Aqua is always on our list as a must-try restaurant for a memorable dinner, and the Italian-Japanese restaurant is just as stunning during the daytime for brunch. Shades of blue glow from the harbour, and the soft lights shining through the penthouse windows of One Peking are warm, giving a buzzy vibe to the trendy restaurant.
To celebrate the holidays, the restaurant has created a special room filled with dessert as part of its Because Brunch experience. The array of desserts, which are all golden toned or festive in some way, are spread on a large dining able. Decorated tastefully and not to mention being very Instagram-worthy, the hype lives up the execution. Truth be told, we couldn’t help ourselves – we had to have dessert first before the food arrived at our table!
The festive Because Brunch menu ($688/person; $888/person on Christmas Day) includes two hours of free-flow Veuve Clicquot champagne, wine, beer, sake and cocktails, and the staff are plenty generous with refills. If you’re really enjoying the bubbles, you can increase your limit by adding an extra hour of free-flow (+$150). This special brunch is available every weekend and public holiday until 31 January 2020.
Starting with some classic favourites, Italian and Japanese delicacies are served separately. Antipasti consists of cold cuts, cheeses, roasted vegetables and freshly made burrata, with cherry tomatoes as the centrepiece. This was a deliciously savoury plate – and perfect with the bubbles.
The Japanese offering is luxurious and includes oysters sitting on a bed of ice. Sashimi cuts consist of botan ebi, salmon, hamachi and kampachi, and the large plate houses salmon and sea bream sashimi futomaki and salmon hizu with seaweed salad and egg yolk sauce. The cuts were generous, fresh and varied, with different textures on the palate.
The hot dishes are hearty, featuring tiger prawn tempura with matcha salt and tender, perfectly grilled New Zealand lamb chops with mustard and butter soy. The lamb chops melted in the mouth with each bite.
We were least impressed by the pan-fried pork gyoza with red shiso ponzu sauce and wild mushroom risotto in Parmesan wheel. The gyoza broke easily and was overcooked, making it really hard to chew, and the risotto was too thick and starchy for our tastes.
Here’s our favourite part – getting Wonka-esque tickets to the Gold Room, which is inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s a fantasy come true for anyone with a sweet tooth.
There is chocolate galore and a dazzling selection array of sweet treats, including brownies, cheesecake, tiramisu, panettone, a gold chocolate fountain and fresh fruit. The soft-serve maker sits in the back near the window, serving vanilla ice cream with a tray of gold toppings and mini gold cups and spoons. You must try the fluffy chocolate doughnut and festive El Dorado panna cotta, which is infused with toasted almond. I’m dreaming about the Gold Room already!
You’ll want to save a lot of extra room for dessert with this one. I find brunch in Hong Kong to be very hit-and-miss, but this holiday-edition Because Brunch is one of the best brunch experiences I’ve had here. Aqua has put a lot of effort into making holiday brunching a very special experience. The Gold Room is a piece of art on its own with its glitzy design and delicious festive dessert selection. This is a must-try for brunch this holiday season!
29/F and 30/F, One Peking, 1 Peking Road, TST, 3427 2288, book online
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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