Michelin-star chef Nandu Jubany of Can Jubany in Barcelona has set up a little tapas bar on Hong Kong Street with the help of the ex-chef of Foodbar Dada and the ex-barman of Catalunya.
As you foodies know, Catalunya is quite expensive, and in my opinion a little overpriced for the food they serve. FOC (say, fock) is quite an affordable and authentic tapas bar. And I’ve been to a few that charge astronomical prices for two scallops (*cough* :pluck *cough*).
Foc, is Catalan for fire as the menu will so very nicely tell you, very good explanation for the acronym loving residents of SIN City that probably think it means “free of charge”. 😛
Apart from a range of authentic Spanish tapas, there is a small section of Asian inspired tapas as well such as ramen or dumplings. But why would I want to try something like that? Fusion can go terribly wrong sometimes, so I like to stick to traditional goodies.
I started off with the Gazpacho de sandia con helado de aceite de oliva ahumado – watermelon gazpacho with charcoal smoked olive oil ice cream. It was incredibly refreshing and it is an excellent start to the meal indeed. It is less tart than the typical gazpacho and had the sweetness from the watermelon shining through.
The second tapas is my favourite of the night. The Pulpo a la gallega came with chewy, fresh octopus with paprika, olive oil and mashed potatoes. There is no duplicating the freshness of a good pulpo and the accompanying potato side added a creamy texture to the dish.
Another typical Spanish dish is the Croquetas de Setas, these croquettes are stuffed with creamy mushrooms instead of the usual jamon. Incredibly creamy and comforting. The Bunuelos de Bacalao con pure de manzana is essential a cod fish fritter with green apple puree on the bottom. My experience in Madrid was an incredibly salty one and I am glad that these bacalao fritters at FOC are definitely more reasonably seasoned. The green apple puree also added another dimension of tart and sweet which brought out the flavours in the fritter.
What’s a tapas meal without the quintessential Patatas Bravas dish. The potatoes are fried with the skin on before being dotted with garlic aioli and brava sauce. I loved the elevated plating of this simple dish as well.
The desserts at FOC are quite simple as well with a Crema Catalana, essentially the Spanish take on the creme brulee with bits of fruit within. The Spanish version is less curd-like and much creamier with the consistency of creme Chantilly. The chocolate was rich and decadent but not cloying. It went well with the bed of passionfruit puree beneath.
The quality of the tapas here is quite close to Spain, in my opinion. And the price is quite reasonable as well. Watch out 28HKS, FOC is here to stay on Hong Kong Street and they have good cocktails too.