All American Classics at the Stone Nullah Tavern
Wan Chai residents will be familiar with neighbourhood hangout, The Stone Nullah Tavern, but for those who have yet to fall for its charms, the new menu full of classic American food is a great excuse to pay a visit.
The brainchild of chef Vinny Lauria and Todd Darling of Posto Publico and Linguini Fini, we’ve been fans of the SNT for a while now, partly due to its proximity to the HK HUB office, but mainly down to the great, friendly service and tasty food.
In a city where a new restaurant pops up on an almost daily basis, what is it that gives the SNT that edge to keep regulars coming back week in, week out? For me, it’s the warm welcome, well made drinks, casual vibe, familiar faces and consistently delicious food.
However, in recent months, the food had started to become pretty expensive, considering the setting and location, but credit to the team for taking on customer feedback, and refocusing the menu onto classic American food at very reasonable prices. This also ensures that the SNT now fits well with ethos of the other restaurants in the same stable, and serves great food, often organic, at wallet-friendly prices.
We headed over recently for a media tasting to sample some of the new dishes and find out more about the inspiration behind the food.
First up, prawn cocktail (HK$158) but not as you know it. As a non-seafood eater, I can’t comment on how it tasted, but the presentation was great. Served with horseradish and old bay, there was no hint of Marie-Rose sauce anywhere.
Next up, I’d go so far as to say that this is the best chicken Caesar salad (HK$128) I’ve had. The sticky and sweet Korean BBQ chicken was the perfect match for the anchovy dressing as well as being a well thought out twist to an often tired classic dish. The portion is perfect for either a main or a starter/side dish to share.
The salad was swiftly followed by nachos (HK$118), topped with pork cheek, chilli, cheddar, sour cream, jalapeños and crispy pig’s ears. This dish perfectly captures the SNT’s move to an all American menu, while retaining the nose to tail approach culinary of both Vinny Lauria and Todd Darling. Homemade crispy nachos with a generous topping of everything that makes this dish utterly moreish. The crispy pigs ears add just the right amount of crunch and texture and it would be an ideal plate of food to accompany some after work beers.
Then it was time to try a few of the main options, including the Southern fried free range chicken (HK$158). This dish is the perfect combination of crunchy coating and succulent meat, accompanied by a smokey bacon aioli and pot of ‘slaw. It was another stand-out of the evening, which I will definitely order next time I visit.
An essential addition to any American menu is a rack of ribs. These maple BBQ glazed half rack ribs with gorgonzola slaw and dill pickle (HK$198) were sticky, juicy and so good that had it not been for all the food that preceded them, I would have devoured the lot.
If you’ve eaten at either Posto Publico or Linguini Fini, then you’ll know that the team create a mean pizza and the offerings at the SNT are no different. There are three on the menu and we tried the BBQ chicken with jalapeno, cheddar, crispy onion and cilantro (HK$138). The wood-grilled pizza had a perfectly crispy and crunchy base with tons of tasty toppings – so good, that you’ll want to order it again and again.
By this point, we were all starting to wilt slightly under the weight of our stomachs, until the dessert arrived. The classic banana split (HK128) was far from classic in that it also contained sticky chocolate brownies, chocolate sauce, three types of ice-cream and popping candy all under a mountain of cream. Personally there was too much cream, and it’s one of the richest desserts I’ve come across in a long time, but the few mouthfuls that I managed were completely and utterly indulgent.
With the ever present spot-on service and the new and improved menu full of American Classics with just the right number of twists, the SNT is one neighbourhood bar that you must visit.
Don’t miss the best value Happy Hour in town – from Monday to Friday, house wines, beers and spirits start at just HK$1 (yes that’s right, HK$1), doubling every 20 minutes until 7pm. Make sure you go down and check it out!
Address: 69 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel: 3182 0128