Despite the plethora of excellent Spanish restaurants in Wan Chai (there are so many options!), we still appreciate trying new ones because menus don't change that frequently here in Hong Kong (at least compared to Boston). It's hard to go back to the same restaurant - even if you really like the food - because the menu will often look exactly the same.
Though we really enjoy the well-established Spanish restaurants in our neighborhood, we were actually lured to try this new restaurant in Wan Chai because they were offering a discount on Eatigo (affiliate link only works on mobile), a booking app that allows you try new restaurants at a discount. Different discounts are offered depending on what time you dine there. In this case, we were able to get 20% off the food.
Sometimes it's a toss up whether restaurants that offer discounts to promote themselves are good, but we were pleasantly surprised in this case. We really enjoyed the food at Sueno Wan Chai and even came back a second time to try more dishes with friends, who were equally impressed. In fact, I think it's become one of our new favorite Spanish places in Wan Chai.
Here's a look at some of the dishes we've tried!
Starters, Tapas, and Sides
Of course a good Spanish restaurant has to offer jamon Iberico. The version at Sueno is 48 month aged (50g) for HKD220.
It's hand cut the traditional way.
We elevated the experience by also ordering their crystal loaf bread (also known as pan de cristal). The bread was lovely - light and crispy - and very enjoyable. I had learned from world-renowned Spanish chef Jose Andres that it's hard to get that airy texture in the bread. In Spain, they have these special machines that stretch the dough like bubble gum over and over again. The constant stretching causes the dough to incorporate tons of air pockets, which really gives it a unique texture.
Though my favorite pan de cristal in Hong Kong is still the one at La Rambla, this one is still very, very good, with lovely air pockets and a light, crispy texture. It came with a nice tomato olive oil "salsa" to spread on our bread.
Eat it together with the jamon . . . perfect!
Padron peppers were fine, but nothing special. A bit on the greasy side but not too salty. In general, the chef's palate runs light.
Sueno is not a purely traditional Spanish restaurant, and there are several more creative dishes that incorporate influences from other cuisines, such as this refreshing and delicious crabmeat Caesar Salad, which seemed more Italian than Spanish.
One excellent dish was the Japanese-inspired Scallop Tartare, which consisted of chopped Hokkaido scallops in a yuzu vinegar served with these nori (seaweed) black sesame crisps.
The Tortilla de Patates (Spanish omelet) was pretty classic and was fine, though it didn't stand out. I wouldn't have minded if the center were just a tad more "runny", which is easier to achieve if the tortilla is not served cut up.
One of the more creative dishes we saw was simply called "Fish & Chips" [HKD128], a creative take on the British classic, but replacing the fish with fresh anchovies, and dusting both the anchovies and fries in salted duck egg yolk, served with a side of tartar sauce.
This was truly fusion, a creative concept merging British, Spanish, and Asian cuisine. Bryan really liked it, but for me, it was only OK. Some would say it is slightly under-salted (though this is Hong Kong). I found the anchovies to be a tad dry and definitely carried a strong anchovy "fishy" flavor that I didn't love. Perhaps this is why I typically like the vinegared fresh anchovies so much better. The vinegar balances out the fish's natural strong flavor. I did like the fries, which were decently fried.
Garlic Prawns are a classic, and were done very well here. Fresh, succulent tiger prawns were cooked just right in a fragrant mixture of garlic, chili, and olive oil.
Main Dishes & Paellas
The Seafood Paella [HKD208] (with squid ink!) was very good, chock full of seafood like scallops, prawns, shrimp, clams, and squid. It's always tough to get the texture of each piece of seafood right, but they did an admirable job. The squid was superbly cooked.
The shrimp was fine, though I wouldn't have minded it cooked a bit less. The scallop was cooked well, and the clams were just *slightly* overcooked but overall within limits. The rice was very flavorful and was nicely al dente.
The Seafood Fideo [HKD238] is like the seafood paella but made with vermicelli instead. We loved how the noodles were a bit "crunchy" from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
If you like suckling pig, you'll enjoy the Cochinillo (HKD268), which is executed well. The most interesting and fun part was actually the brûlée pineapple that came alongside it. The fruit, with its nicely caramelized tops, nicely balanced out the richness of the crispy (but fatty) suckling pig.
For dessert we had traditional Spanish style churros, which came with either a chocolate or lemon sauce. The churros were good, though a tad too sweet for me (easily fixed by brushing off a bit of the sugar). I wished the chocolate sauce were a deeper, darker, more bitter chocolate.
General Thoughts - Sueno Wan Chai
I've been here twice now, and I plan on coming back. Overall the food is very good. Unlike some of the other Spanish restaurants in the neighborhood, it's been reasonably easy to book this place. In fact, Bryan and I were a bit surprised at how few guests were dining there on a Thursday evening. The next time we went, it was better.
I do hope this place survives. They have some really interesting and creative dishes. My ideal meal there would start with some jamon iberico with crystal bread, followed by the scallop tartare, garlic prawns, and finished with either a seafood paella or fideo. Oh, and some wine, of course.
We enjoyed this meal with a Chateauneuf du pape (RP 98 points, WS 97 points), which retails for $90 USD and restaurant sold for around $180 USD.
Sueno Wan Chai
137 Queen’s Road East