Delish Eats: Andy Mast's Honest Food Revolution at Shady Acres
July 12, 2023
Restaurant story: Welcome to Peel Street's worst-kept secret, Shady Acres - or 'Shady' as it's warmly known by regulars. This lively wine bar brings a big-hearted twist to Soho's drinking scene, offering a quirky wine list, delectable eats, and a daily slushie that's always up for a surprise. Shady might be off the beaten Soho track, but it's turned Peel Street into the place to be, radiating infectious good vibes that keep its fans coming back for more.
Chef story: At the culinary helm is the ever-creative Executive Chef Andrew Mast. His previous tenure at the group's well-loved Hong Tonk's Tavern proved the Canadian has a knack for dishing out unpretentious, satisfying food. Now, he's shaking things up at Shady, curating a menu that's all about shared food experiences. His culinary philosophy is a mirror of Shady's soul: good food, great friends, and copious amounts of wine.
What’s the vibe and venue like: If you're a rare first-timer at Shady Acres, where have you been? Over the last four years, it's charmed visitors with its warm welcome and raw post-industrial interiors, courtesy of the design genius of Kieran Brash from Brash Atelier. Shady's charm draws in an energetic, eclectic, and international crowd, making weekdays feel like weekends. When the actual weekend rolls around, the fun spills onto the pedestrian-friendly street outside. Want a hot tip? Get there early to snag a bar seat - it's the best in the house.
How much does it cost: When it comes to cost, Shady plays nice with the competition. Their quality cocktails fall between HK$80 and $120. For wine lovers, glasses start at a modest HK$85, while bottles kick off at HK$330. The share-friendly food menu spans from HK$30 Marinated Bar Olives to a decadent HK$130 Wagyu Flank Steak with all the trimmings. Make sure to take advantage of their epic daily happy hour (from opening to 7pm), with selected drinks at HK$50 and a loaded tasting plate for a steal at HK$100.
What is the menu about: Diving into Shady Acres' menu is like a tour around the culinary world, led by Chef Andy and his ever-busy team. It's a no-fuss collection of dishes inspired by Europe and the Americas that keeps your taste buds guessing and your fingers itching to order more. They dish up as they cook, so no waiting around for structured courses - and it fits perfectly with Shady's lively atmosphere.
What we ordered: On our visit, we let Chef Andy take the reins and boy, did he deliver! We feasted on a colourful spread of Heirloom Tomato Ricotta Toast (HK$80), comforting Chicken and Leek Croquettes with an All-purpose Green Sauce (HK$90), hearty Meatballs served in Fire-roasted Tomatoes, Ricotta, and Chipotle BBQ (HK$85), a fragrant Roasted Fennel, Sweet Chilli, Herbs (HK$80), delicious Handmade Orecchiette dished up with Spinach Basil Pesto, Guanciale, and Pecorino (HK$110), and finally, a succulent Wagyu Flank Steak, complete with Jus & Accoutrements (HK$130).
Chicken and Leek Croquettes, All-purpose Green Sauce: A beautifully crispy exterior gives way to a rich, creamy interior, packed with tender chicken and aromatic leeks. The accompanying all-purpose green sauce lends fresh garden flavours and a hint of acidity, perfectly balancing the dish's creamy heartiness
Meatballs served in Fire-roasted Tomatoes, Ricotta, and Chipotle BBQ: Each meatball melts in the mouth, offering a satisfying, meaty taste. The robustness of the fire-roasted tomatoes finds balance in the subtle, creamy ricotta. A touch of chipotle BBQ sauce upgrades the dish, introducing a spicy undercurrent that rounds out the flavours, creating a well-balanced plate.
Handmade Orecchiette with Spinach Basil Pesto, Guanciale, and Pecorino: This pasta dish provides an explosion of vibrant, fresh herbs, ripe vegetables, and exquisitely cooked pasta, harmoniously married with the crispy, deeply savoury guanciale (Italian cured pork cheek). Though the ethos of the menu encourages sharing, this dish might make you selfishly reconsider. It's simply that good!
Wagyu Flank Steak with Jus & Accoutrements: The succulent Wagyu flank, flawlessly prepared to a medium-rare degree, unleashes a delicious deluge of flavour with every bite. Each piece, soaked in its own mouth-watering jus, ensures an experience of exceptional tenderness and moist mouthfeel.
What we liked: So, what were the stars of the show? The Heirloom Tomato Ricotta Toast (HK$80), Chicken and Leek Croquettes with an All-purpose Green Sauce (HK$90), and the Handmade Orecchiette with Spinach Basil Pesto, Guanciale, and Pecorino (HK$110) were clear winners. And even though we were stuffed by the time we got to the Wagyu Flank Steak with Jus & Accoutrements (HK$130), it still left a delicious impression.
What we didn’t like: Despite Chef Andy's noble efforts, he couldn't convert me to a fan of roasted fennel. Your mileage might vary. And, as much as we loved the sharing vibe, the choice to serve some dishes, like the croquettes and meatballs, in sets of three made for some hilariously awkward, 'Lady and the Tramp' moments over the last bite.
What should you order? I'd personally vouch for the Heirloom Tomato Ricotta Toast, the Chicken and Leek Croquettes with All-purpose Green Sauce, and the Handmade Orecchiette with Spinach Basil Pesto, Guanciale, and Pecorino. But what's really special about Shady is that its menu calls for exploration - each visit gives you the chance to stumble upon a new favourite.
Location: Shady Acres, Ground Floor, 46 Peel St, Central
Contact details: +852 9220 4344
This food review is based on a complimentary media tasting provided by Shady Acres in exchange for a truthful review and no compensation. The opinions expressed within represent the views of the author.
Enjoyed this article? Check out our previous Delish Eats reviews here
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