Personally, I’m a fan of tasting menus, as you get to try out many of the restaurant’s dishes, giving you a good feel for what the restaurant is all about. There are quite a few great tasting menus in this amazing foodie city, and the #HKDateNight menu is Hudson Kitchen’s entry in this field.
The #HKDateNight menu is a promotion available for a limited time on Tuesdays. As you can imagine, it’s a menu for two with plates to share. There are eight courses, and it costs just $60 per couple. If you want to have cocktails with your meal, you can include two cocktails specifically created for this menu, increasing the price to $85 per couple. Tasting menus can easily cost upwards of $50 per person, so at these prices, you are getting astonishing value. And now you’re thinking, sounds like a great deal, but how was the food? In one word – amazing. Lets get to the courses.
First was the housemade brioche and lavash. I personally love brioche, and this one was warm, sweet, and buttery, yet still light. The sunflower oil and eggplant puree were perfect accompaniments, but the brioche was already delicious just on its own.
Next came the marinated white anchovy on crostini. One of things I enjoyed eating growing up in a Filipino household was simple sardines in oil with toast, and this dish is an extremely refined version of that, using anchovies instead on a bed of piquillo peppers and Romesco sauce.
The brioche makes a second appearance in the next dish, in a slider with fried chicken, adobo mayo, and iceberg lettuce. The presentation was quite playful, arriving in a Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox. The slider itself was quite tasty, with the chicken being melt-in-your-mouth tender.
The heirloom tomato salad came at just the right time – a lighter course after some relatively heavier courses to start. Multiple textures and flavours were in play here – with the softness of the cured egg, the crunch and saltiness of the chicken crackling, and the juiciness and sour notes of the pickled onion and the tomato.
Next came the squid a la plancha. The squid was grilled to perfection; and with squid ink vinaigrette, chorizo, green apple, and crunchy croutons, the dish tickles your taste buds. This was my favourite course of the night.
Chef Robbie Hojilla‘s Filipino roots were evident in many of the courses thus far, but none more so than in the 7Up and annatto glazed pork belly. With chicharron, atchara (sliced pickled vegetables), and banana ketchup, you can’t get any more Filipino than that. It was even served on a banana leaf. The pork belly was tender, and the contrast between the sweetness of the pork belly, and the tartness of the atchara and ketchup worked very nicely.
Accompanying the pork belly was charred green beans. This is not your boring, plain green beans; it’s green beans taken to the next level, prepared with lemon, chili, and anchovies.
Lastly came the dessert, which reminded me of a deconstructed cherry cheesecake. It consisted of cherries, graham cracker, white chocolate, and buffalo ricotta. Like many deconstructed dishes, you need to taste all of the components together to experience this dessert fully. It was a delicious ending to the night.
A quick note about the cocktails – the Cascabel is a sipping cocktail, which is one you should definitely take the time to enjoy. The other is called A More Romantic Name, which is my favourite of the two – it’s a sweet and refreshing drink.
The #HKDateNight menu is an absolute must-try with your significant other, or a family member, or a friend, or anyone you’d like to enjoy a wonderful meal with. Chef Hojilla created a menu that is thoughtful and very well-balanced, with one dish naturally leading to the next. The strong Filipino influence in the ingredients and preparation also makes this menu quite unique, and a great gateway into the increasingly popular (and delicious) world of Filipino cuisine.
Hudson Kitchen is located at 800 Dundas St West, at the intersection with Palmerston Avenue.
Also read our coverage of Hudson Kitchen’s patio opening last June.