Restaurant review: Roganic by Chef Simon Rogan in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong (1 Michelin star)
Freshest ingredients at British Chef Simon Rogan's new restaurant in Causeway Bay
Before making a booking at Roganic (credit card needed to secure the reservation), I feel it’s important to understand what the restaurant is about. It might sound obvious but haven’t we all wanted to eat something just because we saw a photo of it online or heard it was “so good”? I’ve had a crazy March and April with work and winding down my second last semester of school so admittedly I didn’t research much about Roganic before recruiting a girlfriend for a girly date to try the short tasting menu ($680 plus some freebies). All I knew was that Simon Rogan, the 2 Michelin-starred British Chef renowned for his focus on local produce, was getting rave reviews for this restaurant and it was conveniently located right across the street from my office.
I booked for a Sunday night at 6pm. While the restaurant was empty when we walked in, and gave me the chance to take these clean photos, eventually it was about three quarters full. Pretty good for a Sunday night. The building, Sino Plaza, is an office slash mall and to get to Roganic I had to walk up a flight of stairs, take a mini escalator, and then find myself in a corner of the building where both Roganic and sister restaurant Aulis are located. Roganic is gorgeous in that modern garden apothecary kind of way. It’s small but spacious with cozy booths, interesting plant walls, and a crazy birds nest-like ceiling.
Service was also perfect and of the quality and attentiveness you’d expect from such a restaurant. Each dish was presented beautifully and explained in detail… usually each dish by a different server / chef! The kitchen team must be huge.
Pumpkin, nashi pear, bay leaf
Wafer, fermented mushroom puree, yeast
Aged raw beef, oyster, capers
Soda bread and cultured butter
Codfish, broccoli, roast bone
Strawberries and cream
Stout, molasses, burnt milk
But back to the food. If you read this blog, you’ll know I usually like intense, heavy flavours. Indulging is my thing (as is going to the gym to work it all off). So initially I was a bit dismayed that the dishes we were eating were so healthy. Lots of vegetables and interesting, tangy sauces and combinations but everything was so light. But then this is exactly what Roganic is known for. According to Simon Rogan himself, “It's a case of growing the perfect carrot rather than cooking it perfectly … We’re taking an ingredient and cooking it simply to maximise the flavor.” He even started his own farm in the UK’s Lake District in order to access the best produce. So if you’re into farm-to-table dining, lighter fare, and / or not feeling like a glutton when you leave a restaurant, you’ll likely enjoy Roganic.
Grilled salad, Westcombe cheese, truffle
Duck with turnip and spiced red vinegar
Ultimately, my favourite dishes of the night were still the heaviest ones. I absolutely loved the Grilled Salad. It may not have been the prettiest dish of the night but it was a perfect medley of textures and flavours, smokey leaves, creamy Westcombe cheese custard, and chilli garlic dressing. The Duck with Turnip and Red Spiced Vinegar was accompanied by a small bowl of duck ragout was also excellent, the latter like a sophisticated shepherd’s pie. Very intense and delicious. And while initially I had doubts on whether or not I was going to get full, I was actually satisfied (not stuffed) when we left the restaurant.
Overall, I think Roganic does what it does very well. While not all dishes were too my taste (interesting but… ), I’m glad I went and expanded my knowledge of what food can be. So if your tastes, like mine run richer and heavier, you may still want to give Roganic a try as it’s a very interesting and unique dining experience; maybe just consider opting for the full 10-course tasting menu.
Sino Plaza, UG/F 08, 255 Gloucester Rd, Causeway Bay, 2817 8383