Newcomer Betty’s Kitschen in IFC was started up by restaurateur Alan Yau, most famous for founding the world-renowned Wagamama and Hakkasan chains. Betty’s Kitschen is very different from both of these delicious restaurants, whilst still maintaining the same business idea of appealing to a niche market – in this case the typical Hong Kong young businessmen and women who look for high-end cuisine in a more modern and casual environment.
The idea that it was started up by the man behind Wagamama excited me a lot, as this happens to be one of my favourite places for an easy, affordable Japanese craving-fix, and is always a must to tick off on my list whenever I’m back in the UK. I had, however, heard mixed reviews about Betty’s so wasn’t sure what to expect. I like to make my own decision about places so I chose to ignore the negative comments and arrived with an open mind.
The entrance to Betty’s is adorned with basket upon basket of shiny fresh fruit and vegetables. This array of colour and healthy food is instantly appealing, particularly for those of us who eat out too often to ensure we give our bodies the 5-a-day they require. The restaurant is comfortingly bright and airy with white-washed stone walls and tall glass windows over-looking the harbour (slash hideous construction site, but this is shielded from the eye by a strategically placed curtain).
The menu is one of those uncomfortably large ones which you never quite know how to hold. It contains, amongst other things, an all day full English breakfast which sounded very good, over-priced cold dishes, even pricier hot dishes and a range of side dishes. I was tempted by the quiche of the day for a reasonable $88, and was also temped by the burger, but opted instead for the Red Ahi Tuna Salad with Tomato and Basil Tartare. It was not exactly what I expected and was not as tasty as it sounded. Put simply, it was fine, and I should add here that ‘fine’ is a word I am never satisfied with.
My friend ordered the Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata and Pesto. This dish was definitely more aesthetically pleasing with several different kinds of tomatoes of all sizes and colours adorning a perfect large blob of burrata. I fought the words food and envy away. It was mostly pleasant although the bright green tomatoes were slightly too crunchy and sour.
Both dishes, for the cost, were rather small, but we compensated for this by ordering the Duck-fat Fries. I’m not sure if it was the fact that they are cooked in duck-fat, or the fact that they are served in a sweet little red pot, but we knew we had to try them. Sprinkled with chilli flakes, these were possibly the best thing on the table (although my fresh cloudy apple juice was pretty tasty too). The ones at the top of the pot were nice and crispy, although they did get soggier as we reached the bottom of the pot. We still practically licked the pot clean though so no complaints there.
Short on time and full of duck-fat, we resisted dessert, although we both agreed that next time we would be interested to see how their chocolate fondant compares to others…
Service on the whole was pretty good and the waitresses, dressed in tartan skirts, were very smiley and attentive. The total bill was $220 a head, which is a little more than I usually like to spend on lunch, particularly just for one course, but this was to be expected so I quickly got over it. Betty’s Kitschen still needs to iron out a few kinks, but I really liked the setting and the design and would not say no to giving it a second or third try. Conveniently located in the ifc mall, I’m sure it is as busy as it was on Monday every day and, judging by Alan Yau’s previous and present successes, Betty’s will no doubt prove the same.
Bettys Kitchen, Shop 2075, Podium Level 2, ifc Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, 2979 2100
An obsessive foodie, Alejandra spends her time meticulously planning where each of her meals will take her. Having lived in several different countries whilst growing up, including Peru, England, Spain, Italy and of course Hong Kong, she has always loved tasting the food of a variety of cultures. Alejandra began writing her food blog, The Dim Sum Diaries, earlier this year and makes it her challenge to try somewhere new at least once a week to share the experience with her readers.