Picada | Go and order the '3 Duck Rice' ASAP
Hong Kong’s sweltering summer weather has me craving fresh, colourful food. So I was excited to check out Picada’s new location (and new menu) on Wyndham. Ceviches, fruit salsas, and guac were calling my name!
The new spot is 3,000 square feet and divided into a main dining room, and a smaller semi-private room that has five or so small tables. Given the location, I was surprised by how casual the main dining room is with its simple tables and plastic chairs. It felt a little dive-y, so while not ideal for a date, it would be a good place for a casual bite while watching the game (e.g. like the FIFA World Cup!) or if you’re dining with small children. The semi-private room is a cozier spot for a catch-up with friends or a casual date.
We started with the Peruvian Leche de Tigre Ceviche ($178) which was really interesting. In addition to being quite tangy, the sweet potato purée added a mild creaminess. I also loved the natural earthy flavour of the dehydrated Peruvian corn kernels.
The made-at-the-table guac concept isn’t new but Picada’s ‘Design Your Guacamole’ version ($150) lets you choose from 10 different ingredients including bacon bits and chipotle sauce. Our table went all in, which made the overall taste a little salty but it was addictive nonetheless. The menu says this guac feeds four, but I’d guess this very generous dish would satisfy most parties of six.
Being a big fan of strong cheeses, I was excited to try the 3 Cheese Empanadas ($198 for 3). The pockets - with blue, jack, and cheddar - were presented beautifully, and the filling was quite stringy with the first bite. But while the filling was tasty, the crust was a bit too soft and thick.
I think tacos are best eaten with hands, but it was impossible to do so with these ones given how generous they were with the toppings. We tried the Crab ($68 per piece), Chicken Al Pastor ($50 per piece), Avocado ($50 per piece), and Slow Cooked Beef Rib ($58 per piece). A highlight of all of the tacos were the fruit salsas. They were all incredibly refreshing, and added a unique element to the meaty tacos. However, because of the heavy toppings, the corn tortilla base got quite soggy and tasted a bit stodgy.
Of all the things we ate, the 3 Duck Rice ($248) was the clear winner. I think I’d put it in the top 5 things I’ve eaten in Hong Kong this year. Firstly, it’s a great comfort food for summer because it’s not only a flavour-packed rice dish but it’s filled with veggies (spinach and coriander sauce, and with corn, peas, carrots, cress, etc.) Secondly, the duck leg confit and duck breast were incredibly tender and not at all gamey, and the duck fat had melted into the rice creating an incredibly addictive umami flavour. Since this portion could easily feed two hungry souls, the price is incredibly good value. Also, I took the leftovers home and can confirm it heats up well the next day.
We ended our meal with churros ($88) and chocolate mousse ($98). Both were quite good, though priced quite high and they were a bit too much with the dulce de leche sauce. Or if you’re not interested in a heavy dessert, enjoy one of their fruity drinks for dessert instead. The strawberry pisco sour was frothy, fruity, and delicious.
Picada’s a solid new casual spot in LKF for Latin American food. The prices are good, and guac and duck rice are especially wonderful. As for the tacos, perhaps the ‘Build Your Own Tacos’ option ($298 for 7 pieces) is best so guests can play around with their preferred filling-to-tortilla ratio and avoid the dreaded soggy base.
2F LKF 29 Building, 29 Wyndham Street, Central, 3425 4037
*By invitation for Foodie