Right around the time Mr. & Mrs. Fox was entering its fourth year of operation, its management was beginning to feel like the Quarry Bay eatery was suffering from a bit of an identity crisis.
Not on the part the restaurant, per se, more on the part of just about everyone else.
As manager Vikash Vaswani, of Swire Restaurants, recently explained, it felt like the public didn’t have a great idea of what exactly Mr. & Mrs. Fox was. (Was it a bar? Was it fancy? Did it serve…fox?)
In an effort to correct those murky perceptions, the restaurant recently underwent a modest re-brand, revamping the menu and adding “Bar, Chophouse, Den” to its signage to reassert what Vaswani said was always the core of its concept: good value and better meat.
We’ll leave judgments on value to the bean counters, but if a recent sampling of some of the restaurant’s offerings is any indication, the meats are indeed on point.
In addition to reaffirming its “Chophouse” chops, the restaurant also held a recent tasting to show off its “Den,” a private dining and events space on the second floor.
The room (which seats 24 for dinner, or up to 70 for stand-up cocktail affairs) is large and inviting, with warm lighting, exposed bricks, and bottles of booze prominently displayed. For some reason, it’s also fond of hidden doors.
Not only is the room accessed through a portal disguised as a bookcase (it’s opened by pressing a key on a nearby piano or, more prosaically, a hidden button), it also features a large corkboard festooned with old-timey schematics that slides back to reveal several beer taps. Kegs are weighed beforehand, and guests are encouraged to help themselves, then pay by weight later.
If the beer-by-the-pound wasn’t indication enough, this is a room where people are welcome to get loose.
For dinner service, the Den offers large-format set menus featuring brawny mains and sides served family-style, though most of the items are also available a la carte in the main restaurant downstairs. The menus also include a large shareable dessert, in our case, both a cheese plate and a Baked Alaska (HK$120 a la carte).
We started off with a handful of mostly seafood-y appetizers, including a pair of crudos and a bowl of mussels and clams.
The tuna crudo (HK$158 a la carte) was tasty, with a bit of sweetness and crunch from a mango emulsion and hazelnuts. Even better, though, was the salmon, which featured firm, clean-tasting slices of raw fish, yellow beets, and a pleasant tang from what appeared to be a yogurt-based sauce.
Meanwhile, the mussels and clams (HK$195 a la carte), served over fregola in a tomato sauce, were outstanding — briny and fresh, and playing very nicely with the salty nuggets of Spanish-style chorizo peppered throughout.
A chopped salad (HK$145 a la carte) featuring raw and roasted veggies, however, was a bit of a stumble, and appeared to be unevenly dressed. While some bites were bright and savory, others seemed under-seasoned and dull.
Next up were four mains — lemon sole, a rack of lamb, a grilled spring chicken, and a gargantuan tomahawk ribeye — served with a complement of sides (all sides HK$58 a la carte).
Creamed spinach, a classic steakhouse accompaniment, was nicely seasoned and, well, creamy. Speaking of creamy, the mac and cheese was certainly that, and definitely more the “mom’s stovetop” variety than than the “throw the entire imported cheese case at it” variety. We mean this as a compliment — it hit the spot.
The sole and the chicken (HK$258 a la carte) were both serviceable, and sported a touch of char from the grill. The fish was fresh and flaky, and the chicken was moist and flavorful, as far as chicken goes, but given the “Chophouse” on the sign, it likely comes as no surprise that huge portions of red meat are the area in which Mr. & Mrs. Fox truly seems to shine.
A rack of herb-crusted lamb (HK$328 a la carte) was an unimpeachable home run — evenly rosy throughout, beautifully seasoned, and with a truly lamb-y character that, sadly, lamb in restaurants often lacks.
As good as the lamb was, though, the dry-aged 1.2-kilo Australian M5 wagyu (so many modifiers!) tomahawk steak was the real star of the show, not only in its imposing presentation — cut from the bone and sliced into thick pieces to show off its perfectly cooked interior — but in its inarguable quality.
Much of the time, a parade of up-sellable descriptors preceding the name of a dish is merely a distraction from what is an otherwise ordinary product. This is not one of those times. The tomahawk was magnificently beefy and far more tender than your run-of-the-mill ribeye — and at HK$1,880 a la carte, it had damn well better be.
That, in a way, brings us back to Mr. & Mrs. Fox’s unofficial mission statement of offering good value and great meats.
Perceptions of “value” are inherently subjective, and like we said at the outset, we here at Coconuts HK can’t really tell you if a steak that costs as much as Samsung tablet represents great bang for your buck — but we can tell you it represents great steak.
Mr. & Mrs. Fox is at 23 Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay
Restaurant hours: noon-2:30pm, 6pm-10pm; Bar hours: 12pm-11pm (Mon. — Sat.)
Telephone: (852) 26978500
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MRMRSFOXH