Restaurant Review – Enomod “Social Dining” in Soho
On a thunderstorm evening a few weeks back, I braved the relentless rain to catch up with an old friend. Well, to be precise, the “catch-up” in question was long overdue, since I haven’t seen this friend since Grade 6 elementary school in faraway Vancouver. Since then, we’ve both worked and lived in different parts of the world, and have randomly met again (through the blessings of social media) only to find out that we now reside on the same street in Hong Kong! Amazing how small the world can feel some times.
My random ramblings aside, I suggested meeting at the newish Enomod to try out their “social dining” concept, since what better way to rekindle old friendships than to break bread together?
Enomod (short for Enoteca Moderna) opened its doors only a couple of months ago in the old Entourage space on lower Elgin Street in trendy Soho. The decor is a mixture of 1920s Prohibition era chic with some homey comfort “living room” elements thrown in. On a Tuesday night, there were only 2 tables occupied when we walked in, so the atmosphere felt quite sparse.
Once seated, we began getting reacquainted, and debated over menu items to better understand each other’s foodie preferences. Ultimately, we gave up on our polite banter of “oh, I’m happy with whatever you choose” and let the friendly, energetic server pick their house specialities instead.
First up, an assortment of grilled vegetables. Very platonic, and rather uninspiring. If I had to choose, I’d say the grilled eggplant seeped in olive oil is my favourite.
The second dish of honeyed, cinnamon beef tenderloin tips tossed in a Marsala sauce and dusted with slivered almonds was delicious. Tender, juicy, and succulent, it was also a very “social” sharing dish. However, the overall composition reminded me of the beef fillet stir-frys at many Chinese teahouse (茶餐厅) around town. Sorry, it was good, but not particularly memorable.
Slow-roasted lamb rump coated in pistachio crumbs was very tender, and cooked perfectly to blushing rose. However, I wished there was more “oomph” in the seasoning.
Mussels simmered in tomato oregano sauce – an option the server strongly suggested to us. This was delicious, and the mussels were plump and juicy. However, whenever I’m in the mood for mussels, my loyalty remains to nearby Bouchon for their huge bucket of plump beauties.
The carbonara with walnuts was my favourite dish of the evening – creamy, gooey and so comforting. I am also nuts about walnuts (harharhar lame pun) so it was the perfect pairing of ingredients for me. Never mind each forkful was probably 500 calories, I almost licked the plate clean.
Verdict: As Homer Simpson likes to say to express his indifference – “meh”! This restaurant has definitely been getting its share of publicity and hype, and I had to wonder where all the praises were coming from. There are plenty of “concept” restaurants popping up around town based around social, sharing style menus, and I felt that the gimmicky concept behind Enomod’s menu of dividing items into different categories (wood, stones, ceramics and coppers) was overkill. The most important element for a restaurant should be its food, and I feel that Enomod is only average in this category. Hence, I wouldn’t be revisiting this place anytime soon. No fluff, just keeping it real.
1/F, 1-5 Elgin Street