Spanish mainstay FoFo by el Willy reopens with safe but well-received tweaks

COCONUTS HOT SPOT: How do you improve on success? Well, you just keep doing everything the same but different. That seems to be FoFo by el Willy’s philosophy.

After four good years with a steady Central clientele, the urbane Spanish tapas bar closed for a brief summer refurbishment. Now it’s reopened with the same kitchen team, most of the original menu and a dining room that looks just about the same but refreshed. More apparent are the changes on the roof deck, which now boasts updated outdoor furniture and a more sophisticated lounge vibe.
 

The view from the top

Menu-wise, restaurant founder Willy Trullas Moreno (aka el Willy) from Barcelona and Hong Kong-based chef Alex Fargas have tweaked rather than altered its kitchen constitution. All the favourite tapas remain, but now come alongside some new signatures drinks and food creations.

The Explosive Salmon Airbag (HKD30 per piece) was not as explosive as promised, but the interesting presentation of a generous thick piece of savoury smoked salmon atop a small puffed flatbread, with zingy sour cream and spring onion, was a novel styling of familiar flavours.
 

Explosive Salmon Airbags

Most chefs don’t give much thought to salads because greens aren’t glam, but Fargas’ off-menu Iberico Pork Ear Salad (HKD98) brought a smile to my face. Not only was it well-dressed with a medley of lettuces, olivers, and both cherry and sun-dried tomatoes, but the pig’s ear strips – slow-cooked until the cartilage is tender, then crisped up in the fryer – were fantastic.

Skewers of Papada (HKD68 per skewer), the jowls of Iberico pigs, came with little grilled Padrón peppers. The combination was smoky and rich, and the jowl meat was chewy enough to be texturally exciting.
 

Skewers of Papada

The daily special Veal Rack (HKD388) topped with rocket and parmesan cheese, was slow cooked and extremely tender. But without the parmesan it would be a little short of flavour.
 


Veal Rack

Wrapping up the meal was the jet-black Cuttlefish Ink Paella (HKD398), which was elegant in its singular profile. The ink taste was carried well by the just al dente rice, and it did its job to top up any ravenousness. However, it would have been wise to save more room for a refreshing fresh mint-flavoured Spanish Ice Cream Sandwich (HKD48 per piece).
 

Spanish Ice Cream Sandwich

The food at FoFo remains far more rustic than its new posh environment suggests, and while change is good, I’m glad these guys didn’t stray too far from their farmhouse roots.

FoFo by el Willy, 20/F, M88, 2-8 Wellington Street, Central, 2900-2009. Open daily. Lunch 12pm – 2:30pm, Dinner: 6:30pm – 11pm. 

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