Buffet

Where:
Penthouse by Harlan Goldstein (fuck me, did I fall into a slider and now it’s 2004 and I’m  browsing a website because I’m interested in buying an apartment and a spinning effect is still impressive?  WTF is this panoramic spinning website bullshit? STAAAAHP HARLAN STAAAAHP)
30/F, Midtown Plaza (Soundwill Plaza II)
1 Tang Lung Street
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2970 0828

Price:
HKD258 (+10% service charge) for the lunch set.

The deal:
Harlan Goldstein’s name is thrown around all the time with adjectives like ‘brash’, ‘cocky’, ‘larger than life’ and by his own description the ‘number one celebrity chef of Hong Kong’.  When he’s not jawboning Gordon Ramsay into having a boxing match with him, he’s running four restaurants in the Kong – Gold, Comfort, Sushi To and Penthouse which seem to split people down a fuck yeah / fuck no divide.  Penthouse opened about 6 months ago and it’s the top floor of the new Soundwill Plaza II / Midtown Plaza complex which means you’ve got fuck yeah views of Victoria Harbour displayed through floor-to-ceiling windows.  With a name like “Penthouse”, you can imagine that it’s gonna have the typical Goldstein fancy shizz vibe going for it – massive lighted Penthouse sign, wooden parquetry flooring, marble walls and raised leather banquettes.  It’s Christmas time too so shit was decked out with gold baubles and pine wreaths – I can’t deny it, I fucking love classy festive shit. Despite all the industrial fittings and wooden floors, tables are amply spaced out and with the high ceiling, acoustics get a fuck yeah. Fuck yeah to being able to hear conversation over food!

Penthouse’s lunch set is HKD258 (+10% service charge) but that includes antipasti/appetiser buffet, choice of main, desserts buffet + tea or coffee.  You can add extras (soup, truffles and shiz, steak, fresh juice) for extra bucks if you want, but I fucking eat shit tonnes and I was fine on the standard budget-ass lunch set.  The menu describes the appetiser buffet as a ‘5’ Meter Long “HG” table and I gotta confess that I fucking love a salad / antipasti buffet at lunch because you get to pick the shit you want.  Penthouse’s selection was rad times – no pitiful bowls of corn, capsicum and some really sad looking cucumber.  Fuck yeah boards of salami and prosciutto (melon on the side if you want to do that fruit + prosciutto bullshit, but why average the awesome fuck yeah times of top grade prosciutto down with rockmelon or honeydew?  I DON’T FUCKING UNDERSTAND, but I always see people piling up plates of melon at buffets so I’m missing the goddamn cantaloupe joke somewhere), fresh as fuck salad (menu claims organic), homemade foccacia (but I skip that carb jazz cause I fill up on value proteins at a buffet), fresh pesto, dressings, roughly hewn pieces of parmesan (fuck yeahhhhhhh, but fuck no to only being able to eat one piece due to there being so many other fucking options) and roast vegetables.

For main, inspired by the vases full of Christmas baubles and the wreaths, I ordered the slow cooked turkey with yams for main.  Or perhaps, rather than the festive decorations guiding my decisions, it was my deep fucking love for eating giant birds.  OK, I fucking love eating tiny birds like quails and pigeons too.  OK YOU GOT ME, I PRETTY MUCH LOVE EATING ALL ANIMALS. But true story, when I was at the British Natural Museum of History, I stood at the prehistoric animals section, gazing at a stuffed replica of a Moa and I could only look at dem thighs and ruminate how fucking tasty would a Moa be?? MOA, Y U have to be extinct, so I will never know the beauty of supping on your extinct flesh? I was concerned though that a slab of dry ass boring as fuck turkey breast was about to come my way, because that’s what everyone seems to like.  I always ask people (ie. white folk) why they prefer boring ass breast meat and I always get bullshit answers like “I dunno, I guess it’s easier to eat” and I always want to shout back “Baby food is easy to eat, that doesn’t make it any fucking good though??”, followed by:

OITNBwtfiswrong

But my waiter homie had given me the heads up that they’ve been slow cooking their turkey for six hours and he promised me it was going to be ‘so tender’.  Fuck yeah shout out to the waiter homies at Penthouse who were totally on their shit, water glasses always full and attentive but not in your fucking face. This is truly a Hong Kong Miracle.

