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Tamarind Pan-Asian Restaurant & Bar, Wan Chai

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It's been a terribly delayed entry as it's actually a review on the restaurant's Christmas dinner set, which supposed to be published right after Christmas or at least around New Year. But there were just too many things to do during the festive days and so it took me this long to finish, anyway, my bad... :P Ok, back to the topic, it was an unplanned Christmas eve's dinner with hubby as both of us didn't wanna restrict ourselves to certain renowned restaurants that only accept pre-bookings. You know, those big names could price their festive dinner at least double of the normal price!

As we're wandering around Wan Chai, a business district in the city that is normally less crowded after office hour, we found this newly opened restaurant offering Asian style Christmas eve's dinner at a very attractive price, HK$298 for two! Without a second thought, we popped in to the restaurant and reserved a table for 2 hours later (as it was like 4:30pm when we found the restaurant).

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We were there slightly ahead of our booking time and were ushered by a friendly Indian staff to our table. The setting of the restaurant was full of Christmas atmosphere with all the tables placed with a few party toys. Lighting was quite dim inside, which created a very good environment for viewing the beautiful Victoria Harbour night view and also a romantic atmosphere.

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Once we're seated and started browsing through the menu, I was surprised to see the price printed on the menu has turned to HK$298 per pax instead of HK$298 for two! Though this price was still justified or even cheaper for a special dinner on Christmas eve in Wan Chai, we had a little grievance as I swore I did not mis-read the price before. We asked the staff about this and he admitted the menu posted earlier was wrong and referred us to the restaurant manager. After a few polite clarification, we decided to leave because Asian cuisine was not our top preference for a Christmas eve dinner if we were to pay for that price. When we were about to leave, the restaurant manager was kind enough to offer us the wrongly posted price as a courtesy! We couldn't believe it but he promised it's true! Yay, we're lucky!! :D

It was a 5-course dinner with starter, tandoori, soup, main & dessert, so it's absolutely a great value for money. We had the starter that consisted of 3 bite-size items nicely presented on a rectangular plate, namely:

Vietnamese Fresh Rice Paper Roll with Smoked Salmon & Avocado (front, 煙三文魚牛油果凍卷), a very refreshing and appetising Vietnamese snack to kick off the meal. It's my first time having rice paper roll with smoked salmon and it's delicious. I love it~

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Foie Gras Spring Roll with Mango Salsa (middle, 鵝肝醬春卷配芒果莎莎醬) was another innovative combination to blend Western element into an Asian snack. The wrap was crispy but taste of foie gras was not that outstanding and maybe the strong sweetness of mango salsa has been overpowered. Pomelo in Chili Jam with Salmon Caviar (front, 香椒膏柚子配三文魚子醬) was tasted quite similar to the rice paper roll, not bad though.

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The extra course that seldom appears on ordinary dinner set menu in Hong Kong is tandoori. I love Indian food so it did gave me an extra happiness to have this Tandoori Turkey Tikka served with Almond Naan & Cranberry Chutney (燒焗印式火雞件配杏仁烤餅) in our dinner! I would say it's the item that I liked and enjoyed the most throughout the dinner that night. The turkey was so tender, juicy and well marinated with aromatic spices. It's tasted so good no matter with or without the cranberry chutney. Naan is also one of my favourite Indian food and this one with nutty flavour from almond has won my thumbs up too.

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A fushion of Western & Asian again, this time with the Western soup served in an Asian style bowl! Haha... Cream of Asparagus with Crabmeat (蟹肉露荀忌廉湯) looked ordinary by its presentation, but tasted incredibly nice with very strong flavour of seafood brought by the generous amount of crabmeat in the soup.

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Here came one of the main courses, Grilled Tamarind Cod with Garlic Rice (香烤銀鱈魚酸羅望子汁配蒜蓉飯), which is also their highly recommended signature dish. Cod was grilled to an optimum doneness to retain tenderness and smoothness of the fish, and the lightly sour tamarind sauce was a good match as it balanced out the slightly fatty taste of the cod. Garlic rice was excellent with rich garlic flavour and yet not too overwhelmed.

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Cumin Spiced Lamb with Pearl Onions served with Truffle Butter Naan (印式小茴香辣羊肉配松露牛油酥餅) was another main, and it's definitely a good choice for greedy foodies who want rice and naan in the same dish! Myself is not that fond of lamb due to the smell but this one was still alright for me, as the smell was only mild and the strong flavour of spices has covered most of it. Basmati rice was used to make the biryani rice, which was fried to the best dry & loosen status, and what I loved the most was the naan that carried a light hint of truffle to make it a little different from those ordinary naan.

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Time for dessert and I just couldn't wait for my top expecting item of the dinner to come, drum roll please... Homemade Cardamom Ice-cream with Pistachio (自家製豆寇雪糕伴開心果)! To me, it was the most special food of the night as I've never tried any Indian-styled ice-cream before. I just couldn't imagine how an ice-cream would taste like with cardamom and frankly, I've never thought of its shape like ice cube, which was interesting~ I am fine with most of the spices so the taste was not too bad for me, but if I were to choose, I would still prefer an ordinary scoop of ice-cream. :P

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Coffee Creme Brulee (法式咖啡燉蛋) was another dessert served together with the ice-cream. Coffee flavour was not outstanding at all nor the taste of the egg custard, so the overall taste was dominated by sugar and cream.

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We had some cocktail for the night as well to escalate our festive mood. I can't remember the exact names so I just named them Tamarind Cocktail & Lychee Cocktail. Tamarind Cocktail was delicious with the light sweet & sour taste of tamarind mixed in the vodka or gin. Alcohol wasn't that strong and I managed to finish the whole glass at the end.

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Lychee Cocktail was a mix of lychee juice (from canned lychee!) and 3 kinds of liquor, and it's too strong for our liking that we couldn't even finish 1/10 of it because a little sip has made our throat burning. At the end of the dinner, the restaurant manager came over and asked how was the meal and what's wrong with this cocktail as he saw the leftover. We said it's too strong and he was so nice to have it diluted with more lychee juice. However, it didn't help much so we gave up at last.

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There is an outdoor dining terrace that provides a panoramic view of Victoria harbour, but it was too chill and windy to sit and have long dinner outside that night, but It would still be good to have a drink only and best to have a dinner out there during cool and dry autumn.

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Website : N/A

Address : 2/F, Sun Hung Kai Center, 30 Harbour Road, Wan Chai

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