I still remember the moment I became obsessed with the dish. I was having dinner at home with my sister when she tapped me on the arm and shoved her phone in my face, ‘check this out, check this out’ she said. I watched as a Japanese man with a rock star hairdo cooked an omelette and sliced it open atop a mound of fried rice. It flapped open magically to reveal the creamiest, most tender looking egg I had ever seen; then a piping hot sauce(which I have to assume is Demi glaze since Japanese love Demi glaze for some reason) is poured over. It blew my mind. It blew my mind because I didn’t know omu rice cooked with this much finesse even existed. Omurice in my mind was an often overcooked, insipid omelette served on sauce and rice. This, this was something else.
This will be my last post before I fly off to Tokyo, I’m taking a little break in between packing. Well, its not so much ‘packing’ as it is doing 3-point jump shots with my clothes across the room into a luggage. My itinerary for Japan is pretty ridiculous, I only have about 6 days worth of eating before Japan transitions into Golden week, where majority of the restaurants will be closed, therefore I have a pretty tight schedule for those 6 days, lookout for posts on that soon!
I visited ADC twice in January during my short trip to Hong Kong, quite a feat considering we were only there for about 2 full days. ADC is a very unassuming restaurant where you’re more likely to get disservice than service from the waiters- they hurry you into the restaurant and don’t give you much time to read through the menu before hovering over you, ready to take your order. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t rude, but this is a true blue hustle and bustle kind of place- the constant clinking of plates being put on the table, the steam and noise going on in the kitchen, the loud chatter from the dining room, it’s not a place you would want to sit down and catch up with friends, but its a place that’s undeniably Hong Kongese (real word?).
Macaroni/Spaghetti with ham
We would not have ordered this if it had not come as part of a set. Although having Macaroni soup is (strangely) quite a common breakfast to be had in Hong Kong, this version wasn’t particularly good. Pasta was very overcooked and too generous with the portions, ham was mediocre and as you can see from the photos, stingy with portions(not that we were screaming for more). The spaghetti isn’t served with invisible ham if you were wondering, the ham in that particular set was moved onto the scrambled eggs, so you will get your ham by hook or by crook. The soup tasted synthetic, like it had come out straight out of a can, boiled with some ham, then served. Bad
Scrambled egg with toasted bread
The real star of the show, and the main reason why people line up to eat at ADC, is their scrambled eggs. If you want the technical details, it is cooked with large curds(low-medium temp, stirring once a while?), very different from the traditional french method where the aim is to get as fine a curd as possible. It is incredibly moist when you eat it, although I think part of the reason why it stays so moist is because there is ridiculous amount of butter in it. The seasoning is spot on, and the aroma and taste of the butter hits you with every bite, and it goes incredibly well with the soft, fluffy, lightly toasted bread.
The bottom line is that they are delicious, whether you eat them together with the bread, or you eat them alone. This something I would eat everyday if I learnt that there was an astroid heading towards earth and everyone would die in a month, but given the amount of butter put into it, I might not even last a full month before my arteries give way. Very good
Hot milk tea
This was strong strong tea, a little too strong almost, like someone poured milk into your mouth and you were sucking on a teabag. But for the same reason, drinking this at 7am with a lack of sleep made this work on so many levels. The kind of drink that would fuel nocturnal serial killers who hold a regular day job, maybe like a Hong Kong version of Dexter. Okay
Ginger milk pudding + Milk pudding
We had both of these cold, the ginger had a much stronger taste but a more brittle consistency, it did taste a little ‘cleaner’ on the tongue with not much aftertaste. The milk pudding had a more ‘melt in your mouth’ feel to it, but a very strong egg-y aftertaste. Both didn’t really do anything for me. Okay
I would go back to ADC solely for their scrambled eggs, but the problem with their menu is that the set menu (pasta + eggs + tea) is priced in such a way that it is only slightly more expensive than just ordering the eggs alone, therein lies the conundrum. I don’t like leaving food on the plate if I can help it, but this is one instance where I really have to say that the pasta just isn’t worth your stomach space. Besides, Mak’s noodles is just down the road from ADC, and their wanton noodles are, without a doubt, much better than the macaroni/spaghetti at ADC.
Go to ADC with realistic expectations of service- noone was rude to us, but we were made to share out table with other diners and constantly had to move our chairs for staff that were running to and fro, such is the nature of service at a busy establishment like ADC that aims to turn tables as quickly as possible. But I digress, just remember to order the scrambled eggs, in fact, order 2 portions and forget about the guilt.
This is one of the few instances where the concept of ‘less is more’ actually works on a burger. The burger isn’t served with cheese oozing out over the sides, without juices dripping down the sides of the patty; instead, the burger is served with neatly shredded lettuce at the top(tiny detail but makes a world of difference), sliced tomatoes, which by the way, are probably my least favourite component of any burger(and yes I prefer pickles over tomatoes on burgers), and cheese neatly tucked in and imprinted onto a beautifully cooked beef patty. The patty was surprisingly juicy, and very soft, I would go as far as to say that the patty was actually better cooked than the one I had at Relish, albeit somewhat salty.. The bun was very nicely toasted, which was necessary because the patty did leak quite a bit of delicious meaty juice out, and nothing spoils a burger like a soggy bun. Fries were pretty good too, well season and crisp. Good
Spruce Mac and Cheese
This was actually a side dish, and apparently one of their famous dishes. With or without the hype, it was disappointing. The cheese was way too mild for the amount of cream that they used. It was very heavy and filling, while being light on flavour- a terrible combination. Bad
Crab cake benny- Crabcake, poached egg, smoked bacon and hollandaise
I wasn’t crazy about this. The egg was a little overcooked for me (again, spoiled by sous vide), the hollandaise was on the heavier side. But the crabcake was pretty damn good, very meaty, fresh and robust flavour, sweetness of the crab was a good pairing with the saltiness of the dish on the whole, but the sauce and bacon were a tad too overpowering for me. I personally think the crabcakes could stand as a dish on its own, but overall the dish was less than the sum of its parts. Okay
Steamed Ginger Date pudding with chocolate toffee sauce
There was something… out of the ordinary with this dish when I was eating it, and I didnt realise what it was untill I was halfway through the dish- Its ridiculously sweet. And the sweetness hits you like an F1 racecar- you don’t see it coming, but when it hits you, it hits you hard. The chocolate-toffee sauce is basically toffee dressed up as chocolate, so you think you’re having a chocolate sauce when in fact you’re having liquid toffee. The steamed ginger date pudding, which would imply a light dessert, and in all probability, may have been a light dessert; but seeing as to how the only way to eat it was to dredge it in a pool of chocolate(read:toffee) sauce, its purpose was more or less defeated, which is a shame, because the pudding was actually pretty good eaten with the vanilla ice cream. I should add that the warm sauce was actually nicely contrasted with the ice cream, but again, the sauce overpowered everything. Okay
Overall, I didn’t expect much from Spruce, and I honestly didn’t get much. It is a nice place to have brunch, the food is pretty decent and well priced, but not somewhere that I’m dying to go back to. Be warned that the place is pretty under-staffed, I was sat in a corner, it was nice to get some privacy, but at times it felt like they had forgotten about us and the tables in the vicinity.