kip that brand new, oversubscribed restaurant and head to these old haunts around town. Not only do you miss the soft opening issues, many of these venues constantly have new dishes to boot. We check out Funkadeli, The Commune Social, and The Peacock Room to see what’s new on the menu.
What rhymes with spritz? At Italian bar Funkadeli, it’s their new chicken cotoletta (¥70). The breaded cutlet is crunchy, tender, and juicy all at once, and pairs impeccably with the bite of Campari. Any drink with the bitter Italian liqueur also goes well with their new eggplant parmigiana (¥60), baked until achingly soft, topped with crispy bread crumbs, and brimming with the scent of fresh basil. So too is the gnocchi (¥60), delightfully chewy and aromatic with pesto, while gorgonzola lends a nutty depth to a white bean soup (¥25 for a small bowl, ¥45 for a big one). Then there’s the warm quinoa salad with vegetables, beetroot, chickpeas, and nuts (¥65): hearty yet surprisingly buoyant, while being as cozy as Funkadeli’s many cushioned nooks that demands you curl up in one with a drink.
291 Fumin Road
Nearest metro station: South Shaanxi Road
The Commune Social continues to play a strong game with their refined take on Spanish tapas. Led by Malaga-born Sergio Moreno, the former Alma chef has introduced new dishes like crunchy, funky blue cheese croquettes (¥58) and scallops (¥92) with avocado and green apple, which are silky, brawny, and snappy. Pita topped with oozy fried egg, spicy chorizo, roasted pumpkin, and feta (¥62) makes for the perfect hangover food that you want to roll up and shove in your face, but Moreno’s ace is surely his fried bell peppers (¥62), which he stuffs with goat curd and layers with anchovies for a dish that is creamy, spicy, and textural.
511 Jiangning Road
Nearest metro station: Changping Road
The Peacock Room
The Peacock Room is an upscale Sichuan restaurant in Taikoo Hui mall that opened in 2017. Set menus were previously the focus here, but now they’re offering a la carte options of the region’s famed dishes. On the menu, recommended items are announced in red and for good reason: fresh abalone in spicy sauce (辣卤鲜仔鲍; ¥138) is tender and intensely juicy, braised beef scalp (红烧牛头方; ¥48) combines melty textures and rich gravy with a slightly absurd name, and Sichuan-style chili crab (火焰纸包蟹; ¥312), which they set on fire in front of you, is buttery, sweet, and tingly. But it’s worth exploring their other dishes, such as tender chilled octopus with caviar (鱼子酱八爪鱼; ¥78), cubes of sweet and spicy crispy pork (怪味干香脆肉; ¥68) that should be Sichuan’s version of popcorn, and sweet corn flour puree with candied fruit and nuts (雪花桃泥; ¥56) that looks like bacon and eggs but tastes like sweet, nutty cornbread. Finish with their chili and black lemon dessert: lemon pulp and Sichuan pepper-spiked cream encased in a white chocolate and black charcoal shell. Thrillingly spicy, yet cool and creamy, it’s pure theater.
HKRI Taikoo Hui, 3/F, 180 Shimen Yi Road
Nearest metro station: West Nanjing Road