cirqleWe try Ovolo Southside’s new Mediterranean restaurant.

The Wong Chuk Hang dining scene continues to heat up, with another new eatery. The Ovolo group opened its second property in the area this summer, converting a 1970s industrial building into a hip hotel with impressive views of Shouson Hill and Ocean Park. On the fourth floor, Cirqle is a casual and airy eatery with an extended alfresco terrace – perfect for barbecues once the temperatures dip.

Chef Krzysztof Bandel, formerly of the Press Room Group and Lily + Bloom, is at the helm in the open kitchen. Bandel trained as a classical French chef, but likes to use eastern Mediterranean spices such as za’atar and sumac to enhance his flavours. Together with friends, my family went for lunch in the month it opened. The tapas-style set lunch ($98 for two dishes, $132 for three) is perfect for sampling different dishes: we pretty much went through everything on the menu that we wanted. Particularly noteworthy was the steamed clams and prawns with curry oil and coriander. I occasionally use cumin when cooking seafood at home, but have not tried curry oil on fresh clams. The combination was such a hit that we ordered seconds.

The hanger steak (London Broil Hanging Tender) was well executed. Often called the chef’s or butcher’s cut, because those meat professionals used to keep it for themselves, it has a strong meaty flavour but a tendency to become tough makes it more difficult to cook than other cuts. My daughter loved the ratatouille and merguez sausage with rosemary almonds and pesto, all definitive Mediterranean ingredients. I am a big fan of orzo, a pasta which looks a bit like rice, which Cirqle cooks with garlic, lemon and tzatziki, for a more exotic taste than traditional pasta. We spoke with the chef who said the menu is work in progress. However, the dinner menu already looked enticing with highlights such as zesty crabcake and bone-in Galician pork loin roasted with Granny Smith apples. We look forward to returning soon.

4/F Ovolo Southside | 64 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen| 3460 8100