TRIED and trusted
AMBIENCE Colonial style with wooden floors, ceiling fans, waiting staff in suits and a view overlooking Repulse Bay beach.
COST HK$1,920 including a glass of wine.
WHO TO BRING Your significant other or an intimate gathering to celebrate a special occasion.
TURN-ONS The starter of Marie's salad of mixed greens with slices of avocado, cherry tomatoes, endives and saut? wild mushrooms with truffle and balsamic dressing was refreshing. We also enjoyed the soup degustation, mini-cups of lobster bisque, wild mushroom cream soup and cream of green asparagus, small samplers that were not too filling. For mains, the pepper steak cooked medium and prepared tableside was tender and juicy, while the roasted French baby chicken was equally good. Rubbed with tarragon black truffle butter, flamb? with Cognac, it was carved tableside, and accompanied with saut? vegetables and a generous portion of mashed potatoes. To finish, the dessert sampler featured many classic treats, including cherries jubilee, baked Alaska, apple crumble, cr? br?l?and a light and fluffy floating island with custard sauce.
TURN-OFFS On the whole, service was genial and the waiting staff gave excellent wine suggestions with our meal. On the evening we went, we could hear children playing and shouting loudly, which marred the otherwise quiet and elegant dining experience.
DRINKS New and Old World wines, cocktails. BC
109 REPULSE BAY ROAD
AMBIENCE Reminiscent of an American steak house with large bar and dining areas, red leather upholstered sofas and chairs, carpet and wood panelling. Photos of old Hong Kong adorn the walls in keeping with the restaurant's long history.
COST About HK$1,000 for two with wine.
WHO TO BRING Family, friends and colleagues.
TURN-ONS A range of English, European, Indian and Chinese fare. The staff is attentive. Old favourite starters, such as the p?maison and lobster bisque, do not disappoint. For the main course, Jimmy's classic English dishes of bangers and mash, corned beef hash and pig's knuckle are still popular choices, as are Jimmy's continental dishes such as chicken Kiev (pictured) and beef stroganoff. For dessert, the banana split and sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce were good.
TURN-OFFS Jimmy's famous satellite - deep fried vanilla ice cream flamed with Grand Marnier at the table - was disappointing.
DRINKS An extensive wine menu, from a glass of house wine (HK$62) to rare vintages. TF
G/F SOUTH CHINA BUILDING
2-3 WYNDHAM STREET
STEAKING ITS CLAIM
FARE American-style steakhouse.
AMBIENCE Fine dining with plush seating and great harbour views.
COST About HK$2,400 for dinner for two with drinks.
WHO TO BRING Families on weekends and corporate clients on weekdays.
TURN-ONS Morton's has become world famous thanks to its aged prime beef steaks and standard of service. The smoky flavour of the New York strip steak and the mixture of herbs and condiments in the Cajun ribeye steak are worth a try and can be ordered in smaller portions. The New York strip was tender and flavours varied, while the Cajun steak was a little spicy with herb seasoning. For starters the Maine lobster cocktail was fresh and sweet, while the colossal shrimp cocktail was tangy with tasty bites. The best part about this restaurant is that there is no compromise on quality and the meat is freshly flown in from the US.
TURN-OFFS The restaurant is frugal on cutlery, and we had to negotiate a steak knife to spread butter on our bread.
DRINKS International wine list and American and Asian beers. MM
MORTON'S THE STEAKHOUSE
4/F, SHERATON HONG KONG HOTEL & TOWERS
20 NATHAN ROAD
TSIM SHA TSUI
BEST OF BRITISH
FARE Traditional British.
AMBIENCE Dark, cavernous dining area with leather seats and banquettes, with lots of banker types.
COST HK$915, including a cocktail and beer.
WHO TO BRING Stylish types who want to be seen and have money to spend.
TURN-ONS We started with a Ticklemore cheese tart that was deceptively light and very creamy, complemented with a tart, crunchy beetroot, carrot and apple salad. Mains included the very popular fish and chips, and it's not hard to see why. The two large fillets of halibut are deep fried with a crunchy crust and very moist inside. We liked the thick-cut fries that came with it. The Devon bangers and mash was very straightforward: three thick sausages with roasted shallots and a very generous portion of mashed potatoes. The Eton mess was a fruity dessert of sliced strawberries mixed with meringue and fresh cream, topped with a scoop of refreshing strawberry sorbet.
