So I have heard much about 22 Ships, one of the many Spanish places opening up all over the cities. I quite liked how they named their restaurant. It’s no stroke of genius, but it certainly put a spin into telling my friends where to meet up for dinner. “Hey, meet me at 22 Ships at Ship Street.” How about, “Let’s drink up at Leighton 8 and 8 Leighton Road,” or “We do dim sum at The Tin Lok at Tin Lok Lane“.
Well, you get the drift.
Let’s put it this way – 22 Ships is no ship, size-wise.. The place is tiny, cramped and certainly look more like a bar than a restaurant. While the vibe is infectiously buzzy, the utter lack of privacy between diners – I could literally eat off my neighbour’s plate – made it not a destination of choice if you are after romantic dinners. There’s only so many “I love you”s you could utter across your paella without the people around you sniggering and rolling their eyes.
22 Ships is a place for Spanish tapas. By tapas I do think it means food served in small portions, as opposed to Spanish “appetizers” or “snacks”. I did my homework (read: asking the good folks of #HKFoodBloggers) before turning up here with my better half for a spot of early Christmas celebration, so I know exactly what will hit the spot.
Manchego cheese and Iberico ham toastie (HK$78)
A crowd favorite, and it was so easy to see why. The delicate fried quail eggs balanced on top of golden toasts cut into perfect triangle. The toast was crispy on the outside and cheesy on the inside, making it a delight to devour the ham within. Even the better half thought this exceptionally well done, and the better half is impartial towards cheese and toasts even at the best of time.
Spanish breakfast, chorizo & potato (HK$98)
Errr, first thought – why is this Spanish breakfast? It looked like eggs and potatoes and bits of chorizo in a pan. There wasn’t any surprises in this, and at this price it was mediocre through and through. The only thing I enjoyed was the runny egg. For that I could do it myself at home.
Squid paella, parsley dressing (HK$128)
Since my experience at Comilonas, I now have a thing for squid paella. The rendition at 22 Ships were of the parsley variety instead of squid ink for dressing. I like how garlicky and shrimpy this was, and despite how it looked in this photo, the paella actually looked as good as its taste.
Baked smoke bone marrow (HK$68)
I am a bone marrow virgin, save for that time when I sucked marrow out of bones during a trip to Shanghai ten years ago. Which is just another way for me to say I ordered this without having the slightest inkling how it would look like. The taste of the bone marrow was unexpected but not in a bad way. We were told to have scoop the accompanying onion jam and sourdough onto the pieces of, errr, biscuit (?) but that was a mistake. The biscuit is way too hard and chewy, it was a chore to bite. The onion jam was, in a word, heavenly. In fact it tasted much better than the bone marrow.
By the time we were done with dinner – a mere 30 minutes from the start – the place was already brimming with patrons, and a queue of waiting customers has already started. Granted, it was a Friday night so a crowd was hardly a surprise.
Verdict? Pretty decent Spanish tapas, but at that price I would really save it for special occasion. This ship is not really for my dock.
22 Ship Street
Wanchai, Hong Kong