A very warm welcome our newest contributor at LifestyleAsia, Alejandra Wilkinson! An obsessive foodie, Alejandra (or Ale, for short) loves tasting all kinds of food from around the world, having lived in several different countries whilst growing up, including Peru, England, Spain, Italy and of course Hong Kong.
In her first post for LSA, Ale gives us a taste of Barcelona at Comilonas, a hidden private kitchen in Sai Wan...
Comilonas, in a very local building in Sai Wan, near Kennedy Town, is a newly opened private kitchen run by Catalan chef Lluis and his wife Carrie. Lluis has always had the dream of bringing traditional food from his hometown of Barcelona to Hong Kong’s hungry foodies and this dream was put to reality when Comilonas opened its very hidden doors just under a month ago.
The whole experience is Catalan; from the friendly service, to the delicious hearty food, to the way you drink wine from a porró – a traditional glass vessel not too dissimilar to a watering can, which is used to pour wine directly into the mouth without touching the spout (don’t worry, Lluis supplies bibs to protect clean white shirts!).
Stepping inside Comilonas, away from the dirty, dingy interior of the rest of the building, you come to a nicely arranged dining room which could belong in anybody’s home. Carrie, Lluis and their assistant, Iris are there to greet you and make you feel at home before presenting and describing each dish they place before you.
The set menu ($380) begins with a Romesco dip made with roasted vegetables and almonds, served while all the guests are still arriving.
The Herb-marinated scallop, cured in the freshest olive oil and lemon juice is divine as it simply melts in the mouth. The very typical Brandada de Bacalla, a salty fish and potato bake, is perfectly fluffy and moreish.
Next up, the Traditional Garlic Shrimp (gambas al ajillo), although drenched in oil, is very light with enough fresh chilies and thin slices of garlic to give it a good kick. The oil then serves as a delicious dip for the crusty white bread.
Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Manchego cheese are the star of the show, followed by the less appealing Pork Mixed Cuttlefish Meatballs.
To cleanse the palate, a Grapefruit and Orange Avocado Salad was served. The combination of the tart fruit with sweet mint leaves and lettuce is unexpectedly tasty.
Lluis then serves his Black Ink Paella cooked using the ink and flesh of cuttlefish and served with homemade aioli. This dish is not much to look at but tastes incredible.
Dessert is Caramelised Orange with ice cream, beautifully presented inside half an orange - an absolutely blissful end to an amazing meal even if quite a struggle to manage after so much food.
Comilonas seats a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 18 diners each night, only serving one group so the whole place is yours. Close your eyes, and you could be in Barcelona.
Flat 22, 1/F Yip Cheong Building
4-16 Hill Road, Sai Wan
+852 9863 2270
To read more about Alejandra's foodie adventures, visit her blog The Dim Sum Diaries.