Chueca makes Spanish tapas more inventive

To say that Hong Kong has a saturated dining scene would be something of an understatement, so for a restaurant to set itself apart from the crowd is a major challenge indeed. Chueca, a newly opened modern Spanish tapas restaurant tucked at one end of Gough Street in Central, does just that.


Ably helmed by Chef Jordi Vallés, a Spaniard whose impressive CV includes stints as Executive Chef with the Aqua and Pirata dining groups, Chueca offers a deft blend of casually chic ambiance and authentic, flavour-packed dishes that have found favour among even the most discerning of the city’s eager epicureans. “We don’t claim we are a fine-dining establishment,” says Vallés of this winning formula. “Yet, every one of our dishes is a high-quality offering that takes the rustic flavours of Spain and gives it a refined touch. We source many of our ingredients directly from there to ensure our cuisine is truly authentic.”

“In spite of the richness of the ingredients, Chef Vallés’ adroit touch ensures a melt-in-your-mouth lightness”

Named after a bustling district of central Madrid, Chueca has a verandah-like frontage set with a long marble countertop for an al-fresco dining experience. The airiness is also reflected in the interiors, which boast wood and brass accents with a splash of aquamarine for good measure. The overall effect is refreshingly well balanced, providing a welcoming atmosphere from the outset.

Eager to begin our own tasting, we dove right into an appetiser of Gambas Al Ajillo. A quintessential Spanish dish, the fresh tiger prawns were deep fried in delicious garlic-laden olive oil, with a sprinkling of chilli imparting a slight piquancy. Indulgent without being overwhelmingly greasy, it was a worthy opening act.

Next to arrive was Chef’s Canelón, one of Chueca’s signatures. For the uninitiated, a canelón is a pasta roll stuffed with a variety of ingredients that is typically eaten during the festive season. In this instance, though, the traditional recipe has been upscaled to feature a smooth truffle-and-meat stuffing, surrounded by generous shavings of black truffle. Rounding it off is a delectable porcini béchamel sauce that adds a creaminess to proceedings. In spite of the richness of the disparate ingredients, Chef Vallés’ adroit touch ensures a cohesive melt-in-your-mouth lightness.

The cook then offered a sneak peek at the eatery’s upcoming Christmas menu with an appetiser of Foie Gras Royale. Although a deceptively small portion upon first viewing, its size has been specifically chosen to balance the decadence within; atop each thin sliver of bread, hidden beneath shavings of black truffle, is a rich foie gras concoction that will more than satiate any hunger pangs.

Next to arrive was perhaps Chueca’s most popular main, a sharing platter of Lobster Rice. A true labour of love, the crustaceans are delivered fresh each day and the heads simmered for hours to create a delectable broth, which is then used to cook the rice, onions, tomatoes and tiny morsels of squid. The finishing touch is a perfectly cooked whole lobster. Awash in oceanic accents without ever once overwhelming the senses, the shellfish’s flavours permeate throughout. It’s a guaranteed favourite of any seafood-loving gourmand, and perfect for enjoying with loved ones.

Finally, with our waistlines getting uncomfortably tight, a dessert of Flan de Nata – a Spanish take on crème caramel – hovered into view. Sweet without being cloying, the flan is a creamy, custardy plate of mouth-watering goodness, with the accompanying medley of diced fruits injecting a welcome tartness and an extra textural element to the dessert. Simple yet delectably delicious, it was the perfect note to end our flavour-packed tasting.


Chueca. G/F, 8-10 Gough Street, Central. (852) 2703 0810.



(Text: Tenzing Thondup)