Jimmy's Kitchen (Central)・占美廚房 (中環)
Restaurant ・ British・Continental・Western
The minute you step into Jimmy’s Kitchen, every detail of this long-serving establishment is designed to evoke nostalgia. This branch in the ground floor of South China Building together with its ubiquitous neon-lit sign has provided diners with a respite of the hustle and bustle of Central since 1976.
But the restaurant traces back its history further, serving movie stars, entrepreneurs and travellers way back in 1928. From the dim lighting, carpet, dark wood furniture and interior, all the way to the music – everything harkens back to Hong Kong’s good old, colonial days, without the cheesy memorabilia. You are expected to soak in the ambiance and remember what it’s like when things were more laid-back and relaxed.
Upon entry, you’re welcomed by the bar displaying their extensive wine selection. Moving on to the dining area, you’d notice that it’s not as expansive as you’d expect – the low ceiling doesn’t help plus this is Hong Kong after all – but the dining booths and tables are spaced out smartly giving you an impression that the place is roomier than it actually is.
To say that the menu ‘offers a wide selection’ is doing Jimmy’s Kitchen a disservice. Their take on ‘colonial cuisine’ includes comfort food such as carbonara and spaghetti bolognaise, to various madras curry, fish and chips, and meat and steak. One can get overwhelmed by the choices—you’ll just have to trust your gut to make the right choice.
We started off with the English crab cake. Although it was served looking a bit burn and overcooked, once you open it up and dig in, the crab meat was perfectly seasoned with the parsley and tarragon. The crab was plentiful and was complemented nicely by the tarragon mayonnaise.
For our mains, we ordered the chicken kiev and prawn madras. The chicken kiev came with a good-sized cut, with a not too thick layer of bread crumbs. The garlic herb butter started oozing out once you break the piece. Despite the apparent abundance of the butter, it didn’t overwhelm the flavour of the chicken and maintained it balance and tenderness.
The prawn madras came next. We ordered it dry but the prawn did not lose any of its juices and freshness. The chef most certainly did not skimp on the spices and if you’re wary about heat, then it might be a good idea to ask him to tone it down a bit. It would have been perfect if it was served with basmati rice to keep with the Indian theme. Accompanying the prawn madras are papadums with a variety of condiments including mango chutney.
For dessert, we went with the baked Alaska. The serving for two was massive and unfortunately that’s the minimum order for this dish. The meringue is a bit too sweet and left you searching for the ice cream and sponge cake. If you’re looking to indulge your sweet tooth, then you can’t go wrong with this.
The wine list at Jimmy’s Kitchen is quite impressive for its variation and price. They’ve a wide range of whites and red, available by the glass or bottle, from France, New Zealand, Chile, Australia and the US. They also have an extensive list of spirits ranging from whisky, brandy, aperitif and port, and cocktails if you’re in the mood for a Manhattan or a Black Russian.
The service was courteous and attentive. We were welcomed warmly and immediately seated on the table of our choice. The professionalism was a pleasant surprise especially when recommending the specials or helping us with our orders. Although we had to ask for the drinks separately, every request was fulfilled, no matter how minute.
Our total bill came to about HK$950 for a starter, two mains, dessert, a couple of drinks and plenty of leftover. The servings were more than ample and could even be shared with another person. The menu is nothing outstanding, but if you’re in the mood for old favourites with an ambiance to match, then this long-serving Hong Kong institution is the place for you.