New chef and refreshed Spanish menu at Rosewood’s Bayfare Social
If I’m honest, my first visit to Rosewood Hong Kong’s fifth floor dining area left me puzzled. Rosewood is of course a luxury hotel chain — and the Rosewood Hong Kong is arguably Hong Kong’s most luxurious hotel. But when I arrived — to have lunch at Chaat — I was surprised that it felt like a food court albeit a high end one. And given that the prices were not exactly food court prices (read: much higher), I wasn’t running back.
Even after six years in Hong Kong, restaurant prices still astound me. Dinner at a mid-range restaurant often comes up to around $500 (or US$60 / CA$80) per person at minimum. The night before my visit at Bayfare Social — Rosewood’s tapas-inspired restaurant and bar, the reason for my second visit — I’d had dinner at La Paloma, a well-known tapas restaurant in Sai Ying Pun which had come to around $700 per person. So perhaps I started my meal subconsciously comparing the two.
After arriving at Bayfare Social, we were introduced to new Chef de Cuisine Jorge Vera Gutierrez. Chef Jorge has a distinguished international career working at innovative and Michelin-starred restaurants in Madrid, Copenhagen, and the Canary Islands. In Hong Kong, he’s spent time at Fofo by El Willy and turns out he was formerly the head chef of La Paloma. What’s he cooking up at Bayfare Social?
Whereas Bayfare Social used to have more of a Mediterranean vibe, now the focus is on Spanish cuisine (though interestingly the menu continues to have an international noodle section — perhaps previous best-sellers they want to keep on). The a la carte menu has been refreshed, and here are some of the highlights of our meal.
Our red sangrias ($130 per glass, $500 for a 1 litre carafe) were fresh, fruity and light, and featured Grand Marnier and cinnamon along with red wine. While waiting for our food, we were given a lovely warm bread bucket.
The Pan con Tomate ($65) with grated Spanish tomatoes sat atop crystal bread with drizzles of Arbequina olive oil was a classic done well. The olive oil is Chef’s favourite and has a distinctive mellow taste — not at all bitter.
You may have seen the Scallop Tiradito ($180) on Instagram as this dish is a showstopper in looks and taste. Fresh Hokkaido scallops are served with an escabeche (vinegar-based) dressing and charred avocado. The made-in-house black olive powder adds an interesting twist.
We were able to see the Spanish tomatoes used in the Tomato Salad ($140). You don’t see these in Hong Kong everyday, and they were very sweet and plump. The chardonnay dressing and Spanish anchovies were a lovely accompaniment — adding acid, salt and fat to the sweet freshness of the tomatoes.
The Tortilla de Patatas ($150 with Iberico ham, $120 without) was delicious. Traditionally eaten for breakfast, it’s often an appetizer in Hong Kong. I’d happily eat this version anytime — it was moist and hearty, and while light on the egg had a distinctly eggy flavour.
We’re told the Grilled Spanish Sea Bass ($260) has been a hit with diners and we can see why. The quality of the fish is great and the salty smoky roasted red pepper sauce is different from the sweet-ish sauces that often accompany fish dishes in this city. Good value.
The Cochinillo Asado ($460) or Spanish suckling pig is more of a splurge. It’s cooked for 14 hours and then roasted in the pizza oven resulting in tender meat and thin, cracker-like skin. We especially loved the accompanying sauce made from the pig’s head — savoury with depth. We poured this over the suckling pig as well as the potatoes and padron peppers!
Bayfare Social’s paella ($380 for small, $530 for large) contains lobster stock which is made every morning. Though we were 3 people, we opted for the large version, of the Squid Ink Paella, which is usually recommended for 4-5 guests. And we nearly polished off the pan. The rice with aioli had great flavour and bite (though not as much crunchy socarrat as we would have liked) but my oh my the grilled Spanish octopus was outstanding.
Our meal ended with Catalan Creme ($80) and Churros ($80). Both were solid, though the churros were my favourite. They had a wonderful bread-like texture which I prefer over more crunchy ones.
Bayfare Social is definitely worth a visit. It’s still casual but more elegant than La Paloma (and don’t get me wrong, I love La Paloma but think it’s more quirky — get the explosive tapas! — and comfort-food focused) with similar prices. Perhaps it’s like a little sister to the refined and more expensive La Rambla in IFC. Overall the food is great and the prices are fair — reflective of its location in the casual dining section of the Rosewood.
If you’re in the area for lunch, note there is a value lunch offering Monday to Friday from 11:30am to 5pm including six types of Spanish-style sandwiches starting from $125 and a Paella of the Day starting from $140. There is also a daily happy hour from 3 to 6pm with two hours of free-flow cava, selected white and red wines, Spanish beer, and three types of cocktails paired with two sharing dishes from 11 choices of Spanish tapas (each additional tapas dish is $60).
Level Five, Rosewood Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3981 8732