New chef at Lily & Bloom gives American comfort food a gourmet twist
Chris Grare, formerly of Café Gray Deluxe, nails the gourmet starters and main courses, but misses mark with generic candy at the end
Lily & Bloom in Central has got a menu makeover, thanks to new executive chef Chris Grare.
If his name sounds familiar, he was previously at Café Gray Deluxe in Pacific Place and The American Club. At Lily & Bloom on Wyndham Street, he’s taking American comfort food up a few notches on the gourmet scale.
Grare’s dishes are very pretty – reminiscent of those to be had at Café Gray Deluxe – and, based on our recent sampling of some of them, pretty tasty too.
The new menu features dishes in small, medium and large portions, catering to different appetites. For starters, the cured salmon (HK$125) is a gorgeous bright maroon colour and comes topped with caviar and garnished with pickled beets and horseradish. The scallop sashimi (HK$135), presented in a large shell with avocado mousse, candied orange and tobiko (flying fish roe), looks delicate, but the taste is quite spicy – and there’s no warning on the menu.
Another starter is the lentil-crusted lobster (HK$155), which features a lobster claw and a kind of sandwich with lobster meat and lentils dressed in a celery root puree with curry sauce, topped with a chunk of pomelo. Pairing seafood with earthy legumes was interesting – but it works.
The foie gras terrine (HK$210) has a silky smooth texture, its richness cut by the accompanying wholegrain mustard crème and celery root slaw. Some crackers or crusty bread would have made a good addition to what’s a decadent dish.
The steak tartare (HK$198) comes in a small portion, but is nicely seasoned with a quail egg, horseradish cream and sourdough crackers. Crispy egg (HK$160) features a halved breaded egg in a nest of salad greens with asparagus, black truffle and roasted corn.
As for main courses, the whole-roasted spring chicken (HK$295) is deboned and has a wonderful flavour. Served with smoked cauliflower puree on a bed of Parisian gnocchi with herb pesto, the meat is tender. It’s a hearty country dish with a hint of smokiness.
The slow-braised short rib (HK$345) doesn’t photograph well, but it suits the stomach. The meat falls off the bone, and every bite is worth savouring, thanks to a rich red wine and port reduction. It comes with goat cheese – an interesting combination – and beet wedges.
We liked the lamb duo (HK$325), featuring roast lamb on the bone and a lamb and mushroom fricassee, both dressed with chimichurri sauce. The salt-baked whole fish (HK$890) for two is impressive. It features fish from Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, baked in salt and encased in pastry, then extracted tableside.
For dessert, we’d heard about the 12-inch cookie (HK$650 for six to eight guests) that made us think of pizza, but given that there were just three of us, we got the mini version in a small skillet (HK$95). Served soft – Grare says he’d serve cookie dough if he could – the warm cookies topped with melting M&Ms and gummy bears were a bit jarring after so much gourmet fare.
Lily & Bloom, 5/F-6/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central. Tel: 2810 6166