There’s been a change in the simple, newish space that used to house Latin-inspired El Capo on Waterloo Street in Surry Hills. Gone are the bright tattoo-style murals and eye-catching scales on the counter. It’s been replaced with an altogether less gaudy restaurant fit-out. With Romi Kwan on the floor and chef Thomas Ly in the kitchen, ho.mei moved in when El Capo moved out and the cuisine that has landed is Asian tapas.

“It means delicious in Cantonese,” says Kwan of the restaurant’s name, pointing out that the mix of Asian dishes draws on the experience and heritage from the team, family and friends.

“There’s no competition with the other restaurants on the block,” says Kwan of neighbours Orto Trading Co. and Izakaya Fujiyama. “So hopefully it will encourage people to come and see what’s here.”

They’ve been in the space for three months and already lunch boxes of pork belly and kim chi are lunchtime favourites for eating in or office workers taking away.

It’s another menu focused on sharing, with dishes like duck pancakes, fish sang choi bao and five-spice calamari taking centre stage. To top it all off, a photographic mural of a Hong Kong eat street dominates one wall, while smaller images of wet markets and kitchens line up opposite – all taken by friends.

It’s a clean, simple feel for a venue that lets the vibrant flavours shine. We were sad to see El Capo go, but we welcome the addition of ho.mei to the Waterloo Street strip.

Shop 8/38-52 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills
(02) 8021 4806

Lunch 11.30am-2.30pm Wed-Fri
Dinner 6pm-10pm Mon-Wed and 6pm-late Thurs-Sat