41/F, HARBOUR GRAND HONG KONG
23 OIL STREET
AMBIENCE Quietly romantic with dim lighting, comfy chairs and carpeted floors.
WHO TO BRING Tourists, a date, business clients.
COST HK$1,500 for a three-course meal for two with drinks.
TURN-ONS From the opulent lobby to the main dining room, this is a destination that impresses locals and visitors alike. The slanted windows and pillars can be slightly disorientating, but once seated on the low chairs, it’s easy to relax. The lobster bisque was a standout with a depth of flavour teased out from roasting the shells. The generous serving of veal with gnocchi was correctly cooked to our request of rare, while dessert highlights were the mandarin sponge and foam – citrusy and very refreshing – and the pistachio soufflé, which was a touch eggy but had good lift.
TURN-OFFS Menu descriptions could be improved. The above-average beef rossini made no mention of the accompanying foie gras, meaning a fellow diner had dish envy. The mozzarella and tomato salad was bland, uninspired and downright disappointing at HK$130. The marble-topped tables could be swapped for something more user-friendly.
DRINKS Extensive list of wines, beers and spirits with a comprehensive list of inventive cocktails. Lana Lam
1 AUSTIN ROAD WEST
AMBIENCE From the 101st floor of ICC tower, the best table has commanding views of Hong Kong Island, West Kowloon and beyond. Décor is minimalist.
COST HK$1,900 per person.
WHO TO BRING Guests to impress, Japanese food lovers.
TURN-ONS The 10-course kaiseki menu had highlights including Spanish mackerel marinated in yuzu-flavoured white miso, then seared and smoked. Another favourite was wagyu beef prepared like a cutlet and covered in a breaded crust. The hot egg custard with shiitake mushroom, abalone, shrimp and seaweed was delicate, while the handmade soba noodles were chewy and refreshing. Desserts were also winners with a candied peach filled with ice cream powder and garnished with hot peach jam.
TURN-OFFS The small cubes of roasted radish were bitter rather than flavourful, though the generous portion of salmon roe compensated.
DRINKS An extensive selection of premium sake, wines and some Japanese beers. Bernice Chan
THE PEAK LOOKOUT
121 PEAK ROAD
AMBIENCE For a touch of nostalgia, the façade has not changed much since its Peak Café days. A large, newly renovated alfresco dining area has panoramic views of Aberdeen.
COST HK$1,200 for two with wine.
WHO TO BRING Family, friends, especially overseas visitors
TURN-ONS For starters, the wagyu beef carpaccio with honey mustard rocket leaves was good, as was the beetroot vodka-cured Atlantic salmon. New entrées include Jamaican jerk chicken breast with grilled pineapple, sweet potatoes and vegetables with rich duck sauce, and veal saltimbocca layered with Parma ham, sage, creamed leek and crushed potatoes and marsala sauce. For dessert, it's worth the 20-minute wait for the chocolate fondant with honeycomb and ice cream, while the cheesecake with raspberry sauce was also good.
TURN-OFFS No sign of the beetroot on the salmon starter.
DRINKS A full bar and extensive wine list is available. Tama Lung
56/F, ISLAND SHANGRI-LA
SUPREME COURT ROAD
FARE Classic French.
AMBIENCE On a clear evening, up on the 56th floor, one has a bird’s eye view of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and beyond. The interior is traditional, with chandeliers, drapes and a harpist performing contemporary tunes.
COST HK$3,674 including glass of wine.
WHO TO BRING Significant other for a romantic dinner.
TURN-ONS We thoroughly enjoyed the warm salad of fresh vegetables and flowers with a rustic taste, thanks to black truffle shavings, while the thin slices of Jabugo chorizo added a savoury taste. The raw langoustine tails were fresh and delicately complemented with Japanese green tea cream. Another standout was the artisanal Tuscan pasta that had ripe tomatoes in the sauce finished with black truffle coulis. The roast Mieral pigeon was delicate and tender. For dessert, we liked the ball of surprise made of meringue at the bottom and peach sherbet on top, with small cubes of the fresh fruit inside.
