The One With Rocksalt At Stanley

It was a moment of madness.

Imagine this – it was traffic peak hours on Hong Kong Island on a Friday night. The road was packed bumper-to-bumper with weekend traffic, full of rat racers rushing to dinner, spa, movie and what-have-you appointments all over the city. The frantic activities as observed from the upper deck of a double decker bus almost nauseated me.

Yes, that’s where I was, that humid night, on my way into Stanley, where I am to have my seafood dinner at Rocksalt. Oh, the things you would do when you give in to the temptations of Groupons! The trick of doing all these dining deals is to book at least two weeks in advance, even for some place like Stanley.

So was the an hour peak traffic journey into the never never land worth it?

Situated along the main Stanley promenade on the southside of Hong Kong, Rocksalt’s large floor-to-ceiling windows provide magnificent unobstructed views of Stanley Bay and a welcomed escape from the bustle of Stanley Market. As we were shown to our seats, I can’t help but marvel at the sense of calm that came over me despite the hustle and bustle of the growing dinner crowd that evening.

Dinner at Rocksalt Stanley

For this Groupon deal, a set dinner for two, the selection was kinda set so we settled right in with additional drinks (a pint of Erdinger for me, yum).

Seafood Trio

Dinner at Rocksalt Stanley

The freshly shucked Australian oysters were a delight; undeniably fresh and succulent but oh my god the tiny portion! Did they have a specific Groupon-size oysters for dinner makers like me? We were quite tempted to order an extra half a dozen – afterall, what is one oyster per person when you are an oyster lover? – but at $198 a pop we thought we could try out something else.

Dinner at Rocksalt Stanley

The breaded prawns were fresh and juicy, with the barter cooked to a perfect crisp without being overly greasy. The crab cakes, however, tasted odd to me, like some sort of otah without the chili sauce. Again, at one piece each, our stomachs were hardly stuffed to the brim, though we were adequately satisfied.

Mussels

Dinner at Rocksalt Stanley

Now this is a dish I could recommend, and it was not part of the set dinner. Though the mussles were small in size and, according to my friend, were hardly half a kilo as of the usual fare for a dish like this, they were succulent and juicy, cooked just enough to retain its musky taste which is a favorite of mine. The bread were meant for us to soak up the leftover sauce, and of that we did.

Seafood Linguine

Dinner at Rocksalt Stanley

With Italian parsley, napoli sauce, fresh cherry tomatoes and sliced garlic. As neither of us are a fan of tomato-based pasta, the linguine was intriguing at best. The seafood ingredients such as prawns, mussels and squid were – as you would have probably guessed by now – fresh, but somehow somewhat subdued in this dish. I blame the unflattering lighting (and probably my second pint of beer)

Paperbark Baked Barramundi Fillet

Dinner at Rocksalt Stanley

This fish dish, cooked with wild mushrooms and dill potatoes, didn’t wow us. Over salty at places, the fillet was cooked just nice without being overly dry, but the remaining ingredient seem somewhat out of place in this combination.

Pavolova

Dinner at Rocksalt Stanley

This was my first time trying a Pavolova. A Pavlova is a meringue cake with a light, delicate, crisp crust and a soft sweet marshmallow center, and this dessert was just that. I couldn’t understand its appeal – to me a dessert ought to be either rich and creamy, or light and fruity, and the Pavlova hovered somewhere in between. I suspect it would have went down much better with a glass of dessert wine.

All in all, a satisfying dining experience but not one I would brave the Friday evening traffic again. The whole meal, if ordered ala carte, would have cost us more than $1000, but with our Groupon deal we spent about $700.

I’d recommend this place for a date, especially during autumn. Apart from its nice interior (you couldn’t help but feel you are away on a seaside holiday), that promenade of Stanley would make a perfect hand-in-hand strolling spot during the mild weather. Try to time your visit during full moon nights for maximum romantic effect.

Rocksalt
25 Stanley Market Road, Stanley
2899 0818
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