This being the Excelsior, we came with high expectations on our minds (and on our tongues) and were not disappointed. Located on the 34th floor, tradition and elegance rule the interior of ToTT's; from the second you step out of the lift, atmospheric lighting guides you along the long, ambient entryway all the way to the plush dining area. Though we could not access the terrace the day of our visit (thanks, HK summer), we were still treated to a breathtaking harbourfront view where we watched the day's thunderstorm roll past us and back again during the duration of our two-hour lunch.
Charred asparagus, chanterelles, garlic and tarragon emulsion
Heirloom tomatoes with Meredith goat's curd, Sicilian olives, basil and lemon confit
With new Chef de Cuisine Shaun Langdon aboard the ToTT's train, the menu has been given a fresh, contemporary revamp that sees the blending of international flavours in a tried-and-true East-meets-West fashion. His passion for fresh ingredients shines through his dishes: colourful and simple, the heirloom tomato salad ticked all the right boxes for us. 'The slight tart flavour of the Meredith goat’s curd complemented the flavour of the tomatoes well,' my tasting partner, Steph, noted. Add in the Sicilian olives, basil and lemon confit, and this quickly became a favourite of the day, though everything we tried was beyond excellent.
The charred asparagus with succulent chanterelles was well balanced in its flavours, with a subtle, airy tarragon emulsion providing a light seasoning. Beautiful, classic plating served as the appropriate accompaniment to amp up our amazement at the food we were tasting.
Braised Ibérico pork jowl
Wok-fried Boston lobster with black pepper sauce
Whole young chicken with Serrano ham
Well composed and innovative, Chef Langdon's mains are impressive, to say the least, and this is where he showcases his playfulness with ingredients and mixing and matching various cuisines and influences. The braised Ibérico pork jowl, slow cooked for six hours, was a tender, juicy dream, complemented by an earthy pumpkin purée; the wok-fried Boston lobster was cooked in a biting black pepper sauce and served with house-made Chinese crullers, which we used to mop up all the juices. And when one type of meat wasn't enough, in came the young chicken wrapped in Serrano ham to introduce an intricate taste by combining the delicate tenderness of the chicken with the saturated umami-ness of the ham.
Caramelised purple figs with sherry meringue
A selection of hot ice creams
We've come across the fig and ice cream combo a few times this summer on several tasting menus, but Chef Langdon's caramelised purple figs stood out with a quirky burnt butter ice cream number, though my tasting partner and I both agreed that the sherry meringue was too sweet for our personal preferences. Not to be outdone, the special ice cream dessert arrangement we were treated to to round up our tasting was an 'equally unforgettable experience', noted my tasting partner, Steph. Unique and daring in concept, the creative 'hot' ice cream selections were dreamed up to match HK's summer heat and will be served on rotation during dinner buffet at Café on the 1st until mid-October this year. We sampled three flavours (Sichuan spicy, tom yum kung, white chocolate truffle), and it's safe to say that we have never had a more confusing, yet pleasant mouthfeel when it comes to ice cream. The spiciness of the flavours tingled our taste buds and heated up the back of our throats as the cold temperature of the confection cooled us down; adventurous foodies, we recommend this!
Though the chef responsible for this delicious treat was not in the kitchen himself that day, his team flawlessly executed his menu, and we count it as one of the most delicious meals we have been privy to taste this year. The menu's flavours were wholly engrossing and left a warm, fuzzy feeling in our tummies long after our lunch. Paired with the excellent service and phenomenal view, ToTT's has earned a worthy spot on our 'must-visit' list.
34/F, The Excelsior Hong Kong, 281 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, 2837 6786