If I was to select my two favourite things in the world I am pretty sure I would choose food and art. I have always loved art. Bold, unusual, a little off the regular, things that stand out — art to me has always been about self expression. I have always loved food too. Textured, layered, intimate, personal — our choice of food tells a lot about ourselves. And while I pursue both my passions independently (no, I do not make art, I only appreciate art), rarely do I see both of them converge. While the both rarely meet, when they do it is magic. As I was to discover recently.
Because we have two young children who cannot be left home alone at night, our evening outs and clubbing has been restricted for the past 11 years. Which also means that many a time we miss out on the hippest and coolest places in town: there are places we want to go to but cannot; there are places who want us to come over but we have to decline. The Hong Kong Club was in this category since it opened. We had always wanted to check it out but never had the opportunity.This changed when I received a brunch invite from them. “Brunch? At a club that is open until wee hours of the morning,” I wondered. Yes, came the reply. As it turned out the club had finally decided to open its gate to families. I was only too glad to join them for the debut service.
What stands out at the Hong Kong Club at the first glance is its edgy art. Modern Asian portraits in larger than life sizes, bold use of color, and contrasting textures makes the space engaging. The day light from extended glass walls reflects from its gilded surfaces and illuminate the space beautifully. The asymmetrical bar counter remains the center of attraction; the gold cages make for perfect instagram spots. What sets the place apart is the food and wine.
Being at the helm of F&B operations, chef Balpreet has always maintained superlative standards of dining at the hotel. First with Annamaya, which has won every award there was to win, and now at Hong Kong Club where the ingredients and authenticity of the recipes transport you to a teahouse in Hongkong. With Chef Yu Fuhai, the Chef de Cuisine, chef Balpreet is dishing out authentic Hong Kong dim sum tea-house fare at the Hong Kong Club.
The Sunday Brunch features umpteen dimsums: crystal, shumai, baos, shanghai and crispy fried with and without gravy, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The salads — bean curd and duck meat and crispy potatoes with chian kiang vinegar and chilli oil — were light and refreshing. The mains included bean curd and mushrooms, string beans and greens, sliced lamb and chili chicken. Every thing fresh, light, and pleasing to he palate. What took the cake though was the fried rice. “This is made with olive leaves that grow abundantly in northern china,” chef Balpreet informed when I pointed out the exquisite umami of the rice. “It comes preserved in oil and is one of our most expensive ingredient,” I hear him say even as I devour spoons-full of the rice by itself.
Art is not restricted to the walls at the Hong Kong Club, it is also visible in the food. The minimalist plating, clean platters, dainty preparations, all add to the aesthetics, but what really showcase the inimitable aesthetics of Andaz and it’s team are the drinks. Agnieszka Rozenska, the resident Polish mixologist makes gin spiked chamomile tea and garnishes it with a tiny phlox, the suave servers refill your glasses with the finest Tiattenger and punch of the brunch made with orange juice, gin, star anise, and zest. I lost count after 3 refills of Tiattengner, 1 belini, 2 punches and 1 tea.
Desserts came in batches of half a dozen, and they were finished without a sound. Ice creams — vanilla, blueberry, and mango — cheese cake, and dense chocolate truffle made for the best closure to the perfect brunch.
You may ask where were the children were when I was indulging in such gluttony. Well, the children were busy making dimsums in the kitchen, playing in the golden cages, and being fussed over by the sweet staff who ensured we ate and drank in peace. Now that is what I call the perfect brunch.