Scarlett Cafe and Wine Bar
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). $$-$$$