The Optimist Hong Kong
Championing Spain's North in a grill-focussed menu
When in Hong Kong, brunches seem to be quite an event for the weekend, where it’s a time for many to relax and rewind over a long degustation meal. Here it lasts for hours over never-ending champagne and long conversations.
The Optimist is one of the best places to situate yourself for a classic weekend Brunch or evening dinner. With an absolutely energetic and lively atmosphere, warm and friendly staff, and talented chefs at the helm for a Northern Spanish grill-focussed menu. Here, inspiration is taken directly from Castiglia, Basque, North Galizia to name a few.
The Optimist presents Spanish style of tapas, with bread baked fresh daily and their charcoaled options baked in the Josper charcoal oven, a rarity in the city where only two exist in the whole of Hong Kong.
The vibrant Mediterranean interior of The Optimist presents sectioned tables with transparent wooden latticed booths, industrial concrete flooring, gold and white lampshades with tropical bird illustration artworks hung on each of the bright turquoise walls, providing the feeling that you are certainly immersed in their “created” Spain with a luxe twist. Being situated on the main Hennessy Road is almost forgotten, as Bamboo blinds unwind over the light-filled glass window facade and you remain in The Optimist world.
Upbeat music filled the restaurant like a Spanish fiesta, with soul and funk from James Brown to Al Green and Marvin Gaye, selected by an Ibiza-based DJ and their ongoing music collaborator.
Executive Chef Alfredo Rodriguez Sangrador brings 14 years of experience in Spanish cuisine, he himself working in Madrid at Lobby Market, La Lumbre del Cacique and the Michelin-starred Kabuki Wellington. Whilst Head Chef Matthew Hoskins’ background working as a chef in the Caribbean has allowed him to approach the menu with diversity and experience, sourcing ingredients locally where possible.
Immediately welcomed by the genuinely informed and knowledgeable staff, Restaurant Manager Guzman Vereda had a great sense of humour and conviviality with pride and knowledge to match. Coming from his hometown of Madrid and after several years living and working in various cities abroad, it paired for his strong background in hospitality.
To start our meal, we opted for Ham Croquettes, Charcuterie cheese and the Broken Eggs “Huevos Rotos” a Spanish tradition of ‘breaking the eggs’, (a mix of eggs, chorizo, prosciutto, potato) perfectly balanced and not overly salty.
The Duck confit with Charcoal baked rustic potatoes and capers, was smooth and delectable due to it’s long roast in the Josper, with the Black Truffle Rice “Cremoso” and Eggplant “Berenjena al horno” including eggplant, goat cheese and walnut. To accompany our meal we opted for the Bloody Mary brunch cocktail, strong and made with the mixologists’s own bitters in-house.
For dessert, the Cheesecake with Cranberry and Raspberry Purée is not to miss. A signature dish in the Northern part of Spain, the chefs here have also applied the same, simplistic approach for their own take on cheesecake.
Spending an afternoon or evening in The Optimist world, you won’t be disappointed.
(This article comes in partnership with our friends at MeltingButter)
239 Hennessy Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong