2013 was the year of gin here in Hong Kong, and 2014 looks like it is becoming the turn for sherry, signaled by the recent opening of a chic, innovative jamón and sherry bar, Ham & Sherry.
2013 was the year of gin here in Hong Kong, and 2014 looks like it is becoming the turn for sherry, signaled by the recent opening of a chic, innovative jamón and sherry bar, Ham & Sherry. Located in one of Hong Kong’s trendiest dining areas, Ham & Sherry sees the pair behind 22 Ships successfully collaborating again. Designed by iconic architecture firm Neri & Hu, the bar is adorned with Spanish-style blue and white tiling while hams hang from above. Stylesight asked Josef Murray, the restaurant manager and Lee Westcott, the executive chef, about the rise of sherry, their extensive menu and if Wan Chai is becoming the new SoHo.
Stylesight: Josef, could you explain a bit about the concept behind Ham & Sherry? Why the focus on sherry especially?
Josef Murray: Ham & Sherry is a traditional Tapas Bar, a social hub for people to meet and explore the various attributes Sherry has to offer. We have created a modern setting that transports the guest’s out of Wan Chai and into the heart of Jerez. Sherry is an important part of this area in Spain we feel we can help Hong Kong realize the wonderful versatility of this historical fortified wine.
Stylesight: What types of sherry are available at the restaurant?
JM: We have over 50 different Sherry’s on our list, which allows us the opportunity to find a sherry that will suit each individual; we also have some of the rarest Sherry’s from some of the oldest Soleras still in production throughout Jerez. We have a list that is suited to all walks of life.
Stylesight: What is one of the most popular Ham & Sherry pairings?
JM: As the name states Ham & Sherry – the mixed board of cured meat goes extremely well with the Don Jose – Very Old Amontillado, Jose de Soto. Delicious.
Stylesight: Can you tell me a bit about the menu? Where are your ingredients sourced?
Lee Westcott: The main focus is on ham here and we have three different types of ham; the shoulder and two legs. They are all aged for different months, so the longer they are aged and depending on what they are fed the better quality it is. The best we have is the Jamón Iberico de Bellota which is aged for 48 months and is 100% Iberico, which means it is only fed on acorns. We also have the Iberico Paleta, a shoulder ham that is aged for 36 months that is slightly chewier, and then the Jamón De Teruel. They are all sourced from Spain, and are on the bone that we then carve in front of the guests. The Para Picar menu is full of dishes you can pick with your hands and nibble at, such as the Padrón peppers are a big seller here and also the Goats curd and jamón croquettes. So the whole idea is that people interact with each other, talk and mix and share.
Stylesight: Do you have desserts that can be paired with sherry?
LW: Currently we have two desserts – the Crème Catalan, and the warm chocolate mousse. I would put the East India Solera with the chocolate mousse, as it is one of the more dry sherry’s that we have and I would put a Moscatel sherry with the Crème Catalan as it it works really well together.
Stylesight: Do you think there is a move in fine dining towards Wan Chai in Hong Kong?
LW: Yes especially in this street, (22 Ships is a few doors down), Wan Chai is becoming quite a happening place to be. –Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
1-7 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong / 852-2555-0628
Images courtesy of Ham & Sherry