Well it was Valentine’s day and even though I never fall for peer pressure, I had a lot of (subliminal) pressure from the supreme commander as many of her friends were going out for romantic dinners around HK… Still, I am one of those who believe that going for dinner on Valentine’s day is not a good idea (my usual excuse is… too commercial… Yeah thats under the belt but it worked until then!) and that if we did we would certainly end up in some crappy Soho restaurant eating overcooked pasta from a big fat Italian cook (oh wait no, that’s a Disney movie) with a guy coming in and trying to oversell me half dead roses for the “Madame” (well that’s how it usually happens in Paris… Not so sure for Hong Kong).
Now, this time Houston, I had a problem. The Supreme commander had no other plans for the evening on that Valentine day and she decided to join me for an early dinner in Central… with a two hour notice… Again no pressure intended, but still… Felt the pressure quite hard! And there I was, looking like a deer in the middle of the road staring at the car lights coming right at me… hypnotized with no idea of where to go… And there I stayed until the car smashed me (oh dear…). So after two hours starring at the car lights with an empty brain, the Supreme Commander arrived and my plan was as flawless as the one the English had made to defend Singapore… Hold still and wait… We all know how successful that went, as successful as the French in 1940 (what? Who said a disaster? I didn’t!)
So we went off for dinner and I fired my last bullets and offered the only option that I had left while wrapping it in a semi romantic package: “hey how about we stroll around and see where the wind (or the pollution) takes us?”. Well to my big surprise, it worked and she agreed to this last resort plan…
And there we were, strolling around in LKK, Central… I tried all the tricks in my book. Brickhouse? Full… go away you junkie! Cevva? Haha don’t even think about it baby… Bistecca? You must be joking right? Lily and Blum? Ahahaha, are you out of your mind!?
So there I was, with no ideas left when I had suddenly the light bubble pop on top of my head! I remembered there was the Socialito… The Socialito is Mexican style restaurant that replaced the nightclub Prive. The idea is that there is a bar in the front where they sell Mexican drinks and sombreros (not sure about the second item, don’t quote me on this) and in the back, in a (not so) secret door, you can also access the restaurant. So we went to the Socialito bar as I had no idea where the restaurant was. After hesitating one of the waitresses of the bar came to us and we were showned the door on the side of the bar and there we asked, with a Puss in Boots look, if they had a table for two weary travelers… And they did! But we had to release the table by 9PM (it was around 7:30). We agreed promptly and got in.
Now the place looks really nice. I like the lights even though they are very dim (I mean VERY dim like you hardly see what’s in your plate). The music is good but (we went back there with a group of friends) it would be good if it wasn’t that loud when it gets closer to 11pm (by then restaurant turns into a night club, they are good at optimizing space in HK right?). I mean its not ear ripping type, but you sure need to focus to hear the person that is two seats away from you and sometimes that can get frustrating.
So we sat at one of the corner tables. I sat on one of the chairs while the Supreme commander was literally swallowed by the huge red sofa (yes it’s a little fluffy but still quite nice). We decided to order simple food (we weren’t that hungry to be honest, we usually eat more around 9pm than 7pm).
Food overall was excellent. We started with some Guacamole (really good), sliced tomatoes where we dipped some nachos and a beer (Dos Equis), quite a nice way to start a dinner even though the feel is not very Valentines-like (but we declined the special valentine set). Then we ordered two dishes, the Waguy beef (which is perfectly cooked and with a very good sauce) and a white fish (again, excellent cooking and presentation was amazing). Again, no comment it was all excellent and well prepared.
The Waguy is presented on a wooden plancha. We shared that (yes, I told you it was for Valentine haven’t I? I would have eaten everything but this meant war on that day).
All in, a pretty good experience. Place is nice, food is of good quality. On the two nights we went there (in just a few days) I have to say the service was very uneven. For Valentines the service was excellent but given the hour (7pm) there were only a few tables and there was no pressure. When we went back there with a group of friends on a Saturday night, the service was pretty bad. It was messy, you either had two people looking after your table or none the minute after. Drinks were forgotten and had to ask three times to get it (am talking about getting a beer here, not a “Cuba Libre”). So the service is a little of a let down on this one but globally still derserve a very decent rating as the service is like everywhere in HK… Uneven!
So to conclude (all ratings based on 5)
Service was below par on Saturday evening. However, this was very uneven as the service was quite good before (but not under stress).
All in a good experience. Had the service been of quality the two times I went there, I would have probably given it a 4 baguettes. But its very borderline and the service failed under pressure on Saturday. For the rest it is, if the service is up to it, a 4 baguette restaurant even though the food remains quite simple, its good, well presented and the ingredients are fresh and good. Loved the variety and the transformation into a night club is quite interesting.
Advice: Just book a table on Friday or Saturday night and when the king of the bongo steps in (yeah theres a guy playing bongos starting around 10ish dressed like an Eddy Barclay party but its actually quite a good idea as he makes the transition) put on your suit and get ready to dance the night away (you’ll need to burn some of the calories you’ve accumulated during the dinner!). Maybe the next step for the Socialito is to do a Hangover bar for the following morning and then the loop will be complete!