2nd August 2019 – (Hong Kong) Olé Spanish Restaurant which has a history of nearly 21 years on Ice House Street, Central, is the grandfather of authentic Spanish cuisine in Hong Kong. Olé’s restaurant Head chef Antonio Martin and the group executive chef, Jesus Pascual, are two Spanish chefs who have recently created a very rare “Northern Spanish Banquet” for Hong Kong customers. We have been invited to try this rare cuisine yesterday evening.
The decor of Olé has remained virtually unchanged since opening, having drawn from the style of traditional Spanish bistro, with its walls ornate with a vast variety of art pieces by Spanish artists. Customers will dine to the lively atmosphere from live Spanish guitar performances during the brunch and dinner slot, which fully brings the dining experience at a Spanish restaurant to life.
In order to create authentic Basque and Northern Spanish dishes for the Hong Kong crowd, Chef Antonio and Chef Jesus find the ingredients from Northern Spain. Coupled with their deep knowledge of cooking techniques used in the northern cuisine, their culinary creations will definitely be a feast of sensational enjoyment, giving Hong Kong customers a full experience to taste some of the finest meals in northern Spanish and Basque cuisine.
The northern part of Spain is made up of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and Basque Country regions, and the vast Bay of Biscay is at its north which is abundant in seafood. The rainy and cool climate provides fertile grassland and rich soil in the northern inland areas, which is perfect for keeping livestock and planting crops, allowing ingredients to be produced and used to create simple homestyle meals that are the essence of the cuisine in northern Spain.
For entrée, we were served with Burgos Blood & Rice Sausage with Piquillo and Focaccia Pintxo. The overall texture of the rice sausage was soft and consistent. Dry-cured Spanish jamón and Finca Pascualete Mini Torta Cheese were also served. The Mini Torta Cheese was pungent and creamy while the texture is similar to Camembert.
The Codfish Tongue “kokotxas’ & cockles in Parsley-wine sauce didn’t tickle our fancy as it was too fishy. We prefer the Canadian version in Newfoundland where chefs fry cod tongues as delicacies. Each “tongue” is actually a small muscle extracted from the back of the fish’s neck.
The next dish, Alaska Black cod with clams, cod maw and green tear peas in Basque sauce impressed us. The texture of the fish was tender-firm and not flaky. The sauce paired like twins and the green tear peas offered a mild sweetness to the flavour.
Pearl Chicken Breast stuffed with prunes, morels & Solera Perigord was one of our favourite dishes too because it mixed the sweetness of prunes and the savoury chicken breasts in a wonderful way. Another dish served was 60°C “Bacalao” Cod, porcini confit, Asparagus and Potato Pil Pil 60, the fish was cooked at the perfect temperature of 60°C making the fish texture soft, lean and mild.
For desserts, we had Cantabric cheesecake with summer berries and port reduction. This cheese cake made from cow’s milk cheeses found in the north, along the Cantabrian coast of Spain. It was sweet but cheesy and tangy at the same time. We also tried another pineapple dessert served with ice cream. To our surprise, the sweetness of the pineapple was somehow toned down and it was not overpowering.
The overall dining experience was good. We were particularly impressed with the Alaska Black cod, 60°C “Bacalao” Cod, the mini Torta Cheese and the Pearl Chicken breast with prunes. However, we felt that the Northern Spanish banquet offered by Olé focused too much on fish dishes, other varieties such as Chuleta Rib Eye from Basque region, Croquettes with a potato base, cheese and jamon would give meat eaters more options to choose from. For desserts, if the chefs would serve Tarta de Santiago, a thin almond cake from Galicia in Santiago de Compostela, we would definitely come back to try.
Value for money : 3/5
Ambience : 3.5/5
Service : 4/5
Olé Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar
Address: 1/F, Shun Ho Tower, 24-30 Ice House Street, Central
Reservation: (852) 2523 8624