Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sunday Brunch at the Penthouse

We were chilling with some friends at Penthouse by Harlan Goldstein on a Sunday afternoon. The restaurant - the newest addition to the Chef/Restauranteur Harlan G's culinary empire - only opened a few weeks ago on top of the just-completed Midtown building - said to be the next Causeway Bay landmark featuring a bunch of soon-to-be-opened restaurants that got people excited about.

I think everyone who visited the place would be stunned by the gorgeous view as they stepped out of the elevator. Even though it's only the 30th floor, through the floor-to-ceiling window which stretches the entire side of the dining room guests would have an unobstructed view of the Victoria Harbor with the skyline from both sides, and on a clear day like the one we had on the day of visit, we could even see the entire Kowloon Peninsula with the mountains as a perfect backdrop. This is a billion dollar view and I think this would be a perfect venue to treat any out of town guests to impress them with the best of Hong Kong. 

During day time the setting of the restaurant was relaxed and comfortable - reminded me of Harlan's other restaurant Comfort in LKF which I visited a few months ago, but this is even more casual yet still kept the flair of his flamboyant style, with the gold and black accent found in the decor. At the entrance was the bar area along with the long table filled with food, then most of the tables in the dining area offered an excellent view - I reckon there's no need to sweat about fighting for the tables by the window. We were seated at a large rounded booth at the back and we didn't feel like missing anything.

At the time of our visit they were serving a set lunch menu 7-day a week, which is of semi-buffet style, along with the regular a la carte menu. We got to pick our appetizers at the long table near the entrance, then have a choice of mains which would be brought to us at the table before going back out for desserts. (I heard they were planning to do a more elaborate Sunday brunch with some additional food options like an egg station, so this may soon be changed)

The appetizer choices were pretty predictable - parma ham (with melon on the side of course - the way is done in every Italian restaurants in Hong Kong all seasons long) and other charcuterie items, focaccia with pesto sauce, salad greens with the usual dressings, parmesan cheese, brie on toast, grilled vegetables and a few more salad choices. Don't get me wrong - predictable they might be but I think they were of great quality. If not only I was saving my appetite for the main course I would have a few more plateful of those.

They offered a wide selection of main course options - pasta, fish, chicken, burger and hanger steak. I would have gone for the grilled hanger steak if not they charged extra for that selection - which I thought was a bit excessive. At the end I went with my second choice which was the "HG Burger". This is probably the earliest signature dish of Harlan G that put him on the map of the Hong Kong culinary scene in the first place (well before all the gourmet burger craze in town), and the one dish that I love since the good old days. The HG Burger served here is a similar version that he's been serving in his other restaurants, with a loosely-packed thick beef patty coated with melted gouda cheese, and served with a long slice of applewood-smoked bacon, tomatoes and onions and a soft, toasted brioche bun. It's of good portion, even though it's somewhat cumbersome to assemble without making a mess - but it's delicious. I like each individual components except the mustard mayo, which I think it's a bit too sharp for the burger. I could totally do my burger without. I also like the thick-cut fries served on the side - crispy on the outside, and almost creamy inside.

The desserts were cute - there were many selections on one end of the buffet table, all served in individual portions so I was tempted to try them all. The chocolate mousse on a little cup was my favorite of the afternoon, so were the almond macaroon cookies. I heard the tiramisu was good too, and I imagine the selection changes regularly from time to time to keep it interesting.

With this view, this food and at this price level, I think this is one Harlan G restaurant that has my nod. We all just sat, ate, sipped our Prosecco, stared at the clear sky and let the lazy day went by - wish we could be like that every day.

When? July 13 2014
Where? Penthouse by Harlan Goldstein, Level 30, Soundview Plaza II Midtown, 1-29 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay
Menu Highlights? HG Burger with Gouda Cheese, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Mustard Mayo

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