Delish Eats: Ponty Café, Hong Kong’s Answer to Hearty American Diner Grub
September 26, 2023
Restaurant history: Ponty Café opened to manifest a spirit born in neighbouring sister, The Pontiac rock dive bar, evolving from a pop-up serving a food menu in the bar to a permanent restaurant offering great southern American fare. The café recently underwent a renovation and menu refresh in summer 2023 to enhance its ambiance and culinary offerings. Beckaly Franks and Ezra Star co-run the cafe's culinary direction.
What’s the vibe and venue like: Polished and spacious compared to her sister bar, permitting for relaxed and lazy brunches, stretching your legs wide. A new bar programme reflects a more modern approach to style and dining at Ponty Café, less rowdy than next door, but still embodying the Ponty-spirit.
How much does it cost: A mega serving of six entrees split between two people came out to HK$845, including one cocktail.
What is the menu about: Ponty Café's all-day menu prioritises hearty carbs, in the form of classic biscuits, flapjacks, bready burgers, and thick fries. Other additions are welcomed into the all-American house, like biscuits and gravy, bacon-pilled plates, and fry sauce with everything.
What did we order: Southwest Caesar (HK$108), Beer Battered Tillapia (HK$145), Green Pesto Genovese (HK$138), The Beef Burger (HK$160), Home-Made Buttermilk Biscuit Basket (HK$68), Double-Stack Flapjack (HK$138), and Dive Bar Bloody (HK$88).
Southwest Caesar: Lathered in a creamy southwest dressing, Ponty Café's Caesar salad oozes with sweet and salty notes, found in the pickled, rich anchovies dotted in the bowl, alongside buttermilk biscuit croutons that add much needed texture and a herby note to each bite.
The Beef Burger: The euphoria sauce, a rendition of burger sauce, stars well in this beefy bite. The medium rare beef patty is cooked well with a charred body that brings strong salty and umami notes, which bode well with the caramel flavour of the sauce and vinegar in the dill pickle.
Green Pesto Genovese: A surprising favourite of mine at Ponty Café. The rich pesto paste blends a salty cut of Parmigiano-Reggiano, crunchy pine nuts, and basil that wraps your tongue with a creamy and nutty aftertaste. The sauteed cherry tomatoes add a refreshing sweetness and pickle to the dish.
Double-Stack Flapjack: If there was a place to sample great American-style pancakes (forget the abundance of Japanese pancakes in Hong Kong), here it is. Fluffy, soaks up maple syrup well, pungent with lemon zest, and buttery, each bite is light and bursting with sugar!
Home-Made Buttermilk Biscuit Basket: After a mammoth meal, the biscuit was enjoyable to eat but had a dense texture due to its starchy interior. Don’t get me wrong, the addition of the homemade maple syrup butter on each side was flavourful, but be aware when ordering, as it’s a heavy dish.
What we liked: The pesto sauce held a great balance of nutty and salty flavours. The beef burger’s well-seasoned patty compliments the sauce, which delighted me. I was fond of the flapjacks – finally a restaurant serving legitimate American pancakes!
What we didn’t like: As mentioned, the biscuit was starchier and more filling than I prefer. I would welcome the addition of some jam to soak up the biscuit crumble.
What you should order: Double-Stack Flapjack, Southwest Caesar, Green Pesto Genovese, The Beef Burger, Tangy Lemon Bar, Fries with Fry Sauce
Location: Ponty Café, 15 Old Bailey Street, SoHo, Hong Kong
Contact details: +852 9666 2573
This food review is based on a complimentary media tasting provided by Ponty Cafe, 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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