The Grand Opening of The Walrus in Hong Kong

Almost everyone here in Hong Kong has heard of Victoria Chow.

The brains (and beauty) behind the cocktail bar, The Woods, has certainly not been resting on her laurels since she co-opened the doors to her bar: she has now also launched The Walrus (based on the poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter" in Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass"), a restaurant that presents a modern, hip take to the classic oyster bar.

The restaurant itself is not huge (although I'm told they'll be opening up the upper floor to customers at some point), but with nautical-themed finishings such as the lights draped from the ceiling with thick rope tied in sailors' knots, grey walls with carved fish silhouettes, and deep blue tiles contrasted against wire mesh fencing, it looks remarkably like industrial-warehouse-meets-high-seas. True to the theme, inside the toilet, a very British rendition of Lewis Carroll's poem is being played through speakers.

Raw oysters paired with contemporary condiments are the best sellers here. The Oompa Loompa (The Boy's favourite) came with a blood orange scoop of sorbet on top of an oyster, with a sprinkle of raw salmon and diced cucumber, while the Lady Gaga was topped with pink pickle jelly, chrysanthemum and radish garnish.

To our surprise, the vegetarian oyster (think, chopped vegetables piled into an oyster shell) was a hit (even with The Boy who generally steers clear of anything that hasn't bled), although the hot platter of oysters (which included a rather cloying miso oyster, and a disappointing and suspiciously curdled-smelling uni paste topped oyster) was less satisfying.

To give other items on the menu a chance, we also tried the fried mini crabs. The crabs should be ordered for novelty value - they were crunchy with a bit of meat in the middle, but it was the accompanying lightly fried kale that I enjoyed more.

The stand out at The Walrus is the Po'boy - a long bread roll with a slightly crispy exterior that contains alternating fried oyster and fried garoupa with cucumber and pickled garnish. I'm not a fried food fan, but this is definitely a top seller.

The final, must-try at The Walrus is the dessert: what appears to be an oyster containing salted caramel icecream, but is actually white chocolate that has been creatively and very realistically moulded into an oyster shape, along with contouring.

At the grand opening, customers spilled out onto the streets, slurping down five freshly shucked oysters and three (strong but remarkably refreshing and tasty) cocktails prepared at The Woods, while listening to the cool beats DJ'd by an elderly looking Chinese gentleman (and accompanied by what I think was a saxophone player).

It was an awesome afternoon with a huge turn out - congratulations to Tori and her team on the opening!

xx Carmen


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