118 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon / www.themirahotel.com
It is a warm, sunny Sunday, and you walk up Kimberly Rd and arrive at the lift that whisks you to Whisk, a 5th floor restaurant of the funky and flash Mira hotel. A dining room teeming with lovers of bivalves and french pastries, this is a foodie heaven in the middle of Tsim Sha Tsui.
Devouring the cold appetisers to begin with, pleasure is apportioned fairly between eating thy greens (easy to do when the likes of yuzu or rasberry dressing are on offer to gush over the many varieties of salads) and trying everything in sight. A particular mention to the amount of vegetables to choose from. In a day where throwing foie gras and truffles on top of a food item makes it excessively more rich, expensive and purportedly more alluring, we hand it to restaurants who take the bold step to allow flavours to speak for themselves, and present a wide array of vegetal options for diners. The mixed mushroom salad, escargot salad, marinated cucumber roll and portobello mushroom with tomato and barley are our recommendations of the assembled, and the show stopper is undoubtedly the eggplant with pickled ginger and coriander, which is melt in your mouth tender and hints at a nasi dengaku flavour profile.
Proceeding, the bounties of the sea (what seems like every imaginable bounty at that) in the form of lobster medallion with lobster vinaigrette, caviars (plural consisting of avruga, salmon roe, flying fish roe) with mini blinis and smoked fish caught our eye. Each item was fresh and neatly presented, without too many frills yet sufficiently stocked with appropriate accompaniments like lemon, sour cream, chives and so forth.
Meanwhile at the table, half a dozen oysters from France are attributed per two persons, to complement either the Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut NV or Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Vintage 2004, ordered at the discretion of the guest. The vintage is a particularly good deal in this free-flow extravaganza, as the option to add it to the breakfast onslaught is a lowly $200 extra, which is what one glass may go for in the real world. Shun the real world is our suggestion.
Cold cuts were satisfactory, for it is hard to deviate far from the standard apertivo fare but the quality was noticable and the selection diverse. The BBQ section is a carnivorous dream, with sections involving lamb kebab, suckling pig, beef tongue, German style cooked ham and pork sausage. The suckling pig was particularly succulent, and allows a chance for diners to view what previously had a heartbeat, as the baby piggy sits on display for all to see. Moving stuff.
Breads are particularly tasty, ranging from more traditional croissants to the intriguing bamboo focaccia and our favourite, the blueberry roll. The simple baguette paired with the whipped butter did also win hearts.
With all this is going on, it is easy to forget there is a full tasting menu to dapple in, and the hovering waitstaff will gladly take each persons selection between two offered choices and bring them table side in quick succession. Trying all available dishes between us, it was unequivocal that you cannot make a bad choice, but the stand outs were the scrambled egg with caviar and chives, wagyu spare ribs that needed only a fork for elegant slicing and the zucchini fritta with garlic crème and coriander micro herbs. Though the coriander was a little overpowering and didn’t meld the flavours together, the zucchini itself is a long, semolina encased option that we relished.
Don’t even get us started on the DESSERT AND CHEESE ROOM, whose simple roommating eradicates one of life’s most difficult dilemmas. You cannot go wrong in this room, which is much like Harry Potter’s room of requirement meets an adult Disneyland, and is full of European cheeses and exquisitely created desserts. A utopia, really. Feeling quite like Whitney Houston, we inhaled all at once the comte and brie, tiramisu and egg tarts. Movenpick ice-cream is available to all, and the cheesecake is soft, fluffy and immensely creamy.
In Hong Kong, brunch has become a way of life. Whether Saturday night was a little too lively or wanting a super start to the week, brunch at Whisk is unusual and satisfying, showcasing hints of fine dining without missing the indulgence of a buffet. The free-flow vintage champagne also helps.