Arranged to meet up with an old friend Y for dinner to catch up this past weekend, and late afternoon on the day, was told that our plans are off, because his football team was playing that night. After some back and forth bickering SMSes, we compromised and headed for Dickens Bar in Causeway Bay ~ so that I could have my dinner, while he could watch his football.

Dickens Bar is located in the basement of The Excelsior Hotel, and is an established sports fans' haunt. In addition to live broadcast of sports matches, the place is also well-known for its lunch-time curry buffet (HK$128) and its British foodfare like roast beef and sheperd's pie - aka comfort food.

There are a number of projector TV screens and regular TV sets scattered around the bar, to ensure wherever you are in the bar, you'd be able to catch the latest live game, be it soccer or cricket or rugby. There are two sections within the restaurant, the smoking section near the front and the non-smoking, more proper restaurant area in the back. We opted for the front area, as that's where the fans normally gather round and cheer passionately for their team and where the excitement is.

We quickly ordered to avoid missing the beginning of the match (!), and opted for French Fries with mild lamb curry sauce, Fried onion rings with curried mayonnaise as snack. For mains, I chose the Pub Style Lasagne while Y ordered Lamb Rogan Josh Curry. Was looking forward to the food as the last time I came, the roast beef with yorkshire pudding I ordered was very tasty and satisfied my craving for yorkshire pudding. 

The french fries served in a paper cone looked appetizing, but I suspect it was cooked beforehand and only just reheated upon order, as the fries near the top of the cone were lukewarm while the ones in the middle were hotter. Definitely not the piping hot variety I prefer, and a bit limp to be honest. We could not get enough of the lamb curry sauce though, which went well with the fries and served as a good alternative to the normal ketchup. The onion rings were served on a cast iron skewer, placed on top of the curried mayonnaise (you can see the prevalent theme of curry at Dicken's Bar). This was much better than the fries, using generous thickcut juicy onion slices. The batter was a bit thick too though.

My friend did not like his lamb curry at all. It looked nice, served with poppadum and pilau rice, plus a tray of condiments. In fact, he said that he prefers Tsui Wah's version any day ~ the lamb was chewy and the sauce was quite bland. He left more than half of the dish untouched, and started staring at my lasagne hoping that I'd be generous enough to share my dish. The lasagne was probably the best dish of the night, served piping hot, with layers of cheese and yummy meat sauce in between the pasta sheets. It was very satisfying, although it was so rich that we couldn't finish it either. A reduced portion served with vegetables would probably be a better choice.

Definitely think standards at Dickens Bar have deteriorated significantly from its hey day, which was evident by the lack of a crowd on a Saturday evening. Noticed a lot of people came in just for the game and drinks, rather than for its food, and I could understand why. My only consolation is that I won the bet over the match score and did not have to pay for dinner, which totalled at a reasonable HK$320. 

Unlikely to return, or to arrange dinner with Y again.

Dickens Bar 雙城吧 The Excelsior Hotel, 281 Gloucester Road Hong Kong

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