Date of review: March 12, 2014 | Reviewed by: Esther Wong
Located on Gage Street just a stone’s throw away from the market stalls, Sanche’s exterior is sleek with large glass sliding doors and simple, matte black furnishings. Inside, from the exposed ceiling hang incandescent light bulbs providing a warm and inviting ambiance, while natural woods are the main accents on the tables and chairs. The room seats approximately 30 to 40 diners on the main floor, many of which are young professionals, with a handful of bar chairs surrounding the open kitchen area. As for music, a rotating shuffle of the week’s top hits plays gently overhead.
The menu at Sanche is divided into six categories: specialties, spicy and crispy, from the grill, pancake, salad, and sides. The restaurant touts itself as being a modern Korean tapas restaurant, and while you may expect complimentary banchan from a Korean eatery, Sanche does not offer this – instead, each order of kimchi will set you back HK$25. We began our meal with an octopus salad with yuzu ponzu, thinking that it would be a refreshing starter. When the dish arrived, we were greeted with about a dozen slices of a large octopus tentacle, laid neatly on the plate, served at a temperature somewhere between cold and room temperature. We were expecting a crisp bite with the octopus, but instead got a soft, yet chewy rendition. The beef short ribs BBQ served with bulgogi sauce and a small salad was equally unremarkable, with the meat being so tough we had difficulty separating it from the bone. What may have saved the meal, however, was the pepper pancake (cheongyang pepper, Korean leek, clam, doenjang sauce), which was light and fluffy throughout, with the peppers adding just a little bit of a kick. Our favourite dish of the evening was the chicken kangjung, and while we weren’t particularly found of the gochujang sauce that it came with, the highlight was juicy pieces of chicken enveloped by a light, flaky batter. Those will a sweet tooth might notice that their favourite section of the menu is missing, as there currently are no desserts on offer.
The drinks list here is varied, with a small selection of beers, soju, liquors, and cocktails. In addition to the classic mojito and old fashioned, signature cocktails are available, including Summer Dream (vodka, blueberry, lavender), Sanche Mai Tai (rum, mango juice, passion fruit, dark rum), The Green Joy (rum, kaffir lime, honeydew), Soju Watermelon (soju, watermelon juice), and Kimchi Bloody Mary (vodka, brandy, kimchi, tomatoes). Usually a fan of Bloody Marys, we thought we’d try the Korean fusion version with kimchi. It was a bit hit-and-miss, and while we initially enjoyed the flavours, the drink turned increasingly sour when paired with food and as the meal progressed. For the less adventurous, there is a selection of wines (red, which, champagne) on offer, with six available by the glass at around HK$80 each and bottles ranging from HK$300 to HK$1,700.
Overall, service was courteous and polite during our visit. When we entered, we were greeted immediately and shown to our table. As our meal progressed, we felt that the service dipped, and had to repeatedly ask for a glass of water as it was sometimes difficult to get the attention of one of the two servers on the floor that evening.
A meal for two including drinks comes out to be around HK$900, which is an acceptable amount to pay for dinner in Central.