Repurposing the prime real estate vacated by Grand Central Bar & Grill, Eclipse Hospitality Group are ushering in a new era of post-shopping dining indulgence with McSorley’s Brewhouse & Grill. Big – and we mean big – brother to McSorley’s SoHo and Discovery Bay, the new ELEMENTS restaurant boasts a much larger, more sophisticated upstairs dining area graced with floor-to-ceiling windows and an abundance of natural light. The downstairs area harks back to the restaurant chain’s other branches and their casual, pub-like vibe, best suited for small bites and plenty of drinks (though the full menu is served on both floors, should you wish to chow down on a 12-ounce steak as you keep your eyes glued on the footy).
The ELEMENTS location moves away from the Indian influences prominent in the menus at the SoHo and Discovery Bay shops, with a larger focus on grilled delights from land and sea. Favourites are still on hand, from the signature fish and chips ($240) and nourishing herb-crusted salmon fillet ($248) to the compelling seafood linguine ($248). A well-developed whisky menu and a plenitude of local beers keep the pub spirit alive and well (not to mention the bar tables and stools and flat-screen tellies blaring whatever major sport tournament is currently in season on the lower floor). Those with eagle eyes amongst us will spot McSorley’s very own house ale on the menu – another win for the budding local beer-brewing industry.
Arriving as we did just in time for the lunch rush, we set our eyes on the weekday buffet ($178) and appreciatively made our first rounds. From a mixed vegetable platter, to tomato salad, to curried cauliflower salad, to egg salad, the mindful vegetarian options piqued our interests, but we ultimately beelined for the indulgent side of the table, where we found smoked salmon and a cold-cut selection of Parma ham, salami and duck, amongst others.
The mains section of the lunch buffet lifts heavily from the à-la-carte menu, with beef stew, baby-back ribs, bangers and mash and roast chicken holding up the meaty options, steamed mussels, shrimp and clams in the seafood corner and cheesy broccoli for a hint of savoury veggie indulgence.
It’s hard to say no at a buffet, but we had a main course waiting for us, so we tugged on the reins and scooped up just a small portion of everything – which proved to be a lot of things. But plenty of energy was needed to power through the rest of this stormy, dreary day, so we hunkered down and hoovered our plates. The cold cuts and smoked salmon? Excellent. The stew? Fragrant and succulent. The baby-back ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender, the bangers had a delightful crunch, and it would be hard to imagine a creamier, fluffier mash.
We were recently graced with this exhaustive compilation of the best fast-food fries and smirked to ourselves, basking in the smug knowledge that the author of that piece has never tried McSorley’s French fries. A more perfectly executed, more addictive side dish has rarely been had, a sentiment that one feels can only be fully echoed by the following:
Eventually, with a heavy heart, we did stop eating, but only for as long as it took to tear into the restaurant’s signature 12-ounce US Prime rib-eye ($418). An indulgent portion of meat, the charred, smoky aroma imparted from the in-house grill was a thing to be savoured. No washing down with wine and glugs of beer here; we were playing the long game of treasuring the slightly gamy flavours of perfectly grilled, premium-quality steak. Supersized, laced with umami and addictive – now, that’s a foolproof combo.
What’s for dessert? For now, the buffet offers three sweet treats: a white chocolate cheesecake (heavenly), a dark chocolate tart (sinful) and a pot de crème made with Baileys Irish Cream, topped with raspberry and blueberry (deliciously boozy). And the best part? Bite-sized portions equal endless indulgence. A trio of cheeses also called our names, and our taste buds sang with the names of Camembert, goat’s cheese and blue cheese on the tips of our tongues. A moment of silence for those poor souls with whom we dealt with face-to-face for the rest of the day...
With $10 oyster nights on Tuesdays, two-for-one main courses on Monday nights, brunch at the weekend, other limited-time offers available throughout the week and their very own signature ale on tap, McSorley’s Brewhouse & Grill is an excellent contender for a night out with the lads (or lassies), where sport, beer and a hearty meal are on the agenda. It’s also a fantastic choice for weekday lunches – and we’d wager McSorley’s wouldn’t do so badly as a date-night destination either. We like us a restaurant that can do it all.
Shop R001, Civic Square, ELEMENTS, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, 2736 4888, click here to 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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