Before I type a single word about Castelo Concepts‘ new Discovery Bay launch, MooFish, let’s address the elephant, or should I say, the utterly bizarre bovine-aquatic hybrid, in the room. Yep, that name. Oh, that name.
Castelo’s naming policy is typically pretty unremarkable; High Street Grill, Jaspas and Zak’s, (which I’ve reviewed here before) are all relatable enough. OK, I’ll give you that Missy Ho’s took things a bit end-of-the-pier, but Butcher and Baker pulled it back to normality. And then there was MooFish. I’m not really sure what I can say, other than don’t put off by the ridiculousness of the signboard – it really is far better than the name suggests.
Our intrepid diners on a perishingly cold January lunchtime were: Master T-T, aged four, hates salad, loves ice cream; Baby T-T, aged ten months and happy to eat anything fist-sized; the mostly carnivorous Mr T-T, and yours truly, hoping to sneak a few greens onto the table.
MooFish (hitherto referred to as MF for the sake of my sanity) is tucked away down the side of the Auberge Hotel with a huge paved area offering some alfresco seating that will be great for drinks once the weather perks up a bit. Being Discovery Bay, the target clientele are also going to be all over the fact that there’s loads of space for kids to run, scoot and bike, well away from traffic, while Mum and Dad keep half an eye on them with a cheeky bottle of something chilled. Score one to MF.
Sadly on this particular visit, the weather was blowing a 6°C hoolie and so – score two – the patio heaters had been brought inside to keep us all toasty inside what otherwise might have been a pretty chilly space due to its large size.
Yep, again with the DB target audience in mind, the restaurant is bright, spacious enough to easily manoeuvre a pushchair, and stacked to the rafters with Ikea Antilop highchairs, AKA the only highchair any restaurant should ever buy. Seriously, I have seen some horrifying things growing in the padding of restaurant highchairs, so PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD can all restaurants just ditch the fancy ones that no-one has time to clean properly and just buy the cheapo moulded plastic job with no nooks and crannies? Ahem. So anyway, that’s a MF hat-trick so far.
Suitably seated, we ordered up some hot chocolate (it was that cold that I couldn’t even manage a glass of wine that day – tragic) and perused the menu. As you might expect, given the name, both cow and seafood feature reasonably heavily on this broadly “western” menu, but not exclusively, meaning that, as with other Castelo restaurants I’ve visited, you have a selection that is designed to have a little bit of everything, making it a good option when eating with kids.
Speaking of, the critters get their own menu and – MF score four – unusually enough, all options come with veg as standard, rather than the usual default fries. Even the burger gives you the option of switching chips for veg sticks, so a big hats off there. The Boy chose to keep in theme, ordering the Fish and Vegetables, which turned out to be four small breaded fillets (NOT the reconstituted seafloor scrapings that usually pass for fish fingers), accompanied by a generous portion of creamy mash, buttered green beans, peas and carrots, all of which were inhaled without argument (although he did manage to “generously” palm a few green beans off onto his baby bro, using some impressive negotiation skills).
The adults kicked off our meal with a Grilled Halloumi, Beetroot and Green Pea Salad and the Pulled Pork and Crackling Steamed Buns. Hong Kong’s current obsession with bao continues, and these were perfectly fine, if unremarkable.
However the vast salad won the day, with crisp, fresh mixed leaves, tomatoes and mint in a balsamic dressing that was unexpectedly generous with the cheese. The beetroot’s sweetness provided a good balance to the salty halloumi and this was by far our favourite starter.
Onto the mains, and I went with the New Zealand Lamb Rump, which was cooked to a perfect medium-rare, with minted peas, veg and a seriously good potato gratin – all cheesy, oozy, garlicky goodness. I was clearly so busy batting away encroaching forks that I neglected to take a picture, but I can confirm that it was very good, and kept both myself and Baby T-T (who, with four sharp little teeth is now gamely attacking hunks of meat with all the enthusiasm of a hungry bear,) busy.
Mr T-T chose to give MF a full, and quite literal review, ordering the Surf and Turf – an 8oz Aussie tenderloin with two char-grilled king prawns the size of small cats. To accompany the protein-fest came Garlic and Chilli Steakhouse Fries (meh) and some really lovely Honey Sesame Carrots, so tasty that they had Master T-T voluntarily consuming extra vegetables. Again, the steak came perfectly medium-rare, something simple enough that is seemingly impossible for many restaurants to achieve, but the stand-out were the prawns, whose seasoning was spot-on.
Obviously after that enormous meal we still had room for dessert (actually, we probably didn’t, but there’s always room for dessert) and split a Caramel Tart and a Mars Bar Cheesecake three ways (the baby was by this time perfectly occupied chewing on his socks and hadn’t twigged that there was something more exciting going on).
Having expected something along the lines of a treacle tart, the caramel version, with its mostly cream-based filling, wasn’t quite what we had in mind, but was nice enough. The truly IMMENSE portion of cheesecake would have easily been enough for four adults, never mind two plus a kid, was pleasantly tangy and, surprisingly, not too sweet. Bring reinforcements if you’re thinking of ordering it as it’s almost comically large.
The service stood out as being genuinely warm and friendly, attentive without being overbearing and keeping on top of things despite the fact that it was exceptionally busy on the day of our visit (clearly word had got out about the patio heaters). And while the restaurant is generally well thought-out for families, the trek to the toilets means that you’d better plan ahead with little ones, or else nip into the hotel (shh) to use theirs, particularly if you’re in need of changing facilities.
Overall, MF is a very welcome addition to DB, particularly the rather uninspiring North Plaza area where – with the exception of the excellent Nevale Kitchen – there’s currently little that stands out when it comes to dining options. I can only hope that the name doesn’t mark a new trend, as I’m not convinced that the world is ready for OinkRice, QuackCheese or WoofBao anytime soon.
Opening hours: currently 11am until late, however MF will start breakfast service soon.
Costs: Kids’ menu $65; Starters from $75-$145; Mains from $130-$325; Desserts from $75-$95.
MooFish, G33, G/F, 82 Siena Avenue, Discovery Bay, Lantau; 2987 6318
Please note that this meal was by invitation.