Something Wild, Emperor Group Building, Wan Chai

I noticed a new restaurant had opened up in the Emperor Group Building about two weeks ago when some new placards and signs went up in the main lobby windows.  Called “Something Wild“, it really inspired me to carefully inspect the poster for what it’s specialties might be. The poster didn’t give away much, just a photo of a rather interesting looking salad.

It wasn’t until just 3 days ago when I was cruising the sidewalk along the building that I saw a lady handing out flyers on behalf of the restaurant. The flyer touted brunch, lunch and tea specials. 

Yesterday, after attending a birthday cooking class at Spring, we were at a loss as to where to go for lunch. The Japanese joint in Star Street that we’d wanted to try was shut on Sundays (why, why? Why?) so another toddler-friendly place needed to be found. So I suggested we lug the three kids and four adults over to Something Wild to check it out. Their Facebook page and website listing seemed inspiring… An outdoor theme reminiscent of caravans and camping trips.. Sounds kid perfect.

The lady on the phone confirmed that they are indeed open on Sundays but made a point that the buffet was not available. However the a-la-carte menu was alongside a special brunch menu.

So off we went.

The restaurant occupied a decent sized space on the first floor of the Emperor Group building. Escalators at the front take you up to the first floor, but if you have a stroller or pram, a cargo lift is available.

The restaurant had a front, cafe like seating section and a more communal like dining area for larger groups in the back. That’s where we sat.

  
There were solid wooden tables reminiscent of what you might get at Bavarian beer hall or Swiss wooden constructed pub in a ski resort. Nice checked cloth napkins and of course flasks of warm water to fill your metal camping cup. It was nice to be able to have as much warm water as we wanted. The staff were very polite and efficient, filling the replacement flasks discreetly and watching for table service. The lighting was a little strange… It was neither light enough nor dark in a romantic sense… It was kind of dim… I suppose it was lit like a winter time chalet at night.

  
There’s an open kitchen at the back so you can see what’s going on.

  

open concept kitchen
 Food wise, the menu included the weekend brunch specials and a fold out map menu. 

 

brunch menu
 
I ordered a sunrise breakfast for the small person and a vodka rigatoni for myself. 

 

the menu
  
 
It is important to note that this restaurant tells us it’s a BBQ restaurant so I should probably have ordered the ribs to get an accurate idea of the kitchen’s expertise. 

Anyway.

 

Vodka rigatoni & sunrise breakfast
 
The sunrise breakfast consisted of an egg, 3 sausages, a bit of a potato waffle and beetroot. Small person, who usually has a fondness for sausages rejected them after just one bite. “Too spicy” she said. When I popped one in my mouth, it did have a strong taste of Rosemary. Not in a bad way but I can see why it can easily overwhelm the taste buds of a toddler. 

My rigatoni was mediocre. The meat sauce didn’t impart much flavour one way or the other and I wasn’t convinced there was much meat to it either. Could’ve been a killer dish but it wasn’t.

  

Honoring HK’s hiker to Mount Everest
 When the bill came, I noticed that they employed a Starbucks attitude to wifi access. Pay and enjoy 30 minutes free wifi. The concept seems wrong here though. 

  
 Restaurant bills are usually settled when the guests intend to leave… Are they encouraged to linger on for another half hour occupying seats for someone else? They should just make it free for dine-in guests. 

Finally back to the lighting. In this era of digital media, restaurants and cafes would do well to spend carefully on lighting.. This restaurant was too dim to take good photos of anything so it probably looks worse in my photos then it is. Would I return? Not sure to be honest. I give it a thumbs up for service friendliness, kid friendliness (indeed several families were there) and general laid back atmosphere. The food we got was not exciting. If they incentivised me back for the buffet I guess I might be tempted to check it out again. 

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