Restaurant Review – Breezy Beachside Lunch at Limewood
The limelight has been on Limewood ever since the beachside restaurant swung open its doors late last year in the new trendsetter complex of The Pulse alongside Hong Kong’s iconic Repulse Bay. Located, literally, on the beach, Limewood is a breezy, easygoing hangout that is just a few steps away from the sand. It’s the perfect spot to chill with a frosty glass of margarita, and parents can sip and relax while the kids go free-range on the beach.
Along with the distressed wood and aqua marine decor, Limewood’s menu is an eclectic mix of South East Asian, Hawaiian, South American and Caribbean flavours to match the easygoing beach vibe. I recently luxuriated over a long weekday lunch with fellow blogger Stephanie from Steph 852 Diary to sample some of the signature dishes at Limewood.
Seeing that it was, in fact, a weekday lunch, we went for a refreshing round of lemongrass and French rosemary soda ($70) instead of more rowdier libations. The concoction was simple, and the perfect thirst quencher without an overwhelming gush of sugar. The addition of rosemary was faint, but added some sharpness to the mellower lemongrass. To start, we tried to wrap our hands around the Vietnamese fish taco ($135) with avocado, Asian slaw and a spritz of lime. The packed tacos proved a challenge to eat delicately, and we succumbed to using fork and knife. The fried and battered fish was wonderfully light and tender, and contrasted well with the crunchy cabbage and taco. Quite guilt-free but every bit of it was delicious.
No beach day lunch is complete without guacamole, and the Limewood rendition comes loaded with ikura, sea urchin and pork skin chicharron ($120). As a mama-to-be, there are definitely some sacrifices, so I had to forgo the raw seafood version for the tamer avocado and pork skin variation, which was still addictively moorish. There’s just something magical about fried pork skin (which is essential collagen and fat) mixed with the creaminess of ripe avocado.
The charred corn fritters drizzled with sweet lime yogurt sounded like a great idea on paper, but didn’t live up to expectations. We were expecting a crisp golden crust with pops of succulent sweet corn, but the fritters were rather doughy and dense. The two sides, a coconut jasmine rice ($45) simmered in coconut milk and accented with toasted shallots and kaffir lime, as well as the Caribbean coleslaw ($65) with plump sultanas, a kick of citrus and toasted peanuts, redeemed the points the fritter lost. The fragrant rice had just the right balance of creamy coconut flavour to act as the perfect accompaniment to a main dish without overwhelming the palate, while the faintly sweet coleslaw was refreshingly crunchy without a heavy-handed sauce.
Fish is a key component on any beachside menu, and the deep fried whole snapper in Thai style ($330) was a treat for the palate as well as for the eyes. The kitchen did all the hard work to make our eating easier by filleting the fish and frying the juicy chunks in light, airy batter. The golden morsels are then tumbled onto the fried fish bones and served with a dressing of lemongrass, kaffir lime, scallion and fresh green peppercorn. The result – tender juicy chunks of fish rolled in a tangy sweet sauce, with the fresh peppercorns adding a heaty kick. But the trick here is to eat quick, as the sauce soon deflated the crispiness of the battered fish.
The hero of our meal came in the form of a 24-hour charred beef ribs ($460) marinated in pineapple and mango BBQ sauce. The meaty rib goes into a sous vide bath for hours before flash grilled for that caramelised crunch. The final product is a tender, incredibly flavourful and juicy fall-of-the-bone rib that still gives me shivers of happiness just thinking about it. The portion is sizeable, and is best shared amongst 3 to 4 lucky individuals.
And finally, there’s dessert. I can never pass up on churros, there’s something so comforting about that crunchy cinnamon sugar-dusted exterior encircling a soft moist centre. The hand-piped churros with homemade coconut ice-cream and salted caramel ($90) lived up to all my expectations. Made to order with a 15-min preparation time, these babies are worth every bit of the wait. I was torn between the coconut ice cream and salted caramel, but decided that the caramel was the most perfect dipping buddy for these golden batons.
Verdict: Finally! A beachside restaurant with a fantastic menu to match with its lofty seaside location. Too often (at least in Hong Kong), beachside restaurants tend to slag a bit in the quality of food because they have a captured audience of beachgoers to fleece. This is certainly not the case with Limewood, which serves up the type of hearty yet refined flavours I’ve come to except from Maximal Concept. I’ll even brave the weekend traffic for a meal here.
Shop 103 & 104, Ground Floor, The Pulse
28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay
Tel: +852 2866 8668