Date of review: October 11, 2016 | Reviewed by: Jon Braun
Blue is still recognisable as its former incarnation, but has undergone some significant renovations. Most notably, the ground floor has been converted from its former iteration as a bar into a full-service butcher shop and dry-ageing room, with Jonny Farrell bringing the high art of seam butchery out of the shadows and showcasing some excellent cuts available for takeaway.
Upstairs, Blue hasn’t reinvented the wheel, but has opted for a modern minimalist vibe with a touch of greenery in the windows. The chocolate-leather sofas and chairs are widely spaced out – a true luxury in most Hong Kong restaurants. One important tip: if you have trouble with low lighting, be sure to bring a flashlight so you can see the menu, because this joint continues to be very dimly lit.
Vegetarians and vegans, Blue is not the restaurant for you. (Don’t worry, pescaterians, you’re covered.) This is a meat-forward menu that makes no bones about it – and you’ll be left waddling out, fully satiated.
To kick things off, it seems like everyone orders what’s certainly one of the most creative (and Instagrammable) menu items in town: the Galician smoked beef-fat candle. It’s lit tableside and, once it has sufficiently melted, you dip your warm bread in the beef-fat puddle at the base of the candlestick – just be careful not to fill up on carbs before you get to the mains. For a bit of a veggie injection, the coal-roasted beetroot salad is delightfully smoky, yet remains light and well balanced with the addition of orange, feta and pistachio vinaigrette.
You’d be remiss not to order the dry-aged beef at Blue and the 45-day dry-aged pasture-raised Rubia Gallega – which comes from cows have been left to roam the Galician hills in Spain from 12 to 18 years – is ridiculously rich, with a delightful fat ratio that simply melts in your mouth. If you’re not as keen on beef, the Spanish whole suckling pig is simply roasted to perfection, with tender meat that falls right off the ribs.
Beyond a great wine list that spans a variety of old world and new world from numerous lesser-known producers, be sure to check out the highly creative cocktails. Rotating according to the seasons, they’re categorised by flavour profiles (such as “earthy, vegetal” or “citric, herbaceous”) and cover a broad range of intriguing ingredients and liquors. Teetotallers, you’ll be happy to note that the mocktails get the same treatment.
As it was with Blue Butcher, the service continues to be impeccable. Our jovial waiter was chatty and well informed about the menu, all without giving off that going-through-the-motions vibe you get at most Hong Kong restaurants – the staff truly seemed like they were genuinely having fun and were happy to be there.
Blue isn’t cheap; you’ll easily surpass the HK$2,000 threshold on dinner for two with a drink each. However, considering the excellent quality of the beef and the distinctive service, we can certainly live with that.