Hibiscus is one of the newest addition to the Downtown Oakland scene. http://www.hibiscusoakland.com/
Intimately dim. Tealights on every table. Converted loft with high ceilings and exposed beams. Pretty hibiscus paintings on brick walls. Contemporary high stools and table covered by stiff white linen. Lively music that would make you sway while sipping your cocktail. Toasts given and laughters everywhere.
Towered by old Oakland architectures from the 1800's, Hibiscus can put you in the mood for romance if you are looking for it. It reminded me of an evening in Manhattan.
We arrived at Hibiscus at past 9 PM. We were still full from our late lunch before the movie, we went straight for the main meal and skipped the appetizer.
For drinks, I chose a housemade GINGER LIMEADE which had a very nice kick to it because of the ginger. However, it was sooo syrupy that it was undrinkable! I had sneak in half a glass of water to make it less sweet but it just took away the flavor. ($3.50)
Fiance had the CORNISH JERK HEN WITH BEANS. The hen was on the spicy side that the had to get up couple of times to blow his nose. It was tender, according to him but it did not "wow" him. ($20)
I was excited to try the PEPPERPOT STEW which came with 1 oxtail, pork feet, a chicken drumstick and a slice of meat. I had to fight with the tough piece of meat which I was not sure if beef or pork. The oxtail was tender enough and the pork leg was bony which was expected. The dark broth was thin and once again, very sweet. I was very disappointed. This is a hard dish to eat because of the small bones that kept on geiing in the way and used my fingers to get the meat out. I reminded me of a similar Filipino dish of pork feet called "paksiw." So nothing exotic for me. ($22)
I had a side of RICE AND BEANS. Nothing special. Tasted like fried rice with black beans. ($4)
I was so disappointed with meal and the sweetness started to get overpowering. While at the restaurant I started feeling really nauseated that I asked my fiance to just take care of the tab so we could leave. And I regret:
a) Not being able to try any of their desserts for $6.
b) Not being to try their rum flight for about $8 or other dessert wines.
c) Not being able to try the cheesey grits with crabmeat since they were not offering it as a main dish the night we were there.
d) Not being able to try the fried chicken.
We didn't have a great dining experience because of the underwhelming food but I might give Hibiscus another chance to settle my regrets. Closure is important, you know!
TAB: $68.32 including a bottled coke, sparkling water, tax and 20% tip.
FOODIE GIRL'S RANKINGS: 3 Stars (The flavors were not well-orchestrated.)
Ambiance/Decor: 4 Stars (Lively and festive)
Service: 4 Stars (Friendly and efficient)
Value: 2.5 Stars (Pricey for food that left us disappointed.)