Celebrated UK chef introduces his modern tapas cuisine in masterful new neighbourhood eatery.
January 26th, 2013
Tapas dining in Hong Kong took on a new dimension with the October 2012 opening of 22 Ships– a compact street front, neighbourhood eatery style restaurant in Wanchai serving a modern, British influenced, Spanish tapas cuisine. The creation of Michelin-starred UK chef James Atherton, and local partner Yenn Wong- founder of the JIA Boutique Hotels Group, 22 Ships embraces the recent international culinary trend for the democratisation of dining- which dispenses with the stuffy formality of the traditional fine dining experience, and brings gourmet cuisine to the street front in an accessible, casual and relaxed setting. An intimately proportioned space- 22 Ships seats just 35 diners at its central U shaped bar and at a window-front open air bench, and with a No Reservations and No Service charge policy, all customers are treated equally and there is not a hint of any pretentiousness behind the counter.
The opening of 22 Ships marks the entry of James Atherton (a protégé of Ferran Adrià and Gordon Ramsay) into the Hong Kong dining scene, adding to his burgeoning presence in other major Asian metropolises, with several recent restaurant openings in Singapore and Shanghai, and to his celebrated flagship London restaurant- Pollen Street Social. As Culinary Director at 22 Ships, Atherton worked with his Executive Chef, Matt Bishop, to craft a concise menu featuring a modern creative tapas cuisine, grounded in the traditional Spanish style tapas, but overlaid with a contemporary British culinary influence.
Located on Ship Street, a small side street in the post- industrial area of central Wanchai now undergoing accelerated urban renewal- the restaurant presents an open facade to the pavement and exudes an industrial chic design ethos with a minimalist decor of whitewashed brickwork, concrete flooring, exposed ceiling ductwork, recycled timber benches and stainless steel counter tops. Windows across the frontage fold back to open up the interior to the outside street- with open air seating at the pavement side benchtop. In the evenings the pavement space outside 22 Ships becomes a buzzing social hub as diners either wait for tables or enjoy an after-dinner drink.
22 Ships opens daily (except Sundays) for lunch and dinner- seats are a hot commodity- so a wait can be expected. There is space inside for standing drinkers, and drinks can also be consumed on the pavement space outside.
Street front windows fold back to reveal the indoor/outdoor timber bench for casual communal dining.
The compact interior exudes an industrial chic style with whitewashed brickwork, concrete screed flooring and retro industrial-styled luminaires. Counters fashioned from recycled timber and bracketed onto the walls provide further seating for diners and standing spaces for drinkers.
Diners seated at the stainless steel bar counter have an up-close interaction with the culinary team and serving staff.
Executive Chef Matt Bishop preparing a plate of the popular Char grilled Ibérico pork and foie gras burgers.
The inspirational cuisine created by Atherton and 22 Ships Head Chef Matt Bishop utilises the best of both European and Asian ingredients, bringing a modern touch to the traditional classics of Spanish tapas. The place-mat menu offers an eclectic selection of finely crafted dishes, grouped under headings of “Para Picar”, “Eggs!”, “Seafood”, “Meat”, “Vegetables” and “Dessert”. Notable dishes include Scallop ceviche, yuzu dressing, soy, cucumber and apple; Seared tuna, miso aubergine, sherry dressing; Suckling Pig, roasted apple with spices, piquillo pepper; and the signature Char Grilled Iberico pork and foie gras burgers, avocado and pickled cucumber. Desserts are a specialty of Atherton, with intriguing flavour combinations- the standout dishes including the London favourite- “PBJ’ peanut parfait, blueberry sorbet, salted peanut crunch; Crispy lemon meringue, cucumber sorbet, gin jelly; and Olive oil brioche, chocolate ganache, sea-salt, pistachio.
Drinks are an essential lubricant in the sociable tapas dining experience- the beverage program at 22 Ships offers a good selection of mostly European wines, artisan Spanish cava and sherries, Spanish beer, and the delicious house Sangria.
Char grilled Ibérico pork and foie gras burgers with avocado and pickled cucumber. A signature dish of 22 Ships.
Spanish Breakfast- chorizo and potato.
The signature 22 Ships Sangria.
From Spain’s artisan cava producer- Segura Viudas- the Reserva Heredad- distinctive, artisan méthode champenoise sparkling wine.
(Click on image to enlarge menu)
22 Ships- modern tapas bar- Hong Kong
Address: 22 Ship Street, Wanchai. Hong Kong
MTR: Wanchai station – ExitB2- 5 minutes walk.
Enquiries: +852. 2555 0722
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/22Ships
Monday – Saturday Lunch 12:00 pm ~ 3:00 pm / Dinner 6:00 pm ~ 11:00 pm
Closed on Sunday UPDATE– April 2013- now open on Sundays