When my turkey arrives, it’s presented on a wooden board.  I gotta say because I’m a pedantic crockery homie, I am not down with eating my meal off a chopping / bread board.  I blame Jamie Oliver for starting this trend with his ‘tasting planks’ or whatever the fuck he called them. I’m happy to take my bread off a bread board but fuck me, what’s wrong with a plate for non-bread items? At least Penthouse’s board has a groove around the edge so your turkey juice / crumbs aren’t going to run all over the goddamn place.  But crockery (or lack thereof) aside, the main consists of sliced turkey breast, a turkey thigh roulade, some mashed yam and homemade cranberry sauce.  Dat turkey was a major FUCK YEAH – probably the best festive bird I’ve had in HK for a while and not just because it’s the first one that actually had some dark meat on it.  The thigh is rolled into a roulade which means there are no bones to keep the lazy eaters happy and the breast meat was actually tender and juicy as fuck.  IT’S A FUCKING CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.  The cranberry sauce was made by Penthouse and not out of some lame ass jar, so it avoided the sugar bomb effect and kept that fuck yeah tart cranberry flavour.  The yam (sweet potato) mash was mixed with some pureed apple to keep shit interesting but it didn’t have so much apple that you ended up with some feral fruity sweet yam mash disaster. Dat yam was giving me some serious fuck yeah feels. Fuck yeah to mains which are a slam dunk of fuck yeah components.

I rolled my turkey filled ass straight into the desserts buffet and there weren’t any offerings which looked super fucking rude.  By ‘rude’ I’m referring to when you’re at a dessert buffet and there’s these mini desserts where they’re just too fucking bright, gelatinous or it’s trying to do a “twist on a classic” which means all of a sudden you’re faced with an abomination of an apricot tiramisu or a lavender mint cheesecake. Slight disappointment that something which looked like a mini piece of Christmas Pudding with creme anglaise turned out to be pretty much a brownie (which was still a fuck yeah, but I wanted festive pud pud times after warming up with a turkey main), a fuck yeah mini apple crumble and fuck yeah millefeuille times.  For once, I’ll give big ups to food for ants portioning because after smashing up so much in the preceding rounds, I just wanna be able to have a taste of a few fuck yeah desserts rather than slogging my way through a massive slab of some mediocre dessert.

Finished up with a choice of tea or coffee which is included (vs. getting the HKD50+ extra sting for coffee at the end of the meal) and overall, shit was tight.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhh – attentive service, slick venue, lunch set value and for the first time in my life, I didn’t pass out from boredom and hatred after eating turkey breast. WHERE IS MY DARK MEAT GOD NOW?

Where:
Catalunya HK (Holy fucking shit, functional HK website – fuck yeah!)
G/F Guardian House Morrison Hill
32 Oi Kwan Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2866 7900

Price:
HKD680 for unlimited buffet/mains/desserts/free flow juice.  HKD230 for sangria / cava freeflow.  +10% for service charge and no, coffee/tea is NOT included.  If you want oysters, they’re HKD40 a piece.

The deal:
After receiving a last minute request from some visitors in town, I was calling around at 11am trying to get a champagne brunch booking for the same day.  I was frantically googling for reviews but they were largely meaningless because people just take a few fucking photos of the desserts (which don’t normally taste half as good as they fucking look), drink a lot of champagne and get blinded by booze and the view as to whether the brunch buffet was any fucking good.  I caught a lucky break though as someone ditched their booking at Catalunya and was able to roll my slightly dusty self into cold cuts and cava, to bring me back to life.

My biggest complaint with champagne brunches in HK are either too much fucking choice and quality starts to get spread pretty fucking thin or the mains are just disappointing as fuck.  Catalunya don’t make you choose mains – you hit up the buffet and they’ll bring around a selection of mains.  You can also order eggs in a number of different ways, but there was so much fucking food that I didn’t get involved.  The buffet covers a good range of bread, charcuterie, fish, cheese and salad.  Remember my buffet tips though, don’t fucking fill up on bread though because you have to smash your way through the higher value proposition items.  Make an exception for the toasted sandwiches they bring around – dat Bikini sandwich with its Iberian ham, cheese and truffle knocked away the hangover blues pretty fucking quick smart.

It’s then SHOW TIME and the staff are going to come out with the mains, dancing and displaying the mains to you, all to the strains of a live trumpet player.  They appeared to be genuinely enjoying themselves (versus the soulless dead eyes of an Abercrombie & Fitch flunky, dancing her life away in one lonely spot on the stairs, in a pungent heritage building while shouting over and over ‘HEYYYYYY! HOW’S IT GOING’).  Full fucking marks for the mains which are served right at your table though – the portions are pretty bang on and were a FUCK YEAH to the baby suckling roast pig ‘Segovian’ style (complete with dramatic chopping of the pig using a plate and the subsequent smashing of said plate), squid ink risotto and the salt crusted whole fish.

