Chef Peter Cuong Franklin may have closed down Viet Kitchen late last year (it’s since been replaced by Moi Moi by Luke Nguyen), but the award-winning chef has been plenty busy, recently unveiling a collaboration with Dining Concepts to relaunch their 14-year-old Southeast Asian restaurant, Soho Spice. With an upgraded design and menu, the brand-new Soho Spice takes its cue from the streets of Southeast Asia, with dishes inspired by chef Peter’s travels across Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.
A culinary school veteran whose CV includes gigs at Chicago’s Alinea and Caprice at the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, chef Peter is known by most Hongkongers for his stints as founding chef of Vietnamese eatery Chôm Chôm, and most recently as chef-owner of Viet Kitchen. These days, however, Peter splits his time between Hong Kong and Vietnam, working as a restaurant consultant, cooking instructor, and local culinary authority on Vietnamese cooking.
At Soho Spice, chef Peter has re-calibrated the menu with a Southeast Asian spin, drawing from his travels to introduce a diverse range of dishes, which are executed daily by head chef Mo Rahim. While you’ll find traces of chef Peter’s classical French training in some of the techniques used, generally speaking, this is downright comfort food — street snacks that celebrate accessible, fuss-free and flavour-packed food. There’s grilled sugarcane prawns with sweet plum sauce, pepper squid with sriracha mayo, roti jala (Malaysian-style pancakes) with sweet sambal sauce, and beef skewers rubbed with lemongrass and sesame.
Baos are all the rage these days, and Soho Spice has got four tempting additions to the menu: pork belly with hoisin, spicy chicken with a hot chilli sauce, tempura fish with tartar, and soft shell crab with green chilli sauce, pickled cucumber, spring onion and shiso. Those seeking a lighter option can dig into the salad menu, with varieties including prawn pomelo, chicken cabbage, and spicy Isaan duck larb with galangal, ginger and sawtooth coriander.
And those are just the starters. Main courses range from chargrilled meats and seafood to wok-fried clams and seafood omelettes, and different types of rolls including soft shell crab and roast duck. Thailand makes an appearance with green chicken and massaman curries, while Indonesia is also represented with traditional dishes such as gado-gado (seasonal blanched vegetables with peanut sauce) and nasi lemak rice with egg and crispy anchovies.
With a menu this size, Soho Spice certainly caters to the mass market, and prices are kept reasonable (most of the mains clock in at under HK$200) to make for an easy-going option for a night out on the town. While you’ll want to share the starters or mains, we recommend going solo on the desserts, from a delicious Nutella roti with caramelised condensed milk, to a Vietnamese affogato with coffee, coconut cream and cinnamon Rice Krispies.
As for the interiors, they’ve been completely revamped, with the new look boasting rattan chairs and elaborately patterned walls, with a colour palette of turquoise and beige and suspended pendant lights creating a warm and cheery glow. On warm days, you can take a seat in the outdoor terrace, where hanging lights and a garden-themed motif make a sort of secret paradise amongst the hubbub of the city centre.
Soho Spice, 47B Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2526 2227, diningconcepts.com/restaurants/Soho-Spice
This article is presented by Dining Concepts.