One of the things guests love about Urban Park’s TST location is the large, grassy outdoor area. The eatery is located on busy Granville Road, so it feels like a spacious escape above the bustling city. Urban Park showcases a number of garden-themed promotions such as picnics that are held in the outdoor area. Recently, we had the opportunity to try out the new Secret Garden Feast ($498/person; minimum of 2 people) – though we sat indoors as we’d gone for dinner and the outdoor area was full of shisha lovers.
The Secret Garden Feast menu was put together by Justin C, a consultant chef who has worked with Urban Park for awhile. Most items on Urban Park’s menu are twists on comfort-food classics such as beer-can chicken and lobster-tail pasta. Despite being a casual dining restaurant, they want to push the envelope a bit and introduce guests to new and unique flavours.
So, what can diners expect from the Secret Garden Feast?
We started with the Dinosaur Egg Ceviche. The egg itself was a stunning cat’s-eye-like type of blue dyed using butterfly pea blossom. This was a cool-looking dish; we’ve definitely never had an egg like this before. However, there was a bit too much going on in terms of flavour. The base of the dish had shrimp, crab and passion fruit, but the combination was confusing as it seemed like we were biting into crustacean shells rather than passion fruit seeds. Since the base was tangy, we didn’t think the pink sauce, which had a lemon base, was necessary. However, the squid-ink chips were moreish, especially when used to scoop up the soft-boiled yolk.
This pasta dish was served with five “paint” colours, with each representing a different sauce. On its own, the pasta was tasty. The noodles were perfectly al dente and each strand was fragrant with pork fat thanks to the generous amounts of Canadian bacon and chorizo used. This meant the sauces were a light accompaniment to the pasta. Some of the sauces were more strongly flavoured than others. We liked the sweet yellow one (pumpkin and curry) the most.
Black cod is one of my favourite fish, so I was excited to see how it would be prepared. The cod itself was served as a thin layer wrapped around a minced crab and quinoa mixture and then topped with cheese. One the side, the crab and quinoa were rolled into balls, deep-fried and served with chicken consommé capsules. We loved the comfort-food feel and flavours of this dish and hope it gets added to the main menu.
We didn’t enjoy the rib-eye steak as much and would have preferred a smaller but higher-quality piece of meat.
What’s more relaxing than a lavender bath and French toast? This seemed like a higher-end version of dishes served at restaurants like Modern Toilet in Taiwan. Overall it was fun to eat, with the cake-like “French toast” accompanied by honeycomb, ice cream and coconut spheres.
Just when we thought our meal was over, there was one more surprise in store. First we were each given a miracle fruit. After rolling it around in my mouth for four minutes, sour things began to taste sweet. While sceptical at first, I can happily report that it actually worked: raw lemon did taste like lemonade!
We commend Urban Park for its creativity and trying to do something new in Hong Kong’s crowded dining scene. With this Secret Garden Feast menu, we feel there were some hits and misses. Some might think there’s too much going on, but it could be a fun date idea for a pair of experimental foodies.
4/F, 20–22 Granville Road, TST, 2751 1999