Vasco: Latin American Bar bites.

Hunger is good discipline, said the great writer Ernest Hemingway, and he is right on the money. You may want to keep a clean palate and a healthy appetite once you step foot into this cozy Latin American digs on the hip and happening Hongkong street. Vasco, reputed for procuring predominantly decadent Latin spirits such as mezcal, pisco and rum for its cocktails does serve up pretty spiffy tapas and nosh to boot too!

In sync with the Latin Americans impossible sense of positivity, the staff at Vasco are a happy bunch. Fitting in squarely with the casual vibes that stem from the South American bar, decked out with leather booth seatings, distressed tile work and a bar that would make your brows rise from the unusual absence of the regular whisky and gin gang.

To start off, we had two colourful renditions of ceviches. The Snapper Ceviche ($22) reveals cubes of snapper sprinkled with red onions, this sailed off smoothly on our gastronomical journey, revving our senses with devilishly spicy red Ecuador peppers. Regrettably, the Salmon Ceviche($22) lacked astringency, the Leche de Tigre giving off a milky creamy taste that muddled the experience of the sea.

Fresh skewers were to follow - the Chicken skewer ($25 for 3) was accorded with gorgeously charred cubes of meat, coated with a generous helping of chipotle and lemons, roughly chopped pecans adding texture. Simple to chow down, and consistent too. More choices followed in the guise of the Pork Belly skewer ($25 for 3), which was unfortunately too tough and chewy when left to cool on its own accord. The best advice would be to stick to the Prawn skewer ($26 for 3), the clever interjection of courgettes in between ensuring a nice even cook on each and every prawn. Basted with  a spicy aji amarillo paste, these sophisticated bites prove to quite a worthy companion to the rich and creamy Girl from Ipanema ($23) - mad with cachaca, a brazilian rum made from sugarcane, lime, passion fruit and Brazil nuts for that desirable smouldering effect.

After a rather lackluster round of skewers , thankfully our palpable cloud of ennui soon faded away into the sunset with the arrival of the crowning glory of none other than the lipsmacking fabulous cubano sandwich. Pickles, cheese and tender slow coked pork, doused with prodigious flavors and a dressed up slaw fit for a king. A trip to Vasco is incomplete without the definite winner, the El Cubano ($24). If you've still got room, fill up on the Meatballs ($26), a combination of pork and beef, these succulent morsels pack in a ton of flavor and you'll be happily dragging the accompanying tortilla chips through the remaining secret sauce that stains the dish at the end of it.

Since the menu reads really short and simple, don't expect to find an established dessert list. Instead, go ahead and treat yourself to a Pisco Sour or the Mexico'70 ($23), a Negroni with tequila for that nightcap. We all know there's no such thing as 'one too many cocktails', (till the next morning, that is...)

Major thanks to Christian for the invite!

42 HongKong Street
t: 8799 7085

Operating Hours:
Mon - Sat: 6pm - 1am

No comments: