The Principal, 9 Star St., Wan Chai, Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R., China
Opening Hours:Mon-Fri noon-2:45pm; Mon-Sat 7pm-midnight; Sun noon-5:30pm
Price Range:$$$ - $$$$
Open Since:December, 2011
Reviewed In:May, 2012
Soft shades of color, cushy chairs and bright lighting make The Principal a very comfortable place to be. There’s a large bread and cheese table in the middle of the room—where all the servers go to replenish their platters—that acts as an anchor of sorts (everything kind of starts and ends there).
Food-wise, The Principal dishes out “modern” cuisine, which basically means everything is presentation-focused and of ambiguous origins. The items on the menu are all based on a single ingredient—like eggs—to keep things simple. Everybody raved about the cheese puffs and sweet popcorn that they gave us before the meal, which made for a great start.
The tender white asparagus appetizer with velvety warm mayo and Romesco sauce was a stand-out, while the suckling pig with lemon puree and sautéed red endive was the star entrée. Other dishes worthy of mention were the succulent grilled sirloin with bone marrow and the light, fresh vegetarian arroz caldoso (Spanish risotto).
One major mishap threatened to undo our enjoyable experience: the sea bass one of us ordered was undercooked and had to be sent back to the kitchen. The staff made up for it by comping our cheese platter—and making the fish taste that much better the second time ‘round. (The crisis was managed well, or we would’ve downgraded the resto by one star.)
The violet-flavored sponge cake with strawberries, pistachio puree and yogurt sorbet was divine, helping us end on a memorable note. We recommend pairing the meal with a bottle of reasonably priced wine. Also, be wary—portion sizes are small.