Monday, June 6, 2016

Early Saturday Breakfast

I am probably one of the few in town who prefer the ambiance of MO Bar inside Landmark Mandarin Oriental during the day rather than at night. While most prefer hanging out at the trendy bar with the party-going, seen-and-be-seen crowd with DJ music in the background every evening from dusk til dawn, I actually like the quieter day-time setting, chilling and relaxing on the leather couches with mild sunshine beaming in through the window looking out to the busy Central streets.

I need to take a bus ride up north from Central one Saturday morning so before I did that, I dropped by MO Bar for an early breakfast for some "me" time before a full day of activities. Both restaurants at Landmark Mandarin Oriental - Amber upstairs and MO Bar on the ground floor - open for breakfast to both hotel guests and walk-in customers - a rather unusual arrangement given the hotel isn't that huge. While I do like the decor and the well-selected a la carte breakfast courses served inside Amber dining room (one of the few Michelin-starred restaurants with a breakfast menu), today I was more in the mood for the buffet breakfast offered at MO Bar (they got an a la carte menu too)

It wasn't crowded when I arrived early in the morning with just a handful of early risers, but more came in as the morning progressed, with maybe 80% hotel guests and 20% of so walking in. I sat down on a couch right by the window with the full view of the dishes laid out nicely at the counter around the bar area.

Given the size of MO Bar and the hotel, I thought they got more food than it appeared to have, with the wide spread of hot and cold dishes across from one end of the bar to another. Only thing that was missing was the option to have eggs to order. Instead, they only got several options pre-made and served on individual pans warmed on the hot plate. Well, the Eggs Benedict with ham and spinach on a toasted English muffin and hollandaise sauce was still very much eatable, but definitely couldn't compare with one cooked to order.

I was surprised the selection leaned heavily towards Asian dishes, from the do-it-yourself congee station to several dimsum items, to fried rice to the noodles station. I got no issue with that, but I guess that somewhat reflected the clientele profile of the hotel in this new era.

But I was most impressive with their pastry basket – with that I could conveniently overlook some other shortcomings. They got at least a dozen of different items – the baguette, brioche, a few types of bread, croissant and sweet pastries. And all in excellent quality – kudos to their pastry team. I probably had more than my fair share of croissants and baguettes, with generous smear of butter, of course. In addition, they also got a decent cold cut, cheese and yogurt selection. As I said, they got everything you need for a satisfying breakfast.

The service was great – with such a small dining area the staff was attentive and friendly. Except one small complaint – it did take a while for them to deliver coffees to the table as they had to be made at the pantry upstairs and brought down, and I suspect they only have one machine handling all the orders. That's not a problem for me since I was in no hurry in a lazy morning.

Overall, I reckon it’s a good breakfast spot especially during weekends and I enjoyed spending a bit of quiet time in the usually busy Central. That's a good incentive to rise early to eat!

When? May 21 2016
Where? MO Bar at Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen's Road West, Central

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