After almost a year of reviews, the first from Lantau. Mui Wo, to be precise, half an hour from the Central piers. Here to revisit Bahce, a cheap and cheerful Turkish joint first experienced after a hike – well, hikette – over the hill from DB.
It can be dangerous to review somewhere following strenuous physical activity as real hunger can skew the experience, morphing otherwise pedestrian eats into a culinary joy. This time eating follows nothing more taxing than the gentle rock of the ferry ride over.
Pulling in just after six pm, an intriguing sight outside the pier. Eight or so expats, standing and sitting by a low wall around by one of the numerous bus stops, drinking from cans and bottles. It’s odd because they don’t move over the course of 3 hours. It’s later revealed that this is known locally as the ‘wall bar’. Is there not somewhere slightly more picturesque or atmospheric than a bus station? The China Bear pub is one of half a dozen bars within about 150 yards. What do they do when it rains, gather under one of the shelters? Maybe it’s a pure economics thing, like the 14 year olds in Lan Kwai Fong hitting up cans from the 7-11 – ‘Club Seven’ as I’m told it’s called. Each to their own and all that, I suppose.
Anyway Bahce is a simple joint with cold Efes beer, Turkish carpets on the walls and friendly Pinoy staff. Eating outside affords a view of the wall bar and the pier as people begin to stream home off the ferries.
The mixed Meze platters are a steal, together enough for two for dinner. Here the haydari is a pretty-pungent yoghurt cut through with herbs, the kisir that classic mix of bulgur wheat, tomato and fresh parsley. The rest are old favourites you know and love, while the pita bread is decent – and incidentally not straight from the shelves of Wellcome, unlike one Middle Eastern restaurant in Wan Chai which charges almost $400 per person for a mixed platter of tiny servings.
On the meat and fish side, forgettable calamari rings but the rest of the usual suspects are decent and the walnut sauce – not unlike a Muhammra that is deceptively easy to make – is a belter.
With a bottle of rosé, a few beers and another main, dinner barely breaks $1000 for four people. A steal.
To cap it all, a couple doors down is an Indian restaurant with possibly the smartest branding in Asia. Whoever dreamt it up deserves a knighthood – and a job offer from Sir Martin Sorrell.
Shop 19, G/F, Mui Wo Centre, 3 Ngan Wan Road, Lantau Island Tel: +852 2984 0222