There are certain things one must do when one lives in Hong Kong and gratuitous eating, followed by gratuitous food blogging are definitely up there. Having heard the word whisk, Dan got very excited and ran away to the kitchen thinking we were going to whip up some amazing delicacy.
Turns out it was actually the name of the restaurant we were to dine in this particular Sunday afternoon, in celebration of the Oh-So-Hong-Kong tradition of the free-flow alcohol fueled Sunday Brunch. Whisk, at the Mira Hotel, was a place we had been wanting to try for a while and a lazy Sunday eating, drinking and drinking seemed like the perfect excuse.The atmosphere for a fun and relaxed dine is set by the resident DJ, Ouissam, who spun some chilled house tunes. Not being house fans (to put it mildly!) we shuddered a little initially but have to admit that it blended unobtrusively into the background allowing plenty of space for conversation, the clinking of classes and the oohs and ahhs to come. The restaurant is well staffed with super attentive, very friendly chefs, wait staff and a lovely manager who went out of his way to introduce himself to us and make sure we were having a lovely time. Unobtrusive but personal service is the way to our hearts…well, the way to our hearts after food.The brunch menu at Whisk comprises of a mix of both buffet and plated meals. A station we were all dying to work our way through was the aptly named (by us) Caviar and Vodka Station. Sweeeeeeeet! The yellow and the mini orange blobs were flying fish roe, the orange one winning out due to its slightly sweeter, more flavoursome nature. The big orange blobs of salmon roe were fairly standard but the black ones…oh, the black ones…now there’s the money! Sturgeon and Arvuga, the real deal caviar, stole our hearts and warmed our cockles. Or potentially it was the vodka shots that warmed us. Any buffet that has self serve vodka and caviar gets four thumbs up from us (that’s two each, just before you start wondering about our genealogy!).
Eggs comprise part of the plated and served portion of the meal and come in two choices, the first being a poached egg with spinach and truffle espuma. Espuma, in case you’re interested, is a fancy-pants culinary term for foam. And foam is just a fancy-pants term for, in this case, YUM. If you read our previous blog about the butter and truffle sandwiches at Robuchon, then you’ll probably guess that we thoroughly enjoyed this eggy dish as it tasted like that but with the added addition of a slow-poached, water-bathed egg…and we all know everything tastes better with an egg. Divine!
The other egg choice was a delicate scramble topped with chives and a healthy spoonful of more delicious caviar. Why we don’t have this for breakfast every morning, we fail to understand and aim to rectify. Caviar Sponsors, please?More plated choices come from ‘Bites’ section of the menu. This particular Sunday’s offerings all sounded amazing and luckily enough we had enough people to order one of each and two of some. Decisions avoided, everything sampled!
First up was a tender piece of cod, topped with a bright, tangy quinoa salad.
Also on offer was pan-seared foie gras, served with a cherry compote. The foie was at its rich, custardy best.
The show stealer, however, was a baked penne with potato, chorizo and some more foam. It was like eating a refined macaroni cheese. Actually that probably doesn’t do it justice but take it from us, it was amazing in its carby, cheesey, meaty goodness. Taste buds tingling, palates primed for more, it was back to the buffet to check out what other wonders lay for us to devour. First stop, the European meat station. Waves of parma, salami, chorizo, ham, proscuitto and more lined the platters. An incredible selection of terrines, pates and rillettes rounded out the selection making it incredibly hard to pace ourselves for what lay ahead. Still, we’re dedicated, so on we trooped. Seafood lay nearby and encompassed the full ocean gamut from shrimp cocktails, to sashimi to raw oysters on the half shell. Seafood also appeared in the form of some lovely and very creative salad, our favourite being this beautiful concoction of salmon hunks (seriously non-skimpy – choice!), pomegranate seeds and micro-greens. More seafood was judiciously stuffed into cool little cucumber cups.
Binge o’ seafood complete, it was next to the barbeque station, a respectable selection of hot meats, cooked, sliced and piled on our plate right before our greedy carnivorous little eyes. There was suckling pig, beef tongue, roast chicken, lamb and wagyu ribs. For the sake of our dear fans, we tried everything and can assure you, it was all delicious. Accompaniments are provided close to hand in the form of different sauces, mustards and vegetables but we were utterly distracted by the flesh of delicious animals.
We should probably throw in a quick shout out to the bread selection as this stage of the game. Having become somewhat expert at the do and do nots of gourmet buffet eating, however, we stayed away from the oh-so-tempting range of freshly baked goodies. It would probably be worth a return visit just to sample the range and smear it with the cheeses we ran out of room for. Another time, eh?
We’re talking about dessert. Piles and piles of gorgeously plated, sumptuously inviting dessert. OH where to begin?! How about with a shot of Baileys, topped with a frozen coffee-milk concoction? Mmm, there’s so many good things about that sentence. More delicious dessert booze? How about a delicate baba, nestled on a little bed of fruit salad…oh and injected to your liking with a shot of Cointreau? Yes, please. Boozey pud wasn’t all that was to be had though. Dan practically dived into the buffet ice cream freezer!!! Did we mention that all of the above was accompanied by free-flow champagne, juices and coffees if one so desired?
Full, tipsy and very, very enamoured with Whisk, we felt the momentum should continue so it was off up to the highest post in Hong Kong for another cocktail to finish the afternoon. It seemed only right to show our guests the best possible, most Hong-Kongy experience we could. Off to Ozone, the world’s highest bar, perched in the Ritz Carlton on the 118th floor.
Prior visits to Ozone have been either in the cloud (lame) or at night (spectacular) but we’d actually never been during the daytime. It was a great chance to point out bits and pieces of our surroundings and to gaze down upon humanity as we drank away the afternoon.
We quite fancy the idea of dining in this corner, complete with beautifully laid table and a private corner overlooking, well, everything! At last, it was time to put an end to our gluttony and watch the sun wend its way down towards the other side of the world. Good night Hong Kong and that’s probably enough food and booze…at least until tomorrow!