Scarlett Cafe and Wine Bar

HK Magazine - - DINING -

French/Mediter­ranean. 2 Austin Av­enue, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3565-6513. In­ter­na­tional res­tau­rant group R&B Lab is the owner of the widely suc­cess­ful Scarlett Wine Bar & Res­tau­rant in Bangkok, and it’s brought the same name to a more ca­sual café and bar it­er­a­tion in Hong Kong.

HIT We were im­pressed by the sur­round­ings, a classy two-story out­let span­ning a wine cel­lar and bar down­stairs and reg­u­lar res­tau­rant seat­ing up­stairs. We spot­ted azulejo tiling and all-mod­ern touches for a de­cid­edly cool, al­beit slightly cramped, space. And as a wine bar should, they do have a mas­sive and var­ied list of wines, in­clud­ing af­ford­able and de­cent ones by the glass ($55-60). The G-board, a plat­ter of three cheeses and cold cuts ($328) gave gen­er­ous help­ings of each ham— va­ri­eties of parma ham, chorizo and salami—and the cheeses were all very strong-tast­ing se­lec­tions and not for the cheese novice.

MISS The bread was cold and stale, which never bodes well for a qual­ity meal. The niçoise salad ($108) was noth­ing spe­cial if not slightly limp, driz­zled with pesto, the same sauce that ended up on our sad, bruise­c­ol­ored tuna tartare ($138) which was over­whelmed by the wasabi sea­son­ing. From Scarlett’s sig­na­tures, the beef cheek stew ($188) had stringy meat and a wa­tery sauce, while the scampi fet­tucine ($128) was an­other dis­ap­point­ment with clumped-to­gether noo­dles.

BOT­TOM LINE Come for the wine, cheese and charcuterie… but be wary of the ac­tual dishes they have to cook. Open 7am-late (last or­ders 10:30pm). $$-$$$

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