Tris­tar Kitchen

Crave - - FEAST - Words Tif­fany Chan Food photo Sa­man­tha Sin

THE RESTAU­RANT

Newly opened by three friends in Cause­way Bay,

Tris­tar Kitchen is helmed by Tai­wanese chef Steven Chou, who comes from a fam­ily of restau­ra­teurs in Taipei. The lack of a foyer means guests step straight into the din­ing room from the el­e­va­tor and can cause an un­com­fort­able build-up at peak hours but this is no fault of the restau­rant’s, as this is the case for all ten­ants in The L Square. Aes­thet­i­cally, the restau­rant is all light wood dressed in a pal­ette of muted tones, which will trans­port din­ers straight back to Tai­wan, es­pe­cially with the Man­dopop sound­track blar­ing in the back­ground and oc­ca­sional out­bursts of Tai­wanese from the staff.

THE FOOD

The menu is a com­pi­la­tion of Tai­wanese snacks, in­clud­ing lu rou rice, fried pig’s in­testines and “KTV sausages”. Boba and red beans can be added to all hot and cold drinks. We started with fried hun­dred-page tofu ($42), a daily spe­cial. Sim­ple as it was, this was one of the most sur­pris­ing and de­li­cious dishes of the meal. The tofu is firm with a bite, al­most like a hy­brid of gluten and fish cake, en­cased in a thin, crispy dry shell, sea­soned lib­er­ally with salt and pep­per spice mix. The outer shell is del­i­cate but crispy, and the in­side fluffy. The yan su ji ($48) – bone­less, bite-sized pieces of fried chicken – was gen­er­ously spiced and crispy, but the bat­ter was slightly too thick. Most dis­ap­point­ing (and rather de­ceiv­ing) were the salt-and-pep­per French beans ($38), which turned out to be French beans stir-fried with minced gar­lic. There was some­thing very Can­tonese about this dish. The fried pig’s in­testines ($48) were crispy on the out­side and not at all chewy or spongy in­side, but fra­grant and ad­dic­tive. The sig­na­ture Tris­tar beef noo­dles ($82) are a best-seller and ev­i­dently a des­ti­na­tion dish. Luo ro dry noo­dles ($48) are a noo­dle ver­sion of luo ro faan (rice), but far too sweet, and cloy­ingly so. We much pre­ferred the rice, as the starch is able to ab­sorb the sweet­ness and sauce, while the noo­dles were sim­ply coated with it.

THE VER­DICT

While a few dishes need tweak­ing, those that are done right (fried hun­dred-page tofu, fried pig’s in­testines, Tris­tar beef noo­dles) will keep us com­ing back, and of­ten. The prices are wal­let-friendly, with most snacks cost­ing $38 to $48, and the most ex­pen­sive noo­dles priced at $82. 21/F The L Square, 459-461 Lock­hart Road Cause­way Bay | T 2116 8300

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