Located at the start of Lan Kwai Fong on Wo-On lane, Common Room is a new Gastro-Bar to open in Hong Kong. The title ‘Gasto Bar’ is used liberally in their branding and they do take it seriously. With a diverse variety of modern Tapa’s-styled dishes served with cocktails from top mix-ologists, Common Room indeed is a one-stop shop for modern dining in a casual set-up.
The Drinks menu is a showcase of infused spirits and a variety of flavoured bitters. Some of the drinks you must try are the Air Mail served with a paper plane attached to the glass, the tangy Zellweger, which I think is named after a quote from Me, Myself and Irene where Jim Carrey tells Rene Zellweger’s character, “your face is all pursed up like you just sucked on a lemon, but you pull it off”. The menu also features molecular cocktails. All in all a great place for well made cocktails!
The food menu is sectioned into 4 parts, which makes it easy to order.
We can safely say that this is the section most vegetarians will order from. You can order some Sweet Potato Fries, which comes with a home-made Chipotle Buttermilk Aioli/sauce. For the cheese aficionados, the fresh – rich & creamy Burrata with Cherry Tomatoes is great. The Fresh Figs with Goats Cheese Raviols is a good portion of 2 dollops of goats cheese on sliced fig, and it looks good on the plate. One of the Common Room favorites in this section is the Classic Mac+Cheese. This is an outstanding dish with 4 different cheeses. It will be an achievement if you can control your urge to order another portion.
Quite obviously, this section in menu is all about seafood. The “Smoked” Salmon is really smoked as it served under a dome lid – retaining all the smokiness. It comes with little Shimeji mushrooms in truffle sauce. For the Indian food lovers, you can try the Tandoori Octopus – which is a slice of roasted Octopus with slight drizzle of sumac on a bed of mango slices. The whole thing is served on a piece of fried bread (for Indians – think papdi from papdi chaat).
This is all about the meat! The Wagyu Foie Gras Burgers are a mouthwatering delight. Served in a pair, the burgers are juicy to say the least. Do not leave the place unless you’ve had these. There are also dishes like a Charcuterie Board with truffle salami, Chorizo etc, the Common Room favourite, Slow Braised Pork Belly, served with home-made apple maple sauce. A caution to people who want to order Bone Marrow, make sure you have had one before, as it’s an acquired taste. Meat connoisseurs will love this section of the menu as it’s full of quality ingredients.
You guessed it right, this is the desert section- I would say the deserts are more devilishly tasty than heavenly. The most spectacular dish on the menu is the Cryo-fried Vanilla Ice-Cream. A miracle of science, the vanilla ice-cream is ‘cryogenically’ cooled with the help of liquid nitrogen, so it doesn’t melt when it’s fried and flamed with brandy. A spectacle as the flaming happens in front of you. The raspberry sauce is added right after on the flame. More of a gimmick in my opinion, but the dazzle surely impresses. Homemade lime & raspberry sorbets are really thick and creamy. The Chocolate Pudding is a Common Room favourite again, simple and great to end a really good meal with.
The whole place has a very communal feel to it with some shared spaces and wooden interiors. The service is quick and you can see that a lot of hard work goes into the presentation.