Savoring Catalan, bite by bite

By Rebecca Lo in Hong Kong ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-12-07 06:53:10

Savoring Catalan, bite by bite

Catalunya is worth repeat trips to try its wide range of tapas. Roasted suckling pig is highly recommended. Rebecca Lo / For China Daily

Savoring Catalan, bite by bite
At Mao's Table 
Savoring Catalan, bite by bite
The other side of Xinjiang
Savoring Catalan, bite by bite
New York City Italian in HK multimedia-container
If ever there is a city that never sleeps, it is Barcelona. Alongside the Spanish tradition of dining for three or four hours every evening, the city has countless bars with delicious tapas that tempt folks to postpone the dinner hour until well into the night.

I really have no idea if anyone ever goes home in that city, since I saw coffee bars packed with office workers grabbing their morning coffee at 7 or 8 am. Maybe it's the olive oil that keeps them going.

Alain Devahive Tolosa and Pol Perello bring some of that Catalan party spirit to Hong Kong. After opening Catalunya in Singapore last summer, they found a quiet corner in between Wanchai and Causeway Bay to make their debut in a town they consider a foodie's heaven.

Catalunya may be the most hyped restaurant opening of the year. The reason: Tolosa's pedigree includes a decade at elBulli, considered the world's best restaurant when it was still alive and kicking.

Acting as group executive chef with Perello as group general manager, Tolosa's experience drawn from the best kitchens in Spain is evident in his homey yet elegant fare.

Catalunya now has two seatings at dinner and is open for lunch as well as Sunday brunch. With a dining room of 460 square meters and a bar of 280 square meters, that's a lot of tapas disappearing into bellies.

The interiors were designed by the New York City head office of AvroKO. Its signature flourishes can be seen in the red leather upholstery and creative use of metal such as the giant brass and glass chandelier centrally suspended above the main dining room.

We had a table on the sunny Spanish-tiled front part of the restaurant. Its full-height glass set within Gaudi-inspired decorative frames can be opened to mimic a balmy Iberian night.

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