HONG KONG TASTE

Ex­tend your busi­ness trip in Hong Kong to ex­pe­ri­ence one of the city’s fa­mous brunch ex­trav­a­gan­zas

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Contents - TAM­SIN COCK S

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.

AQUA

CUI­SINE: Ja­panese/Ital­ian

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

CUI­SINE: Seafood/In­ter­na­tional

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

CARBONE

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

ZUMA

CUI­SINE: Ja­panese

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

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