Limewood Repulse Bay
I still remember the first time I saw the islands off the coast of Hong Kong. Their lush green peaks jutting out of the vivid blue waters instantly reminded me of Hawaii. I was totally floored. I had always pictured Hong Kong as this dense, urban jungle. Never did I know this other side that was so beautiful, peaceful, and idyllic.
I have since learned that there are several beautiful beaches in Hong Kong. One of the most popular beach areas is Repulse Bay, a community on the south side of Hong Kong Island. People love Repulse Bay because it's really nice (one of the most expensive places to live on the island!) as well as very convenient from Central Hong Kong.
Though it's less than a 30-minute car-ride to get to Repulse Bay (or maybe 45-50 min if you take one of the several buses or minibuses), it really feels like a different world down there. We felt like we had arrived at some sort of resort town. The vibe was more relaxed, and the whole area was less dense. In fact, we felt like we had gone far away for a vacation, even though we had only traveled about five miles.
There are several restaurants that face the beach at Repulse Bay. Limewood is a beachside barbecue restaurant with influences from South America, Southeast Asia, Hawaii, and the Caribbean (yes, all warm-weather places that evoke thoughts of beach vacations!). It comes from the Maximal Concepts Group, the same folks behind Brickhouse, Mott 32, and a number of other restaurants in Hong Kong and around the world.
Limewood is right on the beach at Repulse Bay and right next to The Pulse, the new shopping center that's on the beach. There's a bar area on one side and a dining area on the other. The feel is definitely resort-like and relaxing. There are great views of the beach as well as the ocean.
Limewood has an extensive cocktail menu, and they are interesting and fun. I told the server I didn't really like drinks that were "too sweet", so she recommended that I try the Cucumber and Dill, a refreshing citrus drink made with tequila, jalapeno, lime, and umami salt. It was refreshing and quite good. Though I would still consider it a sweet drink (as in, it's not savory nor neutral), it was balanced by the other flavors and I didn't find it too sweet.
Bryan got the Kale and Coriander, a much stronger, more alcoholic drink consisting of coriander-infused tequila, kale, agave, and cardamom. The increased amount of alcohol definitely added a bitter kick to the drink. It was quite strong! Bryan doesn't mind strong drinks at all, though, and he enjoyed the drink a lot.
Later on in the meal, Bryan switched to a barbecued pineapple Cuban Mojito made with aged rum, mint, cinnamon, cane sugar, and soda. It was festive and fun, and I liked how you could really taste the char from the barbecued pineapple. I think the relaxed, beachside environment invites these lighter, fruitier types of cocktails, and it totally works when the weather is hot, you're next to the beach, and you want something refreshing to drink.
Me personally, I prefer cocktails that are less sweet, but I think I am in the minority. I think most people would welcome the sweeter, refreshing beach-appropriate drinks that they have here.
The Limewood menu has as lot of casual, appetizer-sized dishes, which works well if you want to sample a lot of different things. We were only able to try a couple (since it was the two of us), but the menu has a nice selection, such as a jerked coconut corn on the cob, lemongrass chicken wings, several raw seafood "tartare" or "poke"-like options, as well as creative salads.
Then there's the larger format grill options, where you can order a whole fish roasted or fried, as well as whole roasted chicken, a lamb rack, a various beef options. These are usually good to share!
I was drawn to the unique Limewood Guacamole ($190 HKD), made from avocado, chicarron, sea urchin, and ikura (salmon roe) and served with house made tortilla chips. I loved the heft of the sturdy tortilla chips, which did a great job of holding lots of guacamole. The guacamole was good, though I wasn't sure if the uni (sea urchin) added that much to the overall flavors. The salty ikura definitely dominated with its salty, umami pop. All in all, it was fun and enjoyable, though I probably still prefer a classic guacamole.
We absolutely loved the next course, the Fried Fish Tacos ($135 HKD). Each order came with three mini soft taco "shells" topped with braised purple cabbage, battered and fried fish, a slathering of chipotle mayo, and topped with chopped white onions and cilantro. The braised cabbage had a lovely sweetness that really balanced out the savory fried fish and the chipotle mayo quite nicely. It definitely was a bit different from a typical baja fish taco, but we loved it and felt that it was executed very well.
For our main course, we shared their signature dish, the 48-hour Charred Beef Ribs ($490 HKD). This HUGE single beef rib comes with a mango infused BBQ sauce and is topped with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro.
I thought the first photo didn't really give a good sense of scale, so I asked Bryan to pose with the bone so that you all could get a better sense of how big it was. Heh heh, not sure if that really helped!
The meat was super tender and all around fantastic. We both loved it and ate it all up.
Yep, totally "fall-off-the-bone" tender. Look how clean that bone is!
We enjoyed this with a side of Smoky Cole Slaw ($75 HKD), made from cabbage tossed with paprika and yoghurt. Compared to most cole slaws, it tasted a lot lighter - definitely less salty and less creamy. It was OK. It wasn't my favorite (I found it a bit bland), but it was an appropriate lighter complement to the intense beef rib.
The freshly made "hand-piped" churros were amazing, and I couldn't stop eating them. I personally wished the caramel sauce was a bit less sweet, but I easily remedied that by dipping less (or not at all) into the sauce. The churros themselves were awesome, and though I only intended to eat one (we were so full!), we somehow polished off the entire plate (oops!).
I tried their espresso martini, which was definitely on the sweet side though balanced by the bitterness from the espresso and the alcohol. A nice dessert drink, but fine to skip if you want to save your sugar allotment for the churros!
General Thoughts - Limewood Repulse Bay Hong Kong
What a fun place!
We really enjoyed the fresh, bold flavors of the food and the fun, casual, and creative drinks at Limewood. I would love to come back and try one of the whole fish dishes, the the fresh raw offerings (poke, tartare, and the like), and maybe those fish tacos and churros again. The vibe is laid back, the food is great, and the location right on the beach couldn't be better. In fact, Limewood even suggests that you enjoy drinks at their bar while letting your kids play in the sand right in front of the restaurant.
I still can't believe that I can travel just five miles and enter this whole new world - a place I can visit when I yearn for Hawaii. I can't wait to come back in the spring or summertime when the weather is warm enough for real beach activities.
Limewood Repulse Bay Hong Kong
The Pulse 28 Beach Road
Shop 103/104, Repulse Bay, HK
+852 2866 8668
Disclaimer - I was invited by Maximal Concepts to try one of their restaurants. I chose Limewood and did not pay for the meal or drinks. I was not paid to write this post, and all opinions are my own.