Amuse-bouche: Hummingbird | Food

Amuse-bouche: Hummingbird

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Pickled shrimp at Hummingbird - PHOTO BY LAYLA KHOURY-HANOLD
  • Photo by Layla Khoury-Hanold
  • Pickled shrimp at Hummingbird
"Amuse-bouche" is the INDY's new, sporadic series where we give you our hot take on a recent restaurant opening. It’s not a critique or a review, just a taste of what to expect.

Hummingbird
1053 East Whitaker Mill Road, Raleigh
www.hummingbirdraleigh.com

In her restaurant debut, chef Coleen Speaks serves whimsical cocktails and small plates in an intimate bar and cafe setting at Raleigh's Dock 1053. Prior to opening Hummingbird, Speaks honed her restaurant chops in New Orleans under Emeril Lagasse and locally with chef Ashley Christensen before launching her catering company, PoshNosh. The culmination of her experience is reflected in a roster of simple, well-executed dishes and cocktails that are as pretty as they are delicious, in a stylish space that manages to feel like both a neighborhood haunt and a destination cocktail bar.

Vibe: Whether you’ve scored one of the bright yellow stools at the gleaming white marble-top bar or are settled at a cozy table in the adjacent portrait room, you’ll want to linger, nibble, and order just one more cocktail.

Menu: The evening menu is divided into "snacks," "cold," "hot," and "sweets," so you can easily customize your meal according to your cravings, appetite, and party size. At breakfast you’ll find treat-yourself-worthy pastries like butterscotch sticky buns, and top-notch coffee from Durham’s Joe Van Gogh. When lunch begins December 18, Hummingbird will truly become an all-day affair with the likes of seafood po’ boys and vegetarian báhn mì with mushroom pâté on offer. You can get an all-day buzz, too, with brunch-inspired tipples like a Bloody Mary with pickled shrimp and an aperitivo-ready Aperol Spritz.

Price range: In the evening, cocktails range from nine to thirteen dollars and dishes range from four-dollar snacks to fourteen-dollar small plates.

What to order: Cocktails, served in gorgeous vintage glassware, range from easy-drinking libations like the signature hibiscus tea, vodka-based Hummingbird Fizz to slow sippers like the Someone to Watch Ovary, a riff on a brandy flip crowned with egg white froth as thick as cappuccino foam. As for noshing, start
by dipping your knife into a jar of silky, brandied chicken liver pâté veiled with a not-too-sweet red wine gelée, and generously spread it on crostini. Move on to the pickled shrimp, a knife-and-fork affair where Boulted rye bread lavished with dill aioli anchors plump shrimp garnished with pickled red onions and dill. Don’t miss the charbroiled oysters, nestled on the half shell in a pool of melted butter with lemon, garlic, and crushed red pepper—with one slurp it’s unlikely that you’ll leave any of that buttery goodness behind, but it comes with toast for sopping up, just in case. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, choose between ricotta fritters with mascarpone cream and seasonal jam, or drink your dessert with a soyer au champagne—vanilla ice cream never had it so good.

Perfect for: date night, either at the bar or for a cozy tête-a-tête in the portrait room; catching up with friends over drinks and bites; solo dining at the bar.


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