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Located on Ship Street, it may seem that Ham & Sherry faces stiff competition on the vibrant restaurant row. Yet, their cool vibe and casual approach to food – a formula that most Jason Atherton restaurants have seemed to master – continues to draw a sizeable crowd. On some nights, one can see patrons waiting outside the 40-seater restaurant, which is interesting considering it was first conceived to house the outflow from nearby sister establishment, 22 Ships. You won’t miss Ham & Sherry’s blue-and-white tiled façade; the stunning patterns continue on the inside creating a whimsical setting designed by the award-winning firm Neri & Hu.
With a name like Ham & Sherry, it’s easy to stick to the obvious: the restaurant’s selection of jamon – there are four delicious variants on offer – and a glass of sherry. While that is perfectly acceptable, it would be a shame not to venture past these flavourful front-liners. The pica picar is a good place to start, and traditional favourites such as padron peppers and bacalao are ideal dishes to ease you into the Spanish experience. Ham & Sherry does not attempt to be too authentic, however, which is evident in the way they tweak their dishes. The fried calamari comes with utterly addictive squid ink aioli and the ‘pan con’ selection features combinations such as pear and blue cheese. Small plates are indeed their specialty but the larger dishes and chalkboard specials are also commendable, save for the 62-degree egg ‘migas’ applewood-smoked bacon, which had a bit too much of a crunch. This dish is best relished when the runny egg and the carb perfectly marry, but it wasn’t really the case with this dish. For dessert, the 72% chocolate, carrots and black sesame crumble is like a deconstructed chocolate treat that comes with an enjoyable texture. Unlike most restaurants though, you won’t stop at this sweet ending. The sheer selection of drinks coupled with a relaxed ambience and friendly service encourage one to linger, and perhaps have another round in their dimly lit cave of a bar at the back.
With a menu featuring 12 pages of drinks and four pages of food, it’s safe to say that Ham & Sherry takes its drink seriously. As expected, there is a wide selection of sherry on offer – including rare bottles and other sherry-based cocktails – but they do not ignore other types of tipples. The wine is well chosen and reasonably priced, and classic cocktails are reliable, especially the Old Fashioned.
The casual vibe extends to the service, which is relaxed and informal yet thoroughly polite. Both the servers as well as the chefs working in the open kitchen are friendly and ready for a bit of banter.
The space may be small and the food menu short but Ham & Sherry is certainly big on value – find well-priced offerings that restore your faith in the often-inflated Hong Kong dining scene. A filling meal for two with drinks will set you back approximately HK$1,200.