Lily & Bloom, one of my favourite pre-dinner, or post-dinner drink spots, has recently welcomed a new chef to the kitchen. Chef Chris Grare, who joined from The American Club and has also worked at Café Gray Deluxe and Café Boulud in New York, is now running the show at Lily & Bloom. I had sampled Lily & Bloom’s set lunch menu last year, but had STILL never got round to sampling its dinner menu. With the appointment of a new chef, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit for dinner.
Although Chef Grare has kept some of the crowd pleasers (such as the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese), he has almost completely revamped the menu, adding his own personal touch. He has split the menu up into small, medium and large sections, with a separate section for beef and another for pasta. We began with a pork belly bun, from the ‘small’ section. With chunks of pineapple and grilled red pepper, this has a lovely balance of sweet and sour flavours, and I enjoyed the crispy texture of the pork, which seemed much less fatty than pork belly often can be.
The cured salmon was also lovely, served alongside horseradish cream and pickled beetroot, topped with ossetra caviar. Each ingredient shone in its own right and worked perfectly together.
My favourite of the small dishes was the lentil-crusted lobster, which came in an aromatic curry sauce. Whilst lobster dishes can often involve more work than reward, this one contained quite a generous portion of perfectly cooked, deliciously flavoursome lobster.
I always enjoy a good steak tartare, and Chef Grare’s version did not disappoint. The beef was nicely seasoned, served with tangy horseradish cream and thick slivers of black truffle to give it extra decadence.
Sea urchin isn’t one of my favourite things at the best of times and I must say I really wasn’t a fan of the sea urchin parfait. Although the presentation was beautiful, I didn’t enjoy the texture and found the flavours too intense and fishy.
I did, however, love the foie gras terrine, which was beautifully silky smooth and heavenly rich. The accompanying celery root slaw, ham, quail egg and wholegrain mustard cream added lovely contrasting textures and flavours that balanced out the richness of the terrine.
From the large section of the menu, we tried the steamed grouper. The fish itself wasn’t overly exciting, but the bed of Asian greens and lemongrass broth – which was poured over the fish from a teapot – brought it all together.
The lamb duo was excellent. Here, a succulent grilled lamb chop and crispy kataify pastry-encased lamb shoulder were served alongside parsley mashed potato and mushroom fricassee, with drizzles of chimichurri.
From the beef section, we sampled the slow-raised short rib. Having been marinated in red wine for 24 hours and then slow-cooked, the beef was insanely tender and flavoursome, served with baby beets, shredded leeks and a smear of creamy goat’s cheese – divine!
If there was an ‘extra-large’ section to the menu, the 35oz 45-day dry-aged cowboy steak would be on it! What’s a cowboy steak, you ask? Basically a ginormous bone-in rib-eye steak! This one was USDA prime, aged in Chicago by ‘Meats by Linz’, a family-owned beef business with three generations of experience. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium-rare, deliciously marbled and tasted amazing. I was excited by the accompanying roasted garlic, but unfortunately it was a little undercooked for my liking.
Just when we thought we couldn’t possibly eat another morsel, Chef Grare had another surprise for us – his giant chocolate chip cookie, cooked and served in a skillet, topped with gummy bears, chocolate bars, sprinkles, chocolate sauce and caramel sauce, served with salted caramel ice cream. This has got to be the most ridiculous (read: ridiculously amazing) dessert I have ever had. This 12-inch cookie requires pre-ordering and a big appetite – even between five of us, we were barely able to make a dent in it!
Service at Lily & Bloom is always fantastic, but I guess you’d expect that for the prices you pay here, as this place certainly isn’t cheap. Small dishes range from $95 to $155; medium dishes from $125 to $210; large dishes from $250 to $890; whilst a steak could set you back $1600! Then again, all dishes are designed to be shared and portion sizes are more than generous. If you start the night at Lily & Bloom, at least your drinks will be cheap, as this has got to be one of the best happy hours in Hong Kong – your first drink will be $50, your second drink $25 and your third drink only $5! That’s my Friday night sorted!
Lily & Bloom
5-6/F, LKF Tower
33 Wyndham Street
Tel: +852 2810 6166