Acclaimed Bali-based restaurateur brings his distinctive take on South East Asian street foods to Hong Kong
June 4th, 2014
With the recent opening of Mama San restaurant in Hong Kong, one of the current major culinary trends internationally has firmly staked out a notable share of the competitive local dining scene. A growing appreciation for the diversity and nuanced complexities of ingredient and taste combinations, plus the rich culinary heritages of the cuisines from countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, has spawned the opening of South East Asian cuisine-centric restaurants in trendsetting global culinary capitals from London and New York to the major cities of Asia. One of the early proponents of authentic South East Asian street foods was celebrated Scottish-born chef Will Meyrick who in 2008 opened award-wining restaurant Sarong in Bali, and subsequently Mama San in 2010. After opening his third Asian-cuisines restaurant- E & O in Jakarta last year, Meyrick has collaborated with local restaurant group Dining Concepts to bring his celebrated contemporary renditions of authentic Asian street foods to the new Mama San Hong Kong.
Mama San is conveniently located in an expansive first floor space on the bustling Wydnham Street dining and nightlife precinct- a short walk from the Central office towers. Open daily for lunch and dinner, guests can select from a menu of authentic South East Asian street foods- personally researched by Meyrick- and his longstanding Thai culinary partner- Palm Amatawet- on their frequent travels through villages across the region. Traditional recipes and cooking techniques are melded with a contemporary culinary aesthetic to present dishes that are both assertively flavourful and attractively presented. Complementing the bold flavours of the cuisine, the carefully assembled beverage offerings includes an excellent wine list, plus many of the most popular cocktails created at the Mama San bar in Bali.
Seating approximately 90 patrons, table bookings are recommended for weekend evenings in particular. Leisurely weekend brunches are an enticing option for exploring the diversity of the Mama San cuisine.
Mama San interior
Closely following the design theme of the Bali restaurant, the Hong Kong interior reflects a confluence of East and West influences reminiscent of 1920’s Shanghai- with Oriental style white marble topped tables interspersed among dark timber tables and black chairs. One of the design hallmarks of Mama San Bali- substantial tan leather Chesterfield sofas- stands prominently across one wall of the main room- under the watchful gaze of the eponymous Mama San wall mural. In addition to the main dining room, seating at high tables on the open air terrace provide a casual alternative, and the semi-private room- discretely enclosed by dark timber slatted walls- comfortably seats 12 diners.
Mama San selected dishes
Heading up the kitchen team is chef Budiana – transferred from Meyrick’s Bali restaurant to ensure the authenticity of the Mama San experience. The menu features a broad selection of the award winning cuisine developed by Meyrick in Bali- epitomised by dishes such as Steamed Snapper with black bean, leek, shitake mushrooms, and green shallots; Slow cooked Crispy Pork Belly with green papaya, dried shrimp, apple, eggplant, peanuts and black vinegar caramel; and “Dhania ghost” lamb- slow cooked lamb shank with chana dahl, green chilli, yoghurt and fresh coriander.
Mama San cocktails
At the Mama San bar, refreshing beverages include a selection of “Mama San Classic” cocktails- solid, well-crafted drinks such as Negroni, Whiskey Sour, Moscow Mule and Mint Julep. Drinks with a distinctive Asian-inflection include the Thai Thai– vodka, basil, vanilla, sugar, home made ginger beer; Pineapple Kaffir Lime Margarita– tequila, pineapple, citrus pineapple juice, kaffir lime leaves; and Mango Pomegranate Mojito– rum, mango puree, mint, citrus, syrup.