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We recently enjoyed a relaxing, lazy (and boozy!) brunch at Rosewood Hong Kong’s upscale take on the classic Hong Kong cha chaan teng, Holt’s Café. Across the hall from The Butterfly Room and connected to the Tea Conservatory, Holt’s Café offers local comfort-food dishes alongside a bevy of Western classics.
The restaurant’s new Sunday brunch ($488/person) features a selection of mains as well as unlimited small plates that showcase not-to-be-missed signature dishes. A two-hour free-flow option (+$218) is available for those who want to indulge a bit more on Prosecco and house whites and reds.
We dug into the seafood platter alongside sips of crisp and refreshing Founder’s Block Chardonnay from Coonawarra, South Australia. The oysters were nutty and sweet, while each plump little clam packed loads of juicy, umami goodness. Meaty king prawns were delicious on their own or with a smidgen of cocktail sauce. The highlight was the king crab, which was briny and full of the flavours of the sea.
The seafood platter is served with lemon mignonette and cocktail sauce, and guests can also add on a half-lobster (+$100), although with so much food to follow, we didn’t feel the need.
The unlimited refill of small plates include a creamy globe of burrata over heirloom tomatoes, foie gras torchon (which pairs well with the coy sweetness of the accompanying fig jam), crispy fried prawn wontons, stir-fried clams with black bean chilli sauce and soy sauce chicken.
The clams and soy chicken were our favourites, with both having incredible flavour and texture. The clams soaked up all the spicy “wok hei” flavours, while the soy chicken had the most beautifully caramelised skin. The chicken was so tender and juicy that, if we didn’t have so much food coming, we would have reordered it several times.
With all these mouth-watering HKspecialities, we couldn’t resist ordering Holt’s Café’s famed iced milk tea ($80) from the à-la-carte menu as the perfect accompaniment. The intensely flavoured, rich and silky tea is poured tableside over frozen cubes of milk tea, ensuring an immersive aroma and zero dilution.
Another signature not featured on the Sunday brunch menu but one that was suggested by the team was the baked tomato pork chop rice ($260), a cha chaan teng staple given a Rosewood upgrade using Ibérico pork. Topped with a fried egg, this dish has refined comfort eating all over it.
From the six main course options, which include smoked salmon avocado toast, black truffle casarecce pasta, sautéed Wagyu and steak frites, we decided on the seared Atlantic cod and premium char siu rice, another signature of the restaurant.
The cod, buttery and seared perfectly, is served over a refreshing bed of sauce vierge (akin to a chunky vinaigrette made with tomato, shallot, oil and vinegar) and topped with crisp French beans, adding balance to the rich fish.
The premium char siu rice, topped with an organic fried egg over Japanese rice and drizzled with aged soy sauce, is a dish we still daydream about days afterwards. The succulent char siu has an addictive honey glaze, although the highlight for us is the rice. Each plump kernel is fully infused with this incredible sauce (perhaps drippings from the char siu combined with the aged soy?), which somehow gives the rice a risotto-like texture. We almost finished the entire bowl of rice, even though we kept on saying after each spoonful that it was going to be our last. We would return to Holt’s Café simply to wolf down another bowl!
We were bursting by this time, but we couldn’t leave without trying the white cheese and yuzu entremet and Holger Deh Or Noir 71.5% chocolate tartelette for dessert. Two Chinese sweet soup options are also available, but the deep richness of the chocolate tartelette and tempting flavours of the entremet won out. Of the two, the white cheese and yuzu entremet was our favourite; it’s on the lighter side and has more complexity of flavour thanks to its layers of white chocolate, cheese and yuzu.
This is an indulgent Sunday brunch option at one of the most beautiful hotels in Hong Kong. The quality of food and service are superb, and Holt’s Café is a gleaming representative of the five-star hotel. We love the mix of local comfort foods and Western classics, and in this time of COVID safety, we are relieved to see no buffet counters in sight. The plated dishes also give this brunch a more personal, refined feel. We will definitely be back for more, if we can find a way to escape our kids on a Sunday, that is!
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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