Cafe Causette

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 November, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 November, 2006, 12:00am

Mezzanine, Mandarin Oriental, Central

Tel: 2825 4005

Open: 6.30am-midnight

Cuisine: International.

Price: About HK$450 per person, without drinks and service charge.

Ambience: Lovely interior with window seats overlooking Statue Square.

Pros: Good service, and excellent presentation of food.

Cons: Although the interior has been beautifully designed, the restaurant lacks the intimate atmosphere you'd want for an evening meal. It's lovely and bright during the day, making it a popular lunchtime place, but it doesn't easily make the transition to dinner, when it feels cavernous and empty.

Recommended dishes: The yellowfin tuna tartare (HK$108), accompanied by fennel salad and avocado relish, was a lovely starter. Vietnamese spring rolls (HK$78) were one of the highlights, beautifully presented and served with a garlic chilli sauce that gave them a kick.

For mains, we asked for the herb-encrusted rack of lamb (HK$228) medium-well. One piece was perfect and succulent, but the other was too rare. The dish came with a bowl of creamy potato gratin, which was slightly undercooked, although we enjoyed the flavour. Baked yellow snapper (HK$178) was light and tender, served with vegetables on a creamy bed of potato mash.

Given its proximity to the well-known cake shop, the desserts were nothing short of spectacular. The berry crumble (HK$88) was piping hot and served with a divine wild-honey ice cream. The chocolate coulant (HK$88), with a molten melted chocolate centre that oozed onto the plate, was more filling than we expected - not that we were complaining.

Anything else? Pre-renovation, the hotel's cafe (then known as the Cafe) was on the ground floor. Cafe Causette and the Mandarin cake shop have moved up to the mezzanine level.