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The Globe: Where Modern British Gastropub Food Comes Alive in Hong Kong
by: Rubin Verebes
May 18, 2022
The Globe is the verifiable home for modern British cuisine and a gathering space for gourmands of independent craft beers imported worldwide and gastronomes of the rich, buttery flavours of Hong Kong’s former colonial dominion.
The gastropub venue saw its first iteration in November 1995 in the form of a Hollywood Road hole-in-the-wall that occupied pie-loving, beer-drinking, homesick Britons isolated from the motherland. The current and expanded Graham Street grounds have enjoyed a continuous 13 years of operation serving a loyal crowd.
Executive chef Martin Powdrill imports his British gastropub recipes and techniques matured in kitchens across the U.K. Hong Kong-born Brit Patrick Gatherer manages daily operations, coordinates weekly culinary offerings, and maintains the classic British feel for “a little slice of home,” he tells The Beat Asia.
The kitchen-cum-bar venue is unassuming and slightly anonymous with its Soho interior, trumped by the opposite infamous G.O.D. mural. However, the warmth and sweet chatter within The Globe boasts of a magnetic quality, drawing you to the bar for a cold pint or a hot plate.
The restaurant stands out in a local F&B scene as a solid emulation of any pub found on the British Isles: low ceilings, wooden beams, soft cushioned seating, and a crowd of stalwart regulars. The interior’s soft orange lighting shines light onto faces and food but is not so obnoxious to reveal ones slightly tipsy expressions.
The Globe is designed with a packed house in-mind. Expect scores of Brits and island-loving epicures hunched over a table theorizing for a pub quiz or picking apart healthily large plates of classic pub meals.
Food and drink
Chef Martin’s gastronomical experience in kitchens across the U.K. affords The Globe with boundless creativity and options for its set menus, strong pie selection, and a la carte menu.
“With [chef Martin] being younger and fresher-off-the boat (two years new to Hong Kong) from the U.K.,” Pat explains, “he's a lot more in touch with what pubs are serving in the U.K. We've been able to lean into that more with greater authenticity.”
On a mild, wet March weekday, I ventured inside the doors of The Globe to sample a tasting of both classic pub grub dishes off their a la carte selection and plates from their weekly set menu. With starters, I began with Smoked Haddock Fish Cakes (included in HK$150 two- course lunch set), two deep-fried haddock fish cakes, served with chilli crème fraiche and house-pickled cucumber.
Popping bright on the plate, the fluffy haddock paste packed into the fish cakes is fluffy in taste and perfectly salted, brimming with a strong smokiness reminiscent of Scottish fish creations. A little bit more spice would help the crème fraiche to introduce a diverging flavour to the moist cake. The pickles are a big hit for me: not overtly sour but sweet, which in turn made me salivate even more.
Onto a revered starter from the menu, the mere recall of the Duck Rillettes (HK$95), a hefty platter of succulent duck meat cooked in its own fat, garnished with brandy cherries, macadamia nuts, spiced apple chutney and sourdough baguette slices, is making me drool all over my keyboard.
Beyond any Chinese restaurant in the city specialising in roast Peking duck, The Globe serves arguably the best duck dish in the city. Crack the top fat layer, scoop up a baguette slice, and top with apple chutney. The duck melted in my mouth, drizzling a gamey and salty flavour all over my tongue, with the apple and cherries contrasting with sweet, fruity tones to bring in balance.
Wowed with the salty duck explosion, I switched to mains with the Gobi Cheese Toastie (set menu), a split sour dough baguette oven-roasted with masala garam-seasoned cauliflower, a base curry cheese sauce, chives, and pickled red onions. Triple cooked chips and fresh salad are set aside on the plate.
This Indian-inspired open face sandwich boasts earthy smells and tastes with the dusting of turmeric, masala garam, paprika, and pepper to cut through the creamy cheese sauce. The roasted cauliflower brings a nuttiness and sweetness that pairs well with the pungent spice mix. A spicy or mustard-base sauce would help wet the bread that is slightly tough to bite into.
A trip to The Globe is not complete without a bite into their juicy pies, of which we sat down with their Beef, Beef, and Mushroom Pie (HK$150), an oven-baked flaky pie with sauteed beef and mushroom in a beer-infused gravy broth, shared with vegetable baked beans, creamy mash potatoes, and gravy.
The Globe effortlessly captures the pure taste of beef in this encased flaky package, salty and buttery with a tomato-like acidity and gamey aftertaste. The chunks of beef and mushroom melt on impact with the tongue, scream with umami and kicks in gustatory receptors to force salivation and endorphins rush to your brain. It necessitates long pauses to hold the sauce in your mouth and pair the gravy with mash potato to guzzle any salty juice.
With a stomach full of milky carbs and rich meats, the fluffy Toffee Popcorn Cheese Cake (HK$95), topped with a thin gelatine toffee coating, “popping candy,” and salted caramel ice cream, was a pleasant end to my dining experience.
Whilst slightly sweeter than expected, I suggest sharing this playful cheesecake slice with a friend, soaking up the creamy caramel ice cream melting under the hot lights with the rich sweet fluff of the cheesecake. The popcorn is fun for a bit of crunch mixing up textures.
Pub culture remains an integral part of daily British life, prevailing as a commonality amongst all classes and creeds, with the empire’s last former colony markedly similar. The Globe hosts a mix of Hong Kongers in its dining-drinking hall for no two days or nights that are the same.
With rowdy day-drinking crowds, pencil shoving on a Saturday quiz, bustily Sunday roast eaters and tables packed, game nights with cheers heard beyond the Graham doors, and romantic evenings huddled over wines and plates, Hong Kong’s only gastropub shines in any occasion to gather in groups.
The Globe, within it’s infamous Graham Street location, emulates what Hong Kong has and will always need: a meeting point for homesick Britons and explorative locals searching for honest gastro-British pub food and a comfortable environment to gather with companions.
The culinary team ran by Chef Martin, alongside Patrick’s handle of the international beverage department, pours a sprinkle of Britain and a dash of heart into every plate, ensuring recipes don’t skimp on that proper British feel. To get a good taste of what The Globe has to offer, order with friends the Scotch Egg (HK$90), Duck Rillettes (HK$95), Beer Battered Atlantic Haddock (HK$185), Beef, Beer, and Mushroom Pie (HK$160), Steak and Kidney Pie (HK$160), and the Toffee Popcorn Cheese Cake (HK$95).
This food review is based on a complimentary media tasting provided by The Globe in exchange for a truthful review and no compensation. The opinions expressed within represent the views of the author.
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