Fairly self-explanatory – my five favourite desserts in Hong Kong from 2018. As ever, better late than never… let’s say I was aiming for Chinese New Year instead, shall we?
Basically anything, Bakehouse
If you have even the mildest of passing interests in baked goods, Bakehouse is basically the most important opening in Hong Kong in the past decade (yes, nothing like a grand overblown statement to kick things off). Ever since bona fide pastry genius Gregoire Michaud left his position of Executive Pastry Chef at Four Seasons Hong Kong far too many years ago, carb addicts have been waited with baited hungry breath for him to open up his own bakery shop.
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Because it’s tradition that I feel the need to tell you my favourite desserts in Hong Kong every year… and also, that I don’t get round to writing my end-of-year list until the beginning of the new one!
Mr Rech, Rech
If I had to narrow this list down to just one favourite dish of 2017, it would be this – a truly revelatory whirlwind of dessert magic at the Intercontinental Hong Kong’s revamped Alain Ducasse restaurant.
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Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…
There’s just something about Chesa in The Peninsula Hong Kong that makes me want to sing Christmas carols whatever time of year it is. (Luckily, we’ve now hit the festive season full-swing, so I sound somewhat less of a loon.)
One of the only Swiss restaurants in Hong Kong, Chesa has been going strong for over 40 years – and once you’ve stepped into its cosy chalet surroundings, you’ll understand why. It feels like a secret Alpine escape, not just from bustling Tsim Sha Tsui, but the whole of Hong Kong itself. With its dark wood panelling, rustic furniture and cute mountain chalet details (think cross-stitch cushions and cuckoo clocks), it’s a gorgeous little grotto that just begs for curling by the fire with a cup of cocoa and comedy Christmas jumper.
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There’s something of a Brit invasion going on in Hong Kong’s restaurant scene right now – Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen, Jason Atherton’s Aberdeen Street Social, Tom Aitkens at The Pawn, even Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian. Well, here’s another one, except it’s not a famous chef but a famous restaurant – London’s award-winning Argentinian steakhouse, Gaucho.
Brought over to Hong Kong by Dining Concepts (yep, them again – importers of Ramsay, Laurent Tourondel, Michael White et al), Gaucho takes over the space of another of the group’s steakhouses, Mario Batalli’s Carnevino, at a super convenient location in LHT Tower next to Central MTR.
The space is unashamedly masculine, but in an almost metrosexual way – think sleek black surfaces, shiny mirrored accents and aeons of cow hide everywhere (I dare you to resist stroking it).
In case you’re wondering what makes an Argentinian steakhouse Argentinian, it’s that the cows are from Argentina… simple as that (and sadly not that they’re doing Argentine Tangos amidst the pampas; don’t worry, they’re free-range and fed on 17 types of pesticide-free grass in the most luscious grasslands in the world, so they’re probably not too bothered about missing their chance for Strictly Come Dancing fame). Elsewhere, the menu features further Argentine accents in the form of cooking techniques (hola open-fire asado grills), ingredients (hola chorizo and dulce de leche) and dishes (hola ceviche and empanadas).
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I have never needed an excuse to eat ice-cream… but if you’re the kind of person that does, then consider this:
a) Hong Kong’s hot and humid weather means that ice-cream is just the kind of delicious cool-down that the doctor ordered
b) If it isn’t hot and humid, then there’s most probably a torrential thunderstorm – in which case, ice-cream is the perfect rainy day pick-me-up instead!
However, not all ice-creams are created equal and sometimes a 99 from Mr Whippy just doesn’t cut the soft-serve. Instead, may I present you with the King Of The Sundaes, the Gelato VIP – Chef Ringo Chan of the Four Seasons Hong Kong, who has created some of the most beautiful, creative and downright delicious ice-creams I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting brain-freeze from.
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Some days, I just have dessert for lunch (#sorrynotsorry). So if you’re as unhealthy as me and believe dessert is good enough to be a meal in itself, then ATUM Desserant might be your next sugar rush enabler.
Nestled on the 16th floor of a newly built commercial building in Causeway Bay, ATUM Desserant isn’t exactly the kind of location you just stumble upon – these are destination desserts, people! It’s basically a dessert bar set-up; although there are a couple of separate tables, most of the seats are arranged around the open kitchen, so you can watch the action table-side. And forget your humble Spotted Dick or sticky toffee pudding – this is some space-age dessert wizardry… Think The Jetsons crossed with Harry Potter by way of Heston Blumenthal and you’re somewhere in the right galaxy.
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