Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Mixed Feeling - Gaddi's

Whether it's because of its location, its gorgeously-designed dining space with Victorian windows, high ceiling, crystal chandeliers and candlestands or its classily-dressed wait-staff, in our mind, dining at Gaddi's is never a light-hearted affair. Even without the dress code (there is one actually), you would have felt obliged to dress up a notch so as to not feel too out of place with the classic, colonial decor - of course, whether you like it or not that way is a personal preference.

My bro and sis-in-law came back to Hong Kong recently for a week-long break to attend a wedding, so we met up for lunch here as this was the only time slot we were both available. The maitre d' seated us in the middle of the dining room after everyone arrived. Well, a few tables were occupied here and there, but it's so quiet that I can almost hear the pin drops. To be honest I am not a big fan of such "tranquility", felt more like sitting in a deserted place that made me feel a bit uncomfortable - again, a matter of personal preference.

Compared to its dinner menu, the menu du dejeuner obviously offers better value for money - a 3-course lunch with options to choose from for appetizer, main, and dessert (or cheese if you so choose). It came with a glass of wine too, though there's nothing particular to write home about for a rustic, typical Macon Village that I had (or the Australian shiraz as the other option).

The food this afternoon wasn't bad, per se, just that it's certainly not as inspiring as previous times when we tried the chef's table dinner menu - which I didn't blame him cuz that would have been four times as expensive. I love the presentation of all the courses, both in terms of plating and how the food's brought to the table - so elegantly done that it's certainly a class of its own. Well, this is once called the best French restaurant in the Far East for a reason, I suppose.

My main course - Bresse chicken confit with lentils - is a classic winter dish cooked beautifully and I have to tip my hat off to Chef Goodridge for that.  It's served with a foam of foie gras which did bring a balanced flavor and a new facet of texture to the plate, figuratively speaking. I also adored my dessert of prune and pecan clafoutis - another iconic French dish - this time served with a quenelle of armagnac icecream.

Unfortunately service is one of the areas that we found especially dissappointing this afternoon. So often when we turned around looking for our waiter we found none within our proximity, not to mention the mere fact that we actually had to ask - several times - for simple things such as having our bread plates and water glasses filled. We almost have to resort to the rather rude two-hand wave in order to get some attention from someone - at one point I even considered calling the maitre d' on the phone for rescue. From our past experience that's very not typical of this hotel I must say, especially from this very dining outlet. Perhaps that made it even more of a let-down.

We can certainly live with a little less uptightness, a more "lively" dining room and definitely more attentive service, yet we wouldn't complain too much after sitting down for a decent meal like this - we became even more appreciative to that once we saw the long waiting line for the "famous" afternoon tea downstairs as we made our way back to the hotel lobby. But next time, we will probably save up to enjoy a sumptuous dinner here rather than coming for the presumably better-valued lunch.

when? November 13 2010
where? Gaddi's, The Peninsula, TST, Hong Kong
menu highlights?  Bresse chicken confit with Puy lentils and goose liver

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