Cafe Gray Deluxe

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 December, 2009, 12:00am

Cafe Gray Deluxe
49/F, The Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty
Tel: 3968 1106
Open: 6.30am-10.30pm (the bar closes at 1am)

Cuisine: Asian and European.

Ambience: Tourists may notice the sparkly harbour views first, while locals will probably ooh and aah about the interiors. Elegant and restrained but also warm and luxurious, the Andre Fu design is as conducive to intimate dining as to banker- crowd hobnobbing.

Price: About HK$500 a head, not including drinks or the 10 per cent service charge.

Pros: The service was excellent. Wait staff were eager to help but didn't hover, and our request for tap water was met with a smile rather than the evil eye. We were glad we changed tables from one between two couples to one by the window, which was roomy and a great spot for the view.

Cons: In the middle of dinner bagpipe music started playing, reinforcing opinion that the instrument should only be heard from a distance ... and outdoors. We were surprised by the meagre size of the steamed sea bass main dish. That it was delicious made it doubly disappointing.

Recommended dishes: The barbecued quail and red beet salad starter (HK$145) was as big as the above main dish and also a feast for the eyes. Aided by cranberries and hazelnuts, it was a delightful mixture of sweet, bitter, nutty and sour. A half-dozen Smokey Bay oysters (HK$185) were an extra special treat served with tangy tabasco sorbet. The steamed sea bass (HK$245), one of chef Gray Kunz's signature dishes, was delicately layered with subtle flavours including watercress, coriander and ginger. The bouillon, poured over the fish at the table, was memorably tasty. Punctuating the meal satisfyingly was the chilled lemongrass soup (left), which had my guest, a non-dessert type, spooning his bowl dry. Refreshing and light, it came with sour mango, yoghurt and a dollop of palate-cleansing lime sorbet.

What else? The view from the washrooms is noteworthy. A quirk of the building's angles, coupled with unfortunately placed mirrors, allow occupants to check out the action taking place around the basin areas.