This article originally appeared in the latest May edition of Foodie: Jamie's Hong Kong. Read it here!
What is it? Chef Rowley Leigh is a bit of a legend. And now the British chef, writer, restaurateur and all round nice guy is poised to win Hong Kong over too. Swire has expanded its restaurant portfolio with Chef Rowley at the helm and the virtues of polished but affordable modern dining.
The food: With the opening of the Continental, Rowley’s first Asian venture brings the champions of British and European cuisine in the way that many others in the city are seeking, yet failing, to emulate. Dishes such as griddled scallops with chestnut purée, shiso and lemon, chicken and goats’ cheese mousse with olives, cedar river farms beef carpaccio, and half rack of australian lamb, black pepper and garlic from the Josper grill are all highlights.
On our trip there, the service really was to be commended. We have had our share of over-the-top waiters, and of eateries where we felt like we were imposing on them just by being there. At the Continental, with service that is affable, gregarious and knowledgable. Drawing on the elegant surrounds, we were graced with a Charles Heidsieck Brut to consummate the Fines De Claires oysters. Following on in fine procession, came the yellowfin tuna with Asian accents of ginger and soy were no let down, and paved the way for the other two highlights, quail and Australian lamb. The lamb particularly is worth a specific trip with tender flavourful meat falling off the bone and into the chickpeas that line the bottom of the roasting pan in which it is served. Pour a glass of Chateau Villa Bel-Air and you will be transported to the most appealing of places.
The desserts: You might as well don those eating pants right now; a visit to the Continental is incomplete without sampling, nay, engulfing, the cheese cart or the dessert trolley. Who are we kidding; try both. If you really can only fit one, let it be the salted caramel and chocolate tart, whose pastry we’re convinced is mixed with some variety of addictive stimulant.
The verdict: Sophisticated charm of Europe's grand cafés is what the box says and on this occasion it is precisely what’s delivered. The Continental is an elegant all-day restaurant that is spacious and improved even further with the alluring view of Hong Kong’s CBD. The contemporary design by David Collins Studio complements Rowley Leigh's celebrated cuisine and we feel this stylish but humble dining establishment is a must visit on our list.
Unit 406, L4 Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, 2704 5211