Little things count. And Cafe Gray certainly knows this. Their attention to details during our dinner was really what made the overall experience so memorable compared with other fine dining meals I’ve had in Hong Kong.
The restaurant is located on the 49th floor of Upper House – a relatively new boutique hotel in Admiralty atop Pacific Place – which translates into a beautiful view of Victoria Harbour. They serve western dishes with hints of fusion touches (African, Chinese, Indian…). They charge HK$725 for their four course “Market Menu” which is a relatively inexpensive price tag considering its location, ambience, food and service. Notably, their sommelier was super knowledgeable and the wine pairing worked very well with our dishes (highly recommended). All in all, it’s an excellent choice to treat your loved ones on a special occasion.
There are two choices for each course (see the Market Menu on their website) and we picked all of them (there were two of us) to sample them all. To be honest, you can’t really go wrong with any of the choices as we enjoyed them all – it really depends on what fish or dish you like more.
First thing’s first, more bread please!
Bread is never immaterial to my meal and it’s appalling that so many restaurants are lazy with this detail (serving non-fresh hard baguettes). The bread here was unforgettable (not an exaggeration – it’s painful to write this paragraph and look at the above photo right now) – crispy edges with soft centre. It was served with this really delicious yogurt dip (made with yogurt, olive oil and some spices) – so good that I’m going to try to replicate it at home now!
Before our first course was served, the sommelier poured us a glass of Arteis Champagne. It’s a vintage champagne which is aged for longer; it had soft bubbles and went down our throats super smoothly. With such good champagne to start, it was then we decided that neither one of us should suffer to be the “designated driver” that night and we took a cab home instead. It’s definitely something I’m going to look out for to try again.
The crabcakes were executed brilliantly with a nice crispy edge and squidgy centre. Since it was spiced with tandoori, there was quite an Indian flare to it. The trout potato salad was probably (marginally) my preferred course because to put it simply, I love salmon and trout tastes like salmon. But otherwise, there was a good contrast of flavours in this dish, none of which was overwhelming – a good refreshing starter to begin the meal with.
I’m not sure if I’ve had skate wing (type of fish) before, but it tasted like good old normal fish to me (neither bad nor amazing). This dish had a hint of Chinese twist to it – maybe because of the veggie that was used. The ravioli was really outstanding. The ravioli itself was quite carefully crafted with a thin outer layer and generous filling. What I loved most was that it was served in a broth (pretty rare, huh) that had a light soupy taste to it. It’s supposed to be a winter melon broth but thankfully for me, there was hardly any winter melon taste to it.
The sommelier introduced a Pinot Grigio from La Tunella (Italy) for my ravioli and an Austrian Sauvignon Blanc-tasting white wine to go with the skate wing. I thought these two combos were the best wine matches for the night!
I was a little hesitant on going for the Market Menu at the start because the main course choices were quite strange and I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy them. But this reminded me that it’s always good to try new things and trust the chef to have good enough judgment to create a weird but tasty combo. Ok, this optimism doesn’t always play out well, but at least it did here.
I was afraid the Lamb tenderloin with couscous would have a “lamby” taste to it and so I went with the Duck cassoulet. But it turns out both of them were great in their own way. The lamb was not “lamby” at all, it might be because of the sauce, which was a sweet and fruity tagine. The duck cassoulet came on a really delicious bed of beans (and trust me, I usually don’t like beans), which had more meat mixed inside and some tiny breadcrumbs on top. The duck had a nice crispy skin, although the meat was a tad dry for me. The lamb would probably be a better choice if you are OK with sweet sauces.
The lamb was served with a really delicious good body red wine from Tuscany – although I’m biased here because that’s my favourite type of wine anyway. My duck was served with a Pinot Noir from Germany which was full body and intense.
Then came the dessert wine which was apparently was made with botrytis grapes (grapes with growing fungus around it) from Sauterns – which apparently is a less common way of preparing dessert wine.
I went with the linzer tart, which was made with delicious pastry and served with an intensely chocolate dollop of ice cream. The tart was a tad sour though. I had a bite of the rum toast, which had a great Rice Krispies kind of texture and also served with some ice cream – however I’m just not an alcoholic-dessert type of person!
Though the desserts were not as outstanding as the main course, as I’d hoped, these after-dinner chunks of chocolate totally overcompensated. The four course dinner was very substantial so I couldn’t gobble all of these up. They kindly packed the chocolates to go, though my parents had finished them all by the next morning! It’s definitely one of the little things to look forward to when dining at Cafe Gray.
Cafe Gray Deluxe is located on 49/F, Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong. Phone: 3968 1106. The entrance to Upper House is right beside J.W. Marriott (atop Pacific Place). The Market Menu (four course set menu) costs HK$725 before service charge and drinks.
You may also be interested in:
Creative European-inspired food at The Continental
French food at Bistro du Vin Kennedy Town