Yenn Wong and David Lai’s restaurants could not be more different. The former’s are among the hippest and coolest in Hong Kong, whilst the latter’s can hardly be described by such terms. With Fish School, the two have opened a restaurant together that seems awfully cool, has loud music and a front of house brigade that would make any 20-year-old feel like he’s approaching retirement.
This façade is paired with a more thoughtful and interesting concept when it comes to the food. David Lai and his brigade source most of the seafood on the menu locally, and aim to showcase the wealth that can be found in the waters surrounding Hong Kong. This results in dishes such as “Mantis shrimp popcorn” or marinated crabmeat with sea urchin and rice that can best be described as refined comfort food. The flavours are bold, vivid and tend to push the boundaries of classical cuisine.
Where Fish School really excels, however, is with simply prepared pristine seafood. Wild eel is grilled and served almost au naturel with delightfully crisp skin and firm, bouncy meat that make this an absolutely masterful piece of cookery. Even better are rare pieces such as half of a 2.4kg local sole that is cooked meunière. Remarkable for its firm, yet gelatinous meat, this is some of the most exciting fish cookery anywhere.
David Lai’s team serves quirky food that has touches of brilliance when it comes to the simplest of preparations. Whilst the cool atmosphere might not be everyone’s taste, Fish School does showcase how much can be done with locally caught seafood. That alone is worth coming for!