As summer descends upon us, the weather is heating up and the humidity is reaching fever pitch. With every good intention of tackling the great outdoors to make the most of Hong Kong’s beach scene, time spent indoors feels more and more appealing. Fear not, as there are endless foodie destinations to take air-conditioned cover in.
One of the fail-safe options is uber-chic Café Gray Deluxe, located at The Upper House hotel. Café Gray needs no introduction, nor will I gush too much about the exceptional views over HK Harbour (try to grab a corner table to see for yourself). It is one of those places that juggles effortless style, a cool ambience and welcoming service with ease. Oh, and the food is fantastic too!
Brunch at Café Gray is certainly a more refined experience than the usual buffets and free-flows that are available. While these can certainly be fun (and raucous!), sometimes some sophisticated indulgence is in order. Ideal for a romantic date, an intimate gathering with a friend or when hosting visitors to Hong Kong, book in for an elegant dining experience, coupled with a creative cocktail list.
On that note, Café Gray has introduced a new range of summer cocktails, including quirky takes on the classic Bloody Mary ($120 each) – the perfect hangover cure after Friday-night frolics in LKF and a zingy kick-start to any weekend.
During a recent visit, I set about challenging the stereotypical view of a Bloody Mary, which can sometimes be considered a little unadventurous. Not so with these newbies, and as an all-round crowd-pleaser, I highly recommend The Fancy One. True to its name, this is made with Hendrick’s Gin (only the best, obvs), homemade chilli syrup and horseradish. The chilli syrup provided a detectable but not overpowering sweet undertone and perfectly cut through the zesty tomato juice.
As for the food, you simply can’t go wrong with the eatery’s famous steak tartare, a secret speciality of Chef Gray Kunz – so secret, in fact, that not even the staff know the recipe of his signature creation! Worth the hype, this is an international twist on an iconic formula and never disappoints. The genius of the papaya-mango salad was in its simplicity and fresh, light flavours.
Moving on to the mains, I ventured to try The Red One, a Bloody Mary consisting of jalapeño-infused Jose Cuervo Tradicional Tequila and olives, garnished with celery. This was not only beautifully presented (did you even drink it if you didn't snap it?), but it was also smooth, earthy and bold. This went down well with the duck shepherd’s pie and pastrami Reuben sandwich (which I defy anyone to finish by themselves!).
The desserts at Café Gray are renowned for a reason. You won’t find any stodgy chocolate brownies or old-school sugary cakes here. Instead, they are sleek and sophisticated, made with the finest ingredients. I personally adore the white chocolate crème brûlée, which comes topped with lychee sorbet and marinated longan. This was deep and delicate, crisp and creamy and sweetly satisfying.
The Yellow One was the ideal finisher, made with Ketel One Citroen Vodka, pineapple and yellow bell pepper. The most eccentric of the mixes, this Bloody Mary was vibrant, luscious and just the right amount of edgy.
There are lots of other dishes available on the weekend brunch menu ($350 for 2 courses; $425 for 3 courses), which is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 12–2:30pm, as well as an array of cocktails and non-alcoholic juices.
49/F, The Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, 2918 1838
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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