It was with the promise of “Hong Kong’s best burger” that I joined my friend Earl to check out one of his favourite Tai Hang haunts… Earl was the photographer for Bakker’s Bites 2nd Birthday photo shoot, so it was a foodie reunion, too! 🙂About ten minutes walk from Tin Hau station on Lin Fa Street West, Stone’s, an American diner, was our destination. And, of course, the day we chose to go, it was pouring with rain. While I can’t comment on whether or not Stone’s restaurant truly has the best burgers in HK, what I can tell you is this: the food, atmosphere and owner are all certified awesome.
First of all, Stone’s boasts some remarkable artwork. These include…
– John Wayne (signed silk screen) by Andy Warhol
– Chinese Portrait (oil on canvas) by Feng Zhengjie
– Jim Morrison with Treble Meanings No. 6 (acrylic on canvas) by Chan Yu
– 1335 (original print) by Xanti Schawinsky
…and more!The menu at Stone’s is dominated by a hearty burger selection – and although there are other American classics on the menu, burgers are what both Earl and I opted for.My choice was Burger #3 : U.S. Prime Beef Patty / Crispy Onion Rings / Crispy Bacon / Pepper Jack Cheese / Lettuce / BBQ Sauce / Pickle.
I gladly devoured this burger, which was cooked exactly as I had requested: rare. In true American style, the portion was huge and generous. Mixing up the sweet BBQ and onion rings with salty bacon and cheese was oh-so-indulgent, in all the best ways.
Happily, I was allowed to get a “bit of both” when it came to a side of either French Fries or salad. The fries were great: crispy but not too oily, which came as a relief because I already had to eat bacon, beef, deep-fried onions and cheese!Earl went ligher with Burger #4 : Grilled Chicken Breast / Grilled Pineapple / Jack Cheese / Apple Cider Dressing / Mixed Greens
Let me tell you something: that apple cider sauce is incredible! Just try not dipping every bite of your plate (from burger, to french fry and salad) into it… I dare you, I double-dare you!
Cooked perfectly tender and matching the pineapple’s sweetness, this option is good for a lighter burger – which I realise is a total oxymoron 😛Little did we know, we were in for even more of a treat when Joel showed us his very special signed Campbells soup can and vintage 1982 edition of Playboy magazine. I was delighted to see such a relic from the golden days of journalism – before the internet changed everything!And if you thought Playboy was a “dirty” magazine, think again! Yup, that’s right: an interview with opera legend Luciano Pavarotti was beautifully preserved inside the copy.After sitting for at the bar for ages, eating and discussing writing, art and famous celebrities from yesteryear, owner and super nice dude Joel Bess insisted we try their version of chocolat fondant. Just as he promised, it had a whole lot of ooze…
A perfectly sweet way to end the meal, it came piping hot and was garnished with some cute fruit, including blueberries, strawberries and a ground cherry.Before lunch was over, another regular of Stone’s showed up with an even older copy of Playboy; this time from 1973!!! This resulted in about half an hour more of looking through it in amazement – what a treat looking through all those vintage ads, and fantastic pre-PhotoShop photography.
Named after Joel’s mentor, Mr. Harlan Stone (who encouraged Joel to open his dream restaurant), the kind of clientele that this hidden gem attracts is great, and something tells me that weird and wonderful things happen there all the time…