Monday, October 2, 2017

Not The Usual Lounge

It's just unfair to put The Lounge at Four Seasons Hong Kong on the list among other hotel cafes. True they all serve the somewhat predictable menu trying to cater to a wide spectrum of customers, from proper breakfasts to sandwiches to salad and pasta, and of course the must-have "Asian Delights" section (whatever it's called in individual places) with dishes like wonton noodle soup and chicken rice. Plus the afternoon tea completed with the silver-plated tower with all the sweet and savory goodies. That's what this kind of restaurants are designed for in the first place.

But then The Lounge has so much more - with delicate and fancy dishes on their a la carte menu that would surely give any fine-dining outlets around town run for their money. To the extent I would not hesitate to recommend the place to others who are looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion with family and don't want anything too uptight and formal.

I was there recently to catch up with my friend M who works at the hotel - it's been a long while since we last saw each other so this was indeed overdue. Going through the menu and decide what to eat was always a struggle, with so many things I wanted to try - but then Andrea, their executive chef, came to rescue, offered us to just leave it to him.

While munching on the irresistible bread from the basket, we started with the salad. It's fancy but not over the top - it's the Four Seasons we are talking about so I didn't expect anything less, normally. A couple giant Alaskan king crab leg lied on top of young romaine, mango, avocado, green apple with a vanilla dressing. It's a good way to start, especially as a summer appetizer.

I always thought here they served some of the best pasta dishes in all of Hong Kong (thanks to Andrea for introducing a touch of his hometown flavor here), and I love our ravioli today, with just such straight forward presentation with the rich creamy sheep ricotta filling and more grated Parmesan cheese grated on top.

And that beef main course... oh my God it's mind-blowing. Starting with the impeccable presentation with a piece of tender beef short ribs smothered with a jus reduction glaze, then on the side was grilled ceps, figs and pumpkin puree. This is not just café-quality dish but one saved for Michelin-starred establishments. And it was delicious - meat was super tender with the flavorful glaze on top and on the side, and the seasonal cep mushrooms were plump and well-charred, balanced by the slightly sweet and juicy figs. And this is just something available in their regular set lunch menu - that's extraordinary!

Both of us were too full for anything else after the salad and the beef, but of course we couldn't say no when we saw our friend and the hotel pastry chef Ringo coming over with desserts in hand for us. The chocolate mousse with verbena sorbet was just of the right portion and for a refreshing end of a casual meal just for a quick catch-up. Thanks for the lovely lunch guys - we should do this more often!

(Meal was by invitation and courtesy of the hotel)

When? September 18 2017
Where? The Lounge at Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Beef Short Ribs with Ceps and Figs

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