Ricky & Pinky
In mid-2016 chef/restaurateur Andrew McConnell (Cumulus Inc.) abruptly closed the bistro at The Builders Arms Hotel and the adjoining fine-diner, Moon Under Water. Then he replaced them with Chinese restaurant Ricky & Pinky. Only the pub's front bar survived the surprising purge.
The restaurant is named after the Hong Kong parlour where McConnell was once tattoed with a dragon. McConnell spent five years cooking there and in Shanghai, but the kitchen at Ricky and Pinky is run by Archan Chan, who worked for McConnell at Cutler & Co, Golden Fields (since closed) and Supernormal.
The menu is inspired by Chan’s upbringing in Hong Kong and McConnell’s own time there, as well as greater-regional Chinese cuisine. The offering changes regularly, but expect dishes along the lines of raw kingfish; drunken chicken; pippies in XO sauce with fried Chinese doughnuts; and dry-aged duck breast with burnt-orange sauce and steamed bread.
At lunchtimes from Friday to Sunday, staff roam the floor with trays of yum cha dishes, including honeycomb tripe; chicken feet; Peking duck spring rolls; and Chinese doughnuts wrapped in rice noodles and topped with pork floss.
Wine buyer Mark Williamson oversees the 35-page drinks list, leaving room for beers and “tongue-in-cheek” cocktails, such as the Midori-based Japanese Slipper.
Sibling Architects is behind the vibrant blue, green and grey fit-out. The entire room – packed with banquettes, lazy Susans and live-seafood tanks – is framed by curvy blue and gold pipes. They reference the gateways common in Chinese architecture. Tin and Ed painted the cheeky folded-napkin portraits on the walls, which nod to many a suburban Chinese eatery.
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