Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Comfort Cuisine

hkLifestyleGeek visits Comfort by Harlan G

Celebrity chef Harlan Goldstein's new mantra is comfort food and has opened a restaurant showcasing his personal favourite dishes in a laid-back setting. Comfort is located in the same space where Strip House used to be, and the steakhouse is temporarily closed until Mr G finds another space for it. In the meantime Comfort is a small space with lots of natural light coming from the windows, with a bar by the entrance that doubles as an appetiser buffet area for lunch.

It's a bit cramped in there, but more importantly if you want to eat here you have to make a reservation otherwise there's hardly any chance of eating here at a decent time slot.

Nevertheless, Harlan's definition of comfort food is a collection of recipes he's collected over the years from his time in the United States, China and Hong Kong. As a result it's an eclectic menu of dishes one would consider as comfort food.

To start off the culinary journey of comfort, the beet salad with organic quinoa, mixed with cucumbers and tomatoes topped with a spiced yogurt dressing and pumpkin seeds already sated our stomachs. It was refreshing, hearty but also very good for you. We wonder if this salad was part of Goldstein's diet to lose 20 kilograms and it seems he's keeping it off too.

Next up wagyu bresaola with Gorgonzola cheese casually placed over the cured meat along with a sprinkling of walnuts and honey. Another winner that was quickly devoured.

The pictures of Goldstein's pork belly baos served in dim sum steamers make your mouth water and we had to try some. The deep-fried soft-shell crab had layers of crispiness and surprisingly not too heavy, while the pork belly baos were definitely about flavour, tender meat topped with hoi sin sauce in a steamed soft bun.

Another dish of grilled octopus was straight-forward on a bed of Greek saffron potato skordalia sauce, but we quite enjoyed the Mediterranean flavours from the lemon herbed grilled Halloumi cheese on Indian spiced spinach.

Goldstein is also well known for his pasta dishes and the bucatini with prawns, tomatoes and basil hit the spot. The taste from this dish is so fresh it's almost as if we were transported to Italy.

One of Comfort's signature dishes is the pork ribs that are slow cooked and then smoked and chargrilled served with a balsamic syrup and roasted garlic for extra pungency. The meat practically falls off the bone and again it's all about flavour.

For a taste of Asia, Goldstein's "Tai Tai beef brisket curry" is delicious, with chunks of tender beef along with beef tendon in a thick curry sauce perfectly complemented with white rice.

If that's not enough, desserts will tempt your tastebuds further. The dark chocolate mousse with Amaretto cherries, honeycomb and crispy popcorn comes in a mason jar and sinfully good to the last spoonful! Another dessert is the classic apple crumble that arrived in a copper pan with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and more vanilla sauce on the side.

For drinks there are cocktails, American craft beers and an international wine list, and even Swedish Rekorderlig ciders, in mixed berry and pear flavours. The berry flavour is fruity, while the pear is more subtle and sophisticated.

With appetisers ranging from HK$78 to HK$178 and mains from HK$148 to HK$248 and the dishes encourage sharing, there's going to be lots of feasting around Comfort.

5/F, Grand Progress Building
15-16 Lan Kwai Fong
2521 8638

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