Jason Atherton is not an unfamiliar name in the culinary world, having earned his first start with Pollen in London. Then he brought his Pollen restaurant to Gardens by the Bay and that was fantastic. 22 Ships was his first outing to Hong Kong, serving Spanish Tapas in a casual setting.
22 Ships is a name play on the address, which is precisely 22 Ship Street. Back before Wanchai was reclaimed, the ships did anchor at the pier that came to Ship Street. And then Ship Street was where several ship chandlers set up shop. So which part of the history that gave it its name, I could not tell. But Ship Street has become the hippest street for many culinary startups and powerhouses because of its once cheap rentals.
I found the street and 22 Ships on my walkabout in Mar 2013. I was snacking and eating along the way, so I could only managed a Spanish Breakfast
In my second visit, I was alone but I was also counting calories. So I ordered an egg dish (their signature dishes), a meat, a vegetable and a dessert 🙂 So much for counting calories.
The egg oozed out of the creamy mash that was bursting with flavours of the Spanish blood sausages (Morcilla). Served with a clear savoury broth that was not your KFC brown sauce.
I also ordered the daily special – grilled quail. I love gamey fowls – pigeons, quails, pheasants, you name it, I eat it. So I couldn’t resist when they were serving quails on the special menu. While I was quietly disappointed, as the quail was a difficult bird to cook. It was charred and the breast was overcooked. So stick to their menu.
On the third visit, they changed several items, but the signature egg dishes and desserts were still on the menu. The Sea Bass was served pan-crisped on the skin side garnished with deep fried garlic and fermented bean which the Cantonese called 豆酥. So it was a brilliant dish that has both the Spanish tapas serving, French plating and Cantonese flavours. Loved it. The Lamb Shoulder I did not understand, it was slow cooked and dusted with cheese shaving and decorated with blobs of pea puree and yoghurt. Too rich for my poor heart. The desserts were still outstanding. I ordered the same Peanut Butter, and my companion ordered a Strawberry marshmallows. I didn’t have any and no prize who ate it all.
The service was great and all the times I were there. Remember to tip the service staff, they deserved it and there was no service charge. Leave at least 20% please.
It’s first come first serve, but everyone very “automatic” and did not hoard the place after they finished their meals, so you can be promptly ushered into the 25 seater restaurant.
22 Ship Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong
T: +852 2555 0722
Dates Visited: Mar 2013, Apr 2016, Apr 2017.