HONG KONG TASTE
Extend your business trip in Hong Kong to experience one of the city’s famous brunch extravaganzas
Extend your business trip and enjoy these brunches
B runch – that delicious portmanteau of breakfast and lunch – is the ideal weekend activity, particularly in a high-powered business city like Hong Kong. With a mimosa in hand at 12pm it’s easy to push boardroom stresses to the back of your mind, not to mention the joys of gourmet food enjoyed over a leisurely few hours whilst socialising in a fancy setting. It’s widely claimed that credit for this inspired activity goes to Guy Beringer, who concocted “brunch” as the perfect cure for a hangover, or as he more eloquently put it in his 1985 piece for Hunter’s Weekly: “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life lighter for Saturday-night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well. Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and the cobwebs of the week.”
Quite right. Next time you’re at brunch, raise a toast to Guy Beringer and his hangover. Here we’ve sampled some of the best options in Hong Kong, so next time you’re in town for business, consider extending your stay over the weekend and be sure to experience a brunch.
BEST FOR: The view Perched on the 29th-30th floors of One Peking in Tsim Tsa Tsui, Aqua offers one of the best views in town, with floor-to-ceiling windows facing Hong Kong’s famous skyline. The restaurant is almost dauntingly stylish, decked in greys, leather and chrome details; if you don’t want to be out-dressed by the furniture (or the well-heeled brunch crowd) make sure you’re wearing your Sunday best.
The set menu for sharing is an interesting fusion of East and West, with two separate kitchens preparing Japanese and Italian cuisine. It may sound like an odd pairing, but somehow the transition from doughnut
amuse-bouches, through to eggs Benedict, a decadent sashimi platter, truffle risotto, slow-cooked wagyu beef cheek and prawn tempura works a treat. The set is finished with a sweet platter featuring temptations including homemade tiramisu and yuzu panacotta.
In the meantime, you can enjoy free-flow Veuve Clicquot (or Dom Perignon for a cool HK$2,000/ US$254 per person extra) plus a range of cocktails, including miniature espresso martinis. Service is attentive with waiters sporting secret agent-style earpieces to keep things running smoothly.
PRICE: From HK$598 (US$76) plus 10 per cent service charge, including free-flow Veuve Clicquot champagne and cocktails.
HOURS: Saturday and Sunday 12pm-4pm (last food order 3pm).
CONTACT: Aqua, 29/30F, One Peking, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 3427 2288; aqua.com.hk
THE GRILL, GRAND HYATT
CUISINE: BBQ Surf & Turf/European BEST FOR: Alfresco pool-side setting The secret oasis on the 11th floor of the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong offers a rare opportunity to enjoy alfresco dining in a leafy garden setting next to a lagoon-shaped
pool. Unfortunately you can’t dive in (unless you’re a hotel guest) but the mouthwatering buffet options will keep you busy.
For the healthconscious, the salad selection is on point, with plenty of inventive combinations such as kale with apple, parmesan and toasted pumpkin seeds, and roasted beetroot with orange, chives and toasted almonds. Seafood lovers will also have their fill, with fresh lobsters, prawns and mussels on ice, plus a vibrant seafood paella or grilled salmon. Over at the live barbecue station, meateaters can let loose with carnivorous highlights from roast lamb to barbecued cuts, chicken, sausages and more, with grilled vegetables to break up the meat-fest.
The sinful selection of dessert offerings is almost too pretty to eat, with tantalising options ranging from artfully presented strawberry lollipops to miniature cupcakes and chocolate chip meringue cookies.
Try a delicious mango smoothie to ease into the morning, and then kick off the weekend in style with free-flow Chandon Brut and end with a latté to ward off post-brunch fatigue, (Classic cocktails Kir Royale and Bellini’s are also included in the additional drinks package, alongside beer and wines).
PRICE: HK$538 (US$69) plus HK$218 (US$28) alcohol package (plus 10 per cent service charge).
HOURS: Saturday and Sunday 11.30am-3pm (weather permitting).
CONTACT: 11/F Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai; +852 2584 7722; hongkong.grand.hyatt.com
WHISK AT THE MIRA
BEST FOR: Oyster fans A classic hotel setting, the stylish interiors of Whisk at The Mira are the work of Miami-based designer Charles Allem, and diners can also enjoy views over the tropical courtyard, Vibes.
