Malaysian Persuasion: Fatty Crab
An import from New York City that gussies up Malaysian street food with a creative urban twist, Fatty Crab opened on Old Bailey Road earlier this year with a slick look, plenty of cocktails at not one but two bars, and plenty of the straightforward, chili-laced cuisine that made the New York original a local institution. Again, no reservations are taken, so be prepared to wait at the bar (or even on the street on weekends). But if you like your crab spicy and your sliders dressed with sambal aioli, this is the place for you.
Fatty Crab could be either a bar that does great food or a restaurant with an unusually cool cocktail divan; the latter, with bare black concrete walls, vintage lamps, and an enviable spirits collection (to say nothing of an awesome music selection that has diners nodding their heads all the way to their table), would be equally at home in New York’s Soho as it is in Hong Kong’s. A new happy-hour offering features fun finger foods, from pork buns with house-smoked bacon, soft-boiled egg, kecap manis, and house Sriracha to Jalan Alor chicken wings with cumin and fennel. Signature elixirs include the Drug Mule (Fuji-apple-infused vodka with ginger syrup and lime) and the Panchito Special: a shot of tequila, a chaser of Malay-spiced sangrita, and a can of Tsingtao beer with a chili-salt rim.
Fatty Crab’s dishes take elements from the streets of Kuala Lumpur and New York, but the remix has made them something else all together. The pork belly, presented on cubes of pickled watermelon, is a medley of flavors and textures, as is the Fatty Duck caramelized with soy sauce and served on jasmine rice. Such combinations sound dubious on the menu, but they work, at least most of the time, extending both Asia’s street food culture and the essence of culinary fusion in the process.
11-13 Old Bailey St., Central; 852/2521-2033; fattycrab.com
A Yen for Yakitori: Three Monkeys
Almost a year after opening, Hollywood Road gastropub Three Monkeys continues to draw a full house most nights for its gourmet izakaya fare. The idea behind the two-level eatery is simple, authentic yakitori made with premium ingredients and a few playful twists. It uses charcoal grills from legendary Tokyo cookware shop Kama Asa to prepare an array of skewered meats and seafood—the kinds of things you might grab on the way to the MRT station or on a bar hop, except in this case you’re doing it in a space decked out with honey-hued timber and retro tungsten lamps.
There are plenty of yakitori staples on offer, from thick slices of ox tongue and soft-shell crab to chicken neck with sea salt. But Three Monkeys also has some more involved dishes, including miso-marinated steaks of grilled white cod and a Wagyu-brisket stew with foie gras, to say nothing of the sweet and tangy pork belly wraps and lobster-laced chawanmushi egg custard. To wash them down, patrons have the city’s best selection of Japanese craft beers to choose from, as well as a long list of small-batch sakes.
151–155 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan; 852/3151-7771; facebook.com/Th3Mnkys