Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Roast at Four Seasons Hong Kong

What is not to like about Sunday roast? A weekend afternoon to sit down and chill, to wind down with all work-related busyness behind, to meet up with friends and family around the table over freshly roasted meat, veggies, wines (or beers) and more... I was wondering as I sat leisurely at The Lounge of Four Seasons Hong Kong one April Sunday afternoon, at an invitation tasting event hosted by the hotel.

This new Sunday Roast menu was launched at the restaurant about a month ago. It featured a 3-course brunch with choices for appetizer and main course and the menu is going to change periodically, I was told. But for this afternoon, we were not given just one choice for each course but all of them to share at the table, hence saved us the struggle of having to juggle between the options.

We started with the Alaskan King Crab salad. It's served with a white balsamic vinaigrette which was surprisingly subtle (without a sharp tartness I was expecting) and blanded in well with the rest of the ingredients (apple juliennes, sundried tomatoes and romaine lettuces). I particularly liked the sundried tomatoes with this sweetness, succulence and concentrated flavors which could only be made by preparing them in-house and dried slowly over a long period of time. The portion of the de-shelled giant crabs was generous too, and they were good on its own or with the cocktail dressing that were provided on the side.

Pumpkin soup was more a winter dish to me but this one was refreshing with the pumpkins roasted before pureeing, and a dollop of coconut ginger cream added on top on the bowl. The ginger flavor wasn't too overwhelming and crowned the soup with a good, mellow kick, and the coconut added to the creaminess and sweetness to the already-rich soup base. But I probably would still go for the salad if I really had to choose between the two.

Our main courses were served family style with both dishes brought to us on a wooden board with all the sides and condiments. The chicken was roasted whole with lemon and thyme. Looked great but it's a bit dry inside - perhaps some gravy would have helped, but the meat itself is tender and flavorful, especially with the skin on. Another choice, roast rib eye was definitely the more interesting of the two - juicy, balanced, cooked at the right doneness (medium rare), tender and tasty. Also worth mentioning was the side dishes of roast root vegetables (parsnips, beetroots, turnips, baby carrots, and heirloom carrots) and shallots, whole roasted garlic, mashed potatoes, and slow-braised butter beans with parmesan and herbs. The veggies were colorful and full of different flavors served on a pretty copper pan, the mashed potatoes were smooth and creamy, but the beans... well it's okay, but definitely not my favorite of the day. Nothing special, I guess, plus I am never a fan of beans.

I also liked the somewhat funny combination of warm toffee pudding and black currant sorbet as dessert of the day. I think most of us at the table probably raised our eye brows as this dish was brought in, wondered how on earth could we finish this given the amount of food we already had. But surprisingly with the black currant sorbet, the pudding didn't feel as filling as it looked, and we eventually emptied the dish. There's always room for dessert, isn't it?

During brunch we went with the regular wines that were served at the restaurant. Well, the first one, the Iconoclast 2011 Chardonnay, was literally a house wine, as it is produced exclusively for Four Seasons by Terlato Family Vineyards of Russian River Valley (of California). It's a typical new world Chardonnay - big, full-bodied (but not very buttery), stone-fruit aroma on the nose, then refreshing apple flavor on the palate. Not very complex but enjoyable, and its crisp, good acidity makes this a good wine for daytime, casual kind of drinking. The other one we had, a 2006 Chateau Rollan de By, a Cru Bourgeois from Medoc was also very pleasant and certainly came of age with just the right ripe red-fruit flavors opening up and okay smooth tannins after a while.

Overall I gave my thumbs up for the meal. The place was never overly crowded despite it was quite full when we were there; it's comfortable; view was gorgeous; the service was excellent, and the food was everything you expected for a Sunday roast at the top hotel in town. They probably did throw in some extras for our meal - so the portion shown in the picture would not necessarily be indicative of what a "real" customer gets from this menu, but I think I am sure it would be sufficient, plus it's more than reasonably priced ($480 + 10% without wine) and certainly offers excellent value for money. I was so tempted to pack away the tiny bit of my leftovers of chicken and beef... that would have made good sandwichs filling for my lunch the next day - I was just a bit embarrassed to ask - that's how good the food was.

I was surprised as I realized this is only the first time I set foot inside this restaurant (despite having tried all other dining outlets in the hotel multiple times), but this certainly won't be the last. A comfortable setting, good service, awesome food, and hey, they even threw in a live piano performance that entertained their customers all afternoon as a bonus, what is not to like about Sunday roast here?

Thanks Four Seasons Hong Kong for their kind invitation.

When? April 28 2013
Where? The Lounge, Four Seasons Hong Kong
Menu highlight? From Sunday Roast Menu - Roast Australian Black Angus Rib Eye Steak