We try Michelin chef Pierre Gagnaire’s Hong Kong brunch - his first ever
Gagnaire’s debut brunch at The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong offers imaginative dishes, a choice of champagne or kombucha, and an enormous dessert buffet
Restaurants offering brunch are pretty standard these days, but for Pierre at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, it’s a first – not just for its Hong Kong location, but all of Pierre Gagnaire’s restaurants worldwide.
The brunch made its debut this past Sunday and at HK$688 plus 10 per cent, the price is comparable to others in town, but the offerings are on another level. Guests can choose from a boozy brunch with a carafe of champagne, or detox with kombucha made with aloe vera, green apple, cucumber and pistachio.
First up is a bread basket, including a delicious pain au chocolat. It’s hard to resist inhaling the whole basket (which is soon replaced with another) but you should, because a full meal awaits.
Following Gagnaire’s style, the starters are a medley of dishes, such as sliced abalone with seaweed, smoked mackerel, oysters in a light creamy sauce, vegetable purée, and a delicate tart covered in caviar and colourful mini broccoli florets. There are also a few bites on the plate, including beef wrapped with caramelised onions, and ham and button mushroom roll.
Next came a choice of egg dishes. The flat Vietnamese omelette is fantastic, a beautifully plated dish with colourful ingredients such as pickled onions, coriander, shrimp and salmon. The omelette was slightly runny and a light, satisfying dish.
The nested quail egg with tomato jam was a cute presentation – a trio of the small eggs wrapped in a fine pastry so they looked as if they were encased in a nest. They were cooked perfectly, the inside slightly runny, butthe accompanying tomato jam didn’t add much flavour.
For the main courses, the cocotte of scallops, razor clams and salsify was presented in a bowl with a light frothy sauce. We quite liked the combination of the hearty scallops and salsify, although the razor clams were bland.
The tandoori John Dory with grapefruit and endives sounded intriguing, and while the fish was executed beautifully, the acidity of the grapefruit had an overpowering, bitter aftertaste.
For dessert, head to the massive spread in the middle of the dining room. We were treated to the seasonal galette des rois (in France, it’s traditionally eaten at Epiphany until the end of January), made with flaky pastry and almond paste, as well as Paris-Brest, sinfully delicious cream puffs with chocolate and hazelnut. We also enjoyed the refreshing coconut milk bavarois with tapioca and redcurrant jelly.
However, the osmanthus poached pear was too sweet, while the black sesame with fluffy egg white didn’t mix well together. There’s also a selection of cheeses, chocolates, and more pastries, including croissants and pains au chocolat. Just in case you’re still hungry.
To finish the meal, there’s hot chocolate in a choice of white (with chestnut) which was not too rich, or the black (with juniper) that will satisfy chocoholics.
Pierre, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong. Tel: 2522 0111