Musings of a bon vivant in Hong Kong

Do you know your ABCs?

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I’d forgotten about ABC Kitchen in Sheung Wan until I came across my photos of all its dishes. I attribute this lapse in memory to ABC being a dai pai dong in a cooked food market and having automatically filed it away as a Chinese restaurant.

It’s not. It’s a very well thought out Western eatery surrounded by typical Chinese dai pai dongs, a Nepalese stall is its neighbour in fact. It was opened by the chefs from the now closed M at the Fringe and there are only 4 or 5 large tables. If you think you can waltz in and grab a table, you can forget about it. ABC aka “A Better Cooking” stands out with its Tricolore colours of the Italian flag and it’s bright red chequered tablecloths adorning the tables. The atmosphere isn’t great, we could barely hear each other speak but that wasn’t important. What was, however, was the food, so we decided to order pretty much the entire menu.

The menu was a bit on the scant side, but I was told that the stand out dishes were the bouillabaisse and the suckling pig, so I went in with quite high expectations.

We began the meal with almost all the starters. Being the clever people we are, we miscalculated and ordered only 1 pan fried foie gras which was miniscule and obviously wasn’t going to feed all 7 of us. So, instead of ordering an extra one, Krispy K split it into sevenths. The blob of foie gras I tasted was average, more grease than flavour and I’m not convinced worth the $98.The figs and lapin (that’s rabbit to you and me) salad was good, the figs were refreshing and sweet, complimenting the lapin well and balancing out the richness of the foie gras from before. Next, was the soft shell crab, nicely crisp on the outside, with only the odd one or two soggy bits and not too much batter. Best bit was that it was served with little cornichons- love those things!The margherita pizza was.. a margherita pizza- cheesy. If you can mess that up, then you shouldn’t be allowed in a kitchen let alone open one to the public.Lastly, was the long awaited La Bouillabaisse. This traditional Provencal fish stew was fresh and light and packed with loads of ingredients- fish, scallops, prawns, mussels, squid, cherry tomatoes and onions. Half of us loved it, the other half including myself were indifferent, I felt it needed a bit more seasoning and I grew bored of wading through the mountain of ingredients to get to the soup itself.For mains, we had the roasted suckling pig which was excellent. Crispy, exquisite crackling and little fat, tender, succulent meat on the inside.  The other dish we tried was the spring chicken roll stuffed with goat’s cheese and spinach which was tasty but nothing special and became dry towards the end. Lastly was the angus rib eye steak which was average- not the best place to go to for steak, much too big, too gristly and sloppily presented (no photo of this one).The desserts were pretty good. The banana banoffee pie, so named as there was extra banana, was scrumptious and just the right balance of sweet. The creme brulee was “meh”, not a stand out pudding as it was lacking in smoothness and vanilla flavour. I can’t remember what the mousse was, except that it was mousse like.. sorry, not very helpful! But the chocolate souffle was enjoyable and as always, a joy to deflate 🙂

Overall, ABC Kitchen is a great experience. It’s not everyday that you get to eat decent Western food in a wet market, so get yourself down there for a good slice of suckling pig and remember to book in advance and take a healthy set of lungs so you can shout across the table at your mates.

Chopstixfix rating: 3.5/5

ABC Kitchen, Shop CF7, Food Market, 1 Queen Street, Sheung Wan. Tel: 9278 8227

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Author: chopstixfix

Michelle Ng is a Brit born Chinese-Malaysian who has loved food since time immemorial. She is a firm believer in "Live to Eat, not Eat to Live".

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