Oolaa, G/F, CentreStage, 1 Bridges St., Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R., China
Nearest Train:Sheung Wan
Opening Hours:daily 3:30pm-7am
It’s no secret that Castelo Concepts is capable of opening a great restaurant. In the past 15 years or so on the dining scene, the people behind Wagyu, Jaspas and Pepperoni’s have earned themselves a loyal following among antipodean brunchers and boozers for their consistently hearty Australasian fare, laid-back atmosphere and excellent value for money. Oolaa, which they’ve opened since rising SoHo rents sadly forced the closure of Cru, looks set to be their magnum opus. Covering 5,000 square feet of CentreStage’s Bridges Street entrance, this sprawling, open-fronted bar/restaurant/coffee shop comes in crisp linens and warm browns—easy on the eye, and an appropriate backdrop for all-day dining—and drinking. The menu boasts highlights of all their other restaurants—badass wagyu steaks, pizza-oven-pizzas, weekend brunch and Asian-influenced starters, such as the ever-popular sesame tuna brought over from Cru. We ordered that, along with an all-day breakfast that put all others to shame. The star was the crackling pork belly with sweet potato mash and a poached pear. The huge portion of belly was very lean, with barely any fat to sit in our stomachs and make us feel queasy afterwards. The crackling packed one hell of a crunch and went perfectly with the applesauce. The only disappointment was the sweet potato mash, which was a tad bland—but possibly deliberate given the richness of the pork. Staff were smiling and attentive, the bloody marys strong and spicy. Cru is dead. Long live Oolaa.