Ask any American to name their perfect comfort food, and, chances are, many will vote for mac ‘n’ cheese. That’s why this hearty dish is a staple at every American restaurant the world over. Yet, these days, mac ‘n’ cheese doesn’t necessarily consist of just macaroni and cheese; chefs are adding their own unique touches to reinvent this classic dish and take it to new levels.
As we already know, Lily & Bloom takes its mac ‘n’ cheese very seriously – there’s a mac ‘n’ cheese station as part of the lunch buffet. So, starting today until 29th February, Lily & Bloom is bringing us The Mac Attack, a carb-loaded extravaganza featuring interpretations from five of Hong Kong’s best chefs: May Chow from Little Bao; Saturo Mukogawa from Tiger Curry and Sushi Kuu; Vinny Lauria from Stone Nullah Tavern, Linguini Fini and Posto Pubblico; Fabrizio Napolitano from NOM; and Lily & Bloom’s own chef Billy Otis.
The five chefs’ mac ‘n’ cheeses will be available for dinner only at Lily & Bloom, each priced at $188. Rather than there being scorecards (which I personally think would have been a good idea), the winning mac ‘n’ cheese will be selected based on two things: firstly, the dish that gets the most Instagram posts using the hashtag #theMacAttack, and secondly the one that brings in the highest sales. The winning chef will donate 10% of proceeds to their chosen charity.
Chef May Chow’s Little Bao Mac ‘n’ cheese doesn’t contain any macaroni at all. Instead, in line with the Asian theme of her restaurant, her dish consists of steamed Korean rice rolls in an applewood cheddar sauce, topped with a thick slab of “drunken” foie gras soaked in Shaoxing wine. This dish left quite a divided opinion, where some thought it was far too rich and others couldn’t get enough of it. I was part of the latter group, finding it a delicious blend of sweet and savoury and an interesting take on the classic version.
Next up, Chef Saturo Mukogawa’s Tiger Style Mac ‘n’ Cheese was a very interesting interpretation of the American classic consisting of macaroni, scallops, yams, salmon roe and shiso leaves in a soy béchamel sauce. It was unusually light and refreshing for a mac ‘n’ cheese, meaning we could have seconds (and thirds) without feeling too guilty. The sizable chunks of buttery scallops and crunchy yams added a unique texture too.
Chef Vinny Lauria is, in my humble opinion, probably the best American chef in town. I never leave any of his restaurants hungry and his food, although no doubt very, very bad for you, is just so damn good. His mac ‘n’ cheese is no exception. During The Mac Attack, his classic mac becomes a Black Truffled Carbonara Mac ‘n’ Cheese. And it is phenomenal. If you’re a diehard mac ‘n’ cheese fan and are partial to a little finesse, this one’s for you.
Given that Chef Fabrizio Napolitano’s restaurant is all about meatballs, it was no surprise that his dish was called Mac ‘n’ Balls and included Wagyu beef balls. The smoked aubergine and gruyere béchamel paired beautifully with the juicy meatballs, yet I wasn’t such a fan of the beef cheek, which I found a little overpowering and unnecessary. The crispy pieces of gruyere, however, were most definitely necessary.
Since Lily & Bloom is hosting The Mac Attack, Chef Billy Otis obviously has to bring the big guns out for his Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese. This one is made table-side and is quite the spectacle. The rock lobster, three cheeses and macaroni are poured into a wheel of 36-months aged Parmesan and stirred around with a generous amount of cognac, before being topped with basil breadcrumbs and more cognac sauce. Rich, yet heavenly, this is definitely one to try (and don’t forget to get some good snaps for Instagram while you’re at it!).
While you’re at Lily & Bloom, if you haven’t already filled yourself with rich, creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, the restaurant’s new menu also has some worthwhile options, including a Cedar River beef tartare served with wasabi aioli and bresaola ‘chips’ that is seriously goo
Which will be your favourite mac ‘n’ cheese? Book a table at Lily & Bloom any time between today (25th January) and 29th February and ask for The Mac Attack menu. Make it a fair competition by taking some friends with you so that you can try all five – trust me, you’ll need help getting through this carb feast.
Lily & Bloom
5-6/F, LKF Tower
33 Wyndham Street
Tel: +852 2810 6166