It was The Boy’s birthday.
This is one of those perfect reasons to go out and enjoy ourselves silly with some delicious treats for our taste buds. Having had to work on his born day, we needed to make up for lost celebratory time and booked a table at a place that needs no introduction if you live in Hong Kong, Café Gray Deluxe at Upper House. Located on the 49th floor of Upper House, this is a place that The Boy and I have frequented on several occassions but only for drinks. We have always wanted to find out what it’s like on the left hand side (the restaurant bit) as we know the section on the right (the bar and drinkiepoos area) far too well. As this place is uber popular with the locals and tourists alike, you have to reserve a table in advance. Especially if you want to dine with a stunning view of the Victoria Harbour (on a clear evening that is!) at their pièce de résistance seats by the window. You have to be prepared to book well well well ahead as these seats are in high demand – you have been warned but believe me, the early organisation is going to be totally worth it!
As we peruse their food and drink offerings, a wooden slate with warm slices of brown seeded bread along with its herb and olive oil yoghurt dip was presented in front of us. It is as if the waiter knew that we were super hungry and could not have lasted a second longer without some carbie energy! I am never one to complain when it comes to carb delights. Warm, crunchy on the outside but soft dough on the inside – my kind of bread perfection! Not forgetting the gorgeous dip that comes with it, light creamy yoghurt that blends perfectly with the bitter olive oil and fragrant herbs. So good, I could honestly put a spoonful of this dip into my mouth and gob it all down all at once! #sorrynotsorry
Keen to bring in and start feeling that summery vibe, I opted for a fruity, sweet and mild cocktail called REACH AROUND. A mixture of Pimm’s, Aperol, pineapple, lime and passionfruit – this was truly a delicious drink!
^ A glimpse of the popular window seats I mentioned earlier
To kick off our dinner, we shared two Italianesque dishes called SAFFRON PASTA FIORE with stewed tomatoes, thyme and rosemary and LOBSTER BARLEY RISOTTO served with salsify, sunchoke and tarragon emulsion. The pasta was a very light dish made of two perfectly thin and soft pasta layers with a very sweet and tangy tomato sauce inbetween – a perfect plate if you want to satisfy that pasta craving but light enough to not ruin your main. My personal favourite however, was the risotto! Delicious big lobster bites, rich nutty barley that was cooked to chewy perfection, all topped off with a creamy and flavourful tarragon emulsion. This is easily a dish that I could eat all day, every day!
My choice for the main attraction comes as no surprise to those who know me well (or too well!), CHARRED SEA BASS served on a bed of green and yellow zucchini pappardelle with lemon thyme and honey-lavender jus. When it comes to choosing my main, I am a real sucker for fish plates. There’s something about going to a nice restaurant and having a well prepared fish dish cooked for me. This is probably because fish is one of those things that I absolutely love to eat but hate to cook at home – the smell and the delicate preparation process from descaling to deboning. So, this is something I have always seen as a real treat! Thankfully, this dish did not disappoint! Perfectly charred and crispy skin that comes complete with its hit of bitterness that kicks at the back of your tongue, plump and perfectly cooked fish that practically melts in your mouth, all set against a tangy jus mixed with crunchy pappardelle shaped zucchini. Making this dish a dream come true if you are in search of a dish that offers a diverse range of flavours and textures that will intrigue your taste buds!
The birthday boy went for a more manly PRIME NATURAL KANSAS STRIPLOIN STEAK ON THE BOARD that is served with a side of onion rings, creamed spinach, Café Gray steak sauce and ketchup. The Boy was very happy with his steak and said that it was well seasoned and delish! It was slightly redder than he requested but the flavour and texture certainly made up for it. The sides were great accompaniments to the steak, crisp fluffy fries and lightly battered onion rings (although it was a tad on the soft side and lacked it’s crunch when you bite into it). Unfortunately the creamed spinach was nothing to write home about. The spinach wasn’t really creamed, it was more like finely chopped spinach in a watery white sauce. Overall, it was good main dish.
Moving on to pudding. Again, for people who know me well, they will know that I cannot celebrate someone’s birthday without doing a little surprise for the birthday boy or girl. For me, birthday is a big occassion in everyone’s lives. I believe, that we are all here in this world for a reason, whatever it is. This reason may still be unknown but nevertheless, each and every one of us deserve to be celebrated and that celebration should be on our birthday. So, if a loved one’s birthday is coming up, don’t forget to spoil them. I don’t mean this in a material way, but spoil them with love and show them how much you care. Trust me, a little gesture goes a long way, a little gesture to you might be something that they will forever cherish in their heart!
So, for him, I secretly contacted the restaurant and dealt with their helpful Operations Manager to arrange this little birthday surprise.
For his birthday cake, the boy had MANDARIN ORANGE RICOTTA CHEESECAKE served with chocolate sorbet. It was so good that he did a Joey from Friends and did not share his dessert. Not that I minded, it was his special day so I let him enjoy his treat in peace. He won’t be so lucky next time though, mwahahahaha!
Pour moi, I went for a chocolatey dessert – a staple choice especially for us ladies. CHOCOLATE RUM TOAST served with rum-raisin ice cream. At first, it looked like I was about to indulge in a warm brownie-type dessert with slices of banana and ice cream. Oh hell no, this was not what I wanted! But as they say, never judge a book by it’s cover, so I scooped up my first spoonful, complete with all of the bits and bots from the dish, and put it in my mouth. I then died and went to dessert heaven. I honestly cannot describe to you how AMAZING this dessert was – words will not do any justice! That thing that I said looked like a brownie was in fact a combination of cripsy crust with a soft texture in the middle (almost brioche-like) that has a rich but not sickly chocolate flavour – it has that perfect chocolatey combo of darkness with a hint of milk sweetness. The boozy rum-raisin ice cream worked harmoniously with the toast and the caramel soaked bananas. Please please please please PLEASE promise me that you will order this dish when you visit Café Gray! It’s flavours are made up of things that you look for in a dessert and that will also not leave you with a sickly sweet taste in your mouth. Hands down one of the best puddings I have ever had.
High from our successful meal, we were ready to roll each other into a taxi and head back home. But wait, there’s more! After getting the attention of a waiter and doing the internationally recognised sign for asking the bill (or to be more precise, holding your hand up and acting like you are signing an invisible cheque in the air), not only did he come back with the bill, he also had these crushed chocolate chunk plates in his hand.
One side consisting of sweet milk chocolate chunks with bitter dark choco chunks on the other. In each of the plates, you will also find a deliciously sweet sugared orange peel jelly with its tip dipped in chocolate. And in the middle, was a square piece of sweet choux pastry covered in icing sugar – this was particularly enjoyed by The Boy. I am not shameful to say that even though our bellies were completely full, we (mostly me) had a fair few of the chocolate chunks! What can I say, never put food in front of me because I am on an ongoing see-food diet!
Okay, now it really is time to go home.
All my ♥,