Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Malouf's Modern Middle Eastern

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.


stickyfingers said...

I'm a huge fan of Greg Malouf, I've taken his cooking classes, have all the books and am a regular at all his relatives restaurants.

He has a soft spot for HK as he and Michelle Garnaut had a place in LKF in the eighties. That one featured hookah piepes too and was also considered uber-trendy at the time.

I can't wait for his Melbourne restaurant MoMo to re-open. The original MoMo closed when Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Foundation made them an offer too good to refuse for their venue which was then featured being gutted on TV. So Malouf & Co took the $millions and legged it around the corner to the basement of the Grand Hyatt. It's been a long wait but they are expecting to open this spring.

Andrew said...

Thanks for the comment Stickyfingers

I really enjoyed 'Malouf's Modern Middle Eastern'. It's a bit away from the action in the centre of HK, but it’s a nice venue with interesting food. I thing I really like about this place is it's different to most of the restaurants of HK; original and innovative flavours.

Malouf also advises at ‘Olive’ in Soho, which is one of my favourite HK restaurants (and the first to be written up on this blog!). It's a fantastic place - great food, awesome service and good location.

I'm a Melbourne boy as well. When I'm back in July I'm pretty keen to check out the new MoMo.


Anonymous said...

I went here a month or two back and thought the food was very good, though on my visit the portions were unbelievably large. I'd rather that than the other way around of course but compared with other HK dining it looked a little odd.

I had a good NZ pinot with my meal so I was, happy, but I thought the wine list lacked a bit of depth?

It is impossible to comment on Malouf's without mentioning the Elements shopping centre it's situated in ... that place freaked me out :-)

Campbell Mattinson

Andrew said...

Hi Campbell,

Thanks for the comment.

I revisited Malouf's last Wednesday for a Middle Eastern wine tasting. It was an interesting night with Lebanese, Moroccan, Israeli and Cyprus wines. We were offered a selection of finger food and the style of cuisine shinned in this environment.

Greg Malouf is also the adversary chef for the more centrally located 'Olive' in Soho. The menus have a lot of similarities. Huge serves at reasonable prices make both restaurants attractive propositions and Olive seems to be one of the restaurants I visit the most often when in the city. The winelist isn't particularly inspiring, but I tend to struggle with wine prices at HK restaurants as they are so often grossly over priced, especially when compared with the relatively good value offered at retail.

Elements is a very strange place indeed. They developed old shipyards into the 'West Kowloon Cultural District'; I can't really see the link to 'culture' though they there are building what will be the World's second tallest building. The shopping mall is typical of Hong Kong, designer luxuries at stupid prices, but Elements is strange as it's so empty. When more people move into the area the roof top dinning area has potential, but it just needs to get a bit of atmosphere – the Saturday night we originally went to Malouf’s it was deserted