Friday, June 14, 2024

The Magistracy "Private" Room

Décor of Magistracy Dining Room definitely appeals to certain type of people – those who read and dreamed all about the Victorian era glamor or binge-watch on Downton Abby, for example. Probably same can be said about their style of dishes but to a lesser extent; after all old-school British cuisine never got a good reputation even to the locals. That mixed impression set the tone of my mood as I set foot into the restaurant – now in its second year of operations - for the first time recently and checked out their latest menu, reinvented by Chef Alyn Williams who just came on board. 

We were seated in one of their private rooms, away from the splendid, IG-worthy main dining room with the castle-like interior, big round tables, leather couches and high ceiling. What we got instead was an intimate space comfortably sit around 6-8 with all the privacy you want plus the terrace. We had our fair share of dishes from the special menu catered specifically for us with many of their signature and new dishes showcasing chef’s cooking style. 

Even the bread course has British-style written all over the place with the freshly baked sourdough paired with whipped marmite butter on the side. The Dungeness Crab course was prepared in front of us by carefully mixing the picked fresh crab meat with mayo and condiments and served with the fluffy toasted crumpets (that’s like the griddle pancakes from you non-Brits) Can’t go wrong with the bright seafood flavor well mixed with mayo with the piece of warm, soft, buttery pancakes. We continued with a second cold seafood course of lobster salad with greens, avocado and dressing – standard steakhouse fare with good quality ingredients and flavor. 

Moving on to even more appetizer dishes, this time with ones served warm. The Souffle Arnold Bennett was the most impressive, with the Fish Souffle made with Smoked Haddock and Lincolnshire Poacher cheese and served with a creamy beurre blanc sauce and root vegetables. It’s rich, fulfilling yet comforting. 

Three main courses were served, first the steamed Atlantic cod fillet with crispy caviar, then the Roasted Three Yellow Chicken with shortcrust pastry pie filled with braised leg and vegetables. The piece of local chicken was roasted perfectly with nice juicy meat and crispy skin, but I was more impressed by the pot pie with the crumbly pastry crust and creamy chicken stew underneath, something I am happy to have every day. The Roast Beef served from  the silver trolley always wow the crowd, but this time it was the side order of Confit Potatoes that was worth mentioning, done Pommes Pont Neuf style with nice golden crispy crust and soft interior done with repeated cooking in hot oil. 

Glad I did save room for desserts as Chef Alyn decided to serve us an additional sweet course after the Salted Caramel Tart that was listed on the menu. But I am glad he did – it will be a crime not finishing with the delicious Sticky Toffee Pudding wih vanilla ice cream (and extra warm caramel poured on top), just about the only British dish I normally would crave for. 

I confess I did come with certain degree of cynicism but I went home somewhat convinced by the dishes we managed to try and agreed there are more substance than what I saw on the surface. For one who craves for British food or those who looks for a venue for celebration or just to dress up, this is the place to be. 

(Meal was by invitation)

When? April 29 2024
Where? The Magistracy Dining Room, 1 Arbuthnot Road, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Poached and Roasted Three Yellow Chicken served with Shortcrust Pastry Pie filled with braised leg and vegetables

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