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There is little in the décor at Brasserie on the Eighth that captures the imagination but the eighth-floor restaurant in Conrad Hong Kong is a pleasant place in which to dine, its dual-level seating and large windows lending the restaurant a sense of space, particularly when combined with high ceilings, muted colour tones and well positioned tables.
Classic French cuisine, in some cases with a twist, is the order of the day at Brasserie on the Eighth, as its name might suggest. While a decent selection of jet-fresh seafood is on offer to start, we go for classic and well-executed examples of French Onion soup, a little heavy on the wine but rich in beef and onion flavour with a mix of brown and red onions throughout the soup base and topped with a Gruyere cheese-covered bread slice. The steak tartare is balanced and well seasoned and importantly a perfect chop, not overly minced and accompanied by a toasted bread roll. For main courses, the oven-roasted veal chop is served with clams that complement the tender meat well, while the signature line-caught French sea bass is firm in texture and interestingly flavoured with anise and topped with baby fennel that gives it distinct aromatic liquorice notes and pairs well with the rich tomato sauce and chopped Nicoise olives that make a more usual pairing to white fish. For dessert the soufflé is light and fluffy with light vanilla notes and can be paired with a choice of fruit purees and chocolate sauces, while the apple tart is slightly disappointing – just warm, with a slightly soggy base, though featuring beautifully crisp and lightly tart apples – served with a rather boozy calvados ice cream.
Wine knowledge from the staff is good and the list of choices available is extensive both in terms of country of origin, grape variety and even bottle size. There is plenty in the HK$400-500 range, little below that, and much more above with a particularly good selection of Old World wines – Europe dominates, though little from some of the more unusual grape growing regions that have sprung up around the world in recent times.
Staff are switched on and aware of their tables and can offer good recommendations on both food and wine in a friendly and affable manner.
A three-course meal with wine for two comes in at $2,200, a seemingly standard price for European food of this quality served in a high-end hotel. While not hugely innovative, a meal at Brasserie on the Eighth will comprise good French food, an excellent choice of wines and sound service.