Barbeque season is here. With the scent of smouldering charcoal and the savoury aromas of grilled meat the very definition of summer, but who wants to slave over hot coals in Hong Kong’s tropical heat? Put down those dusty barbeque tools and say hello to The Optimist who will do the dirty work. Inspired by traditional Northern Spanish asador cooking, The Optimist’s grill master uses the best quality meat and seafood which is served straight from the grill to the table.
Burning top quality charcoal at 300° heat, The Optimist’s powerful Josper grill sits proudly on the restaurant’s top floor and puts any garden barbeque to shame. This mega grill can cook up to 12 pieces of fish or meat simultaneously, with the bars of the grill reaching exact temperatures allowing heat to penetrate meat quickly and deeply for tender results. According to The Optimist’s Executive Chef Alfredo Rodriquez, “Northern Spanish asador cooking is about taking things back to basics. The art is to focus on simplicity and precision, using top quality ingredients and allowing the grill to really bring out the flavours and allowing them to shine through.”
Starters cooked on grill include the Grilled Galician octopus (HKD220), a simple dish where charcoal flavours accentuate the octopus, served with potato, garlic, and ajada sauce. Slow cooked on the grill with the oven hood down, the Campfire baked Camembert (HKD130) is served with almonds and blueberry jam with the smooth melted cheese ideal for endless dipping.
The Optimist doesn’t mess around when it comes to steak. Top quality meat is sourced from the best suppliers around the world and is prepped and grilled with the utmost care. Generous portions of prime cuts are recommended for two or more people and include the full flavoured Flat Iron Steak (HKD290) served with Chimichurri sauce and the tender Spanish Chateaubriand (150 per 100gr) served with creamy potato gratin and fresh green salad.
Grilled seafood is mainstay in any Northern Spanish coastal cuisine. Flown in fresh from the Atlantic sea in Spain, The Optimist’s whole Grilled squid (HKD310) is gently charred, lightly brushed with Garlic and paired with sweet onion purée and crunchy mangetout. Anointed with olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and smothered with fragrant garlic, The Whole seabass “a la espalda” (HKD420 for two of more people) is prepared and cooked as it would in a traditional Basque grillhouses, or asadore. Searing “a la espalda” (skin down on its back) locks in the flavour and moisture of the fish allowing the succulent meat to fall of the bone.
Aside from meat and seafood, the grill bakes Spanish style rice to perfection. Served with mussels, clams and blue prawns, the Seafood charcoal baked rice ‘al horno’ (HKD330) has a deep charcoal flavour and a deliciously charred and crispy bottom.
Forget sweat and tears over a flimsy barbeque and burnt food this summer and let the Northern Spanish grill experts at The Optimist take care of the hard work.