Hong Kong Eats: Fresh Local Catch At Fish School

Locally-sourced seafood combined with flavours borrowed from the West

Photos: Fish School

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Fish School is nestled in the cosy neighbourhood of Sai Ying Pun.

Be prepared to get schooled on the ocean’s freshest catch when you head to Fish School.

Its credentials reads like a who’s who of Hong Kong’s contemporary dining scene, with it being helmed by Yenn Wong and Chef David Lai.

Nestled in the cosy neighbourhood of Sai Ying Pun, the dining establishment first greets you with a quant alleyway lined with botanicals and wooden benches — all the better for queuing diners to relax.

Once you’re inside, the dim lights illuminate an open bar and spacious seating area that generously takes up the width of the restaurant, complete with quirky fish murals that adorn the walls.

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Local catch, western flavours

One will be mistaken to dismiss Fish School as yet another nondescript seafood diner as its focus on fresh catch is no mere flight of fancy.

First off, Culinary Director David Lai has crafted a flexible menu subject to the seasons so that freshly caught fish takes centre stage at every meal.

A selection of locally familiar seafood is combined with flavours borrowed from the West, reflecting the multi-cultural dining scene in Hong Kong. Plus, all of Fish School’s sauces and pastes are homemade from scratch.

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Marinated Raw Crab, Sea Urchin Rice.

Cocktails and seafood

To start, we were recommended to nurse our thirst with a refreshing cocktail. I went for the Ocean Air, a heady mix of Talisker 10 Whiskey, Tio Mateo Sherry, lemon, fresh passion fruit, sea salt. Simply presented, each sip of the fruit-forward concoction was a delight.

We opted for the Chef’s Tasting menu ($575 HKD), a curated spread of chef’s recommendations. Highlights included the Marinated Raw Crab, Sea Urchin Rice as well as the Charcoal Grilled Octopus with Spicy Peanut and Apple.

The former, served in a crab shell, invites us to mix the shreds of raw crab flesh, sea urchin with the sticky rice. The result? Fresh, umami flavours galore.

An unmistakable smoky aroma emanates from the Charcoal Grilled Octopus, drawing us in. Each morsel was firm yet succulent, with none of the undesirable rubbery mouthfeel.

The accompanying spicy peanut sauce reminded me of the satay sauce that we Singaporeans are so familiar with, while the apple slaw added a refreshing contrast in terms of flavours. On hindsight, the dish would’ve been just as good without the extra condiments.

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Burnt Coconut Ice Cream with Mango and Coffee.

Hits and misses

Another dish that ranks highly as pure comfort food is their Grilled Unagi, which I nearly mistook as a brioche when it first arrived. The local wild eel, braised to tender perfection and lightly brushed with sweetened soy sauce, drew praises from all.

While the desserts were nothing to shout about, I like the Burnt Coconut Ice Cream with Mango and Coffee. The richness of the ice cream was well balanced by the caramelised flavours of the coffee sauce.

Overall, Fish School deserves an A for effort when it comes to presenting seafood in a simple yet  imaginative manner. While there were hits and misses in the menu, the lovely ambience will leave you hooked.

Fish School, 100 Third St, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong

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