3/F Elements, 1 Austin Rd West, Kowloon
Visited 3rd May 2008
Visiting Malouf's Modern Middle Eastern is a bit like stepping into Aladdin's Cave. You enter through a dark entrance - a small bar, complete with hookah pipes and scattered cushions – a wind your way up some stars to a rooftop restaurant. I could draw the metaphor out with descriptions of sparkling treasure, but it's probably enough to know that it's a stylish open restaurant with a huge couch dominating one wall and lots of interesting Middle Eastern touches like the fantastic mosaic on the roof. Located on the top level terrace at Elements shopping mall Malouf's is a new venture by Melbourne chef Greg Malouf, who also works as an advisor at Olive.
The menu is full of interesting choices with obvious Middle Eastern influences; the addition of dishes such as pasta and risotto also give it a bit of a Mediterranean feel. I chose oven roasted salmon with lime and sumac dressing. The two delicious chunks of fish were perfectly cooked; tender in the middle with a crisp outer and were servered with a pile of fresh fennel, cucumber and parsley salad and a tiny dollop of rich, creamy sweet potato mash. Naomi enjoyed her pan fried gnocchi with pine nuts, spinach, feta and semi-dried tomatoes. For dessert we shared a Syrian apricot and walnut tart with orange blossom cream, this rather heavy tart was accompanied by orange slices, a lovely sticky syrup and the whipped orange blossom cream. I enjoyed it and found the rich walnut filling satisfying, while Naomi thought it was a too 'Grandmaish' and lacked the promised apricot flavours. To drink I had a couple of glasses of a nice crisp rose, while Naomi went for a glass of Prosecco.
Malouf's is good. The restaurant itself offers a stylish upmarket atmosphere, the service is efficient and the staff friendly and knowledgeable. The excellent menu offered a refreshing change to the average French and Italian places that swamp Hong Kong. The food was superb and my only complaint is that my salmon could have come with a larger portion of that tasty sweet potato mash. The bill come to $729 for the both of us which I think was pretty fair. Normally you would have to drag me kicking and screaming to enter a new hyper-trendy, hyper-obnoxious shopping centre such as Elements but with restaurant's like Malouf's I'd almost go willingly.
Visit restaurant website.