Why did we wait a year before venturing out and trying Mexican food in Hong Kong?
We had been under the impression for a long time that Hong Kong was weak in Mexican food. As a result, we went almost a whole year without eating any Mexican food in Hong Kong. It's no coincidence that we sought out Mexican food during our first trip to California after moving to Hong Kong.
More recently, we've discovered there's some pretty enjoyable Mexican food in Hong Kong. Sure, it comes at a price, but if you're hankering for some dare-I-say excellent Mexican food, you can find it.
11 Westside Kennedy Town is so far one of our favorites. The executive chef and owner Esdras Ochoa comes from Los Angeles where he runs a famous and well-regarded Mexican restaurant called Salazar.
11 Westside provides a more upscale version of the LA outpost, offering fantastic authentic tacos (with house made tortillas!), table-side guacamole, and craft cocktails in Hong Kong's trendy Kennedy Town neighborhood.
We arrived early and they took us to a cool speakeasy type "hidden" bar which is connected to the restaurant. You have to press an "OPEN" button, which lights up this random bulb, signaling someone to let you into the bar. The bar itself had a cool vibe, with dark wood paneling, bottles upon bottles of spirits lining the walls, a pool table in the center, and leather armchairs around the room.
The cocktails are typically HKD140 each, but they have five daily specials for HKD100 only. Personally, I thought most of the cocktails were too sweet for my tastes, but the bartender was happy to switch out my cocktail and make me a personalized cocktail with no simple syrup (using Tanqueray instead), which I did enjoy a lot.
After only about 10 minutes, our table at the restaurant was ready, so we headed over across the secret door to our table. It was a bit unclear whether we could take drinks from the bar to the restaurant. We received mixed messages, so I think it's safer to finish your drink before heading to the restaurant, since I think they are actually two separate entities (the restaurant has its own bar as well).
The guacamole (made table-side!) is fantastic and I highly recommend it.
The server mashes three avocados together with your choice of "add-ins" in a Mexican stone bowl table-side. We opted for all six ingredients: red pepper, raw onions, salt, cilantro, and tomato.
I thought the Mexican Corn was fine, but it didn't blow me away. I really think the corn in Hong Kong is just not that great. Perhaps I'm spoiled since I grew up in the Midwest in the US, which has fantastic corn. This one had large kernels but wasn't very sweet and tender. It was more chewy. Having said that, the cotija cheese was delicious.
Of course, you come here for the tacos, which is their specialty.
The tortillas are made from scratch using a tortilla press that Chef Ochoa brought over from Los Angeles. In general, tacos are fantastic. Bryan and I both loved the baja fish taco the most. The fish was fantastic, fresh, and super tender, with a nice spicy kick from the sauce! The carnitas taco had pretty good flavor, but some of the meat was dry and overcooked.
We both enjoyed the salsa a lot. The tomatoes were more pulverized and had a nice, deep flavor.
Tacos cost about HKD 48 to HK58 each and are not very large. I ate two tacos. Bryan ate four but still wasn't quite sure if he was full afterwards.
The restaurant has a nice selection of beers on tap, including Moonzen and Anchorsteam. Overall the ambiance was trendy, with modern music pumping in the background. We noticed a lot of expats / non-Hong Konger's eating there.
All in all, we loved the food the would not hesitate to come back. Yes, it is expensive (a meal for two can easily run HKD 1300), but if you love Mexican food and really miss the authentic stuff, this will satisfy those cravings.
The restaurant is difficult to find, located up a flight of stairs down a dark alley on Davis Street. Thankfully, there is a sign on Davis Street that explains how you must go down the alley and go up a flight of stairs.
11 Westside Kennedy Town
1/F, The Hudson, 11 Davis Street
Kennedy Town, Hong Kong