Caesar salad with soft-shell crab and a ‘runny’ egg.
Neither is there a guaranteed formula for success nor a certain road to failing in the restaurant world. Originality isn’t always a crowd-pleaser, while the well-worn archetype might forever retain its charm.
One may say that Townhouse is another modern-day eatery boasting a flirtatious East-meets-West menu like many of its counterparts in the industry.
The setting blends a nonchalant atmosphere of a spacious, all-day dining venue with a bar-like vibe. The menu sweepingly lists everything from pizza and pasta to American-styled burgers and classic Asian fare.
The 150-seater, which opened a few months ago on the ground floor of Siam Paragon, is driven in a stern culinary direction. Small details, whether they be the best-sourced ingredients or world-class cooking techniques, are always on point for a palate-pleasing experience. That’s why the place attracts hoards of food-lovers of all ages — locals and tourists, alike.
Labelling itself as a “Hong Kong modern bar café”, Townhouse is owned by one of the most thriving restaurant companies in Hong Kong. The original sits on the island’s hip Lan Kwai Fong square in Central district and requires reservations days in advance.
Despite being a bar-centric eatery with comprehensive offerings of cocktails and other beverages from its illuminated bar, Townhouse is a substantial dining haven any time of the day.
Townhouse blends a nonchalant atmosphere of all-day dining with a club-like vibe.
The 200-item, “Asian twist” menu lists a variety of salads, appetisers, noodles, pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, seafood, steaks and rice dishes. This is not mentioning a mind-numbing array of house-made desserts.
Robata-grilled portobello on skewers (160 baht) is a nice appetiser for mushroom aficionados. The large ‘shroom comes pungently seasoned with kimchi-infused cheese to provide a scrumptious chew enhanced with a charred whiff.
For avid beef fans, the grilled Coca Cola-marinated wagyu beef (220 baht) is a must-try. Nice, juicy fillets of imported beef come on skewers accompanied by a small portion of salad.
From an impressive collection of salads, the best-selling is Caesar salad with soft-shell crab and a “runny” egg (380 baht). It’s a modernised rendition of the classic Romain lettuce with an addition of the crispy deep-fried crab and onsen egg. The egg, soft-boiled before being deep-fried, yielded a crusty golden brown exterior that revealed a soft and wobbly egg white and lava-like sunny yolk inside, which when mixed with the house dressing, created a subtle taste.
Other appetisers worth having include baked clams with garlic and parsley (380 baht) and French fries with black truffle mayonnaise (140 baht).
The not-to-be-missed Peking duck pizza.
I have never been a fan of East-meets-West cuisine, however I found my taste buds pleasingly amazed by the house-made pizza with smoked BBQ duck, aka the Peking duck pizza (380 baht).
Typical Peking duck components, including the succulent meat, sweet hoisin sauce and finely julienned leek, came laid with mozzarella cheese on thin-crust Italian pizza. Every single element perfectly complemented each other without overpowering one another.
Korean-styled spaghetti with BBQ pork, egg, sweetcorn and kimchi paste (250 baht) is another popular pasta dish. A creative take on the Japanese yakisoba, but substituting the buckwheat noodles with spaghetti, unifying the carb with a spicy Korean sauce, semi-crudo omelette, barbecued pork strips, beansprouts, capsicum, green onions, roasted sesame seeds and bonito flakes.
Inspired by a famous duck dish called “bebek bengil”, or “dirty duck”, in Bali, Indonesia, the next dish, Dirty Duck (420 baht) is also a best-seller and is best eaten with your hands.
The pink salmon rolls lunch set comes with vegetable goulash, garden salad and a drink.
Served on a wooden tray accompanied by warm sticky rice (instead of the traditional coconut rice), is a crispy duck, marinated and braised with a variety of herbs before being deep-fried in its fat until the skin and coating spices turn crisp and brown. The meat exhibited a flavoursome quality to be enhanced by two choices of sauce, namely Thai-styled jaew sauce and sweet and sour sauce (instead of the original Javanese chilli paste and garlic-olive oil).
For a quick and complete, personal-sized meal, choose from the special lunch set menu, which offers choices of entrées with a salad and drink.
The pink salmon rolls set (200 baht) proved real value for money and deliciously healthy. Tightly wrapped in a thin and gummy translucent rice paper were cooked shrimp, smoked salmon and fresh vegetables in a pungent mustard-like dressing. The rolls were served with piping hot vegetable goulash, a small serving of garden salad and a choice of drink.
People with a sweet tooth will be spoiled for choice. Expect to find the likes of custard fondue with Hong Kong waffles, chocolate fondue with churros, walnut crepe, fresh mango waffles, vanilla soufflé and a variety of cakes.
The famous Balinese crispy ‘dirty duck’ with sticky rice.
Caffeine-addicts can’t afford to miss the banana crème brûlée with caramel and espresso (280 baht). Served in a large ramekin and flambéed at the table to create a brittle burnt-caramel surface is a hefty portion of vanilla cream custard topped with banana slices. The sweet silky custard was added an aromatic bitter punch by a shot of dark coffee to be poured freshly before eating.
For an abundance of sweet indulgence, it’s best to go for the afternoon tea set (690 baht). A mouthwatering assortment of bite-sized pastries and sweet delicacies such as apple crumble with vanilla sauce, panna cotta, Hong Kong-styled sweet toast, house-made brownie and cheesecake cubes, as well as scones with strawberry clotted cream.
Other than the sweet treats, there’s also a large portion of savoury snacks. The selection includes smoked duck toast, deep-fried calamari, Hong Kong egg waffle with Serrano ham flakes, deep-fried chicken wings and crispy prawn rolls.
The restaurant is offering a special promotion on the afternoon tea — a group of four diners ordering two high tea sets pays for one set only.