Champagne Brunch

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.

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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