Press Group Room have stormed Hong Kong with their unique dining experiences at the crossroads of art, culture, history, and design. You can only imagine I was excited to jump aboard on a taste flight at one of their hippest restaurants, The Principal.
This dining and drinking haven is perfectly located at the end of Wan Chai’s trendy Star Street, a tranquil side road in one of the most up and coming destinations. The restaurant stands at the site of a former school, whose principal for 14 years was the late mother of one of the Press Room Group’s founders. The name – The Principal – is a tribute to her legacy.
With over 10 years experience, Jonay honed his culinary craft in some of Spain’s leading Michelin-starred restaurants, including La Terraza del Casino and El Chaflán in Madrid and El Raco de Can Fabes in Barcelona. Originally from the Canary Islands, his cooking style is distinguished by innovation, inventiveness and a respect for tradition. INTERVIEW HERE
Jonay Armas, The Principal Executive Chef has curated different European-inspired menus, each containing a series of mini visual and mouth-watering creations. The menus are broken down into brunch; lunch and his night show off menu’s called The Principal Experience, Cuento Corto and Degustation (Vegetarian); all of which will definitely cause the unbuttoning of belts!
The interior was a blend of stunning and contemporary, total eye candy and of course it would be; designed by renowned Australian studio Hecker Guthrie. Large windows give a bright and contemporary feel to the restaurant, which in contrast has a classic, old-fashioned touch! Their bathrooms were a stunning shade of green with bronze mirrors and there are also private booths situated on one side of the restaurant. I particularly loved their stunning wooden table, standing in the centre, teasing all arriving guests with fresh breads, wines and the cheese selection for the day.
My lunch commenced and finished with stunning service! The sommelier immediately introduced us to a personal favourite (Churton, Marlborough Pinot Noir 2009), which he has recently discovered during his previous holiday; He dazzled us with detail of the family producers and bottling process- this was an intimate touch. Afterwards a warm batch of fresh bread in a hand woven sleeve was carefully placed on the table. Three different amuse bouche style dishes were presented on designer plates; sangria-watermelon cubes, fish skin with a soft creamy layer of eel. This was all before our starters.
The starters were utterly delicious, light and colourful. I would recommend trying the Spanish-inspired Ajoblanco, a cool almond soup with Burnt Grapes, Sherry Granita, and Vanilla. My guest had the beetroot with raspberry and goat’s cheese, again a great choice in style and taste.
My appetite was in full bloom when my middle course arrived; A plate of circular softness and crunch containing Scallop with Lemon Puree, Nasturtium, Grapefruit, Dill Oil. The textures and contrast were in unity. The timing between each course was ideal, keeping you not too full, braced and excited for the next arrival.
I was extremely captivated with my main, Pollock with Catalan Spinach, Allioli Espuma, Rostit. Complimentary colors brightened the dish; the soft allioli was a smokey chorizo blend, which flirted with the soft tender fish and the crunch of Spinach and Rostit. My guest had the expresso infused beef, a secure choice for the more carnivorous types.
We couldn’t decide on dessert so we tucked into a little of each. Again the presentation was faultless and the portions slight. I wasn’t entirely blown away by the deserts flavour pairing however berries and frozen yoghurt is a nice digestive. The Bannana dessert with Banana Cream, Caramel, and Smoked Chocolate was a unique experience, the fluffy cake portions left a smokey after taste that was so morish that I ended up finishing the dish. You can opt out of their sweets and select The Principal Cheese’s if you are the savoury type! We wrapped a successful feast with their homemade spicy ginger brownie bites, the perfect end to the lunch alongside fresh Chinese teas!
The Principal is an incredible gem for anyone wanting to experience inspiring contemporary European fusion with a trendy crowd and perfect wine pairing. The mixture of modern experimentation with classic style is consistent in the design, menu’s and service. Now all i need to do is gear up for my return to conquer the Degustation menu!!!
9 STAR STREET
WAN CHAI, HONG KONG