I guess it’s fair to say where there is a new MTR station, there is an attraction of new shops and restaurants like bees to honey. With the opening of MTR’s new West Island Line late last year, residents of Kennedy Town and Sai Ying Pun (opening later in 2015) have been noticing new trendy restaurants popping up.
New to the K-Town neighbourhood is CHINO, a Japanese-Mexican restaurant brought to us by former Nobu chef, Erik Idos. This new casual Mexican joint is trendy and funky with its black and white decor and floor to ceiling storefront allowing plenty of natural light to fill the small space.
We arrived at CHINO for a late Sunday lunch and we were explained that the menu consisted of Mexican dishes using Japanese ingredients and techniques. We were warned that all the items were limited and there were a few dishes already sold out.
We started off with some Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Guacamole to share. There were 5 salsas to choose from ($30 for each or $120 for all), but the Tomatillo/Cilantro/Serrano was already sold out, so we selected the Shiso/Tomato/Vinegar salsa. I was impressed with the creativity of the Japanese-inspired salsa and I’m still salivating as I recall the flavours of this dip.
The presentation of the Market Fish Ceviche/Yuzu Lime/Cashews was stunning with semi-translucent fish swimming in a citrus juice, but I personally thought the shallow dish wasn’t very practical. I was so afraid for the server spilling the dish as he brought it to the table and again when he took it away. The yuzu brought a unique element to this ceviche, but it’s not something I would recommend for the $138 price tag.
Next for sharing was the Corn/Kewpie/Cotija which was a tasty grilled corn on the cob topped with spicy Japanese Kewpie mayo and crumbled Mexican Cotija cheese. The hit of spiciness from the tangy mayo and sweetness of the corn makes this a good starter to share.
The taco’s are single portions and I would suggest ordering 2-3 per person (depending on how much other food you are ordering to share). Between the 2 of us, we ordered the Crispy Fish/Chipolte Kewpie/Salsa Fresco (top), Marinated Pork/Pineapple/Tomatillo (middle) and Chicken Tinga/Pickled Onions/Avocado (bottom). The clear favourite was the fish taco that was perfectly battered to produce a light and crispy crust and topped with a salsa slaw and spicy Kewpie mayo. The only problem was the filling was overly generous in proportion to the tortilla wrap, and I had trouble folding it in half to eat.
And how could we leave without trying something on the Huevos list? This Tostada/Chicken/Egg is a MUST order. Just look at it. I promise you that it tastes every bit as good as it looks. Juicy chicken tinga shreds with creamy guacamole and a runny yolk over a crispy tostada ~~ yummy. The only challenge is how to eat this without making a mess? I haven’t figured out how to yet, if you have, let me know!
As we paid our bill, we were given these cute mini packs of Chiclets. It’s been so many years since I’ve had this chewing gum, it was something I had a lot as a kid.
The damage came to just under $700 for 2 (with no service charge) and it was definitely pricier than I anticipated. But, the food was interesting and tasty and the service was great, so this is a place I would recommend if you’re looking for a bite to eat in the hood of K-Town.
Lunch Total for 2: $667
Address: 1B-1C New Praya, Kennedy Town / Tel: 2606 0588
Date Of Visit: Feb 8, 2015
Just Mate Sparkling Tea ….$58 x2
Salsa – Shiso / Tomato / Vinegar….$30
Market Fish Ceviche ….$138
Al Pastor Pork Tacos….$48×2
Chicken Tinga Tacos….$48
Crispy Fish Tacos….$58
Chicken & Egg Tostadas….$58