It isn't every day you fall in love with a squid. However, I gave my heart away at Mr Hong, a new modern Asian restaurant located in West End, when I ordered the Thai basil seafood stir fry with bell peppers, baby corn, straw mushrooms and bamboo shoots. The squid was exquisitely tender, tossed in a sauce that was sweet and sour with a touch of spice.
It was a difficult choice, though, because Mr Hong's extensive menu offers a mini-holiday for your mind and tastebuds, with a diverse range of dishes drawn from different little pockets of China and South East Asia. Chargrilled skewers, sticky rice, Vietnamese pancakes, pho, stir fried noodles, dim sum and more - no matter your preference, you'll find it here. Better still, breakfast, lunch and dinner are all covered.
Claypot Basa fillet with Hanoi style sugarcane caramelised sauce. Author image.
My companion chose the clay pot dish with basa fillet, with Hanoi style sugarcane caramelised sauce. The freshly cooked dish arrived at our table steaming so much I was fully expecting our pores to open. As is common with Asian cuisine, dishes at Mr Hong are designed to share. No matter what you're having, don't forget to request a side order of fried rice - perhaps the pineapple fried rice or, for a bit of extra tang, the Singapore fried rice. Of course, you don't have to share. You could do as I did, and return alone, during a break in appointments, to sample another favourite - this time, seafood Pad Thai with king prawns, scallops, calamari, fish cake, egg, tofu, chilli, peanut, bean sprouts and chives.
Executive head chef Tuan Anh Hong hand sources quality ingredients from local farms and suppliers every morning. He is ably assisted by wait staff who are knowledgeable, competent and friendly. The restaurant space itself is open and airy, and is conveniently located next to La Macelleria Gelateria, another of my favourite haunts. Of course, that's only if you can tear yourself away from Mr Hong's dessert menu with out-there favourites like the Hong Kong style mango pancake. Then there's the drinks list that's totally designed for grown-ups. Red lotus cocktails, anyone?
An authentic South East Asian experience. Author image.