TURN-OFFS For mains, the Iberian barbecue pork pluma was hearty, but the cheek cassolette was too sour in a sauce of mini capers. Dishes took too long to arrive.
DRINKS Extensive wine list heavy on Bordeaux. Bernice Chan
NANHAI NO. 1
63 NATHAN ROAD
TSIM SHA TSUI
FARE Contemporary Chinese.
AMBIENCE The view is striking up on the 30th floor with outstanding views of Tsim Sha Tsui and Hong Kong Island. However, diners need to pay HK$500 each for the privilege of a window seat. Lighting in the high-ceilinged restaurant is very low, while the interior is a curious mix of colonial-style décor with exotic music.
COST HK$1,322 for two including drinks.
WHO TO BRING Visitors from out of town.
TURN-ONS The starter of braised duck tongues in chilli sauce had a strong kick. All the main dishes were solid. The grouper slices were sauteed perfectly, though the sweet peas were slightly burned. Another delicious dish was braised tofu – thick silky pieces with wild mushrooms including morels for an interesting twist. We also enjoyed the baked chicken with salt and spring onions that was flavourful and tender.
TURNOFFS The appetisers of jellyfish with white pepper and sesame oil and fungus with preserved vinegar were crunchy and fresh but tasteless. Service was sporadic.
DRINKS Wines, beers and Chinese spirits. Bernice Chan
VIEW 62 BY PACO RONCERO
62/F, HOPEWELL CENTRE
183 QUEEN’S ROAD EAST
FARE Contemporary European.
AMBIENCE Up on the 62nd floor of Hopewell Centre, the rotating restaurant offers picture-perfect panoramic views of the city that are hard to beat. One rotation takes roughly an hour to complete.
COST HK$3,014 for two including two glasses of wine.
WHO TO BRING Visitors who may be looking for an alternative dining option to The Peak.
TURN-ONS The meal started with a pleasing gin fizz, a hot and cold concoction to jolt the taste buds. The starter of slow-cooked egg surrounded by mushrooms and generous black truffle shavings with port wine sauce had a rustic flavour, while the carabinero shrimps were perfectly cooked, with the sweetness complementing pieces of artichoke and Iberico pancetta. For mains, the blue lobster was also cooked just right, very fresh and accompanied with a tart Thai sauce. Another standout was the braised lamb shoulder that practically melted in the mouth with a lemon purée and mixed vegetables. The tiramisu was more like a sorbet, while the strawberries marinated in 10- year-old sherry were light and refreshing.
TURN-OFFS Red wines are served in the same glass as whites. The wine list on the iPad is confusing and not helpful.
DRINKS Extensive selection of wines and cocktails. Bernice Chan
CAFÉ DECO BAR & GRILL
LEVEL 1-2, THE PEAK GALLERIA
118 PEAK ROAD
AMBIENCE Casual dining in art deco surroundings. On a clear evening, this is a great place to soak in the view of the city below.
COST HK$1,200 for two.
WHO TO BRING Perfect for family get-togethers or a night out with friends before moving on to the city’s nightspots.
TURN-ONS The patisserie here came recommended and it did not disappoint. A large and varied dessert menu had something for everyone. The warm apple tarte tatin with Calvados crème fraiche and the Grand Marnier soufflé served with tangerine rambutan sorbet were delicious. A main course of barbecued US pork back ribs with smoky barbecue sauce just fell off the bone and melted in the mouth. Service was friendly and helpful, even though it was a very busy night.
TURN-OFFS Both starters were a disappointment. There was no bread to accompany the Maine lobster cappuccino soup starter, which arrived cold. The classic Caesar salad with butter-fried tiger prawns was drab and tasteless. No side plates were provided to put the tiger prawn shells on. After ordering the smoky roast French spatchcock chicken, we were later told it was sold out.
DRINKS Extensive international wine list at reasonable prices. John Carney