to spend all day cooking on Sundays. Starters like Beef Carpaccio with aged balsamic and rocket and hearty Mushroom Soup set the stage for palate pleasing mains like Chicken Parmigiana topped with fresh mozzarella and served with a side of Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes, succulent Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce, classic Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu, and scrumptious Pumpkin and Marscapone filled Ravioli with Sage Butter. We know you can’t resist dessert! A classic, creamy and flavourful Tiramisu or Honey Semifreddo, semi-frozen ice cream with crushed honeycomb are a delicious end to the meal, which will entice you to return to this little gem again and again. A few things the real Mrs Jones has in common with her alter-ego; she’s sweet, filled with old world charm and her excellent cooking makes you want to stick around for hours! (79 Wyndham Street @ Pottinger Street, Central, 9123 6049, http://www.mrsjones.hk)

So, you’ve decided which five dishes to devour tomorrow night. . . now you just have to think of creative ways to work up an appetite!



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