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Common Room is the new gastropub from Prive Group, whom also brought us Prive, Levels, and Masu Robatayaki & Sushi, and Chocolate. This swanky new eatery, replacing Casa, is tucked away at one of the side streets near the bottom of Lan Kwai Fong.

For those wondering what a ‘common room’ is, it’s a ‘shared lounge’ British/Canadian term used in colleges and hostels.

Hilariously, Common Room, is anything but ‘common.’ In fact, it’s ‘sophisticated.’ This spacious new eating establishment welcomes us with sleek metallics off-set by rich recycled driftwood wall paneling.

The venue has a straight-forward menu printed in large old-school type-writer font letters the size of a place mat. The food is cleverly categorized by the elements: Earth, Sea, Land, and Heaven.

Under the ‘Earth’ category, I wondered if the restaurant would be able to pull-off the Classic Mac & Cheese platter ($98 HKD). Bingo, they delivered with a higher-end version of the timeless after-school comfort food. The tiny macaronis are drenched in buffalo mozzarella, gruyere, parmesan, garlic, cream, and dotted with fresh parsley – deliciously heavy treat for the taste buds.

Anxious to taste more of what upscale ‘common room’ nibblies are all about, I next tried the Tandoori Octopus ($115 HKD) from the ‘Sea’ section of the menu. If you appreciate subtle ethnic flavours, you will appreciate the lightly salted, not too-rubbery textured octopus draped over fresh tropical mango, sumac and fresh Raita. These exotic flavours are further topped with a refreshing Indo-mint yogurt cucumber sauce.

If you’re looking for some first class cocktail mixes, you’ll love Common Room’s movie and/or hit-song titled solutions. As a hopeless romantic, I tried “Kiss from a Rose,” ($105 HKD) an inherently feminine, pink frothy, cotton candy-looking concoction. This sweet seductive combo blends together vodka, lychee liquor, lemon juice, pressed rose petals foam, and an egg whites froth.

In short, Common Room is the place to be seen, and see new ‘talent.’ An aesthetically-blessed crowd patronizes this hip new joint, and your tummy will be well-pleased to consume what was once considered to be ‘common’ grub, as a re-invented, generous portion of gastronomic flair.

Hours: Mon-Fri, Lunch 11:30am - 3pm, Happy Hour 5-9pm, Dinner  6-11pm. Sat, Happy Hour 5-9pm, Dinner  6-11pm. Open late until 2am.

By Cindy Wu

1/F, 8-13 Wo On Lane, Wo On Building, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong
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