Somehow I always assumed that Tapas Bar would be situated on the top floor of Kowloon Shangri-la, as people keep mentioning its gorgeous night view. Imagine my surprise when I realised it was located close to the lobby on the ground floor. The place had a chic, modern feel to it, with wine bottles filing up one side of the wall, the open-style kitchen at one end, and the bar at the other end. For those in search of a view you would not be disappointed by the full-length glass windows which give you an unobstructed panaromic view of the georgeous Victoria Harbour. 

Tapas Bar specialises in New World wines and what else, tapas - we had a special treat the night of our visit, as it was doing a promotion on Aussie oysters and wine for the month of June. We took on the waitress' expert advice and ordered a few different oysters to try out with our refreshing white wine.

For the promotion, Tapas Bar was advocating a "new" and "better" way of devouring oysters, which supposedly brings out the freshness of the oysters better. Instead of squeezing lemon juice and adding tabasco or other sauce, it recommended adding freshly grounded black pepper, and shredded onion pieces to taste, finishing with a sprinkling of lemon juice. I liked this innovative approach, as the skipping of the tabasco or vinegar sauce means you can really enjoy the oysters in their original, pure form, accompanied by the salty seawater. This also shows the confidence of the restaurant in the high quality of their imports. We tried out the Streaky Bay, Smoky Bay, and Nugget varieities, and unanimously aggreed the Nugget was the best of the bunch. While the smallest, it had the most intense flavour and a creamy texture. All were fresh and moist, with no fishy smell.

After such a rich luxury, we decided to go light on food and ordered a number of small tapas dishes while soaking in the nightview and the relaxed laid back ambience. We enjoyed all the tapas and I couldn't really find fault in them. As I am an olive buff, was more than happy to see the boat dish stuffed with a selection of olives upon arrival. Plump and flavoursome, these are not the shirvelled dry variety one sometimes see being served complimentary at some other restaurants. The smoked ham platter was exceptionally good in taste, and aesthetically pleasingly, given the thoughtful layout. The lamb sausage was well-received as well, bursting with flavour and spices.

If it weren't for the Tapas Bar being on the dark side, I'd probably return more frequently, as it is a great chillout place for hanging out with friends, while nibbling on yummy tapas and sipping fine wine. The Kowloon Shangri-la has definitely tried hard at raising its standard in recent years, after the revamp of the cafe as Cafe Kool (after the ultra-popular Cafe Too on HK Island), and Nadaman. Napa, one of my old fave, is also being closed down to make way for a more hyped restaurant.

Tapas Bar, Kowloon Shangri-La, 64 Mody Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong 

PS I know I know, appalling pictures, will try to go to more brightly lit restaurants from now on...
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