There’s always something glamorous about dining in a hotel restaurant. Although you may not have the luxury of actually staying in a beautiful suite in the hotel, you are still given that amazing VIP treatment from the moment your cab pulls up outside.
Such was the case at the Conrad; as soon as we arrived, we felt like celebrities as we were escorted from the lobby to our table on the eighth floor at Brasserie on the Eighth, and from then on we might as well have been royalty. I’d love to say that The Dim Sum Diaries and Sassy Hong Kong have turned me into bit of a celebrity (chuckle) but the same treatment was in fact given to everyone. With regards to décor, with its pastel shades and faded carpet, Brasserie on the Eighth might be considered outdated and in need of renovation, or it can be seen to exude the elegance and charm of a bygone era; I agree with the latter. The floor to ceiling windows overlooking a beautiful banyan tree and manicured garden add to the charm.
Before our four-course meal began ($798 with wine pairing, $688 without) we were served a gorgeous plate of canapés featuring juicy figs wrapped in Parma ham, tender bites of salmon, melted brie on toast topped with sweet pear, and amazing pate on crisp bread. These delicious bite-sized goodies set the bar high for the rest of the meal.
Unable to decide which starter to choose, I opted for the appetiser selection: smaller versions of the salmon tartare, pan-seared scallops with asparagus, and foie gras. Each one was perfect, but I was particularly fond of the rich, buttery foie gras, served with a slice of dried orange to cut through the fat: delicious.
For the soup course, I chose the lobster bisque. It was rich, creamy and full of flavour, with welcome soft chunks of lobster and crunchy croutons to add a little texture. This shouldn’t be a complaint as it was delicious, but it was a touch on the large side considering I still had another two courses to go.
The French onion soup was a better size. The rich flavour was spot on, yet the actual soup base was a little too runny. For me however, the main attraction to a French onion soup is not the onion soup itself, but the pungent, thick, cheesy topping; this one certainly did not disappoint.
Onto the main courses, the pan-seared fillet of Pacific black cod had the perfect, flaky texture, yet it was ever so slightly lacking in flavour; all it needed was a squeeze of lemon though and it was as good as new.
The char-grilled king prawns and lamb chops were an interesting yet unfortunately rather disappointing combination that could have been so perfect… The lamb was incredibly tender and flavoursome, paired with a scrumptious mint sauce that really brought out the flavours. The prawns however, although tasty, had been cooked for a little too long and were just too tough to fully enjoy.
Last but by no means least, dessert arrived to save the day. For indecisive (or greedy) people, Brasserie offers a dessert sampler featuring four mini-desserts: strawberry panna cotta, tiramisu, ice cream stack and hazelnut parfait, the last of which I absolutely adored.
The absolute star of the night however was the ginger soufflé. It was flawlessly light and wonderfully gingery, made the more so by the light ginger sauce, which was drizzled through a hole in the top of the soufflé: Utter. Perfection.
After some complimentary petit fours and more than enough food and wine to send us into a certain food coma, we rolled out of the restaurant, again guided to the lift by the obliging staff.
Brasserie on the Eighth is a charming, elegant place with attentive service, wholesome food and a lovely view. Yes, there is certainly room for perfection…but nobody’s perfect.
Brasserie on the Eighth
8/F, Conrad Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2521 3838 ext. 8240