Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Brunch on the Rooftop

We couldn’t have asked for a better weather to be up at the rooftop of The Murray to enjoy the Sunday brunch at Popinjays a few weeks ago. We had a pleasant meal at The Tai Pan just downstairs previously and we expected to be impressed once again.

One could easily argue the restaurant – built on top of the original structure and accessible by a private elevator – offered one of the best views in town, with sweeping sights with the city skyline on one side and the green landscape on another. I also loved the interior of the dining area with the modern color tones and contemporary fittings with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides – with Forster + Partners being the designer I guess we wouldn’t expect anything less.

On weekends they are offering a prix-fixe brunch menu which was very similar to the one at The Tai Pan, with the exception being all dishes were served to the table instead of the semi-buffet options, but there were a choice of appetizer and main courses. We started with a Fine de Claire oyster served with shallot vinaigrette on the side and a mini seafood platter along with the bread basket. The oyster was loaded with mineral flavor and I thought the bite-sized seafood canapes were alright, albeit a bit small in portion.

I am glad I looked through the rather plain description and went for the “Creamy Scrambled Farm Egg with Wild Mixed Mushrooms” as my egg course. The egg was done just as described – soft and creamy – and mixing in was a combination of mushrooms, including morels, brown champignon mushrooms and truffle shavings. Not something out of the world but comforting – only thing missing is a piece of toast which would have been perfect for the dish. After that it’s the crab bisque, with a piece of crab leg, golden turnip and chunks of fennel on top.

There were a choice of five different main courses, similar to what’s offered downstairs. My seafood course came slightly different than what I originally thought – to start I wouldn’t call the side of sautéed vegetables a “cassoulet”. And a real cassoulet would actually work much better with the fish, a piece of Chilean sea bass fillet baked skin-on with miso glaze on top, with a similar richness in flavor to complement each other. Other than that the dish was fine, on par with what I expected from any high-end hotel restaurant.

To end our meal, we were served a platter of mini cakes – my favorite was the strawberry mousse dome with great texture and the right sweetness. The menu was paired with a few wines offered as part of the brunch menu. Couldn’t go wrong with the Ruinart Champagne – same as the one served at The Tai Pan – and I finished with the Sauternes that went well with the dessert. Deep floral nose, honeysuckle, dried apricot, nice botrytis flavor and medium finish.

Gave us the energy to go on making history with 2 million people after the meal.

(The meal was by invitation)

When? June 16 2019
Where? Popinjays at The Murray, 22 Cotten Tree Drive, Central
Menu Highlights? Creamy Scrambled Farm Egg with Wild Mixed Mushrooms
Champagne Ruinart "R de Ruinart" Brut NV
2005 Chateau Rayne-Vigneau, AOC Sauternes
Web: www.niccolohotels.com/en/hotels/hongkong/central/the_murray_a_niccolo_hotel_hong_kong/restaurants_and_bars/popinjays.html

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