When I think of Wan Chai, I think of rowdy drunkards, the red light district and basically… a general chaos of people and traffic. So when we heard of the plush new Velvet Bar + Restaurant on Luard Road, Rach and I decided to check it out and see what Wan Chai’s latest addition had to offer.
Velvet is hidden in a building called The Phoenix – a building still very much under construction, so be sure to have Google Maps out on your iPhone to make sure you don’t miss it! We weren’t expecting much considering the exterior of the building was quite a work-in-progress, but stepping into Velvet was a nice contrast. The large space was fully furnished with sumptuous deep purple velvet (surprise surprise!) booth seats, and dim lighting to put you in the mood to relax and chill out.
Food-wise, you can expect a mix of everything with the fusion pub-style cuisine here. The menu is sorted into three separate categories: light bites, medium bites and sweet bites (translation: appetisers, mains and desserts)! Before we began digging into our different bites, Rach and I tried the signature Velvet Classic drink – a mix of fresh orange, fresh pineapple and mint leaves muddled with orange juice and ginger ale. It was definitely refreshing and a good choice for non-alcoholics!
We started with two of the small bites. First, the pork lollipops with a special garlic shallots and lime soy sauce, which you just pick up and gnaw at, making me feel sort of barbaric… like Bamm-Bamm from the Flintstones looking to knock someone out! This was followed by the more delicate Peking duck rolls with Asian plum sauce; although the duck was a little too chewy, the plum sauce added just the right amount of flavour to go with the roll and this would make a good dish to share with friends.
For our medium bites, Rach and I were in for a treat with the lobster burger with frites. This was a whole Boston Maine lobster tail marinated with salt black pepper and white wine, baked to perfection. The burger roll itself was sort of dull, but the addictive creamy sauce made up for it; if you love a bit of lobster, Velvet only serves 10 of these luxurious lobster burgers a day – so pre-order and grab them before they’re gone!
My favorite dish of the meal was, without a doubt, the petite black and white truffle beef burgers. These little burgers might not look that special, but once I bit through the burger itself, gorgeous truffle paste flooded my tastebuds (don’t worry, in a good way!). It was a great surprise and the flavour was rich indulgent and instantly moreish, just the way truffles should be!
We also tried the angel hair with Norwegian salmon, seaweed caviar and tomato cream sauce – the sauce was creamy and light enough to go excellently with the fine texture of the angel hair. Another medium bite was the roasted baby back ribs with Thai dressing – again, eaten using our hands which made the whole experience a tad messy (not the best idea if you’re on your office lunch break), and we weren’t exactly convinced that the Thai flavours married well with the ribs either.
Finally, for sweet bites, we sampled the lemon yoghurt cake with fresh lemon syrup – looking like summer on a plate, this was a good light dessert for those with just a bit more room for dessert post-lunch. However, the other sweet we had, the strawberry and blueberry cake with dark chocolate glaze, had an odd not-quite-cake not-quite-mousse texture and strange aftertaste that left us a tad disappointed.
Even though we were only here for lunch, I can definitely see good reason to stop by Velvet in the wee hours of the night to take a whack at some of the awesome entertainment facilities! There’s Dartslive 2, Xbox Kinect, Beer Pong and a state of the art DJ system, which just about sums up a great girls and guys night out. If you’re looking for a bit more privacy, we also took a peek at the huge VIP suite – ideal for intimate parties of up to 30 people and fully equipped with a karaoke system, 3D TV and private bathroom!
All in all, Velvet is definitely something different to the normally crazy Wan Chai scene. If you work around the area, definitely stop by for a relaxed lunch (the good value sets range from $88-$108 for a full three-course meal)! The food might be not the star here, but for a place that will keep the guys and girls entertained with a night of Xbox, Beer Pong or karaoke in a private room with some decent nibbles and drinks, Velvet is definitely a great option in Wan Chai.
Velvet Bar + Restaurant, 3/F, The Phoenix, 23 Luard Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2527 0988