The noble swine has featured in more restaurant names than most, certainly on here. The Spotted Pig in New York, the Ravenous Pig in Orlando and the Fat Pig in Hong Kong already feature, while the excellent Black Pig in Manila is coming soon. Adding to the confusion is the most aeronautical of them all, The Flying Pig in Sai Ying Pun. These numerous takes on sus domesticus confirm what we already know, namely that most people share a proclivity for pork. Bacon has been bored on about at length already, suffice to say that it probably reached its apex/nadir with this little number I came across in an LA branch of Walgreens:
It may well represent the end of humanity as we know it, but at least we’d die happy. But back to a winter’s evening in Sai Ying Pun and High Street, where the number of new restaurants are certainly popping up more speedily than the world’s slowest escalator that *helps* get you there. The Flying Pig is a collaboration between founder Christopher Przemyski and Hong Kong-based artist Malcolm Golding, the latest addition to the stable of French Creations (Pastis, Metropolitain, Le Comptoir et al).
The design apparently features both ‘urban cool’ and ‘casual rustic’, an intriguing combination, but Golding’s vision manages to end up being creative without pretention. Graffiti on the walls, an odd broken mirror behind the bar set the scene, but once the plates start arriving, diners are immediately distracted.
Chris Przemyski has worked in Michelin Star joints and takes his job seriously, demonstrated by genuine, warm and knowledgable service. He knew I was reviewing the joint, but seemed to be charming every table that night with equal amounts of hospitality and explaining the dishes. The menu is mercifully short and to the point, no faffing around with descriptions vying to win the Nobel prize for literature. So, sliders are ‘pulled BBQ pork and coleslaw salad’. How refreshing. These little beauties run $108 for four and set the tone for the rest of dinner, namely by delivering serious flavour, quality ingredients and texture. You can’t ask for much more and you can’t get much better. By far the best pulled pork in Hong Kong, it’s clearly been cooked low and slow, after being steeped in a Jack Daniels based marinade.
A citrus heavy glass of gweilo pale ale is the perfect pairing.
Suckling pig is difficult to do really well. In no time, it can go from a perfect roast to comedy toast:
But here ($255) they nail it again, even if the fries are served in a mini shopping basket, sure to ensure the wrath of we want plates. It’s fall-apart tender below, crisp and crackling above, the seasoning just the right side of liberal.
Lamb Wellington ($245) is prettily plated and more great eating, for once veering off the pork highway. Just the right colour and cook on the meat in its crisp pastry carapace, sensational creamed leeks and a deeply attractive rosemary jus. It’s an ostensibly simple plate that shows care and no little skill in the kitchen, delivering on every front. I really liked it.
At this stage the white flag was being hoisted if not yet waved, but pork knuckle with sauerkraut and Dutch mashed potato (ie including other veg) was too good to pass up ($245). Sauerkraut has quickly moved from a culinary joke to a contemporary must-have, along with the general wave of all things fermented and pickled. It’s just the right side of sharp and sour, valiantly trying to cut through the richness of the slow cooked knuckle. As classically German as Goethe and reserving sun loungers, this was another winner.
Dessert was definitely a bowl too far, but a solid rendition of the English classic Eton Mess ($78) shows that the kitchen can pull off decent things with cream, strawberries and homemade meringue too.
All round this was an excellent dinner of comfort food of the highest order. They don’t try to be too clever or deconstructed, but serve the sort of dishes you’d never realistically cook at home, leaving you replete and fairly-charged. Pigs may fly indeed.
Set 3 course Lunch for HK$98
Brunch Menu HK$188 + HK$188 free-flow house wine