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Restaurant Review: Cafe Gray Deluxe

By Contributed content 29 September 2015
When it come to enjoying a slap-up meal with a fantastic view, there is only one place that springs to mind for our resident blogger Christy Ma (aka lolleroll). Just make sure you don't fill up on the bread for starters. Little things count, and Cafe Gray certainly knows this. Their attention to details during your dinner is really what makes the overall experience so memorable compared with other fine dining meals I’ve had in Hong Kong.
image The restaurant is located on the 49th floor of Upper House – a relatively new boutique hotel in Admiralty atop Pacific Place – which translates into a beautiful view of Victoria Harbour. They serve western dishes with hints of fusion touches (African, Chinese, Indian etc). They charge $725 for their four course “Market Menu”, which is a relatively inexpensive price tag considering its location, ambience, food, and service. Notably, their sommelier is super knowledgeable and the wine pairing works very well with the dishes (highly recommended). All in all, it’s an excellent choice to treat your loved ones on a special occasion. There are two choices for each course (see the Market Menu on their website) and we picked all of them (there were two of us) to sample them all. To be honest, you can’t really go wrong with any of the choices as we enjoyed them all – it really depends on what fish or dish you like more. image First thing’s first, more bread please! Bread is never immaterial to my meal and it’s appalling that so many restaurants are lazy with this detail (serving non-fresh, hard baguettes). The bread here is unforgettable (not an exaggeration – it’s painful to write this paragraph and look at the above photo right now) – crispy edges with soft centre. It is served with this really delicious yogurt dip (made with yogurt, olive oil and some spices) – so good that I’m going to try to replicate it at home now!

First Course

Before our first course was served, the sommelier poured us a glass of Arteis Champagne. It’s a vintage champagne which is aged for longer; it has soft bubbles and went down our throats super smoothly. With such good champagne to start, it was then that we decided that neither one of us should suffer to be the “designated driver” that night and we took a cab home instead. It’s definitely something I’m going to look out for to try again. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="840"]image Tandoori Spiced Crab Cakes – Avocado, Mango Salad[/caption]   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="840"]image Smoked Brook Trout and Warm Potato Salad, Pickled Red Onions[/caption] The crabcakes are executed brilliantly with a nice crispy edge and squidgy centre. Since it is spiced with tandoori, there is quite an Indian flare to it. The trout potato salad is probably (marginally) my preferred course because to put it simply, I love salmon and trout tastes like salmon. But otherwise, there is a good contrast of flavours in this dish, none of which are overwhelming – a good refreshing starter to begin the meal with.

Second Course

I’m not sure if I’ve had skate wing (type of fish) before, but it tasted like good old normal fish to me (neither bad nor amazing). This dish has a hint of Chinese twist to it – maybe because of the veggie that is used. The ravioli is really outstanding. The ravioli itself is quite carefully crafted with a thin outer layer and generous filling. What I loved most was that it was served in a broth (pretty rare, huh) that had a light soupy taste to it. It’s supposed to be a winter melon broth, but thankfully for me, there was hardly any winter melon taste to it. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="840"]image Skate Wing Meuniere – Spinach and Yau Mak Choi, Anchovy, Lemon Confit[/caption]   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="840"]image Ravioli of Leeks, Porcini and Truffle – Mushroom and Winter Melon Bouillon (broth)[/caption] The sommelier introduced a Pinot Grigio from La Tunella (Italy) for my ravioli and an Austrian Sauvignon Blanc-tasting white wine to go with the skate wing. I thought these two combos were the best wine matches for the night!

Third/Main Course

I was a little hesitant on going for the Market Menu at the start because the main course choices were quite strange and I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy them. But this reminded me that it’s always good to try new things and trust the chef to have good enough judgment to create a weird but tasty combo. Ok, this optimism doesn’t always play out well, but at least it did here. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="840"]image Lamb Tenderloin Tangine, Moroccon Couscous[/caption]   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="840"]image Duck Cassoulet, Saucisse Toulousaine[/caption] I was afraid the Lamb Tenderloin with Couscous would have a “lamby” taste to it and so I went with the Duck Cassoulet. But it turns out both of them were great in their own way. The lamb is not “lamby” at all, it might be because of the sauce, which is a sweet and fruity tagine. The Duck Cassoulet comes on a really delicious bed of beans (and trust me, I usually don’t like beans), which has more meat mixed inside and some tiny breadcrumbs on top. The duck has a nice crispy skin, although the meat is a tad dry for me. The lamb would probably be a better choice if you are OK with sweet sauces. The lamb is served with a really delicious good-body red wine from Tuscany – although I’m biased here because that’s my favourite type of wine anyway. My duck was served with a Pinot Noir from Germany which was full body and intense.


Then came the dessert wine which was apparently was made with botrytis grapes (grapes with growing fungus around it) from Sauterns – which apparently is a less common way of preparing dessert wine. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="840"]image Chocolate Rum Toast with Rum Raisin Ice Cream[/caption]   [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="840"]image Linzer Tart with Bitter Chocolate Ice Cream[/caption] I went with the Linzer Tart, which is made with delicious pastry and served with an intensely chocolate dollop of ice cream. The tart is a tad sour though. I had a bite of the Rum Toast, which has a great Rice Krispies kind of texture and is also served with some ice cream – however I’m just not an alcoholic-dessert type of person! image Though the desserts are not as outstanding as the main course, as I had hoped, these after-dinner chunks of chocolate totally overcompensated. The four course dinner is very substantial so I couldn’t gobble all of these up. They kindly packed the chocolates to go, though my parents had finished them all by the next morning! It’s definitely one of the little things to look forward to when dining at Cafe Gray. Cafe Gray Deluxe, 49/F, Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, (+852) 3968 1106. The entrance to Upper House is right beside J.W. Marriott (atop Pacific Place). The Market Menu (four course set menu) costs $725 before service charge and drinks. 
Hungry for more? Why not check out more of our culinary adventures in the restaurant reviews below? Bon appétit! Restaurant Review: Sushi Sei Restaurant Review: Soi 7 Hip Fusion Thai 5 Best Korean Fusion Restaurants 5 Great Asian Lunch Spots in Tsim Sha Tsui (for under $100) Truffle Shuffle: Hong Kong’s Top 3 Truffle Fries

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