Restaurant review: The Optimist- binge-eat your weekday brunch/ lunch at this Spanish Restaurant
The Optimist is a down-to-earth Spanish restaurant operated by the Pirata Group, which is home to a lot of restaurants in Hong Kong. I stumbled upon this restaurant while looking for value-for-money brunch/ buffet places. The restaurant delivers rustic flavours from Northern Spain, offering treats such as Iberian meats and grilled octopus.
We are greeted with intricate paintings and metallic furnishing once we stepped in the door. The restaurant has a friendly vibe as the background blasts with upbeat music. The Hong Kong Tatler describes the place perfectly:
The new restaurant space opens with a well-stocked bar on the ground floor, a private dining space on the first floor and the live-grilling space shared with a private dining area on the second floor. With the interiors designed by Spanish designer, Rocio Martinez, the spacious restaurant takes on an understated shade of teal with themed paintings on the walls.
We had our eyes on the 3 course lunch menu: a semi buffet with market salads and Spanish Charcuterie, the main course and a dessert. There are 9 main dishes to choose from with varied prices at $178, $228, and $268 (no service fee). Starting off from the left was a cheese platter with Tetilla and Manchego cheese, and right beside it was Chorizo Pamplona and Salami Milano. They also serve Spanish omelette and potato salad mini toast, which in my opinion was the best out of the salad bar. We are also delighted to have found kale, quinoa, pumpkin, chickpeas, and mixed green salads that go wonderfully with the pieces of bread hidden under the tea towel. When most of us are paying almost $100 for a decent box of salad for lunch, why not pay a little more and enjoy heaps better?
Pumpkin, kale and chickpeas, potato salad on toast, bread
Remember to save your stomach for the main course! At last we settled on Broken eggs "Huevos Rotos" with Boletus mushrooms, black truffle, potato, eggs (v), and the Black Truffle Rice "Cremoso" (v).
Broken eggs "Huevos Rotos"
The yolk is runny and properly seasoned, the black truffle was so fragrant that even the table beside us could smell it. I was a bit disappointed with the potatoes because they were deep fried as if they were potato chips; it's just personal preference that I don't like fried food, so there is nothing to blame.
Black Truffle Rice "Cremoso"
As you would expect, the food is good. The fried cheese on top was crumbly and sharp, the kind that would awaken your senses. The risotto-like dish had filled us up to the brim with its large servingportions.
Berry cheesecake with Berry coulis, cookies, white chocolate
As we have tried the Egg Flan: with lemon cream and almond crunch, we opted for something new. The Berry Cheesecake was the star of the show. I seldom order cheesecake at restaurants because of how dense and sticky they would feel in my stomach even after 4 hours, but this light version came as a pleasant surprise. Not only was the cheesecake bottled in a cute glass jar, the cream cheese (?) has an almost mascarpone texture that was fluffy and smooth. The finger biscuits were crunchy and you could almost find some in any spoon. I would describe it as a tiramisu without the coffee and the flavoured liqueur.
For first timers I would highly recommend the grilled octopus! I have taken poor photos the first time I came here, but the food that time surprised me the most. To me when a decent lunch costs just a bit less, The Optimist's lunch sets are few of the best value-for-money options out in the Hong Kong Island. I am not saying that binge eating is a good thing to do, but sometimes eating to our heart's content is really satisfying. What are your recommendations for lunch in Wanchai? I have plenty up in my sleeves!