Komune: laid back tapas, contemporary flair with a touch of Asia

Thanks to Komune, WOM’s dry January was over before it had even started. Komune has the feel of a laid-back tapas joint, but with added contemporary flair and Asian flavour. We foresee their little terrace on the fourth floor of Ovolo Southside becoming a popular hangout as the weather warms up this spring. And the place cements its artsy Wong Chuk Hang credentials by playing some hipster-favourite tunes; we were greeted by Tears for Fears, Roxy Music, Prince, Hall and Oates... although they dropped the ball five songs in by playing Chesney Hawkes.

The wine list is amusingly divided into sections entitled, respectively, What’s a sommelier?, I’ve heard of a sommelier, I can pronounce sommelier and I am a sommelier. Bottles in the first section are generally under HK$400 while one from the latter section will set you back upwards of HK$600. We hope sommeliers are well-paid.​However, at Komune, the cocktails are where the action is at, with drinks devised by “international cocktail and consultancy bureau, Cocktail Professor.” Fancying a dry and refreshing drink, we kicked off with the Wallflower, Komune’s answer to the Negroni, served with a garnish of edible flowers. This was a perfect counterpart to a few small plates including “L.A. style” crab roll. Chef Alvaro Ramos, it would seem, is a big fan of spice. Each dish is boldly, but not excessively, seasoned. The crab roll had a perfect salty flavour and an oh-so-soft texture.

This was followed by the Asian pork jowl bao, which was dark and smokey, and clams with chorizo and sake, which is a version of a dish the chef learned from his mother but given an Asian twist with the use of sake over the usual white wine.

Having long given up on the idea of a January of temperance and self-discipline, we ordered a second drink; the Longevity Tree Sap. This is Komune’s answer to the old-fashioned, but sweetened with pine needle and black tea syrup and garnished with a sprig of oregano. It proved to be just the right accompaniment to the surprisingly sweet “21st century” deconstructed tortilla. Here, the chef applies a little modern gastronomic flair to a Spanish classic, deconstructing the tortilla into layers of foam on a base of sweet caramelised onions.

For our main course, the “Sichuan style” slow-cooked short ribs provided just the right level of slow-burning Sichuan spice. The spice played well against our third cocktail of the evening, the Rock Island, a drink with a kick of chilli served inside what appears to be a hollowed-out rock found on the beach at Shek O.
We always try to have a little space left for dessert, and we can never resist a serving of churros. Komune’s come with two sauces; a chocolate sauce spiked with Sichuan pepper, and the real highlight, a thick, gooey salted caramel sauce.

We were pretty stuffed by this point in the evening. But it would have been rude to have left without trying the liquid cheesecake. According to the chef, this dish is still not quite perfected, and ours was more like a souffle in texture than a liquid. Made from camembert, the cheesecake is served with a smoked pepper jam, giving a fantastic balance of savoury and sweet. Good enough that we could easily forgive the texture not being quite as promised. Or is that just the three cocktails talking?

Restaurant Details
Komune, Ovolo Southside, 64 Wong Chuk Hang Road
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