Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: 69 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai 灣仔石水渠街69號地下

Telephone: 3182 0128

http://www.stonenullahtavern.com/

Stone Nullah Tavern 是在灣仔”藍屋”對面的新派美式餐廳,用創新的煮法以及新鮮的本地材料來烹調傳統美國菜式。整體而言,食物味道偏濃(不喝酒的話更明顯),但挺惹味,看得出合夥人和行政總廚Vinny Lauria花了很多心思來設計各樣新穎的菜式。食物份量不算大,但每道菜的價錢不貴,晚飯每人才不過$300至$400左右。

Run by IHM (proprietors of Linguini Fini and Posto Pubblico), Stone Nullah Tavern is the new baby of partner and Executive Chef, Vinny Lauria. Located opposite the Grade 1 Historical Building, Blue House, on Stone Nullah Lane in Wanchai, Stone Nullah Tavern is a hip and upbeat space, with wooden panelling and framed old maps completing its vintage set-up. Stone Nullah Tavern serves “New American fare”, which means American classic dishes re-imagined and re-created using the freshest local ingredients available.

The restaurant has an airy bar area which serves a selection of boutique whiskies, rums and bourbons, as well as American craft beers. The dishes on Stone Nullah Tavern’s food menu have rather unintelligible names, but the hard-working and friendly staff were very happy to brief us on the dishes and give personal recommendations.

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(1) We started off with the Foie Burger with caramelized onion marmalade ($170). A soft, sweet and fluffy Hong Kong-style bun was a fantastic partner for the foie gras and the juicy beef patty.

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(2) Next, we tried the Crispy Pig’s Ear with chili citronette ($50). The shredded pigs’ ear was extra crispy, and was even more moreish when dipped in the sweet and spicy chili citronette.

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(3) Lazyman’s Elote with corn off the cob, chili, sharp cheddar cilantro, butter aioli ($110) was addictive – the crunch of the corn and the creaminess of the butter aioli formed a beautiful textural contrast, while the chili and cheddar cilantro gave it a fiery spicy and sour taste.

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(4) The Tater Tots with lardo aioli and sriracha ketchup ($80), i.e. hash browns, paired well with our alcohol, but on their own, they were a tad too salty and overly crunchy.

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(5) I have eaten lots of brilliant Mac ‘n’ Cheeses lately (see the one I had at Common Room), and this Mac & Cheese with egg yolk and sharp cheddar ($100) was definitely one of unmissable ones! The incredibly creamy, cheesy sauce was made even more indulgent by the addition of a glossy egg yolk. The flavouring was strong and the taste of cheddar lingered nicely in the mouth.

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(6) The Grilled Shrimp with bottarga, confit, tomato, aioli negro ($145) was elegantly presented and the sweet, tangy aioli negro gave it an extra edge. However, the shrimps were a bit small and I wished their texture was more firm.

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(7) The Chicken Wings with chili, honey, garlic, ranch ($100) were very satisfying, and the interplay between the sweetness and the spiciness worked magnificently.

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(8) The Corned Beef Tongue with fermented cabbage, whole grain mustard, rye ($145) had a lovely, refined taste and a commendable texture.

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(9) The “Meat & Potatoes” with tenderloin ragu, spaghetti potatoes ($130), a fun and creative dish, was cooked with marvellously tender beef and a flavour-packed sauce. The crispy spaghetti potatoes gave a gorgeous crunch.

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(10) The BBQ’d Bacon with zucchini, charred onion, green chili, garlic, dill & sour cream ($160) was wonderfully grilled, with the very fatty but scrumptious glazed pork melting instantly in the mouth. The layering of the sweetness and the saltiness gave the meat more depth.

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(11) Stone Nullah Tavern‘s desserts all sounded absolutely alluring, and we really struggled in deciding which ones to order. The Fat Kid Cake ($75), presented like a piece of birthday cake, consisted of four layers of all-time favourites – red velvet cake, cheesecake, crème brûlée and dark chocolate mousse. Digging into this adorable dessert did make us feel like fat kids fighting over a piece of cake! After the initial excitement was over, however, we found the cake to be a bit unwieldy, with too little crunch to help break up the velvety textures.

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(12) Last but not least, the Ovaltine Ice Cream with brûléed banana, chocolate cremoso, peanut butter fudge, cereal crunch ($65) was beyond reproach. Each element – Ovaltine ice cream, the brûléed banana, the peanut butter fudge – was delightful on its own, and when eaten together, tasted utterly sublime.

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Conclusion: The innovative and thoughtful “new American fare” at Stone Nullah Tavern seemed very promising. Some of the dishes were a bit small, but after trying a dozen dishes on the menu, the total damage was only around $400 per head including alcohol. The fact that 10% service charge was not automatically added to the bill meant that the waiters worked hard to earn their tips. Even though the dishes were in general a bit too salty, if you are not afraid of bold flavours, this restaurant can serve up a range of gastronomic delights to tantalise your taste buds!