February 10, 2014

The Pawn

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It has been some time since a restaurant review post. This is not because there isn’t great food available in Malaysia. Quite the opposite actually. It is just that most of the best places I have eaten here are streetfood vendors or other places westerners may be hesitant to eat as they look a little dingy. Also, while the dining is excellent, the service is often lacking (to be polite) – the money is all on the plate, or banana leaf. Not that meals cost much. There is a joke here that the quality of a restaurant’s food is inversely proportional to the number of walls it has (ceilings optional). There is even an informal rating system from 0 walls (the best) to 4 walls (the worst). As in “this is a good place, I award it 1 wall” or " the food was awful – a four waller".

I’m not sure the same system applies in Hong Kong. We had good and bad streetfood, as well as good and bad food from restaurants. Although one place particularly stands out: The Pawn. Admittedly this serves British cuisine in an Asian country, but I can’t remember the names of any of the excellent Dim Sum places (as they were largely in Chinese characters), so I haven’t written about them. The original intention was to try 22 Ships based on a recommendation. Unfortunately, that place was full and had a waiting list of at least an hour. Being too hungry to wait, a quick walk around the corner led us to The Pawn.

Settling into the English pub decor and devouring the provided excellent bread and oil (a rare sight in Malaysia), we perused the refreshingly small number of menu options. I had the 24 hour pork belly and my companion ordered the Wagyu steak, both sharing a side of “greens”. In all restaurant ordering there is a winner – and this time it was definitely not me. While the pork belly was very good and melted pleasantly in my mouth, the steak was exceptional. Perfectly cooked, the few bites I was allowed convinced me I had ordered badly – probably the best steak I have tasted. We finished by inhaling a dark chocolate and Guinness cake – also very tasty. Service was good (far, far better than we have become accustomed). While at around HK$1000 (with a glass of wine) it is an order of magnitude more expensive than Kuala Lumpur, it roughly matches the UK gastro pubs it clearly aims to emulate.


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