22 Ships: Addictive Tapas and Unique Blackboard Specials
22 Ship St. Wanchai, Hong Kong
22 Ships is one of my favourite restaurants in Hong Kong. Opened by Michelin-star chef, Jason Atherton, the trendy little eatery is tucked away on a side street on Hong Kong Island. My favourite thing about the place is that once you’re seated inside, the ambiance and the food makes you totally forget that you’re in Hong Kong at all. The servers don’t even speak Chinese. I love restaurants in Hong Kong that transport me out of the smoggy, polluted city of ultra rude people, and I’m fooled into thinking I’m somewhere in Europe or North America again.
22 Ships is a Spanish tapas restaurant so we shared everything. We sat right up at the bar and watched all the small plates be meticulously assembled. My husband still thinks fine dining is mostly a sham and almost laughed out loud when a small plate of tea sandwiches went past us. “I wonder how much they charge for those normal looking puny sandwiches,” he chuckled.
Luckily, I didn’t order the sandwiches. We picked an item from each of the menu’s categories, a few of which were recommended by our server as making the restaurant’s top 10 list of favourite dishes. To start, we picked a smoked salmon and endive dish, it was one of the night’s blackboard specials. A giant blackboard in the back of restaurant advertises each night’s specials. The salmon was drizzled with some sort of amazing beet oil that enhanced the smoked fish flavour. It was as delicious as it was gorgeous, rich reds, oranges and bright greens from the fruit and veggies on the plate, each bite was succulent and juicy.
Next up, we ordered the beef tartare dressed with little perfect squirts of egg yolk and fresh parsley with a big helping of crisps. My hubby loves beef tartare and I’m only so-so on it but 22 Ships’ tartare was scrumptious! Smooth, savoury with just the right hint of salt and spice. We were practically eating the stuff with our spoons after we devoured all the crisps to spread tartare on.
Another menu item that caught our eye were the sliders, they were stuffed with a juicy Iberico pork patty with foie gras, avocado and pickled cucumbers. My only complaint was that this little burger was too tall! All the ingredients were delicious and well-paired though, the bun was soft and buttery and that patty was unbelievable, perfectly spiced pork with that addictive fatty juiciness that you can only get from pork.
Our favourite dish was simply the fried calamari. We saw a lot of other diners ordering it too. It was impossible to eat just one of these deep fried crispy and spicy calamari rings. I have to admit, it seriously reminded me of barbecue chips but in a good way.
22 Ships is a tiny little eatery so it’s not ideal for big groups but it’s great for an intimate dinner or place to grab quick late night snacks. Don’t forget to order the calamari!