Yes, I know – almost everyone has been there (see the reviews on Time Out, Lifestyle Asia, Eat With Jess, and many more). School Food, the chic and stylish restaurant chain specialising in Korean street-style snack food. It is popular in Korea, Japan, United States and Indonesia and finally opened its first outlet in Hong Kong on the 13th floor of Times Square.
You can’t book a seat, so you have to queue. Unlucky me, the queue was quite long and it took me an hour to score a seat. By then I was starving and curious to try the signature mari rolls.
Those rolls are a modern twist on sushi rolls. Although, I have to say the deep-fried shrimp mari could have been sold in a sushi place! It was not that impressive. Where was the Korean twist? For me, the only good thing was that it was freshly prepared (so yes, once you’ve seated, you’ve got to wait till the food is ready). Apart from that, it was not special.
However, the squid ink mari were nice. Very chewy, with lots of tentacles and black rice, but it was filling and tasted different – it would have been even nicer with some extra kimchi or spice at the side, but there was none at the table.
The chicken gangjeong green onion salad came with lots of fried chicken (a little soggy and too soft for my taste) and crispy green onions and a spicy sauce on top. Each part of the dish on its own was boring, but together it went well together. Still, I’m not a big fan of fried chicken, so that was not the best dish that night.
Definitely the strangest dish was the Korean rice cakes, also known as topokki, with soy carbonara. The topokki and vermicelli noodles were cooked with bacon, mushrooms and caramelised onions in a thick, creamy sauce… a very heavy dish, which tasted sweet and peppery at the same time. For me, the worst combination of East meets West.
Will I go there again? No. I know people rave about this place – but I’d be much more happy to have a bog standard bulgogi or bibim bap. I guess I’m too old for School Food!
Shop 1302, 13/F, Times Square 1, Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
Telephone: 2480 3666