Hong Kong’s foodie scene is getting its groove back. Carolynne Dear reviews Harbourside Grill, which opened this week.
Enjoying the city views at Harbourside Grill.
I suspect I’m the jinx. When I visited this dining space inside the Glasshouse Extension of Harbour City two years ago, it was to attend the media launch of Gordon Ramsay’s Maze restaurant. Rather disappointingly, the ‘cocktails on the terrace’ welcome had been cancelled due to torrential rain.
Maze has since closed, and when I arrived at the same space last month for the media launch of Harbourside Grill, the outdoor furniture was again shrouded in protective waterproof coverings following a day of thunderstorms and drenching showers.
Which is a shame, because this particular restaurant terrace is one of the best in Hong Kong. It’s generously sized and its sweeping, 180-degree views take in the Star ferry terminal and Tsim Sha Tsui on one side, run the breadth of Hong Kong Island, and (if you’re there at dusk) swing round to the setting sun over Lantau and the outlying islands on the other. It’s also a perfect spot for enjoying the 8pm light show.
The interior lay-out remains largely similar to its days as Maze, although with a slightly more sophisticated veneer. The L-shaped design means most tables are window-side and all have harbour views.
The evening kicked off with a round of cocktails. My Alaska Sour (white rum, sage, coconut, Chartreuse yellow and lime) was on point.
We were seated at a corner table where we were able to enjoy watching the city light up as dusk settled into night.
Chef Armand Sablon boasts a fine French culinary pedigree, with a dash of top-restaurant experience in London. He’s now taken the helm at Harbourside Grill with a Gallic-influenced menu.
The terrace menu is a predictably lighter affair, focusing more on salads and seafood dishes while you enjoy a glass of something cold.
Inside, we began our tasting with a plate of deliciously plump, seared Hokkaido scallops, served with crispy pork belly, curried cauliflower puree, capers and golden raisins.
Appetites well and truly whetted, we moved on to poached Yorkshire asparagus with a Colman’s Mustard and shallot dressing, topped with sliced salt-cured egg yolk.
The steak tartare was served tableside with grilled sourdough and a French bean, truffle aioli, watercress and parmesan salad. I’m not usually a fan of steak tartare, but surprisingly, for me, this was the standout of the evening. The expertly mixed Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco gave the meat a perfect, but not overpowering, bite.
The glossy tarte tatin and creme fraiche.
We enjoyed a fish course featuring sea bass with crushed potatoes in a creamy lobster bisque. And then it was on to the steak. Top cuts included wet-aged USDA-certified ribeye that melted in the mouth, wet-aged US sirloin and five-week dry-aged T-bone from the UK.
Just when I thought I couldn’t eat another morsel, out popped from the kitchen a gleaming tarte tatin (don’t miss this, it’s really rather good), a mango cheesecake and a buttermilk basil panna cotta.
Full and extremely happy, I managed to stagger the short distance downstairs to Star Ferry Terminal and from there it was a moonlit trip back to Hong Kong Island now that the rain had finally stopped.
Harbourside Grill, Shop OTE401, Level 4, Ocean Terminal Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui. +852 2619 9100.
Asia Family Traveller was a guest of Harbourside Grill.