First Person

Popinjays is top of the pops for wining and dining with a view

A prime site on the rooftop of The Murray Hong Kong affords uninterrupted views of the downtown skyline as you sip your cocktail and enjoy first-class cuisine

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 August, 2018, 10:03am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 September, 2018, 2:48pm

Within a week of opening, Popinjays had already found its crowd. We arrived at The Murray Hong Kong’s rooftop where Popinjays has a sizeable bar and fine dining restaurant as well as a wrap-around patio, and the place was buzzing.

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Hardly surprising, the rooftop views are uninterrupted. On one side there is the historical low-rise of St. John’s Cathedral and on the other, Hong Kong Park and the Zoological and Botanical Gardens – and aptly, the name Popinjays is a term associated with birds such as parrots and woodpeckers.

The cocktails too, have a bird theme, such as the Blue Macaw (HK$140) – a tropical fruit cocktail with a base of Pontelobos mescal, and the Peking Order (HK$120) which is tom yum-infused rum with yuzu, elderflower, lime and mint soda.

We tried a few bar snacks such as foie gras with gingerbread brioche (HK$90) and black cod croquettes with tartare sauce, (HK$95/3 pieces) which were a hit, but we were not as impressed with the guacamole (HK$100) – there was too little of the avocado sandwiched between the crackers.

The main dining room too is light and airy, due to the large windows looking onto the city. Designed by Foster + Partners, the interior is sophisticated done in cool greys, gold accents and bold blues and seats 114 diners, with 14 in the private dining area, The Aviary.

The chef de cuisine, Didier Quennouelle offers modern European cuisine here. He honed his skills at such establishments as Bord Eau at Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri, Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet and three Michelin-starred Restaurant Alain Senderens in Paris. Prior to joining The Murray, Quennouelle was executive sous chef at Restaurant Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo in Hotel Métropole.

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We start our dinner with king langoustine tartare with yuzu-marinated yoghurt and pickled dashi and caviar (HK$330), which was a perfect light and refreshing dish. I was not a fan of the Vitello Tonnato, milk-fed veal tenderloin with yellowfin tuna and gremolata (HK$260).

For mains, the roast vendée pigeon with beetroot, savoy cabbage, blackberries and kalamata olives (HK$550) hit the spot. The pigeon meat was tender and juicy while the skin was crispy. The salt, sour, bitter, sweet flavours were well-balanced and complemented the pigeon well.

The grilled Japanese wagyu striploin with jalapeno pomme “oin de rue” was also a good choice. Both dishes were paired well with a 2014 Malbec, Famiglia Bianchi from Mendoza, Argentina. The desserts did not disappoint. We tried the caramelised golden apple cheesecake (HK$130) which was deconstructed. It consisted of a rich butter biscuit topped with light cream cheese and caramelised fruit slices and green apple brandy sauce, vanilla gelato and cinnamon crumble.

Popinjays, The Murray, Hong Kong, 22 Cotton Tree Drive, Central 3141 8888

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