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Posts Tagged ‘SML’

Hello everyone, I just got back from London earlier this week! There are so many yummy places to write about, but before I get into all that, I just wanted to update a post I had from 2009 when I raved about SML, which was then newly opened in Times Square. Don’t bother reading that post, as things have gone completely downhill since then! P took me there for dinner as a “welcome home” meal and it was disappointing in both food and value.

For one, the portion sizes seemed to have shrunk while the prices ballooned. We ordered a spicy lamb kebab that was one sad chunk of meat on a skewer which had as much spice as malt-o-meal. What’s worse, it cost $64 for that, a small plate of yogurt dipping sauce and some sauteed onions. My cranberry juice was the worst – at $35, I got a third of a short tumbler, which lasted about five sips. Afterwards we visited CitySuper where I saw a whole carton of Ocean Spray for $22. Definitely a rip-off.

Our bill came to around $400 for two drinks, and about five or six bland small plates, after which we were not actually full. As they say in Hong Kong, “Never again!”

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What's a restaurant without a bubblegum pink greeter?

What's a restaurant without a bubblegum-pink greeter?

***UPDATE (May 31, 2011): SML has definitely deteriorated since I wrote this post in 2009. Please check out my latest take on this restaurant. In short, I would advise you to stay away.***

Another restaurant Mr. B and I tried was the newly-opened SML. Located on the 11th floor of Times Square in Causeway Bay, SML centers on the belief that size matters: for nearly every dish, you can pick the small, medium, or large portion (hence the name). It’s a concept reflected on the front page of the simply-designed menu, which proclaims “Democracy now comes in 3 sizes”. The theme of customization continues in the following paragraphs declaring “big eaters, medium sizers, small spenders, dainty sippers, mean drinkers, gourmet feeders, and dine-and-dashers” all deserve to have their needs satisfied, without fear of judgement or retribution. Lofty ideals, no?

While tailored food options are fantastic, personally, I just think SML is genius because it soothes my indecisive side. A place with small, tapas-esque options? Great: I can try a little of everything. Perfect for this commitment-phobe.

The lovechild of simplicity and elegance

The lovechild of simplicity and elegance

Anyways, from the moment I stepped into the restaurant, I felt like a good meal was in store. The place is dimly lit, with funky light fixtures – bare incandescent bulbs stuck to the ends of short brass loops, like something out of a Tim Burton movie. An open kitchen lines the back of the restaurant; the floors and tables are wood; the chairs and booths are quite ergonomic and comfy. The diningware is also remarkable: small ceramic plates boast cute sayings, like lime green winks at the diner: “still hungry?” and “scrumptious” were on the plates I had. Additionally, the short, rounded drinking glasses are a joy to hold; their weight and shape in my hand rendered me enchanted. The spartan-yet-sophisticated atmosphere made me think, “If MUJI and the restaurant biz had a baby, this would it.”

But the food – that’s the key! The menu was beautiful; I immediately wanted to order six or seven dishes. There are a large selection of soups, appetizers, pastas, mains, and desserts, under the cheeky heading of “happy endings”. As promised, nearly everything on the menu had a small, medium, or large counterpart. Mr. B and I decided to get small orders of the crostini with tomato, basil and olive, meatballs with spicy tomato sauce, grilled chicken with mojo sauce and mango salsa, and prawns with chili and garlic. We also got a medium-sized carrot salad with chili, citrus, and peanuts. For dessert we picked two small plates: a chocolate pot with mousse and fudge, and a citrus panna cotta with slices of orange and grapefruit.

The chicken that lived up to its serving plate: "scrumptious".

The chicken that lived up to its serving plate: "scrumptious".

My personal favorites were:

  • the meatballs, for the uniquely seasoned meat (perhaps a hint of cumin and/or coriander? slightly reminiscent of kofta). The sauce had some heat too. Delish.
  • the grilled chicken with mango salsa, for the perfect pairing. The chicken had a hint of smokiness, which was tempered by the sweetness of the mango salsa. The salsa itself was fantastic; I thought the sprinkling of cilantro just made it.
  • the two desserts, for a truly “happy ending”. The chocolate pot (which, let’s face it, sounds amazing based on the name alone) had a mousse thick enough without being overwhelmingly rich, and the panna cotta was creamy yet refreshing, probably due to its citrus flavor.

All in all, this is definitely among my favorite restaurants in HK. If I believed in commitment, I’d even select it as a future date locale…or maybe I’ll just suggest it to my lovey-dovey paired-up friends.

SML
11/F, Times Square, Causeway Bay
2577 3444
Cost: ~ $130 HKD/person (not including drinks)

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