Perhaps the highlight of this decadent brunch option is unlimited oysters, (though the shucking station suggests enjoying three at a time to prevent long queues). Next to the oysters are perennial crowd-pleasers such as snow crab legs on ice, fresh mussels and a selection of sashimi and sushi rice.
At the manned BBQ station, diners will find Cantonese favourite roast suckling with a garlic gravy, blow-torched Japanese wagyu beef with homemade teriyaki sauce, and delicate portions of foie gras. Three choices from the à la carte menu (including brunch must-haves lobster and eggs Benedict) are also available.
Be sure to leave space for afters: an entire secret room is dedicated to a medley of creative dessert options, alongside cheese and biscuits. If you’ve opted for the drinks package (which includes free-flow champagne, wine and day-friendly cocktails such as Bloody Marys and mimosas), this will be served alongside a sweet tawny port for the perfect finish.
For those searching for the ultimate decadence, Whisk has launched an extra-special quarterly brunch featuring unlimited French-farmed sturgeon caviar and free-flowing champagne. Mark the dates in your diary now: June 17, September 16 and December 23.
PRICE: HK$788 (US$100) plus HK$250 (US$32) alcohol package ( plus 10 per cent service charge). HOURS: Sunday 12pm-3pm.
CONTACT: 5/F, The Mira Hong Kong, Mira Place, 118-130 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2368 1111; themirahotel.com/dining/whisk
CUISINE: New York-style Italian
BEST FOR: Outrageous entertainment On the last Saturday of every month, Italian restaurant Carbone, housed in the LKF Tower, transforms itself to present The Fiasco – an unforgettable brunch experience. Diners leave the daylight far behind as they enter the dark, sultry 1920s-themed interior. Carbone has worked hard to create an air of mystery around its extravaganza, and we’re not going to spoil the surprise. But as a taster, expect ruthless gangsters and their molls running amok, with performances from sassy songstresses and risqué dancers. Do bring your dancing shoes, and perhaps a bulletproof vest…
Oh, and the food: nimble waiters weave in and out of the fracas, serving up sharing-style, set-course dishes of
New York-style Italian favourites from beef carpaccio to hearty rigatoni pastas. Wash this down with a free-flow package of prosecco and house wines, or champagne and house spirits. It’s an eye-watering price tag, but an experience you’ll never forget.
PRICE: HK$900 (US$115) plus HK$450 (US$57) or $600 (US$76) drinks packages (plus 10 per cent service charge). HOURS: Last Saturday of the month, 12.30pm-3.30pm.
CONTACT: 9/F LFK Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central; +852 2593 2593; carbone.com.hk
BEST FOR: Premium Japanese fare Any budding brunch hobbyists worth their salt will have heard of the legendary Zuma brunches (if not attended once or several times). Located in the prestigious Landmark building, the experience begins with a descent down a grand, spiral staircase into a large, airy restaurant. Along one side is the delectable buffet, tended by an army of chefs who rapidly replace the slabs of sashimi and nigiri sushi rolls, the crispy-fried squid and miso soup, the sliced hamachi and salad greens.
An à la carte menu features further delights from grilled teriyaki salmon to marinated lamb chops and spicy beef tenderloin, finished off by a mountainous platter of desserts to share… don’t arrive without an appetite. To wash down the gourmet affair, Zuma offers free-flow packages featuring Ruinart champagne, wine, beer or juices.
PRICE: HK$548 (US$70), or HK$688/888 (US$88/113) with alcoholic drinks packages (plus 10 per cent service charge).
HOURS: Saturday and Sunday 11am-3pm, strict two-hour reservations.
CONTACT: Landmark, Level 5 & 6, 15 Queen’s Road Central; +852 3657 6388; zumarestaurant.com
OPPOSITE AND BELOW: Tempting spreads at Aqua combine Japanese and Italian dishes
CLOCKWISE FROM THIS PAGE TOP: Oysters at Whisk at the Mira; harbour views from Kerry Hotel’s Red Sugar; Zuma’s Ruinart champagne deal; and poolside serenity at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong