Elementary: cosy new spot with amazing fried bites

New contemporary western restaurant Elementary just opened last week in the middle of Tai Hang. The food had some strong hits and a few tiny misses. The service and ambience, superb. The entrance is sleek, while the interior reminds us of the inside of the London Tube, albeit a much much cleaner version. The walls sport a cool colour palette of green and blue but the dim lights and the friendly staff keep the ambience warm and cosy. Small tables for couples by the window side, and group tables, in the end-- the restaurant seemed like a great choice for a quiet, intimate but unpretentious dinner.  The menu is divided into three sections: light, medium and heavy. We got two or three from each menu and that was enough for the three of us. We started with the scallop crudo with pickled rose apple, ponzu, wasabi ginger emulsion, toasted pecans and nori spice. While I am not a particular fan of ponzu, the pickled rose apples really carried the more muted flavours of the dish.  Next, we continued with the beef tartare with nuoc cham, watercress, capers. Served with prawn crackers, the beef tartare was delicious. The nuoc cham gave the beef tartare a little bit of a mustardy kick while the capers married well with it. We think it could have had a little more seasoning. From the 'Medium' menu, we chose the two fried dishes of fried cauliflower and fried corn croquettes. We were recommended the fried cauliflower likened to tender fried chicken. Battered with almond milk, and then toasted with almond flakes, the cauliflower was divine. We could have easily gotten a whole basket for each of us. It was served with a ranch sauce with poppy seeds, an American touch that we appreciated. The pork crackling corn croquettes with pecorino cheese was served with sambal mayo and coriander. It immediately crumbled under our forks, the pork crackling was crispy and very savoury (nearly even salty) but the dish overall was deliiiiish. We moved onto the Heavy' dishes. First served was the bone marrow with anchovy & parsley coating, mushroom mayo, served with sourdough. We couldn’t hide our disappointment of the bone marrow. There was pretty much no meat. The coating was delicious though, so we pretty much enjoyed just that with the sourdough.

Our second heavy dish was the 'pasta of the day', a gnocchi dish with slow-cooked duck ragu and grano padano cheese.The meat was amazing, tender and plentiful, and the sauce, while it could have been richer (mmm oil), it was homely and familiar. The gnocchi was a little hard, and unevenly cooked but considering the price, the generous portion, and the friendly atmosphere, we welcomed the dish and finished every bit. 

Elementary hits home with their fried medium plates, and experiments with a variety of unique flavours with their light plates. It’s not a place for gastronomic discovery, but a friendly and cosy place for an unpretentious but intimate dinner. Valentine’s Day is coming up so if you and your SO are always out for something new, maybe this is your next dig. 

Restaurant Details
16 School St, Tai Hang
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