Good things come to those who wait, and in the case of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, its meticulous refurbishment took four long years in order to transform a hulking 1960s concrete box to its current sleek glass-and-steel modern form. Along with the breezy new makeover are two new restaurants by the husband-and-wife team of Woolly Pig HK restaurant group.
HUE, the group’s modern Australian fine-dining restaurant, occupies the first floor of the museum, while INK, a casual, quick-service outlet, resides at ground level. Both restaurants feature panoramic views of Victoria Harbour. Aside from the two newest additions, Woolly Pig HK, which is owned and operated by Chris Woodyard and Bronwyn Cheung, includes Big Sur, Bathers, Mr Chipper and Madam S’ate in its portfolio.
We sat down recently for a sumptuous meal at the 5,000-square-foot HUE, which can cater to 130 guests in a mixture of dining spaces, ranging from an art-deco-inspired lounge, to private dining rooms, to a central, natural-light-filled main dining area. Guests can admire whimsical art pieces that previously adorned the walls of the group’s former restaurant Madam Sixty Ate.
At the helm in the kitchen is Hong Kong newcomer Anthony Hammel, who cheffed previously at Australian chef Mark Best’s Pei Modern in Sydney and at the celebrity chef’s Prime Steak House and Seafood Grill on Dream Cruises. Although HUE’s menu features decadent, refined ingredients, the execution is relaxed, instantly putting diners at ease.
Our tasting began with a round of champagne colada ($140), a dangerously smooth-drinking mix of coconut-butter-washed Plantation rum tinged with pineapple juice and Taittinger bubbly.
The group’s famous house-made sourdough bread ($40) then made an appearance alongside cultured New Zealand butter, smoked with applewood.
A fun twist on a classic , HUE’s Caesar salad ($130) comes as crunchy cos lettuce wedges topped with white anchovies, smoked egg and bacon-infused breadcrumbs. A sprinkling of vadouvan spices, which originate in South India with French influences, adds an extra bit of exotic swish.
You can’t have Australian cuisine without beetroot, and the beetroot salad ($130) at HUE is given a refined twist with a dressing of beetroot oil and a dollop of whipped goat’s curd.
The grilled octopus ($185) with saffron and fennel risoni was addictively comforting. We couldn’t stop scooping up the creamy pasta, cooked with fennel, saffron and orange juice.
A spin on beef tartare, the raw Mayura Wagyu ($185) dressed in yuzu kosho cream with crisp nori cracker was clean tasting and refreshing. The premium beef hails from Mayura Station, a ranch in Australia famed for its chocolate-fed cattle.
Plump, pillowy dumplings filled with buffalo ricotta ($290), nestled in broccolini and spinach purée and drizzled with hazelnut brown butter sauce, were comfort on a plate, although best shared owing to their richness.
The “7 bone” Wagyu steak ($450) with smoked bone marrow sauce and sweet roasted onion was juicy and well marbled, served with a dollop of horseradish cream.
Juicy, flavourful aged duck breast ($360) paired beautifully with the sweet and slightly tart quince purée and black garlic sauce.
The coconut ice cream ($115) with white chocolate ganache and passion fruit reminded us of tropical holidays and was a refreshing way to round out a meal full of rich flavours.
Paying homage to the chef’s mentor, Mark Best, the 72% bitter chocolate tart ($130) with vanilla cream and gianduja had just the right amount of sweetness.
There’s also a roving cake trolley at HUE, offering daily cake specials ($120/slice).
HUE’s menu offerings are a refreshing interlude from the French-focused fine-dining scene in Hong Kong. The dishes are refined yet relaxed, and the restaurant doesn’t take itself too seriously but still manages to retain a veneer of finesse. The location makes it a special treat for museum-goers or simply a great place to relax and enjoy the views. There’s a separate vegetarian menu too, and several dishes can be made vegan upon request.
HUE is now also featuring a two- or three-course festive lunch menu ($268 for 2 courses or $318 for 3 courses) until Christmas Eve and a four-course festive dinner menu ($680/person) from 24–26 December 2019, presenting some of the restaurant’s signature dishes.
1/F, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 10 Salisbury Road, TST, 3500 5888, 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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