Sunday brunch is always a marathon and not a goddamn sprint, so we rounded the corner into SWEET TREATS and watched another impressive as fuck, cavalcade of desserts dance around us with the token inclusion of some fruit salad.  Welcome to HK punching stations though, because sweet treats are not served at your table.  Life pro tips – don’t ever get between Asians and a freshly filled buffet, cause we will fuck your shit up.  We weren’t quick enough to get to the churros (serious super pro Asian buffet athletes were in attendance who deftly elbowed their way up to the table in lightning speed) but our waiter homie was kind enough to get the kitchen to make some more for those less gifted athletes in attendance.  Coffee/tea is NOT included which I give a FUCK NO, given the booze + food price tag of HKD1000, I don’t think it would have killed Catalunya’s profit margins to press some beans through some hot water for me.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah on pay day – at HKD1000 all-in for booze + food (and NO fucking coffee) this is not a cheap day out.  Pre-warn your friends if you book so they don’t suffer bill $hock afterwards.

badateating
I’ll always remember a champagne brunch I went to where there were two girls who were imminently getting married and they declared after one plate “Just because you’re at a buffet, it doesn’t mean you have to go crazy” and I was like “Bitch please, I was googling last night tactics on how to eat most effectively at a buffet”.  I’m not even joking because as Benjamin Franklin was reported to have said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” and trust me, you don’t want to be the peanut who fills up on the cheap ass bread and boring as fuck iceberg lettuce salads and then fails to destroy the seafood buffet and the carving station.  FACT.

Where:
Grissini
2F/Grand Hyatt
1 Harbour Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2584 7722

Price:
HKD500ish for a 3 course set lunch.  HKD880 for free flow prosecco Sunday brunch.

The deal:
It sounds like I’m being entirely dramatic when I say that it’s worth going to Grissini alone for the breadsticks.  No one understands me until they go themselves.  I’ve had a few good meals here at Grissini, but all I truly remember are those breadsticks.  I’m sure there were some white plates, white fish, a smear of pesto and a delicately placed sliver of carrot.  But, let’s get back to the main event which is forever etched into my psyche – dat bread.  So at Grissini, they bring out three long breadsticks to the table, wrapped in a white napkin.  You then have to dip them into olive oil / balsamic vinegar and eat them until your belly is entirely distended and you cannot possible eat more.  It’s good to know that when the breadsticks cool down or there’s a little stub left, they bring out more, straight from the pizza oven. Everything else you will eat at Grissini will pale in significance.  I honestly believe this is one of the best fucking bread products I’ve eaten in my life.

From a Sunday brunch perspective, I really enjoyed the Grissini one.  I know in HK, everyone’s all about Zuma (Zuma, Y U no change your brunch menu, ever?!) but while their pasta station was a bit disappointing (under normal circumstances, this would be an automatic fuck no for an ITALIAN place) their antipasti selection, salads and main stations were more interesting than a lot of brunches that I’ve been to.  But, I cannot emphasise this enough – I can’t begin to explain the pure transcendence of dem breadsticks.  GET IN MY LIFE, YOU DOUGHY WONDERS, MY HEART IS YOURS FOREVER.

Addendum – June 2014:  I’ve watched the service at Grissini continue a steady decline over the last year and my recent adventure to gluten town resulted in seeing a total shit show of a service going down.  It’s all well intentioned but when you’re paying that fucking much, it’s not about intention but the fucking result.  Why are the staff unable to clear all the menus once they’ve taken orders?  Why did your meals arrive and out of 8 people, 6 people got the wrong fucking meal?!  FFS HK, I don’t even work in a fucking restaurant and I know how to write a fucking ticket which shows who is having what?! How come when you managed to correct seven of the dishes, the eighth dish remained absent for an uncomfortable amount of time while the other seven diners just looked at our guest waiting for his meal?? I still fucking love those breadsticks with all my heart but you can’t just use white linen tablecloths and expect that to make you a fine dining establishment – DON’T REST ON YOUR DOUGHY BREADSTICK LAURELS YOU LAZY GRAND HYATT FUCKERS.

naomilaurels

The verdict:
Fuck yeah!!

(Addendum:  But based on the shit show I witnessed today – GRISSINI, SORT YO FUCKING SERVICE OUT)

Where:
The Parlour, Hullett House
1881 Heritage  2A Canton Road,
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Phone number:
+852 2988 0000

The deal:
HKD600 per person – seafood/appetiser/dessert buffet + main + fuck yeah, free flow Veuve Clicquot champagne

Verdict: 
FUCK YEAH

 

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