Razlan got me blogging about this wonderful dinner gathering at Comilonas Private Kitchen. It wasn't for Christmas, it wasn't for any special occasion, we just wanted to gather around and share some laughters and the occasional hugs over some hearty food. Thanks again for organizing this dinner Razlan! Tucked inside a rather local building in the Western District, Comilonas Private Kitchen specializes in Catalan cuisines. Chef Lluis from Barcelona and his wife Carrie, a Hong Kong local, run the warm and welcoming joint which was decorated based the 60s/70s style with plenty of wooden fixtures and perhaps furniture inspired by Northern Europe designs from the 70s. The tiled green / white floors are traditional of a typical Hong Kong home in the 70s and I assume those are original from the previous or even first owner of the place.
The private kitchen theme / concept is sort of over-flooding the whole dining scene in Hong Kong in my opinion over the recent years. All sorts of restaurants establishment as long as they are located above ground floor start to call themselves private kitchen and charge diners an arm and a leg. High rent was a major reason for the growth of private kitchens a number of years back, while located away from ground floors, the operating cost of such establishments can be reduced while inspiring chefs can continue serving their best creation at reasonable price. However, the story seems to be quite different nowadays with so-call private kitchen offering items even more expensive than their similar establishment located at higher rent locations. Be it increased cost with ingredients, staff and etc, the lower rent by itself should be big enough to adjust the overall pricing in my opinion. Here at Camilonas, I have to admit that by offering a fixed menu priced at HKD380/person with a min of 10 people booking, it is already considered very reasonable nowadays.
Why change when things are well received right? I suppose this is the reason why the menu has not been updated for quite some time. The same set of items were served since their opening a number of months ago. I reckon it is quite difficult to come up with new items when the size of the kitchen is of your normal dimension with a max of perhaps 2 people. In this case, preparing something familiar has its advantage indeed, at least consistency can be ensured to a certain degree.
One of the most obvious characteristic of Catalan cuisine would be the rather pungent or perhaps strong flavors when compared with Italian, French or even Chinese in some cases. Some enjoy the rich flavors while some may find it a bit too strong. I admire how Chef Lluis did not comprise one of the key characteristics of his hometown cuisine to fit the local flavors. The Herb Marinated Scallops was served raw with a very heavy herb flavors all around. Fortunately the heavy flavors did not overpower the natural sweetness of the scallops in this case.
The Brandada de Bacalla was again very flavorful with the salty fish blended quite well with the mashed potatoes. Because of the salty fish, the aroma was beyond appetizing when baked. If you cannot handle a high level of sodium, please beware, otherwise enjoy!! :)
The Traditional Garlic Shrimps were ... very garlic-y as expected! I mean it was a bit too strong since I did not even get to taste the sweetness of the shrimps. I can be wrong but being close to the sea, seafood in this nation should be served as simple as possible to bring out the freshness of the fish perhaps?
Piquillo peppers with cheese was an interesting dish yet nothing to exciting for me. I am thinking of trying to do it myself as home.
I love Chorizo no matter how salty they are. Even when the Chorizo in red wine that was served carried that rich flavors trend, I still enjoyed it by itself or with a sip of red with every slice.
The grapefruit and orange avocado salad was either the most disappointing dish or it was the most boring to say the least. It was refreshing for a change and very lightly flavored with the acidity to help cleanse the rich flavors in my mouth but nothing spectacular at all.
Everyone wow-ed when the black ink seafood rice paella was served. Perhaps it was the sheer size of the paella or most of us was very hungry. It was indeed the highlight of the night! We lost our manners and rushed towards the dish ready to get spoonful from it. Some even forgot to take pictures before hand which was unheard of!
If it is a dining venue with privacy for a casual a small group of close friends kind of gathering without costing an arm and a leg, this is a wonderful place indeed. The menu may not be updated any time soon but the decor, environment and hearty food at reasonable price would win you over. Not to mention the extremely friendly service as well as the detailed explanation on every dish by chef Lluis which made the meal more enjoyable that it already was. Thanks Razlan again for the lovely arrangement! Cheers!
Avg Spending: HKD 380 per person
Comilonas Private Kitchen (Hong Kong)
Flat 22, 1/F Yip Cheong Building
4-16 Hill Road, Sai WanHong Kong
Tel: +852 9863 2270