Hong Kong or Hawaii? Well, maybe that’s stretching it a little, but The Family T-T rocked up to South Lantau’s newest hangout, Mavericks, over the holiday weekend for a little post-paddle refreshment and were really impressed by the totally rad surf-shack vibe. Sadly, we’d burned off most of the morning’s calories skirting around the mounds of rubbish lining the usually pristine Pui O beach, so we were more than ready for a sit down in the shade and some munchies by the time 12 o’clock came around.
Founded by Austin Fry (Brickhouse, Roundhouse, Salon 10) and Jay FC (Mr Bing, Linguini Fini, Stone Nullah Tavern, Homegrown Foods), the buzz surrounding this eatery has been pretty intense for a South Lantau spot, and so I’d been looking for an excuse to visit with my menfolk in order to and to check out its kid-friendly credentials. After all, this is a beachfront restaurant, and beaches = children, so I’d deduced that Mavericks would deliver not just some welcome shade, but also some mini eats to keep Baby T-T happy.
Slap bang in the middle of Pui O beach, Mavericks couldn’t be easier to find, and once you climb the few steps from the sand, you’re in for a treat. Assuming you’re visiting on a day when the tide has washed the mountain of trash back into the sea (those poor, nearly extinct Lantau pink dolphins…), then you’ll be treated to a sweeping, uninterrupted view of the beach and surrounding mountains from your table. Sit out front on a high stool, or, if you’re a pale-skin like me,
cower from the burning death rays catch some shade inside. The restaurant’s furniture and artwork is all custom-made by local artists and designers, which translates to rustic driftwood tables, reclaimed skateboard deck stools and sarong-style beach print fabric billowing from the ceiling. Laid back beach chic.
The menu focuses on quality rather than quantity, and makes the most of the locally grown (bread from Mui Wo, salad and herbs from Pui O) produce, along with sustainably sourced fish and meat, prepared with care each day. Options include burgers, tacos, nachos and lettuce wraps, along with a solitary salad, plus a yummy sounding tuna tartare that was just pipped to the post by my craving for fries on the day. The separate kids menu featured burgers, hotdogs, soup and chicken dippers, and in all honesty would probably benefit from a few more veggies on offer, if only to appease the parents.
After perusing the menu, Mr T-T opted for the “Big Kahuna Burger”, I went for the classic Kiwi “Fush and Chips” and Baby-TT got busy with the aforementioned “Chicken Joe” dippers. We also ordered up a pint of local HK craft brew “Youngmaster Classic” (fruity, hoppy, VERY refreshing on a hot day) and a “Surfer Girl” cocktail for yours truly, which combined Prosecco with Aperol, soda and an olive for a deliciously bitter thirst quencher. Our server was a nice chap – very patient with Baby T-T’s inability to choose from the menu – and the service was warm and friendly – for the majority. More on that to follow.
The food, when it arrived was undoubtedly something special; the fish was lightly battered and perfectly crisp, the chips – always the least likely item on a menu to meet with approval – were decent, and the selection of homemade tartare sauces (classic, jalapēno and horseradish) had us coating our chips long after the mains were polished off. Baby T-T happily dunked his dippers in the sweet mustard sauce before demanding more and, having stolen a bite, I can confirm that these were perfectly cooked, with the chicken still moist and the crispy, well-seasoned coating suitably homemade in appearance – no suspiciously orange breadcrumbs here!
But the real star of the show was the burger. Declared “easily the best burger I’ve ever had in HK” by Mr T-T (stellar praise indeed from this picky customer!), this homemade patty was perfectly complimented by the accompanying basil mayo and Manchego cheese, all served on a lightly toasted brioche. Yep, that’s right folks, for just $148 (plus the ferry ride), you too can experience Hong Kong’s best burger. I managed to contain my slight jealousy, and thought I’d probably score highly on my choice of dessert instead.
Unfortunately, that’s where our Mavericks experience started going wobbly after the excellent start. The repeatedly requested dessert menu failed to materialise, as did an ice cream promised to Baby T-T by our server at the start of the meal in return for some careful colouring-in.
Restauranteurs please note: never, EVER, promise a three-year-old who has sat and carefully drawn you a picture for 30 minutes an ice cream without delivering it. They are not equipped to deal with that level of disappointment. Seriously. Not. Cool.
We averted total disaster with a trip to the beach kiosk next door for an emergency cone, but unfortunately this soured what was otherwise a great meal. In their defence, it was an unusually busy day, being the public holiday weekend, but for a restaurant that only opens Friday-Sunday each week and is situated on a beach, you should surely assume a reasonably large crowd at lunchtime on a Saturday and plan accordingly.
Would we go back? Yes, and I hope that the flaky service was just teething troubles for a new restaurant. Overall, this was a 7.5/10 experience, but there’s enough promise of a 10/10 next time to get me donning my flip-flops and back on the bus to Pui O.
Opening Hours: Friday, 5pm – 11.30pm; Saturday and Sunday, 11am – 11.30pm
Mavericks HK, Pui O Beach, Lantau, Hong Kong; +852 5662 8552
Please note that this meal was paid for by my own hard-earned cash (actually Mr T-T’s!)