Diner’s Diary

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

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2017, 12:48pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2017, 12:48pm

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.

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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.

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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