Chances are, you've passed by Ole Spanish Restaurant and Bar countless times (it's located right next to FLY), but have you ever gone in for a taste? We ventured into the somewhat hidden restaurant last week and got an authentic taste of Spain we didn't think we could find in Hong Kong.
From June to July of this year, executive chef Jesus Pascual has created a special menu to take guests on a culinary journey throughout Spain's different regions, starting with the Basque Country.
We met Chef Pascual before our meal to chat about his food, his hometown and why he's not like most Spanish guys in Hong Kong.
Skip straight to the food at Ole Spanish Restaurant and Bar on page two.
LifestyleAsia (LSA): How long have you been in Hong Kong, and what do you think of the food here?
Jesus Pascual (JP): I’ve been here for two years, and I rarely have Spanish food when I’m not at the restaurant. There are so many other choices here and I love all Asian cuisines – Chinese, Japanese, and Thai. The only thing I don’t like is the stinky tofu [laughs]. Not too crazy about durian either. The taste is okay but the smell sticks with you for hours.
LSA: Tell us about your hometown. What flavours or ingredients bring back memories of it?
JP: I'm originally from Huelva, in the South of Spain. It’s by the Atlantic Ocean and just a 15-minute drive away from Portugal. There’s a lot of Middle Eastern influence in the region, so spices like paprika and cumin seeds remind me of my hometown.
LSA: What’s your connection to the Basque Country?
JP: I spent about two years in the Basque Country working for restaurants. The culinary scene is vibrant and people there have a high respect for food. They only cook with the best quality vegetables and seafood. The region borders France, so there are a lot of French influences in the dishes, namely the use of foie gras.
LSA: Do you ever localise your recipes for the Hong Kong market?
JP: No, it's important for me to stay true to my Spanish roots and the traditional recipes passed onto me from my family.
LSA: Last question -- are you following the European Cup (EURO2012)?
JP: [Laughing] I might be the only Spanish person who doesn’t like football! I'm more into risky sports like snowboarding and Thai boxing. One of the last things I did before moving to Hong Kong was ride a bike down a mountain in Madrid.
See highlights from the Basque Country menu at Ole Spanish Restaurant on page two.