TURN-OFFS The noise level in this gastropub can get very high - so much so that it can be very difficult to hear your dining partner across your table. A definite hangout with mates, rather than a significant other.
DRINKS Various wines, cocktails and a few beers on tap. BC
ALFIE'S BY KEE
M 18-19, PRINCE'S BUILDING
10 CHATER ROAD, CENTRAL
DISCRETE AND COSY
FARE Traditional British cuisine.
AMBIENCE A discrete bar and cosy dining area reminiscent of a private gentlemen's club.
WHO TO BRING Colleagues, business associates and family members with a hankering for homely British fare and old-fashioned, courteous service.
COST HK$1,500 for dinner for two with drinks.
TURN-ONS Chinnery Bar's menu is a delightful journey through Britain's best known dishes including a large selection of Indian curries. The Caesar's salad starter came with an impressive serving of smoked salmon. For main courses, the prime roast rib of beef with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, vegetables and gravy is recommended - the Yorkshire pudding delighted with fluffy, creamy batter on the inside and lightly crispy outside. The fish pie makes for a simple supper despite being topped with the creamiest of mashed potatoes and filled with pieces of salmon, smoked haddock and prawns, though it was slightly overcooked and arrived dangerously hot. Finish with a traditional bread or butter pudding or, even better, the Eton Mess.
TURN-OFFS The prawn cocktail was void of flavour and served in a tall cocktail glass difficult to reach with a knife and fork.
DRINKS Chinnery Bar is renowned for single-malt whiskies and the beer is served in tankards. MI
1/F THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL
5 CONNAUGHT ROAD
AMBIENCE Traditional dining room with chandeliers, silver candelabras on every table and a live band and singer.
COST HK$5,860 for two, including wines paired for each course.
WHO TO BRING A date to impress, or to celebrate a special occasion.
TURN-ONS The starter had two cubes of marinated goose liver confit topped with red wine jelly with mulled wine pear mousse and roasted walnuts that was very smooth, contrasting richness and lightness. This was followed by a lobster combination of sculpted chunks of fresh lobster meat with shaved black truffle in a bisque jelly that was flavourful. The poached Atlantic black cod was complemented with caviar sauce that was set against the deep-fried texture of the oyster beignet, while the dessert of iced gingerbread vacherin with dried fig compote and orange sauce was light and delicious.
TURN-OFFS The Bresse spring chicken was presented two ways. While the confit with chestnut veloute was excellent, the breast was slow cooked and the taste overpowered by the black truffle crust.
DRINKS Each dish was thoughtfully paired with wines from a collection of more than 600. BC
1/F THE PENINSULA HONG KONG
19-21 NATHAN ROAD
TSIM SHA TSUI
FARE American steakhouse.
AMBIENCE All you'd expect of a steakhouse: wood panelling, leather booths, starched white tablecloths and a jazz soundtrack.
COST HK$1,700 for two, including two glasses of wine.
WHO TO BRING Friends and family for a celebratory dinner.
TURN-ONS Ruth's Chris - an American chain originating in New Orleans - has been in business since 1965, so it's had plenty of time to perfect its formula. Our chopped salad had just the right amount of crunch and a generous helping of blue-cheese chunks, while ahi tuna arrived beautifully presented with a perfectly thin sear. While there are seafood and poultry options, the real reason to come here is the steaks. We enjoyed our thick filet and marble ribeye, cooked precisely to order. The signature sizzling platter and butter bath added to the richness of the meat. Side dishes of garlic mashed potatoes and saut? spinach were simple and tasty. Desserts included a warm apple crumble and cr? br?l?
TURN-OFFS The restaurant is stuck in a time warp, but the food and service are consistent.
DRINKS An extensive, albeit pricey, wine list. TL
RUTH'S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE
G/F, LIPPO CENTRE
89 QUEENSWAY ADMIRALTY