Afterthoughts – Harrington’s, Gastropub with Class
Quality gastropubs are, ironically, hard to find in this former British colony. That’s why I’ve earmarked Harrington’s as my favourite gastropub in Hong Kong, because it merges hearty food and class flawlessly together. Unlike the yesteryears of my early 20s, I like to now avoid LKF like the plague, having graduated to more “mature” settings. However, for Harrington’s, I would gladly venture into the drink-sodden party district.
Harrington’s shares an entrance with Mella Club, but that’s about all the commonality between the two. Upon arrival, you walk through a long bar area where happy hour drinkers can unravel after a long work day. The bar opens up to the spacious dining room, set in calm white and beige tones. I love the straight forward, anti-frou frou menu. And like any brag-worthy gastropub, they do a mean roast. Ironically, this British gastropub also make a delicious duck confit, which I am addicted to and order almost every time I’m here.
The service here is always excellent, with very personable hosts that remind me of the level of service we get in good North American restaurants.
Now, this time round, we started with my favourite appetizer at Harrington’s – crispy skinned cubes of pork nestled in sweet tomatoey sauce. This dish always reminds me of the Chinese contemporary, 脆皮乳豚 or suckling pig. Each cube is juicy and well marbled with layers of fat and meat, topped off with a crispy wafer of porky skin.
Since I always order the duck confit here, I decided to try something different. At the waitress’s recommendation, I surrendered again to my love of pork with the decision of ordering the pork chop. It came to the table accompanied by a sweet caramel-tasting apple (I suspect this is achieved with a lot of butter over the baked apple) and some roasted vegetables. What was an added surprise was a big piece of crispy pork skin! Pork and apples are a perfect marriage, and this dish was great. Although, not as great as the epic pork chop I had at Press in Napa Valley, but then, food in Napa is in another class of its own. I wished the pork at Harrington’s, however, had been brined longer, as without the sauce it was rather under seasoned. I did enjoy the overall composition though.
At my urging, one of my dinner buddies decided on the duck confit (this was a selfish strategic move as I was hoping to also steal some from him after). The duck leg is tender and juicy, and encrusted in crisp golden skin. And paired with layers of sauteed spinach and potato, it felt like a healthy, complete meal. I couldn’t help but sneak a morsel.
My other dinner buddy went for the classic beef tenderloin, seared medium rare, with frites. I also negotiated a piece of this succulent steak, which was well charred and had beautiful grill marks.
We’re not big eaters, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to taste this classic British dessert. Ever since I watched Nigella Lawson make this in one of her programs, I’ve been meaning to try Eton Mess. If the boys of Eton really came up with this, then they are brilliant indeed! Strawberries, cream, and light airy meringue, there are few things that make such a good combo, although I could have gone lighter on the sugar.
Verdict: Scrumptious good times! I love this place – it’s a great standby for days when I want a hearty meal but in a classy environment. It’s romantic and private enough for a tete-a-tete date, and spacious enough for a group gathering. Food quality and service are always consistent and excellent. I just can’t pick a bone with this place (unless it’s picking meat off the bone of their delectable roasts)!
I want to try their Sunday roast soon – I’ve learned about this British custom from an English friend of mine, and adore this tradition.
Tel: 2522 1823
1/F, Ho Lee Commercial Building